Port Douglas Nearest Airport

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Port Douglas does not have its own international airport. The nearest airport is Cairns International Airport (airport IATA code CNS) which is about an hour by road south of Port Douglas. This post covers Cairns Airport, hotels, onward transport from the airport, plus tips on finding the best and cheapest flights to get you to Port Douglas.

view from the plane leaving Cairns Airport
The view from Cairns.

Cairns Airport For Port Douglas

Cairns is a very small international airport by global standards, but it’s very modern and quite pleasant to use. It has the usual airport facilities. There is duty free, a few shops and eateries, plus a car hire and shuttle bus desks at the international terminal. There is car parking and pick up and drop off points. Cairns airrport has two terminals, domestic and international.

The views of the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef flying in and out of Cairns Airport can be stunning.

A word of warning, it is very difficult to fill your water bottles from the water fountains (bubblers) at the departure lounge. They have been fitted with devices to make this deliberately difficult. You may need to buy water. The water fountains are outside the washrooms.

International flights to and from Cairns are quite limited but there are multiple daily domestic flights from other cities in Australia. You can usually only fly to or from Cairns directly (from other countries) from Singapore, Bali Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Japan. Other international destinations come and go and hopefully, this will improve. We’d love to see AirAsia for direct flights to and from Kuala Lumpur.

To fly into Cairns, international visitors usually need to fly much further south, to Sydney, Brisbane, or the Gold Coast. Connecting flights then double back to Cairns Airport.

You can fly to Cairns from pretty much every domestic airport in Australia, but internal flights in Australia are expensive. In part this is because Australia is a big country. The new Bonza budget airline in Australia is finally offering cheap flights. There are a few Bonza flights to and from Cairns International Airport at time of writing.

Cairns Airport Hotels

There is no hotel at the airport itself. There are hotels in Cairns North, about 3-4 Km away. This hotel is one of the closer ones, and it’s affordable. Some of the closest hotels to the airport are very expensive. You can’t walk to the airport easily, the road loops around the outside of the complex, there’s no sidewalk, and it’s a mangrove swamp.

Finding Flights To Cairns for Port Douglas

If you have the flexibility and would rather find the cheapest flights to Port Douglas (Cairns) we’d recommend you open Skyscanner here. Look for flights to Singapore or Bali, and then book a separate flight to Cairns.

This should save you time and money and you can spend a day or two in Bali or Singapore. Always allow plenty of time between flights, ideally a couple of days, to allow for delays and cancellations.

I can suggest a nice hotel close to the airport in Bali. We use this one ourselves for layovers when we’re flying Cairns to London UK. Try this one, it’s walking distance to the beach and they pick you up from the airport.

Port Douglas From Brisbane

Brisbane airport is the probably the next closest international airport to Port Douglas. Brisbane is Queensland’s state capital. Overseas visitors from the US or Europe may think Brisbane is close enough for a visit to Port Douglas.

Unfortunately this is not the case. To drive from Brisbane to Port Douglas takes almost exactly 24 hours. If you drive right through the night. We’ve driven from Brisbane to Port Douglas many times and we don’t recommend you do this. Driving at night, when tired, in Australia isn’t the best idea.

You would do better to break up your journey and stop in a few places between Port Douglas and Brisbane.

Alternatively, you can take a train from Brisbane to Cairns and then catch a shuttle to Port Douglas (book here) or you can easily fly from Brisbane to Port Douglas.

Townsville is much closer to Cairns that Brisbane, it’s about a 6 hour drive from Port Douglas.

Map Showing Port Douglas and The Nearest Airport

Cairns International Airport is a small international airport to the north of Cairns city in Far North Queensland Australia. Where is Port Douglas’s nearest airport on the map? We marked its location on the map for you here. (map opens in a new tab)

Or you can take a look at our interactive map of Port Douglas and Cairns Airport, below.

How To Get To Port Douglas From The Airport

The easiest way to get from the airport to Port Douglas is to book the shared shuttle minibus. There is no train and no actual public transport You can book the airport shuttle here on Viator. They have the best price guarantee.

In December and January 2023 to 2024, the coastal road between Cairns and Port Douglas was closed by storm damage. This storm was exceptional, it doesn’t happen every year. The road to Port Douglas from Cairns is now open.

When this road is closed there is an alternative route to Port Douglas via Mareeba and the Tablelands, or there is an emergency ferry service. In the event of road closures these shuttles continue to operate via the longer route. The cost will be slightly higher.

Port Douglas is a very pretty town with excellent snorkelling opportunities on the reef, plus plenty of things to do and places of interest nearby. Port Douglas also has its own lovely beach, 4 Mile Beach. There are other beaches in the area. On top of this Port Douglas has some great restaurants and beautiful hotels.

We are based in Port Douglas and as travel bloggers we fly in and out of Cairns airport often. If you have any questions please just leave them in the comments. We’re always happy to help.

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James Long

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