Cairns or Port Douglas, and should I rent a car

Feb 11th, 2010, 04:09 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Cairns or Port Douglas, and should I rent a car

Booked the Hilton In Cairns for 4 nights. Now I'm wondering if I should stay in Cairns or rent a car and drive to Port Douglas. Or stay in Cairns, rent a car and drive to the different places. We want to go to the Great Barrier Reef, can anybody recommend a tour, and do I want to do Daintree or the Skyrail, Kuranda experience.
Coming to Australia with my 3 daughters who are in there 20's and they want to see as much as possible in the short amount of time we are there. Will be in Australia for 2 full weeks at the end of May, can't wait.
thanks for any help you can give me.
murphy17 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2010, 07:02 PM
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The Cairns Hilton couldn't be much closer to Marlin Marina for reef trips, and Skyrail/Kuranda train will pick you up at door for the 10-15min or so drive on Skyrail's shuttle to Freshwater Connection for train and Skyrail's station at Caravonica. So you definitely wouldn't need a car for those 2 days. Lots of restaurants in area, and if you like Indian/Thai/Nonya cuisine the ground floor restaurant at Hilton, Hanuman's is exceptional.

Daintree/Cape Tribulation is drivable from Cairns, but you'd get so much more out of the trip with an experienced driver/guide, a good one out of Cairns is Billy Tea Safaris -

You haven't mentioned the Atherton Tableland area, also accessible from Cairns, a great little local tour is - this one takes in Lake Barrine, Yungaburra Curtain Fig, Paronella Park and Babinda Boulders.

Enjoy your stay!
pat_woolford is offline  
Feb 12th, 2010, 08:40 AM
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thank you so much for the info.
murphy17 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 04:15 PM
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Hey there,

Defnitely stay in Port Douglas! It's so much nicer then tourist-crazed Cairns. There is no beach there, it's jammed packed with people and just NOT relaxing. You are also closer to the GBR from PD. Rent a car and drive there from's about an hour through beautiful country. PD is just a wonderful little beach town with great access to the Daintree, Discover Wildlife Center and it's own wildlife habit center in town..say hello to "Manley" the bird for us

GBR cruises are about $200/person and worth every penny! We stayed the Lychee Tree Apartments and they were awesome, nice pool, beautiful bungalows and really helpful staff. Ask them about the nightime tour of animal life - very fun I'd be happy to answer any more questions - I loved my week in PD!
Vivid01 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 04:03 AM
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We did the GBR with Quicksilver tours and it was a great day incl buffet lunch. Planning to come back this year and do again. We stayed at Kewarra Beach which was nice but bit isolated, but perfect for pick up to Kuranda which we all ( 2 adults & 2 teenagers) still talk about. We went in 2007 and couldn't do the train bit due to a landslide, but it didn't spoil the experience in any way
Hope it helps and have a fab time.

Ps can anyone suggest which is best for my next visit-stay at PD or Airlie for 5 nights with a must do GBR? Cheers
Baffy is offline  
Feb 17th, 2010, 03:58 PM
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Of course Cairns has beaches, a string of them, running north of the city: Holloways, Yorkey's, Trinity, Kewarra, Palm Cove are some of them. There's just not one in Cairns city, its a deep water harbour which originated as a port, long before it was discovered by tourists as being a perfect gateway to reef and various surrounding World Heritage rainforests as well as Atherton Tableland. However, Cairns City Council built a vast stinger-proof all season swimming lagoon on its Esplanade, marine stingers are a problem for at least half the year on coast, (not the reef). And of course, stinger season coincides with the very warmest months of the year.

Out of Cairns, day reef trips are available at less than $200, ie, at AU$139; at AU$169 (max of 30), are just a couple, both of these go to Michaelmas Cay with super white sandy beach and then on to different outer reefs.
pat_woolford is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 05:07 AM
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Now I really have to decide which place I should stay. Is it worth spending 2 nights in cairns and 2 nights in port douglas?
thanks for all your help
murphy17 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 10:21 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 462
I like Port Douglas BUT if you are wanting to see me then stay in Cairns as everything is much more accessable from Cairns and you have a lot more things to choose from as well. Also there are a number of places to see in and around Cairns which do not cost money i.e. the Botanical Gardens etc. Take a trip as well to the Atherton Tablelands from Cairns.
ivenotbeeneverywhere is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 10:47 PM
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For a different place to stay, consider Hides Hotel in Cairns. Ask for a room on the verandah. It's quite old fashioned, quite charming, quite tropical.
Peter_S_Aus is online now  
Feb 26th, 2010, 06:11 AM
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just sent the hides hotel an email since a few of there rooms are sold out the time I will be there. Finding out if they have any rooms with verandas left.
murphy17 is offline  
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