Port Douglas, Queensland
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Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia is a picturesque seaside village located just 35 nautical miles north of Cairns which is the closest Clearance Port. The relaxed seaside village is set alongside spectacular Four Mile Beach and holds a vibrant atmosphere of tropical style and sophistication. Port Douglas visitors relish the natural beauty and warm, balmy climate. It captures visitors by the heart and has made Port Douglas a favourite international destination.
Nestled at the end of a peninsula, the tranquil waters of a natural harbour known as Dickson Inlet on one side of the village embraces the lively Port Douglas Marina area with 2 marinas, a yacht club, slipway, chandlery, fuel dock and so much more. Along the other side of the peninsula stretches the sandy sweep of beautiful Four Mile Beach.
Cruising the region
There are many interesting Islands and Reef formations in the local area. From Fitzroy Island 40 natical miles to the south, to Hope Island, 40 nautical miles to the north.
I highly reccommend CRUISING THE CORAL COAST by Alan Lucas. This book covers not just local sailing but is the definitive cruising guide for the Queensland Coast. General information about Customs, Postal Services, Dangers, Tides, Radios, Charts, Weather, etc. The entire Eastern Queensland Coast, from the Gold Coast to the reefs of Cape York, including the offshore islands in colour using aerial photos and charts of the many anchorages. More information at http://www.alanlucascruisingguides.com/
Port Douglas has a tropical climate with hot summers and warm winters, with heavy rainfall primarily occurring from January through March. We basically have a 'Wet' and a 'Dry' season. Cyclone season in the Australia Tropics is between November and April. Some caution is advised when sailing on the North Queensland Coast during these months.
Sources for Weather forecasts:
- Chart Source
- Chart No Aus830 Australia East Coast - Queensland - Russell Island to Low Islets 1:150000
- Chart No Aus831 Australia East Coast - Queensland - Low Islets to Cape Flattery 1:150000
Also see World Cruiser's Nets
Approaching Port Douglas is straight forward from both the North and South. Keep well off shore untill abeam of the Port. Channel markers are easy to see and lit at night. Keeping to the channel is a MUST as drying shoals are either side of the channel.
Check-in facilities (for Customs and Immigration)
Port Douglas is not a clearance port for Customs and Immigration. The closest port of entry is Cairns, 35 nautical miles to the south of Port Douglas.
Offshore Islands and Groups
- Low Isles is a coral island located 8 nautical miles north east off the coast of Port Douglas and is an ideal spot for an inner reef adventure. There is an abundance of sea life and coral and it is the home of a large population of turtles. Low Isles is made up of two islands, Woody Island an uninhabited coral/mangrove island and Low Island, a sandy coral cay typical of the Great Barrier Reef. Here you can come ashore, swim in the lagoon bay and see the active lighthouse. Low Isles has also been a research station since the late 1920's and is still the site of significant research for the Great Barrier Reef. There are 3 public moorings and if they are occupied then anchoring is easy close by with good holding. Low Isles is a 'Green Zone' so no fishing of any kind.
- Snapper Island is an island near the mouth of the Daintree River in North Queensland, Australia, some 12 nautcal miles north of Port Douglas. It is administered by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service as the Snapper Island National Park and Marine Park. Fishing is allowed here.
The Great Barrier Reef comes under the authority of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Parks Authority. There are zoning maps that are tools to help you get to know the zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park. You can avoid fines if you get to know the zones and what is allowed there.
For free zoning maps and further information please visit ... http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/zoning-permits-and-plans/zoning/zoning-maps
Marinas & Yacht Clubs
- Port Douglas Yacht Club is a laid back comfortable club that is more than just a bar and bistro. There are many facilities catering for cruising visitors as well as function services for weddings, parties and meetings. You can enjoy an ice cold drink and a delicious meal while taking in the stunning views and join in company with the locals and share a tale or two. Please visit the Yacht Club web site for much more information on the club. http://www.portdouglasyachtclub.com.au/index.php/about-us
- Meridien Marina (formerly Marina Mirage), Port Douglas has 112 berths ranging from 12m - 45m, and 5-star services including superyacht refuelling facilities, 3-phase power and gated berthing. For more information please visit http://www.portdouglasmarina.com.au
- Closehaven Marina is a smaller marina adjacent to the Port Douglas Yacht Club. There are casual berths available here. Closehaven is pet friendly. The easy way is to tie up to the yacht club pontoon and make enquiries personally.
- Anchoring is generally frowned upon in the lower reach of the Inlet. Sailing upstream, pass the marinas on your port side. About 500 metres past the yacht club you will see Maranos fuel pontoon with a few boat pens. The inlet veers off to starboard and anchoring is possible anywhere past this point with good holding in mud.
NOTE: Crocodiles inhabit the Port Douglas Inlet and are regularly seen. Some caution is advised, just because you can't see one doesn't mean they are not there.
Yacht Repairs, Services and Marine Stores
- Shipshape Marine Chandlery is located across the car park from the local slipway and close to the public wharf. It carries a reasonable amount of stock and can also express order what you need.
- There is a local slipway. It is tidal so haul out times are usually at high tide.
- Marine engineers, shipwrights, rigging specialists etc are available locally. Enquiries made at the slipway, marina or yacht club will see you right with finding the services you need.
- Fuel is available dockside at Meridien Marina and Maranos further up the inlet. Most yachts use Maranos. Normal pump prices for the area and the convenience of not having to carry jerry jugs.
- Water is available at the public jetty, both marinas and Maranos fuel pontoon.
- Electricity at both marinas for berth holders.
Things to do Ashore
- Port Douglas is a unique place and is bordered by two World Heritage Listed areas. Please visit the Port Douglas Tourism web site to get an in depth look at the diverse range of activities you can undertake. http://www.tourismportdouglas.com.au/MUST-DO-S.1413.0.html
Grocery & Supply Stores
- Coles Grocery store is located in the main street just 5 minutes walk from the public wharf. Further out, (near the highway) there is an IGA supermarket but it's too far to walk for most. There are all sorts of specialty shops bordering the main street.
- Lots of restaurants and eateries within easy walking distance. My favourite would have to be Spinnakers Restaurant located in the Port Douglas Yacht Club, great food at very reasonable prices. Leave your dinghy safely on the beach to the right of the yacht club.
- Available at Meridien Marina
- Available at Meridien Marina and Port Douglas Yacht Club
Motorbike & Car Rentals
- Several car, motor scooter and bycicle hire companies in Port. One of the best is Jam Jar Car Hire. They rent cars, motor scooters, bycicles and even a pick-up, (ute).
- Big bins near the amenities block in the car park adjacent to the public wharf.
Transportation (local and/or international)
- Local taxi's, local busses as well as busses to Cairns. The nearest international airport is located in Cairns.
Popular passages/routes, timing, etc.
Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.
- Lex Adams - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Port Douglas Yacht Club is always a good source of information for yachtie related advice.
List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)
Links to relevant websites.
References & Publications
Publications, Guides, etc.
- I have been coming to Port Douglas for over 20 years now and seem to be staying longer and longer on each visit. To me it is simplicity living here, days are enjoyable as are the sundowners at the yacht club. The locals are friendly, outgoing and always willing to kick back and share stories over a nice cold beer. I love the fact that good sailing, reef fishing and exploring out of the way places are right on my door step. This really is where the rainforest meets the reef. I enjoy overnight trips to some of the close islands as well as exploring the hinterland, enjoying explority drives up onto the tablelands and Daintree.
There is always something to do or somewhere to go. I am relaxed and laid back but almost too busy to also fit in employment.
A visit to Port Douglas is a must for any cruising yacht, plan to stay a few days and enjoy what we have here.
A word of warning is necessary because crocodiles do inhabit the inlet so be aware of your surroundings. We know that they are there and they know we are there but we exist pretty well alongside each other without problems.
Last Visited & Details Checked (and updated here)
Date of member's visit to this Port/Stop & this page's details validated:
- I live on my yacht Travesty in Port Douglas as this is my home port now. I am currently on the yacht club management committee and am more than happy to share local knowledge.
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