We know Port Douglas is a haven for all types of water-related activities, including fishing, diving, swimming and whale watching. But what if water isn’t your thing or you prefer your water fix in moderation? Luckily enough, Port Douglas has more going on than meets the eye, with attractions and activities to cater to every taste and age group. The following are just some of the other activities in Port Douglas that don’t involve water. You better start to plan your Port Douglas holiday today!
Investigate Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
Australia’s biggest indigenous cultural park, the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, also holds the title of being Aussie’s longest-spanning stage show. It features an array of aboriginal performers who treat guests to authentic cultural experiences, including boomerang-throwing demonstrations and didgeridoo performances. The park allows you to delve into Port Douglas’ history by investigating the background of the Tjapukai, one of the indigenous peoples of the Port Douglas and Cairns regions, in a fun and interactive way. It makes for a fun and educational afternoon for all of the family.
Visit the Rainforestation Nature Park
The Rainforestation Nature Park itself consists of over 100 acres of World Heritage Rainforest. It is home to various tour operators and attractions including a wildlife park, a rainforest tour company (Army Duck Rainforest Tours) and another aboriginal attraction, the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience. You can choose to chill out with koalas, watch an aboriginal dance performance, test your talents at boomerang throwing or take a six-wheel-drive tour through the forest and accompanying fruit orchards. The orchards are home to over 40 kinds of tropical fruit trees.
Explore the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, located under an hour’s drive from Port Douglas, is the largest of its kind in Aus. A perfect day trip for the little ones, the park contains over 1,500 kinds of local rainforest butterflies, with highlights being the bright-blue Ulysses butterfly, the Cairns Birdwing, and the rare orange cruiser. The park is open whatever the weather is like, so it makes the perfect rainy day activity to get the kids out of the hotel!
Ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway
Running from Cairns to Kuranda, the iconic and historical Kuranda Scenic Railway offers family fun for all ages. Being 37 kilometres in length, with waterfall views and a tropical forest backdrop, it is a great and inexpensive option to experience North Tropical Queensland’s natural beauty. The ride takes nearly two hours one way, so you need to book out a whole morning or afternoon for it.
Take a Tour of Hartley’s Crocodile Farm
One of the coolest crocodile parks in Aus, Hartley’s Crocodile Farm, is located 25 minutes from Port Douglas. Take a stroll along the 2km boardwalk, getting you up close and personal with crocs, tropical birds and native bush. You can also take a cruise on the lagoon and check out the crocs doing their thing amongst the wetlands. The park puts a focus on conservation education, making it a superb learning experience.
Check Out the Douglas Shire Historical Walk
The Douglas Shire Historical Walk combines education and exercise, with a walking route that covers all of the main historical buildings and sites in Port Douglas, including the Port Douglas Pioneer Cemetery, the former 1879 Port Douglas Court House and the former 1879 State School. You can download the PDF route map or smartphone guide from douglashistory.org.au. Remember to pack a water bottle!
Complete the Mossman Gorge Rainforest Walk
The easy 4km circuit walk in the Mossman Gorge takes you through some of North Tropical Queensland’s most spectacular rainforests. Only 15 minutes from Port Douglas, the walk should take approximately an hour — depending on your pace and level of fitness. The walk provides some wonderful information surrounding how the local Kuku Yalanji people once used the forest. Keep your eyes peeled for any signs of the infamous forest dragon!
Orange cruiser photo credit: AussieBotanist / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
About the Author: Guest writer Kay Cameron lives in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, but owns a holiday house in Port Douglas.