Beaches of the Port Douglas Area

Home » Blog » Beaches of the Port Douglas Area

Content may contain affiliate links.

Sharing is caring!

Port Douglas Beach and Nearby Beaches

Port Douglas’s Beach is Four Mile Beach, and no, it’s not 4 miles long. There are also loads of beaches near Port Douglas. In this post, we’ll cover the beaches north and south of Port Douglas, from Cairns to the Cape and Cooktown, and tell you where you can, and definitely can’t, swim.

In the Port Douglas region, we have crocodiles and deadly jellyfish in summer, so you need to know a few things. But don’t worry too much, we raised kids here swimming in the sea from various beaches, and we all lived to tell the tale.

If you don’t want to swim in the sea, there are plenty of tropical freshwater streams and waterfalls to enjoy and of course, Port Douglas’s resort hotels have some amazing pools.

Port Douglas’s own Four Mile Beach is the most northerly beach on the Australian East Coast for swimming. It has a stinger net or swimming enclosure, and surf lifesavers. Please don’t risk swimming any further north than Port Douglas.

port douglas beach
View of Four Mile Beach Port Douglas from the lookout. It’s a long sandy beach, unspoiled by development, its backdrop is mostly palm trees. Watch out for falling coconuts!
tropical beach australia port douglas
The Southern end of Four Mile Beach Port Douglas, an unspoiled tropical beach in Australia. The Mowbray River is to the south of the beach, Port Douglas Village and Macrossan St. are at the northern end. Crocodiles inhabit the Mowbray Estaury, so be crocwise.
stinger net port douglas beach
The stinger net at Port Douglas Beach. This is in the water in the summer months, roughly November to May. The net is to keep deadly jellyfish away from people enjoying a swim. It’s not foolproof, there’s still some risk. The Coral Sea gently laps our sandy beach, and beyond that, The Great Barrier Reef.
port douglas beach closed
Port Douglas Beach will sometimes be closed because of bad weather. If the waves are breaking over the stinger net, it becomes ineffective. Lifeguards will post signs with information and re-open the beach for swimming once they’ve trawled the net and found it to be safe.

Port Douglas Beach

Port Douglas’s own, Four Mile Beach is beautiful, as you can see from the photos above. You can swim from the beach in Port Douglas year-round (the beach is sometimes closed in very stormy conditions, when there are a lot of jellyfish, or if a croc has been spotted). In Stinger Season (summer) there is a netted swimming enclosure under the watchful eye of the surf lifesavers. “Stingers” are marine jellyfish, and these include the potentially deadly Irukandje and Box Jellyfish. Use the net, and wear protective swimwear, the more of your skin you can cover, the better. Yes, you will see people swimming in bikinis, but it’s safer to cover up.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. – Jacques Yves Cousteau.

Yes, we have crocodiles in this part of the world, and yes, they are sometimes spotted on or near the beaches of the Port Douglas area, but it’s rare. Crocodiles have even been spotted out on the reef, just once that I know of.

In high season you can rent a sun umbrella and chair, or even a kayak, inner tube or other floatation device. Further south along the beach SUP and kite surfing are available.

The beach is a lovely spot for a walk at sunrise or sunset, just stay away from the water’s edge (be croc-safe) and watch out for falling coconuts. At very high tide it may be impossible to walk the beach. Be mindful of stingers too.

Local segway tours also use the beach as do runners and cyclists. There is coral visible on super low tides and a rocky headland to the north. You may be able to spot a sea turtle.

Beaches Near Port Douglas

Oak Beach near Port Douglas
Oak Beach is one of the closest beaches to Port Douglas, south along the Cook Highway. It’s a nice place for a walk. Oak Beach is a residential area, there are houses just behind the beach.
Ellis beach South of Port Douglas
Ellis Beach is south of Port Douglas, just north of Cairns. It is a popular swimming beach with a stinger net in season, surf lifesaver station, and cafes. There is a campsite and yacht club here but it’s an unspoiled area directly on the highway. There is parking. Double Island is to the south in this photo, and Palm Cove. There were huge landslides at Ellis Beach during ex-tropical stormJaster, but the beach and restaurants are open again.

Wonga Beach, Newell Beach, Oak Beach, Cooya Beach and Pebbly Beach are all near Port Douglas, none of these have stinger nets and aren’t considered safe for swimming. All of these beaches can be reached along the coast road, The Captain Cook Highway.

Thala Beach Nature Reserve, Hotel and restaurant, is about a 15-minute drive south of Port Douglas. This is where you’ll find the famous coconut farm, beloved by Instagrammers. If you park up here you can take a short walk down to Thala’s own beach. There is a chance of seeing sea cows (dugongs), sea eagles and other wildlife here.

North of the Daintree River Cow Bay is a very pretty unspoiled tropical beach, as is Thorton Beach, you can get to both of these at the moment with the current road closures. This far north you must be extra careful about crocodiles. Just north of Thornton’s Beach the road is closed by landslides. We’ll try to update when this changes. We do our best to keep up-to-date.

Wangetti Beach doesn’t have a net that we know of but if you’re here, you’re very close to Hartley’s Creek Falls, which we tell you about in our waterfalls post. It’s a pleasant bush walk to the falls from the road.

South of Port Douglas, and the Douglas Shire, the Cairns Northern Beaches mostly do have stinger nets and are popular beaches for swimming. Yorkey’s Knob has a net, as does Ellis Beach and Palm Cove.

In Cairns City itself, there is no beach, the city stands on a muddy estuary with resident crocs, but a walk along the esplanade is nice and there is a lagoon pool and water play facilities. There are plenty of beaches just north of the Cairns CBD.

About the author
Alyson Long

Leave a comment