What Is The Best Time For A Vacation In Port Douglas?

Port Douglas is a coastal town on the Coral Sea in Australia’s northern-most tropical region of Queensland. This magnificent location is home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites: The Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree National Park. And as if that wasn’t enough, there is so much else to see and do in Port Douglas which is why it remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Australia.

If you have been thinking about paying a visit to Port Douglas, you’ve likely been wondering what time of year will be best to go. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look to help you make an informed decision and enjoy the best vacation possible.

What is the best time to visit Port Douglas?

The best time of year to visit Port Douglas largely depends on what kind of experience you are hoping for. Do you want to go at the hottest time of year? Do you prefer a cooler climate? Would you like to visit when there is the lowest chance of rainfall? Would you be more comfortable going at a time of year when it is safer to swim in the ocean without a stinger suit? Or perhaps you would like to visit at a time when you can experience one of the annual festivals held in Port Douglas? These are all important considerations that will determine the best time to visit for your individual preferences.

April through June 

April through to June is arguably the best time to visit Port Douglas. This is due to the temperatures being cooler, though with plenty of sunshine. Since the weather begins to cool off nicely it marks the beginning of Port Douglas’ dry season with temperatures averaging a pleasant 25°C.

For those of you who don’t like jellyfish you’ll be pleased to learn that May brings a close to the notorious ‘stinger season,’ meaning you can enjoy the ocean without having to wear a wetsuit or worry too much about these nasty critters.

Other notable events in April through June:

  • The Annual Quicksilver Port Douglas Race Week in May
  • The Port Douglas Carnivale in May
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Can you visit Port Douglas at any other time of year?

Depending on your preferences, Port Douglas is worth visiting at any time of year. April through June is popular, however, here’s a look at the other months just in case they suit you better.

Jan – March

Jan through March will be the height of the Australia summer averaging temperatures of 30 °C with increased rainfall. However, if you can manage the heat it’s the best time to visit the Daintree Rainforest and go diving off the Great Barrier Reef. Due to the increased rainfall, the water clarity in the Great Barrier reef will be far superior to any other time of year, making it perfect for those who enjoy diving and wish to have the best possible experience.

For the foodies among you, many of Australia’s delicious tropical fruits will be in season during this time and can be sampled at one of the many local markets in Port Douglas, hosted every weekend.

Bear in mind that the summer is stinger season in Port Douglas, meaning the notorious box jellyfish and irukandji jellyfish will be more prevalent in the waters. The good news is that the main beach in Port Douglas (Four Mile Beach), will be enclosed with protective stinger nets. That, coupled with a stinger suit will mean that you will be safe enough to swim. However, if you would be more comfortable knowing that the stinger season is over, you will be better off visiting Port Douglas at another time of year.

July – September

July through September is generally considered the best time to visit being coolest and with the lowest chance of rainfall. While the weather is cooler, it is still very pleasant in Port Douglas so don’t be discouraged. The temperature will average 24°C with warm waters.

Bear in mind that during this particular period, Port Douglas will be very crowded, largely due to the Winter school holidays – as such, it is recommended that you book your travel and accommodation at least 3 months in advance and expect larger crowds when you arrive.

October – December

October through December is also a great time to visit but it does get incredibly hot and there will be a fair amount of rainfall – as such, if you do decide to visit Port Douglas for a vacation during this time, be sure to pack a raincoat.

During this period, the Port Shorts Film Festival takes place, showcasing a variety of local and national short movies. This is a great event for the whole family, particularly those who live the film and cinema industry!

In addition to that, the atmosphere in Port Douglas over the Christmas and New Year period is absolutely buzzing with many wonderful events taking place for you to attend and enjoy.

What is the best way to get to Port Douglas?

There are many ways to get to Port Douglas, though you will likely find the cheapest and easiest will be by flying into the nearby Airport of Cairns (CNS). Once you touch down in Cairns you have several transportation options, although an airport shuttle service is the cheapest and most convenient means of transportation from Cairns to Port Douglas by a stretch.

Yes, regarding transportation, Cairns to Port Douglas can be done by taxi or with a private car rental, however if you want to save every penny to spend in Port Douglas on exciting excursions and meals out of an evening then make sure you choose the convenience of an airport shuttle instead.