Port Douglas

An up-market tourist destination and stepping off point to the Great Barrier Reef, Mossman Gorge and the rainforests around Daintree.

Location: 67 km north of Cairns

Events: Every year Port Douglas attracts tourist and locals alike to two significant festival periods. The Port Douglas Carnivale is held during the end of May and runs for 10 days over two weekends beginning with the Macrossan Street Parade attracting over 10,000 people.

The second festival period is held in October and November and begins with Porttoberfest North Queensland's own Beer Festival around the middle of October. In late October the Go Troppo Arts Festival, kicks off and ends with The Sunset in the Park Music Festival held on the last weekend of October .

In November Port Douglas turns into an athletes' village to host The Great Barrier Reef Marathon Festival.

Kitesurfing is popular at the southern end of Four Mile Beach, particularly during the winter months when trade winds blow from the South.

Port Douglas is near the Great Barrier Reef. Numerous companies run daily trips from the marina to the outer reef and the Low Isles for scuba diving and snorkelling. Port Douglas is also well known for its many restaurants, golf courses, and five star resorts.

Places of interest: Flagstaff Hill; Four Mile Beach;Great Barrier Reef; Dickson Inlet; Court House (1879); Low Isles lighthouse (1878); Wetherby Station, one of the oldest working cattle stations of Far North Queensland

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Brief history

Port Douglas began life as a wild frontier town filled with itinerant seamen and prospectors heading to and from the Palmer River gold diggings. The town was established in 1877 when Christie Palmerston cut a road through the rainforest and down the mountain range. Within a decade, it had overtaken Cairns as the most important port on the north Queensland coast. When the gold ran out in 1886 and the miners moved on to Papua and New Guinea, the town fell into decline but remained the port for the sugar mill at Mossman until 1958. By that time, the local tourism industry was well established.

Origin of name: in the early days the settlement at Port Douglas was known as Island Point, Terrigal, Port Owen and Salisbury. The latter title derived from Lord Salisbury, the British Prime Minister at the time, however that name was also replaced after a visit by government officials, who bestowed the present name in honour of John Douglas, then Queensland Premier.

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