Queensland - Advice?

Jul 11th, 2005, 01:48 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 394
Queensland - Advice?

We will be traveling to Australia in February 2005 for 2 1/2 weeks. Before meeting up with several friends in Sydney, we'd like to have some together time in Queendsland. I'm thinking 4 nights/5 days. What we're looking for:

1) Gorgeous white sand, beaches
2) Upscale accomadation options
3) Good restaurant choices
4) Access to snorkeling excursions to the Great Barrier Reef
5) Perhaps a daytrip to the rainforest
6) Perhaps a daytrip to Great Barrier Island

From the research I've done, North Queensland sounds like the place to go. I'm thinking of flying from Sydney to Cairns and then heading to either Palm Cove or Port Douglas. Am I on the right track? Preferences between Palm Cove and Port Douglas? Are there any other resort areas in the vicinity that I'm missing. Also, we don't want to be too remote. We would like to have the option of going out for dinner nightly and then somewhere else for drinks. Plus easy access to excursions. On the other hand, we don't want to be in a larger city such as Brisbane or Cairns - we'll get our fill of this in Sydney.

Any insight would be appreciated. Thank you!
mjz is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 130
both Port Douglas and Palm Cove offer plenty of good and upscale accommodations. Port Douglas is a more lively town with plenty of shopping, dining and other activities. Palm Cove is a more quiet area, for nightlife you would normally go into Cairns.
My personal choice would be Port D. just because it offers all the conveniences in one place. Also all tours leave from here.
From Port D. you could take the Wavelength, to me the best snorkelling boat as it only takes snorkellers. You will visit 3 different reefs during the day. If you are also interested in diving (Intro or Certified) I would recommend the Calypso or Poseidon.
A really nice island off the coast from Port D. is Low Isles, small, quiet and beautiful with plenty of good snorkelling.
For the rainforest, there are lots of options. You can choose between regular tours (eg. Tony's Tropical Tours, Trek North) or you can do something more hands-on, fun and adventurous with Pete Baxendell from Daintree-Specialised-Tours. He offer private charters as well as Daintree bushwalks. He is a great options if you want to see the rainforest a little more close up and hands-on.
You will find plenty of white sandy beaches north of Cairns. Port Douglas is right next to the famous 4-Mile-Beach.
If you need more info and links to tours, just visit

Hope this will help.

PS: I guess you will be travelling in February 2006, not 2005
myaustralia is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 04:12 PM
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Posts: 3,680
February is wet season in FNQ, however I wouldn't let that put me off. This past February had more sunny days with perfect windless reef conditions than we're having now in top tourist month of July. It will be hot and humid though, but does this matter when you're snorkelling on the reef.

Cairns and its suburbs has a population of only 130,000 and its suburbs extend some 50km from Gordonvale in the south to Palm Cove in the north. However, Cairns city is livelier with more restaurant and night life choices than either Port Douglas or Palm Cove. Palm Cove has recently undergone a lot of up-scale tourist development,but its still smaller than Port Douglas. Most of Palm Cove's resorts front the ocean, most of Port Douglas's don't. GBR and rainforest are easily accessed from all three destinations. Brisbane is the capital of Queensland with a population of some 1.6million, so you really can't compare it to Cairns. Brisbane is in a sub-tropical climate zone rather than tropical, but its still hot in February as so Sydney can be.

It will be boxjelly fish season in FNQ, with often the odd crocodile, so ocean swimming limited to GBR, and only netted areas of coastal beaches. All resorts have pools and Cairns city has a huge stinger-croc-proof lagoon. Of course, if you hire or buy a stinger suit you can swim anywhere, helps with sunburn protection, too.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 08:11 PM
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PS, obviously didn't mean a stinger suit will protect you from crocs, but if one is about livesavers will close the beach anyway. Don't swim at any unpatrolled beach, though.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jul 11th, 2005, 08:15 PM
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Whoops, that should have been "lifesavers" (lifeguards) not "livesavers".
pat_woolford is offline  
Jul 12th, 2005, 04:42 AM
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myaustralia and pat_wo0lford - Thank you for the advice. Yep, we plan on visiting in February of 2006. I will research Wavelength, Low Isles and Pete Baxendell. All sound like great excursion options. At this point, we're leaning toward either the Outrigger Beach Club in Palm Cove or the Sheraton Mirage in Port Douglas. Both look quite nice. We will definitely have a rental car so we can go out and explore/dine/shop as we wish.

Thanks again.
mjz is offline  
Jul 13th, 2005, 02:55 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 394

I would choose Outrigger at PC over Mirage at Port. If it is a choice between those two hotels then Outrigger all the way. Port has more restaurants but the Mirage isn't downtown.
Tassietwister is offline  

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