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A Family Stay in Port Douglas, Australia

The last time I visited Port Douglas was pre-kids.  My husband and I had taken some dodgy sleeping pills on the plane which didn’t seem to take effect until we got to our hotel in Port Douglas!  So it’s all a bit of a hazy memory for me but luckily Nikki has shared her awesome trip report with us:

Who: Nikki, husband and 6 month old baby Taj
When: November 13-17 2013
Where: Port Douglas – Queensland, Australia

How was the flight?
We flew from Sydney to Cairns, which is s 3 hour flight.  On the way there, we booked a very cheap sale fare on Jetstar, however this meant a 6am departure and leaving our house at 4:15am, which I would not want to do again, especially with a baby!  The return flight was with Qantas using our frequent flyer points.  On both flights we were lucky to be given a spare seat for Taj.  Qantas have strollers that you can borrow after check-in and take to the gate, which is handy.

Sydney domestic airport has baby change tables and parents rooms with feeding cubicles, microwaves etc; at Cairns airport we could only find baby change tables.

Where did you stay?
We stayed at Port Douglas, which is a one hour drive north of Cairns.  Our car hire was through Thrifty rentals and they had fitted the baby car seat before we picked it up.

It is a lovely drive to Port Douglas, as the road is right next to the ocean for much of the journey. However, it is quite a winding road, so take care if you are suffering from jet lag!

How was the accommodation?
We booked directly with Balboa Holiday Apartments and had a free breakfast for two at Hi-Tide Cafe (across the road) included in our tariff.  They provided a complimentary high chair, however cot hire was an extra $5/night.  Our ground floor corner apartment (no.9) was spacious and clean with 1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms and an open plan lounge and dining room.  

Port Douglas Hotel Room

Port Douglas Dining Room

Each of the apartments in the complex have 3 bedrooms, so they just close off any bedrooms you haven’t booked.  The patio was perfect for relaxing, with sun loungers, table setting, BBQ and water views.  There are beautiful tropical gardens, and we always had the pool to ourselves.

Port Douglas Pool

The beach is across the road and you can borrow a range of beach umbrellas, beach chairs and children’s beach toys.  There are plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants just a short walk away on Macrossan Street.

Some of our favourites were Shakes Gelati Bar (yummy fruit smoothies), Under Wraps (healthy made to order sandwiches and wraps), Seabean Tapas Bar and Siam by the Sea (Thai takeaway).

What did you do?
Apart from relaxing and going to the beach or pool, we did a few other activities:

  • Kuranda – ‘village in the rainforest’.  We went there on the way to Port Douglas.  It’s quite a touristy place but we had fun wandering around the shops and Taj loved the butterflies and caterpillars at the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary.  We drove to Kuranda, however you can take the Skyrail or Scenic Railway.
    Port Douglas Butterly
  • Mossman Gorge – about 20 mins drive north of Port Douglas.  From the interpretative centre you take an open-sided bus out to the gorge where there is a 30 min walk through the rainforest.  We were told it was pram friendly but only the first part not the whole circuit is, so my husband ended up having to carry the pram up and down quite a lot of stairs!
    Port Douglas Park
  • Wildlife Habitat – a pram friendly wildlife park with Australian animals and birds in three different habitats.  You can buy ‘roo food’ at the ticket counter to hand feed the kangaroos and wallabies.  Before you leave ask for the ‘3 day pass’ and they will give you a pass so you can return again for free within 3 days of purchasing your entry ticket.
    Port Douglas Kangaroo
  • Port Douglas Markets – this is held every Sunday morning at Anzac park, at the marina end of Macrossan Street.  There are plenty of market stalls with clothes, jewellery, souvenirs, food and drinks – very colourful and a good place to spend a few hours.  There is also a great pirate ship themed playground nearby overlooking the water.
    Port Douglas Playground
  • We didn’t visit the Great Barrier Reef on this trip as we felt Taj was too young at 6 months. However, there are lots of trips available from Port Douglas.  They either go to the outer reef, or to the Low Isles, which may be a better option for younger children as they can snorkel off a beach rather than in open water.

There is so much for families to do, and plenty of family friendly accommodation in Port Douglas – we would definitely like to visit again when Taj is a little older!

1 comment

  1. Erica Brooks

    Hey thanks for all that information. I am on my way to Sydney and will be touring the city for 3 days. I was wondering where shall I go next as I have finallized my itinerary for Sydney which is this http://www.triphobo.com/sydney-trip-plan-54b4a42a0c1d0a2409001fe0 and have 2 more days in hand. We wanted very laid back 2 days as Sydney tour is going to be very fast and need some relaxation before going to work again. Looking at the pictures you shared Port Douglas seems a good fit. Thanks again.

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