Surrounded by national parks, Port Douglas is a Pacific Ocean resort in Queensland where the Great Outdoors is never far away. Originally founded around the mining industry, this city of 5,000 persons that is 40 miles north of Cairns is considered paradise by many for its healthy mix of funkiness, beautiful beaches, nature, and high incomes. Tourists stream here during its warm winter, when the temperature rarely drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Port Douglas MICE venues are kept young by the presence of a campus of the University of Queensland.
There is no commercial airport in Port Douglas; the nearest is to the south in Cairns. Cairns Airport (CNS), 40 miles south of Port Douglas' city centre, has service to many cities in Australia, as well as to 20 international destinations, including Guam, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo.
Cairns also has the nearest convention center to Port Douglas, the impressive Cairns Convention Centre, which has 22 meeting rooms and space for events of up to 5,000 persons, cocktail receptions of 1,800, and banquets of up to 1,300.
MICE hotels in Port Douglas include the 294-room Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas Resort, which has seven function rooms, the largest measuring 800 square meters, as well as the adjacent, spectacular Four Miles Beach; the 170-room QT Resort Port Douglas, which has six meeting rooms and the Manhattan Ballroom for up to 350 persons; the 114-room Peppers Beach Club Port Douglas, which has one meeting room for up to 25 persons; and the 34-suite Port Douglas Peninsula Boutique Hotel, which also has one meeting room. For a true piece of rainforest luxury, book into one of 39 treetop and riverside lodges at Silky Oaks Lodge, which has a site beside the Mossman River, a renowned spa, a meeting room, and a pavilion for up to 100 persons.
For unique MICE venues, head to the gorgeous countryside hereabouts. Fantastic choices include Flames of the Forest, which has a wonderful tropical rainforest location, large chandeliered tent and space for up to 850 guests; Bali Hai, which has three guest rooms and space for events of up to 200 persons; Shangri-La, which has four guest rooms, views of Daintree, and group space for up to 60 persons; and Mali Mali, which is perched on a bluff with stupendous views, contains three guest rooms, and also has space for events of up to 60 persons.
Excellent restaurants in Port Douglas include the Beach Shack Restaurant, which has a sandy floor, great food, good service, and space for groups of up to 100 persons; Straits Cafe, which is poolside at the 125-room Rendezvous Hotel; Zinc, which is known for its seafood and has a private room for 45 persons and group space for 100; Salsa Bar & Grill, which despite sounding Latin American in fact has a very eclectic, very good menu, as well as 65 seats inside and another 55 outside; and wonderful Nautilus, which has been serving up fine cuisine in a tropical setting on Island Point Hill, which juts out into the Pacific Ocean and has three group areas, including a forest deck, that combined can cater to 150 persons.