Port Douglas or Cairns

Old Mar 10th, 2012, 01:56 PM
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Port Douglas or Cairns

I have three days, of my upcoming trip to Australia, dedicated for the Great Barrier Reef and the Draintree Tropical Forest. Which of these two cities would be a better base for exploring these two sites?
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Old Mar 14th, 2012, 03:33 PM
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We were in the area in mid-February. We really enjoyed staying in Port Douglas, a little "resort" town. Cairns is OK, but it's a good-sized city.. .not what we wanted. We rented a car at the airport and thought the drive up the coast was beautiful. The boats to the GBR leave from Port Douglas, and you're in the area of Daintree. Our second choice would have been Palm Cove, about 1/2 hour north of Cairns. It's a quaint little oceanfront resort with several hotels and some nice restaurants, plus a beautiful beach. Good luck in your choice.
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Old Mar 14th, 2012, 11:06 PM
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I agree. I stayed in Port Douglas and was glad I did. Cairns is interesting to see and is easy to reach from Port Douglas The latter is in a lovely setting and lots of the trips leave from there anyway.
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Old Mar 15th, 2012, 04:38 AM
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Port Douglas is closer to the "Draintree", Cairns city is closer to other world heritage rainforests south. Both cater to reef trips, Cairns has more at better prices. Palm Cove is a beach suburb of Cairns, about 25 mins north. Port Douglas is a tourist town, there are lots of alternatives nearby and if you want to get off the beaten track you'll find them at www.bnbnq.com.au
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 04:06 AM
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"Chips or straws?"

What do you want out of the Daintree?
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Old Mar 31st, 2012, 11:53 PM
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Port Douglas is a cute resort town with a goregous beach, and plenty of upmarket hotels.

Whereas Cairns is more urbanised and business orientated. There is no beach in Cairns but there is a foreshore lagoon development.

Palm Cove is a must see IMHO. I love it there. Its upmarket like Port Douglas but much smaller.

In terms of a base to see GBR & Daintree, both Cairns and Port Douglas are good. Tours leave from both places. There isn't much/if any price difference.
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Old Apr 1st, 2012, 04:21 AM
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No beach Cairns city, except for stinger and croc free lagoon, but plenty in Cairns' northern beaches, terminating at Palm Cove in the north.

Comparing like with like for reef day trips, Wavelength out of PD is $210 pp, Sea Star out of Cairns is $180. Quicksilver to pontoon at Agincourt reef out of PD is $218pp, Reef Magic out of Cairns also with pontoon and semi sub, is $180pp. However, both prices are without transfer from and back to accommodation, obviously more to Palm Cove than it would be to Cairns city where its walkable to Marlin Marina.
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Old Apr 6th, 2012, 07:32 PM
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I like Cairns, and enjoyed both our week-long stays there. Although we have visited PD, we are not "resort" people, and were pleased we were staying in Cairns. It is an easy city to get around, and as Pat said, you have cruises to the reef leaving from there for less cost. There are several companies that take trips to Daintree and Cape Tribulation from Cairns, who also pick up in Port Douglas.
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Old Jan 6th, 2013, 09:42 PM
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Definitely Port Douglas. The restaurants and the atmosphere is amazing. Here's the official government site on the Great Barrier Reef that I thoroughly recommend having a look over:

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Old Jul 28th, 2013, 08:25 PM
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Bookmarking for my upcoming trip!
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