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-   -   Caines or Port Douglas (https://www.fodors.com/community/australia-and-the-pacific/caines-or-port-douglas-302502/)

bar153 Mar 31st, 2003 02:59 PM

Caines or Port Douglas
 
My husband and myself and our 2 daughters (20 and 25yo) will be Oz for 3 weeks. We are planning a week up near the great Barrier reef and hope to snorkle and do the touristy things. We are thinking of staying at either the Hibicus Garden apts. or the Rydes reef ressort. We want nice pools, gardens, close to shopping and places with a young adult crowd and some night life. Any suggestions? Would Caines be more lively? Also plan to go to the Blue Mts. and are considering the Mercure resort in Leura. If we take the train from Sydney. can we get around withour a car, will bus tours take us places with time to hike and see the caves, 3 sisters etc?So much to see and do and want to use our time well. Thanks.Bar

alliegator Mar 31st, 2003 04:28 PM

I would stay in Port Douglas. We stayed in Palm Cove, but wished we had just moved up the road to PD. PD seemed to have more shopping & activites. We found Cairns to be icky when we shuttled in for a day of shopping. Many tours will pick you up at your hotel in PD, for a small fee. We didn't rent a car when we were in Palm Cove.

OneWanderingJew Mar 31st, 2003 05:00 PM

I'm with you alliegator! I really liked Pt. D and think that would be a better choice for this family. <BR><BR>Bar153--If I remember correctly, Rydges was on the edge of Pt D--to far to walk along the dark road at night. I think the Hibiscus was closer to the heart of town.

LN Apr 1st, 2003 11:29 AM

well I guess that's three of us. There was a lot more going on at Port Douglas than in Palm Cove (where we stayed). Icky does seem a good description of Cairns though.<BR><BR>Rydges is on the edge of town and I would imagine that 20-25 yr olds would prefer to be closer in. Hibiscus might just do it.

Melnq8 Apr 1st, 2003 02:18 PM

I too, liked Port Douglas more than Cairns - I was a bit disappointed in Cains - it just wasn't what I expected.

mpoll Apr 1st, 2003 02:32 PM

Cairns is more lively, given its much bigger than Port Douglas, but thats about its only advantage. Port Douglas is a much nicer place to stay. Have stayed at Hibiscus Gardens and can recommend highly. Much better located than Rydges. Its a short walk to shops, beach and Marina.

bar153 Apr 2nd, 2003 06:55 PM

Thank you for your advice. PD it is!! Any recommendations for day trips to snorkle off the reef. We wanted to stay on Dunk Is. for a night or 2 but was told it's not worth the money as many day people use it. Is it better for a day trip or reeally a unique experience? Thanks again. Bar153

alliegator Apr 3rd, 2003 04:43 PM

We went out on Poseidon and really had a great time. They go to 3 different sites &amp; you can either snorkel or dive. They also offer intro-dives, which we did. I highly recommend doing that. It was so much cooler then just snorkeling. The boat leaves out of PD.

curmudgeon Apr 3rd, 2003 07:02 PM

For snorkel/dive trips, think about your personal preferences. The big operators will have huge boats that take several hundred people. They go to a location where they have anchored a large barge, and will have glass-bottom boat tours and other activites there. Good for less-active people, and perhaps more comfortable; if someone in your group doesn't want to spend all day in the water, there is a lot more space and shade. Drawback is that you are there with a huge mob, and the destination is fixed. A small boat may have 15-20 people, but will be able to pick its destination each day based on tide and ocean conditions. You might want to try one of the big boats with the whole group, and then see who wants to do another trip on a smaller one. <BR><BR>Most outfits will offer scuba as well. You don't have to be a certified diver, you can do the basic training on the boat as it heads out, then do your dive in a small supervised group.

Heyblondie Apr 3rd, 2003 08:04 PM

Another vote for Port Douglas, it's a lovely, quaint town. We stayed at Treetops and would highly recommend it. Went horseback riding in the rainforest and snorkeling off the Reef - absolutely amazing!

marshall531 Apr 4th, 2003 11:22 AM

I am still waiting to hear from anyone who stayed at the Peninsula hotel in port douglas. We will be there the beginning of june and would like to know how they liked it. Also did anyone stay at the sails in the desert hotel in ayers rock. How was that. Let me know. Bruce

Mucky Apr 4th, 2003 12:32 PM

Hi bar153,<BR>I agree with the sentiment about Cairns, its a pretty tired looking place.We were very pleased that we didn't stay there, However if its lively stuff and tacky tourist resorts you want it could be suitable.But I would suggest you go North up the coast.<BR>Palm Cove is a lovely restful, peaceful, tranquil place where you can really chill out and watch the world go by.We stayed at Oasis @ Palm cove which was paradise.<BR>But peace and quite is not everyone's cup of tea.<BR>Port Douglas on the other hand is a compromise between Cairns and PCove.<BR>Personally speaking, staying in Palm cove was fabulous for our family and my kids were 11 and 14 last year when we went. PD and Cairns were within around 30 mins either way by bus or car.<BR>I think that almost all the resorts in Pcove and PD will fit your description of accomodation but PC is definately quieter.If you decide not to stay there then you must pay a visit its gorgeous beach at least. And whilst there go to the surf club for a great value meal and beer with the locals.<BR>Have fun<BR><BR>Muck

Port_princess Apr 14th, 2003 09:02 PM

Hi there, its Caro here. I have been away from Port Douglas for a few months, but now i have returned to my favorite paradise. My credentials are; i have lived and worked in Port Douglas for the past 12 years. I WAS the dive specialist at the Radisson, so I have been on all the boats and most of the tours from Port.<BR>The best snorkel boat is Wavelength. They only take 30 people, whereas quicksilver takes 450. Poseidon takes 77 and focuses on intro diving and divers, so their sites are not the best for snorkelling.<BR>have a greta time in port, make sure you go to the Inlet restaurant and also to salsa bar and grill. both are sensational.<BR>cheers<BR>BAR153, Hibiscus would be best for your group. Much more funky than Rydges.And in the thick of things. Rydges is a ways out of town.

Lee Apr 27th, 2003 01:14 PM

Question for Port Princess. Are there certain areas that are best for timid snorklers? Shallow water or a rope to grasp, etc??


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