Massive development in recent years has seen the quaint fishing village of PORT DOUGLAS, an hour north of Cairns, turned into an upmarket tourist hub, with a main street full of boutiques, shopping malls and holidaying hordes. However, the town does have the idyllic Four Mile Beach, along with plenty of distractions to keep you busy for a day or two, and it’s getting to be as good a place as Cairns to pick up a regional tour or dive trip to the reef.

The town comprises a small grid of leafy streets centred around Macrossan Street – which runs between Four Mile Beach and Anzac Park – with the marina a couple of blocks back. Between the end of Macrossan Street and the sea, Anzac Park is the scene of an increasingly busy Sunday-morning market, good for fruit, veggies and souvenirs. Near the park’s jetty is the whitewashed timber church of St Mary’s by the Sea, built after the 1911 cyclone carried off the previous structure.

Out to sea, the vegetated sand cays known as the Low Isles make a good day-trip, with fine snorkelling, a lighthouse and an interpretive centre.

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