Cairns or Port Douglas

Old Feb 4th, 2016, 09:21 AM
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Cairns or Port Douglas

Hi,

I am unsure if we should stay in Cairns or Port Douglas for 4 days towards the end of August.

We aren't going to be renting a car and we prefer to use public transportation. We were thinking of doing some snorkeling maybe going to Green Island and then seeing the rainforest.

Thoughts?
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Old Feb 4th, 2016, 10:11 AM
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I've been to Far North Queensland 5 times and each time stayed in Port Douglas, so that's a clear favorite for me. I like the ambience of the smaller town and I like the fact that it has the aptly-named Four Mile Beach. (You have to go to the northern suburbs of Cairns to find a beach; there's not one in town.)

There are coach transfers between Cairns and Port Douglas, so you don't have to rent a car to get there. If you choose one of the many accommodations in the center of Port Douglas or within walking distance of the town center, you won't need a car there.

Port Douglas has a lot of boats that go to either the Low Isles or, preferably, the Outer Reef. There are also tours to Daintree NP and the Kuranda Scenic Railway/Skyrail. We have also enjoyed spending a half-day at the Wildlife Habitat in PD and a half-day at Mossman Gorge.

However, should you decide to stay in Cairns, I urge you to choose another snorkeling trip rather than one to Green Island. The coral around Green Island is in poor condition, meaning it is not great to see and that there is not as much sealife around because they feed off the coral. It would be infinitely better for you to choose a snorkeling cruise that goes to the Outer Reef.
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Old Feb 4th, 2016, 01:24 PM
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Here's another vote for PD. We had a car, but I know that there are bus transfers from Cairns that you can book via whatever hotel you are staying at. once you're there, there's loads to do which you can either book at the TI or via your hotel.

we had 4 days/ 5 nights there which was about right.
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Old Feb 6th, 2016, 01:49 AM
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1. Palm Cove
2. Port Douglas
3. Cairns

We prefer Palm Cove - 25 minutes north of the airport - to Port Douglas, which is an hour north. Don't stay in Cairns, which has little to recommend it.

Palm Cove has plenty of accommodation and sufficient restaurants to keep you interested. There's more of Port Douglas - it's bigger - but we've never found it sufficiently appealing to want to stay there. We usually do a day trip up to Port Douglas, as it's a nice drive along the coast.

Most reef trips leave from Cairns or Port Douglas. You can easily arrange bus transportation to get you to wherever your trip departs from. Note that Kuranda/Skyrail is much closer to Palm Cove (it's between Cairns and Palm Cove).
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