Daintree Heritage Lodge rainforest

30 things to do in Port Douglas and the Daintree

We may have a reputation for a slower pace of life in Tropical North Queensland, but we’re the first to admit that it’s not entirely true. Our landscape beckons the adventurous as much as the leisurely. After all the rugged landscape here demands to be explored: reef, rainforest, beach, and outback – we’ve got it all.

Not sure where to begin? Our guide to the 30 best things to do in Port Douglas and Daintree will help.

1. Drive the Great Barrier Reef drive

Cruise the Great Barrier Reef Drive. Stretching from Palm Cove to Cape Tribulation, the bitumen winds through rainforest, mountain, coast offering glimpses of the famed reef.

2. Have lunch at Silky Oaks

Dine under the luscious canopy of the Daintree, overlooking the crystal clear waters of Mossman Gorge at Silky Oaks Lodge.

3. Fly to your own private sand cay

Picnic on a sand cay | 100 things to do on the Great Barrier Reef

Host a beach picnic on your own private island; a GBR Helicopter will chopper you out to your own sand cay in the middle of the reef for a two-hour treat.

4. Wake up with a hot air balloon ride

Greet the sunrise from the sky with a ride from Hot Air Balloon Port Douglas, where you’ll drift over the world’s oldest rainforest, taking in views of the Great Barrier Reef and beyond.

5. Experience an Indigenous spa treatment

Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa | Things to do in Port Douglas and Daintree

The local indigenous people of the Kuku Yalanji tribe named the rainforest ‘Wawu-karrba’ which means ‘healing of the spirit’. Sit back and relax with an Indigenous Spa Treatment at Daintree Eco Lodge. Hosted in the middle of the rainforest, spa treatments here harness ancient traditions to enhance your wellbeing.

6. Live the sweet life

Acquaint yourself with local chocolate producer Daintree Estate. Learn the process of plantation to plate on a Sweet Farm Tour from the first Australian company to produce single-origin chocolate.

7. Visit the Wildlife Habitat

Tropical North Queensland is full of wildlife, some more visible than others. Guarantee yourself the chance to spot some of these 10 animals you won’t find outside the Daintree by getting up close and personal at Wildlife Habitat. The immersive eco-accredited exhibit is home to the likes of cassowaries, wallabies, crocodiles and more.

8. Walk the Flagstaff Hill Trail

Trek the Flagstaff Hill Trail to reach the Port Douglas lookout, where your efforts will be rewarded with views from Four Mile Beach to Rex Smeal Park.

9. SUP on the Mossman River

Float your way down the Mossman River through the rainforest by stand up paddle board. Windswell is just one of the many companies leading waterborne tours of the strip.

10. Visit the Port Douglas Markets

Port Douglas Markets

Photo by @liz_on_tour

Support local producers and creatives at the weekly Port Douglas Markets. There’s everything from handicrafts to local delicacies available.

11. Taste weird and wonderful tropical fruits

Taste local flavours with a trip to Cape Trib Farm. This region is famous for its tropical fruits and the farm grows more than 60 different exotic edibles, from mangosteen to jackfruit.

12. Spot some crocs

Make like Crocodile Dundee and introduce yourself to the local reptiles. Croc encounters are common here, but it’s best to join a professional tour.

13. Go crazy for coconuts

Educate yourself on the coconut, with the Coconut Odyssey Tour at Thala Beach Nature Reserve where you’ll be greeted by 700 palms.

14. Hunt for your tucker

Hunt for your supper in the mangroves on a Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tour. The Kubirri Warra brothers will lead you spear in hand, and help cook up your catch afterwards.

15. Drive the Bloomfield Track

Hit the road, traipsing the scenic Bloomfield Track. You can make it to the Lions Den Hotel, just an hour from Cooktown, and back to Cape Tribulation in a single day.

16. Take an Indigenous art class

Get creative with an Indigenous art class at Janbal Gallery, where owner and artist Brian (Binna) Swindley leads the charge.

17. Stay in the house of your dreams

Spice at Oak | Things to do in Port Douglas and Daintree

Photo by @spiceatoak

Indulge in an opulent getaway with family and friends, hiring one of Tropical North Queensland’s luxury holiday homes for the weekend.

18. See the Great Barrier Reef from all angles

Sail over the Great Barrier Reef. There’s an option for every schedule – even speed boats if you’re short on time. If you prefer life in the slow lane, join Sailaway for their leisurely day trip to Low Isles on their luxury catamaran.

19. Go horse riding along the beach

Head to Wonga Beach to borrow a horse and gallop your way to where two World Heritage-listed wonders meet; the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest.

20. Tackle the infamous Bump Track

Mountain bike your way down the notorious Bump Track, a steep descent awash with mud and rocks that winds its way through the Port Douglas hinterland.

21. Swim with minke whales

Swimming with minke whales | Things to do in Port Douglas and Daintree

Introduce yourself to the resident minke whale population, swimming with them off the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

22. Visit Mossman Gorge

You can feel the magic of Mossman Gorge as soon as you arrive. But to understand it before you slip into its emerald waters, take a tour with a Kuku Yalanji elder, starting from the Mossman Gorge Centre.

23. Experience Flames of the Forest’s Aboriginal Cultural Experience

Enjoy a luxurious dinner by fairy light and candlelight under the canopy, entertained by Indigenous storytelling and fed on native bush foods at the country’s only rainforest dining experience Flames of the Forest.

24. Swim in secret waterholes

Blue hole | Daintree Rainforest

Photo by @coccinelli88

Cool off with a swim in one of the many freshwater swimming holes scattered throughout the district. Mason’s Store and Mossman Gorge are two stand-outs.

25. Drive to sacred waterfalls

Explore sacred Wujal Wujal Falls, or ‘many falls’ in Kuku-Yalanji language. After sightseeing, stop in at the Wujal Wujal Art Centre where creations from local clans the Yalanji, Nyungkul and Jalunji people are on display.

26. Go river drift snorkelling

Snorkel your way along the Mossman River, letting the current carry you downstream. Eco-focused Back Country Bliss Adventures are just one of the few groups leading tours.

27. Eat chocolate pudding fruit ice-cream

Davidson Plum at Daintree Ice Cream | Queensland food culture

Sample the exotic flavours of the treats at the Daintree Ice Cream Company. It’s hard to go past a scoop of the chocolate pudding fruit ice cream.

28. Shop for mementos

Collect a keepsake or two with a spot of retail shopping in Port Douglas. Start your way in Macrossan Street, using our guide to navigate your way.

29. Catch the Bally Hooley

Take a walk down memory lane with a trip on the heritage railway Bally Hooley steam train. Operating on weekends and public holidays, the train runs from Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina to various resorts in town.

30. Spend the day frolicking at local icon Four Mile Beach. Patrolled year-round, this calm sandy stretch is a popular spot to visit for families, and a haven for water sports – kite surfing in particular.