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flora Aug 19th, 2002 06:00 PM

Palm Cove or Port Douglas, Karunda or Daintree and Cape Tribulation
Arriving in Cairns mid October for 3 nights.Should I stay in Palm Cove or Port Douglas? Thinking about The Sebel Reef or The Peninsula hotel. Which excursion is recommended kuranda or Daintree and Cape Tribulation? Can anyone suggest a tour to the GBR for a non swimmer? Is it rainy season in October?

Liz Aug 19th, 2002 06:22 PM

Port Douglas is the best place to be so you could check out the different accommodation there. I would take the Cape Tribulation/Daintree tour or perhaps one of the more personal ones. <BR>It is not the rainy season in October and should be wonderful<BR>As for trips out to the reef. I cannot remember which one does what as there are so many however you don't have to be a swimmer to enjoy the reef if you get on one of the trips where you can take a semi-submersible and look at the coral that way OR go to Green Island and walk on the reef at low tide and look at the fish through the viewing chamber under water.

bill simpson Aug 20th, 2002 07:56 AM

I agree with Liz,here's a second for Port Douglas. However I would take the Quicksilver day trip tour to Low Isles (I believe it is via the Wavedancer). My wife & I done it in April and it was a wonderful day. The boat carries about 300 people. We had some misgivings initially with such a large group but it was well organized - Quicksilver had this tour down to a science. They serve a great meal (much to my surprise, again w/such a large group) at Low Isles along with other treats during the day. They have a submersible you can go down in if you don't want to get in the water. They even have a helicopter pad there if you want to do an overflight of the area. The helicopter ride is extra. Pick a sunny day to do it & during October Mother Nature should be good to you. The month of October usually has an increase in rain, however you are not yet in the rainy season. You never know - when we were there in April the locals said the rainy season prior to April had been very dry. There is so much to see in this area. Don't miss Daintree & Cape Trib. If you have a rental vehicle drive to Freshwater Station (the station is pretty neat in itself) & take the Kuranda train to, of course, Kuranda. The market is just so-so, in my opinion, but it is a nice half day trip. Ride the Skyrail back - its a great ride over the rainforest. When you get to the terminus they have a shuttle bus to take you back to Freshwater Station to pick up your vehicle. If you enjoy markets, don't miss the Port Douglas Sunday market - a lot of local color with items produced by the locals - a true market. Highly recommend Port Douglas. We spent 8 days there & could have easily spent 8 more & would have enjoyed every moment.

jill Aug 20th, 2002 08:04 PM

Flora<BR>If you stay in the Port Douglas area, for a nice enjoyable tour, please consider David Armbrust's Natural History Safari. A small tour (max. of 4 people) of his rainforest and a tour of the outback, and a FANTASTIC lunch in a wonderful setting. Great experience and the highlight of our trip. Check out his website at

oztravel Aug 20th, 2002 09:24 PM

Stayed in Palm Cove at the Marriot Courtyard and in Port Douglass at the Peninsula. I prefer PD and the Peninsula. The Sebel Reef is nice but Palm Cove didn't have enough stuff for me. Peninsula is a nice hotel with a very friendly staff. They (Sevel Reef and Peninsula) are both the same distance to the water. Most dive boats leave from PD. You have to bus up from Palm Cove.

Bethany Lee Aug 21st, 2002 06:11 AM

I think where you stay depends on whether you have a car or not and what you like to do. My husband and I stayed in Port Douglas and I found it to be VERY "touristy". There are lots of tacky shops lining the main drag. However, many tours leave from there so it is convenient. Later in our trip, we spent the night at Trinity Beach and I wished we had spent more time there or one of the other beach resorts instead of Port Douglas. But it really depends on your expectations and what you like to do. I prefer a bit more relaxed setting with fewer people. I felt we got much better food and service at Trinity Beach as well as a much better atmosphere. When I booked in Port Douglas, I didn't realize how touristy it was so maybe I was disapointed because I expected something different.<BR><BR>As far as tours, we also did the David Armbrust tour and loved it but I would say that it is not for everyone. It is very slow paced (there is a purpose for the pace!) and some people may get bored. Also, it is not an eco tour so some are offended by that. However, I would say that David was great and it was a great way to spend a day. We also took the Wait-a-while eco tour and liked it as well. But I would definitely go on David's tour before Wait-a-while. <BR><BR>Kuranda was a blast. Go on a day when both markets are open. I know Friday is one of the days but I can't remember the other days. It is also very touristy but I expected it to be so we had fun. Lots of things to look at and if you really pay attention, there are some wonderful local artists with true pieces of art to sell. <BR><BR>My husband and I also went to Cape Tribulation. However, we just drove ourselves. It is beautiful there but it was a long trip and I think it would have been better if we had spent more time there. If I was only going to be in the area for 3 days, I would skip Cape Tribulation. It will take you a day to get there and back and you can see just as many great things in the Tablelands. <BR>

MikeC Aug 23rd, 2002 10:19 AM

We stayed a week in Port Douglas and really enjoyed it - the Portsea Resort was excellent value for a family, especially if you want to self-cater. Given it's a holiday resort it's bound to be touristy, but can't agree that it's in any way tacky. It's nowhere near as touristy as Kuranda, which was disappointing - the skyrail up there was worth doing, but the return train journey was disappointing -perhaps it's better if you do it in the reverse order.

Lisa Aug 29th, 2002 06:21 AM

We stayed in Silky Oaks Lodge in the Daintree for 4 nights in December (fantastic, best part of the holiday) follwed by 2 nights at the Sebel Reef House. In the car it only took an hour-ish to get between the two..loked further on the map! Sebel was very nice, the pool is lovely and the restaurant great but Palm Cove is very small - 2 nights was more than enough. Port Douglas would be a good mid way point, but v touristy - try to get away from the main drag (unless upmarket golf resorts are your thing). We took a tour up to Cape Trib via Silky Oaks with "Norm" who was fab - not sure he does other tours? Also went fishing on with Jaimie Bertelsman, which was a great "not so touristy" experience. But hey, we are tourists! Have a fab time - there's a great sea food restaurant in Post Douglas - big one, right on the harbour. And Silky Oaks does lunch/dinner trips I think. Great food.

Christina Sep 1st, 2002 04:19 PM

Flora,<BR><BR>We did the BTS tour to the Daintree & Cape Tribulation & just loved it. We had about 10 people with us, but it wasn't intrusive. It was fun talking with them! Our tour guide George was fantastic and very informative. We had a great BBQ lunch, in the Daintree, along the crystal clear river. A couple people went canoeing & swimming. I highly recommend it. <BR><BR>We stayed in Palm Cove & didn't have a car. All the tour companies will pick you up for small fee ($15 AU/pp). Which is cheaper than renting a car. There was also a shuttle service to Downtown Cairns ($13 AU/pp) so we could do some shopping for part of the day. <BR><BR>Hope this helps,<BR><BR>Christina

xx Sep 2nd, 2002 07:41 AM

It may be too late now but I stayed at both places in April and prefer the Peninsula in PD. The location of the Peninsula is such that it gives you the same isolated feel as Palm Cove but allows access to much more activities and shops and restaurants than are available in PD. The Peninsula also gives free breakfast buffets and has free washer/dryers to use - they also provide the soap! They also have a full scale refrigerator, dishwasher and cooktop! <BR>Take Wavelength for the snorkel tour and wear a full length wetsuit - it will keep you floating and impossible to sink. Or double with a life jacket.

Mike Sep 3rd, 2002 06:31 PM

If you are staying in the Port Douglas area, a really great place to stay is the Daintree Ecolodge. It is in the rainforest, the cabins are in "sort of tree houses". At night a local man takes a small group out on the river for an "in the dark" boat ride in a metal boat. He takes you up the streams running into the river. Also in the area is the "Native Guide Safari Tour" It is a small tour company ran by an aboriginal woman named Hazel. You spend the day with her going to Mossman gorge, Cape Tribulation, and into the rainforest. We were in Australia three years ago, and that part of the trip was my favorite.

worried Sep 4th, 2002 04:45 PM

OMG! Christina, they actually allowed people on your tour to go swimming in the river? Did they happen to mention its full of salt water crocs? I don't think i would be advising anyone to do that personally!<BR>

stephn Sep 16th, 2002 10:27 AM

I know the tour Christina is referring to as we took the same BTS tour while in Port Douglas (just got back from a week in Sydney & a week in Port Douglas) & you can swim in a freshwater river on this particular BTS tour. It is NOT the Daintree River which yes, is full of dangerous saltwater crocs! I think Christina meant the river you can swim in is part of the Daintree forest. As for the tour itself which includes the Daintree Forest & Cape Tribulation - we enjoyed it! And really like Port Douglas - many tours leave from here which we found convenient & we loved strolling to the main street w/shops & restaurants. We stayed at The Peninsula & thought it was wonderful. Feel free to email me with any other questions. I love talking about our experiences!

paro Oct 19th, 2002 03:23 AM

I understand that both Daintree Ecolodge and Silky Oaks are in teh same price range - which is one is better? Daintree sounds more widlerness expereince? Also, these tours you mentioned - are these part of the Daintree Ecolodge? Am COnFuzed!

tongsa Nov 4th, 2002 12:33 AM

PD - Radissons Treetops or the Peninsula? Any reco? And, is 6 days at PD good enough or too less?

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