Cairns or Port douglas

Old Nov 15th, 2005, 11:13 AM
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Cairns or Port douglas

Hi All,
We will have 3 days in Cairns/Port Douglas area from Dec 22-24th. We plan to spend one day on a reef tour (diving and snorkelling) one day for Daintree National park and one day in kurunda/Tjabukai park.

After reading through various posts here, looks like Port Douglas is more peaceful and quiet. However, would Port Douglas be more hot and humid than Cairns in December end? or are they the same? Which place do you recommend that we stay at?

Also which are good diving+snorkeling companies to go with? (We have no diving experience but some snorkeling experience). I was looking at Tusa dive in Cairns and Poseidon in Port Douglas. Any suggestions on which one we should go with considering we are beginners? Which company takes to better reef sites? (This may answer my previous question abt where to stay too! )

Thanks in advance!
Vandy
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Old Nov 15th, 2005, 11:17 AM
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Hi Vandy,
You mention peaceful and quiet.
Have you considered Palm Cove?
It's kind of half way between Cairns and Port Douglas, is smaller and is beautiful.

www.palmcove.net

Whichever you choose...I envy you !

Muck
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Old Nov 15th, 2005, 12:01 PM
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Port Douglas is only 45 minutes drive from Cairns so the weather should be pretty much the same. Having been to both, I would take Port Douglas over Cairns any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Cairns is very touristy whereas Port Douglas is much more of a community and as you say, a bit quieter, in a good way!
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Old Nov 15th, 2005, 12:02 PM
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Oh, and consider Silky Oaks in the Daintree. It's a great eco-resort. www.silkyoaks.com.au
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Old Nov 15th, 2005, 12:04 PM
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Oops...the web address is actually www.silkyoakslodge.com.au
Sorry bout that!
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Old Nov 15th, 2005, 12:27 PM
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For snorkeling only trips, I have heard good things about Wavelength and plan to use them. They go out of Port Douglas, but have transfers available from Cairns. But if you want to do diving also, they wouldn't fit the bill. What I like about them is that they only take 30 people. A friend of mine went to Cairns and said to stay away from the big operators like Quicksilver - too many people in one place [-( We have heard good thinsg about the Archipelago Studio Apartments in Port Douglas and will probably stay there. Very similar itinerary except we have a couple more days and will probably do 2 days out on the reef, one into Daintree and Cape Tribulation (we plan to use Wilderness Challenge) and one day into Kurunda (tram one way and train the other).
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Old Nov 15th, 2005, 04:21 PM
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Definitely would choose Port Douglas over Cairns. Port D is a great litle village with a fabulous beach. Dec will be stinger season, but the beach will have a netted enclosure. Direct Reef Trips from Port D and also much closer to the Daintree.
Wavelength is a good option for snorkellers, but I also have to stick up for Quiksilver. Yes they take a lot of people, but the boat is big, fast and steady (no seas sickness). Their snorkelling site is great and the pontoon adds to the sense of space, compared with just a small boat.
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Old Nov 15th, 2005, 04:33 PM
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I would recommend to stay in Port D. It is smaller than Cairns, however it will be very busy over the holiday season. There is no difference in humidity or heat.
Port has the wonderful 4-mile beach with its stinger enclosure.
Port is also a great starting point for tours to the Daintree and the Reef.
For snorkelling I would recommend the Wavelength (snorkelling only) or Calypso or Poseidon for snorkelling and diving.
For the Daintree, I would recommend Pete's Daintree-Specialised-Tours, he offers great hands-on tours into the Daintree NP. If you rather go on a regular tour, there are great ones like Gary's Safaris, Tony's Tropical Tours or BTS.
If you need more info or links, just check out
www.wonderfulaustralia.com
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Old Nov 16th, 2005, 02:12 PM
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Hi All,
thanks for the suggestions.
Palm Cove and Silky Oaks are a little out of our budget. We are leaning towards Port Douglas now.
We land in Cairns at around 9.40pm on 21st Dec. So wanted to stay near airport and go to port Douglas in the morning so that we could enjoy the scenary. Are there any inexpensive hotels near the airport?

Also wondering if we could do without renting a car. myaustralia: Could the Daintree tours pick us up from Cairns and drop us in Port Douglas?
We are planning to do snorkelling/diving with Poseidon on 23rd. and Kurunda on Dec 24th. We would need to store our luggage at the airport.. Does Cairns airport have good facilities for that?

Thanks again!
Vandy
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Old Nov 16th, 2005, 02:43 PM
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Vandy,
p/u Cairns and drop off Port is usually no problem except if you carry luggage. Normal tour operators who carry other passengers don't really do that due to the lack of space on the vehicle. If you do a private charter (eg. with Pete Baxendell's Daintree-Specialised-Tours) it usually is not a problem as you are the only ones on the tour.
I would suggest to send them a quick message to check.
Please remember that X-mas time is very, very busy, so book your tours ahead of time!!
Hope you enjoy your trip. You will love the area around Cairns/Port D.
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Old Nov 18th, 2005, 03:45 AM
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Vandy Hi,
Shame about the budget, it aways gets in the way !! Never mind I'm sur PD will be great for you.
If you have time pop into PCove and have a meal or a beer it is a lovely place.
On the budget subject, when we were there, we too were on a tight budget and we found the Oasis at Palm Cove to be great, set back from the beach but beautiful none the less.

Enjoy your trip

Muck
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Old Nov 21st, 2005, 04:18 PM
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Vandy - have you checked out all accommodation options in Palm Cove? There are many which come nowhere near the cost of Silky Oaks. Oasis, mentioned by Mucky is one of them. Its not quite beachfront, but neither are most in Port Douglas. Palm Cove beach has a stinger net in place as well as Port Douglas.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 11:18 AM
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My wife and I just got back from AU, where four nights were spent in Port Douglas. We'd decided to stay in PD over Cairns since we were going snorkeling (Wavelength-- only 14 people the day we went, nice tour but be careful if you hire an underwater digital camera from them....they failed to transfer all of the photos we took) and taking a tour with Pete Baxendell (the BEST day of our stay in AU....he picked up at our hotel for no extra charge).

When we landed in Cairns, we took a Sun Palm shuttle ($45 pp return...but it was a good thing I took my email confirmation with me because they tried to say the price was $55 pp when we got there)) to PD. Stayed at the Hibiscus Gardens, which was well located, only a block from the main street and easy to walk to Wavelength's jetty.
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Old Dec 12th, 2005, 09:32 AM
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Vandy and others, We are truly interested in your game plan for Cairns/Port Douglas. We have 4 days in the area and did not want to rent a car. Can you suggest an itinerary that gets us to Port Douglas, GBR, Daintree or karunda and back to Cairns airport for flight to Brisbane?
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Old Dec 16th, 2005, 10:09 AM
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I just have to jump in and defend Cairns as a great place to stay. We have never considered it 'touristy', and just love the relaxed atmosphere of the place.
We enjoy being able to sit along the Esplanade over a leisurely meal during the day or evening, and strolling along the promenade.
If you want to do the touristy activities, as we have of course, then you can be picked up at your accommodation as with any other place. Another benefit for Cairns is the close proximity to the airport which means you don't waste a moment of your holiday travelling to your destination!
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Old Dec 18th, 2005, 05:24 AM
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Dotty, I couldn't agree with you more. Of course Cairns has tourists, Sydney has many more but no-one complains, there's also a lot of the population of Cairns area (only 125,000 over a 50km stretch) not involved in tourism industry.

There's a huge amount of community involvement around Cairns and how someone could say there is more at Port Douglas is beyond me. Just for starters, there's a Royal Flying Doctor base in Cairns, local community works hard fund-raising here to help keep the people of the outback serviced with vital medical services, and I could name many other foundations here who work so hard for the less fortunate and underprivileged in area. You will see some homeless Aboriginal people, around Cairns city where at least they're looked after, haven't seen many in Port Douglas or Palm Cove lately. They might lower the tone.

Kuranda seems to be a target here too of the dreaded "touristy" label, never mind that if you walk for 10 minutes out of the village you won't see a soul and be treated to some marvellous world heritage rainforest walks and stunning views - also home to the Djabugay Aboriginal people who are in evidence.
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