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Port Douglas: Daniel Radcliffe's Aussie escape

Thursday, April 21, 2011
*Watch the above video to see two of Australia's most exclusive celebrity getaways: Port Douglas and Byron Bay

What the stars say:

Kate Hudson
Well I would say for me Port Douglas was probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Like if I was to tell somewhere to go somewhere far and really great I would actually say Port Douglas.

Daniel Radcliffe
I went up to Port Douglas for a few days. We had a really brilliant time.

Chris Noth
Port Douglas ... gorgeous, lots of nature, beautiful.

Port Douglas

Australia has its share of places where stars like to holiday. Catriona took the hour long coast hugging drive from Cairns to Port Douglas, a favourite destination for those wanting to really unwind.

Port Douglas is a delightful village only one hour's drive north of Cairns. It is in one of nature's most beautiful places — wedged between two World Heritage sites — the Great Barrier Reef and the ancient Daintree Forest.

In the early 1990s, Port Douglas lost its sleepy town status when Christopher Skase built the Mirage, attracting the rich and famous. Five-star resorts and million dollar-plus homes have become the norm, and even the Hollywood set has discovered it for holidays and film locations.

While it does cater for those with champagne tastes and budget, Getaway can show the way Port Douglas can be enjoyed by the rest of us.

For starters, head to Four Mile Beach where the weather is beautiful year round and you won't see a sign of an exclusive resort — just a fringe of palms, tropical forest and kilometres of white sand washed by the turquoise Coral Sea. You can walk along the beach from Flagstaff Hill to the Mangroves of Dickson Inlet without the hint of development.

Twice a day, low tide reveals a hard sand platform perfect for a 7.6km beach ride to the river mouth and Alexandra Reef. Maybe even a midnight stroll. The beach is a popular attraction when there is a full moon and people gather to enjoy the peaceful ambience.

A five-minute walk from the beach takes you to the centre of town. Macrossan Street runs though town and it has loads of clothing stores, galleries and gift shops.

The Sunday Markets are held in Anzac Park at the end of Macrossan Street. Established 20 years ago, goods for sale are made or grown by the stallholder. There is plenty of fresh produce, perfect for a picnic on the beach. The market opens between 8am and 1:30pm, and with the mountain ranges and Coral Sea as a backdrop, it's a pleasurable outing.

The award-winning On The Inlet offers modern Australian cuisine and fantastic views. Its deck is over the water of Dicksons Inlet and if you're there around 5.30pm, George the Grouper will turn up for his evening meal of leftover seafood.

Right in the centre of Port Douglas and just 300 metres from Four Mile Beach is the ParrotFish Lodge which offers great backpacker accommodation, but with loads of character. It disproves any idea that backpacker accommodation can't have style. A bright blue ocean is painted on the floor and Aboriginal art decorates the walls. It begins with a very warm welcome and offers comfort, security and fun at the right price.

ParrotFish Lodge shares its profits with conservation organisations with a $1 per-person-a-night donation going to the Daintree Rainforest Foundation for its efforts in providing green corridors for the local cassowary population.

You can go straight from snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef to a snorkel through the Daintree Rainforest.

Catriona joined in and the group made its way to the upper middle section of the Mossman River, an area aged between 80 and 130 million years. There are no crocodiles and with Barney Marris in charge, you're in safe hands. Barney is a trained outdoor education instructor who used to snorkel there and realised others might enjoy it too. He assured everyone brown and green tree snakes living in the area are very friendly and non-venomous.

The water is icy cold and so pure you can drink it. Take the lazy option and float along on a lilo, or jump in and go with the flow. Scenery changes along the way and in an hour and a half you will see many differences.

Related video: Getaway's best of Tropical North Queensland

Location

An hour's drive north of Cairns.

Cost

Back Company Bliss Adventures River Drift snorkel tours are $95 per person. They include local transfers, equipment, safety equipment and instruction.

Prices correct at 21.04.2011.

For further information

Back Country Bliss
Box 974, Post Office
Port Douglas 4877
Ph: 07 4099 3677
www.backcountryblissadventures.com.au
sales@backcountryblissadventures.com.au

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