You've been talking about it for years but you finally decided enough was enough and it was time to see the Great Barrier Reef. You booked your flights to Port Douglas and started dreaming of sun-kissed beaches, tropical waters and rainbow-coloured coral. The excitement you felt as you surged toward the reef on one of the big catamaran ships can't be described and then, later in the night, you wandered along pristine Four Mile Beach to watch the instagram-worthy sunset before heading to the Reef Marina for dinner. You knew it when you saw it – this was the tropical paradise you'd been waiting for. Except for the large numbers of other tourists. Why couldn't you have the tropical paradise without the crowds? It turns out you can…
And it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg
While everyone else is visiting the reef for the day, why not explore the local town with the Douglas Shire historical walk. Highlights include the famous St Mary's by the Sea church with is uninterrupted view of the tropical waters through its shining stained glass windows. It's easy to see why this historical landmark is popular for destination weddings. Also be sure to check out the Old Court House, originally built in 1879 and has now been converted into a museum, that features an exhibit, for those more morbid amongst us, about Ellen Thomson, the only woman legally hanged in Queensland.
When you go for dinner, you may get more than you bargained for
You'll be treated to some fine seafood at On The Inlet but that isn't the main reason you should head to this restaurant for dinner. The restaurant has an unusual visitor in the afternoon every day – a resident fish affectionately named 'George the Groper'. Come see what all the fuss is about at the usual feeding time around 5pm and catch a glimpse of the massive 250kg tropical fish. It doesn't get more Tropical North Queensland than this!
You could spend on movie tickets for the whole family…
But the weather's too nice to be sitting inside a stuffy and hot cinema. So why not watch the latest flicks outdoors! The Moonlight Cinema is popular with locals and tourists alike, located on the luscious lawns of the QT Resort Port Douglas. Check the website for dates of new releases and tickets.
Why go with one of the mega catamarans…
When you can see more of the reef on one of the smaller operators. The large ships often can only go as far as the inner reef which tends to have more bleached coral. Smaller operators can venture as far as the outer reef where you can enjoy seeing the flora and fauna in all its radiant colours. As an added bonus, these operators have less impact on the environment and are less crowded, so you can spend your time enjoying the beauty of the reef and less worrying about being trodden on while you try to take the perfect photo. Don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for Nemo.
You saved on your tropical oasis…I mean accommodation
So why not see a different kind of nature and drive to the Daintree rainforest. Boasting some of the most spectacular tropical animals and plants on the planet, this World Heritage site will leave you speechless. So speechless in fact, you may need to spend a couple of days just getting your bearings. So why not stay for a bit in one of the many eco-tourism accommodation options available, perfect for those of us who love to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the rainforest.
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Your Cheaperthanhotels Team
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