Port Douglas with kids on a budget
Port Douglas is a tropical paradise and a brilliant place for families to explore. What puts many families off going is the cost, but it can be done on a tight budget. Here are our top tips on how to holiday at Port Douglas with kids on a budget.
The closest airport to Port Douglas is Cairns, which is a long way away from major cities in Australia. Keep an eye out for heavily discounted fares and be flexible with dates if you can. I saw half price tickets through Jetstar a few months ago and jumped at the chance. They were for flights a few weeks before school holidays, which we decided was worth doing to save a lot of money on airfares and accommodation.
I was a bit worried about flying Jetstar, as the last experience I had with them (10 years ago) was terrible. How wrong was I!! The entire crew couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. These flights now sit in the top five flying experiences I’ve ever had. Sorry for doubting you Jetstar.
There is actually a great variety of accommodation in Port Douglas and holidaying on a budget doesn’t have to mean you’re far away from everything. You’ll find cheaper motels, right next to boutique ones and there is quite a selection of AirBnB’s available too. The other thing to consider is going in shoulder season (out of school holidays) and that is much cheaper. (Check back later this week for the best places to stay with your family.)
The cheapest way to eat and drink is to buy your own. There is a Coles supermarket in town but it’s not huge and not the cheapest in Australia, but it does the job. Buying alcohol at the bottle shop is a lot more expensive. You’ve got to remember how far you are from major distribution centres.
If you are really trying to save money, we would suggest stopping off at Smithfield Shopping Centre on your way from Cairns to Port Douglas where there is a Woolworths, Coles, Kmart and Dan Murphy’s liquor.
Nearly all activities in and around Port Douglas have a discounted family rate. Often it means you’ll pay full rate for two adults and one child, and the second child goes free. There are a lot of amazing things to do in Port Douglas, so look before you go and decide where you want to spend your money. Take a look at our guide on the best things for families to do in Port Douglas for inspiration.
Best free activities in Port Douglas with kids
- Swim in the pool, fresh water hole or at the beach if it’s safe (always ask the Lifeguards)
- Walk and play on the beach (our accommodation had sand toys, umbrellas and beach chairs to borrow for free)
- Walk or drive up Flagstaff Hill for spectacular views
- Spend a Sunday morning walking around the markets (even the boys will enjoy it)
- Watch the sunset at Rex Smeal Park
Is it worth saving the extra money to take your family to Port Douglas to see the world’s oldest rainforest and largest coral reef? Absolutely yes! Here are some simple tips to help you save for your next holiday.