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Which town to stay in Cairns region for first timers?

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San Francisco...
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Which town to stay in Cairns region for first timers?

We are 3-generation looking to rent a 4-br vacation home in the region for 3-4 days but are having a hard time deciding which town to stay. We are willing to pay for good accommodation and good location but don't have to be over the top.

Should we stay close to Cairns? Palm Cove? Or Cliffton Beach, Port Douglas? Some Australian told me she prefers Port Douglas but I don't know why. What is the difference between these towns? We may not rent a car since we are not used to driving on the right side of the car and we have a big group so likely will need a big car (like a mini bus) to fit us all.

Here's my list of priorities:

- Safe & convenient location in a good part of town - maybe close to grocery store, and the central place where we can take a day trip.

- Nice clean house; more contemporary furnishing (Bali theme or other theme is fine but not old and stuffy)

- Air conditioning - I was told this is necessary for the summer

- Views / beach are good but not necessary since we are only spending a short time there and will likely be out most of the days.

- Swimming pool / spa is nice

- Towels and linen supplied

- Would be nice to have some cooking essentials like cooking oil and spices.

Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated!

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1. Re: Which town to stay in Cairns region for first timers?

Cairns is fairly large town, with mud flats for a beach and the airport (sorry - it's not really that bad).

Port Douglas is approx 1 hour drive north and is geared almost completely towards tourists. Port Douglas is the place I'd being staying for these reasons -

compact town so you walk to beach, cafes etc. Try to find accommodation within walking distance of the town centre (Macrossan St / Owen St).

the marina has plenty of options for day trips to the reef

The Daintree National Park / Cape Tribulation is a popular day trip.

Not sure if this is any recommendation but Bill Clinton stayed there a few years ago.

I've never stayed in a holiday home in Port Douglas, but I just did a Goggle search on holiday homes and there are some dream homes available.

Arlington, Virginia
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2. Re: Which town to stay in Cairns region for first timers?

If you can find the type of vacation home you want in Port Douglas that's close to town, that's where I'd go. I've been there 5 times and it's easy to get around without a vehicle if you don't stay too far out. You'll be able to walk to the beach, the shops, the marina, the supermarket, the restaurants very easily. If you want to take some day trips, e.g. to Daintree NP, Mossman Gorge, Kuranda, etc., you can arrange for tours or rent a car or two. Just be sure to arrange your car rental in advance--there are only a few car rental places and their fleets are not large.

South Pole
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3. Re: Which town to stay in Cairns region for first timers?

look at this company in PD. we use them exclusively and have never been disappointed.


cairns or PD for a holiday?

chalk and cheese.....sorry cairns.

sydney australia
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4. Re: Which town to stay in Cairns region for first timers?

Port Douglas is more of a village / resort type town - has a great beach called 4 mile just south of the main shopping street.

Cairns is a service town for the area - and is on mud flats - but has a great lagoon pool on the foreshore.

The Australian summer in the Far North is hard work, it is the rainy season, lots of great waterfalls, it is also stinger season so swimming in the ocean is not recommended, and you also need to watch out for crocs.

Port Douglas would be my recommendation

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5. Re: Which town to stay in Cairns region for first timers?

Thank you all for your replies and recommendations! We can't wait to be there!

6. Re: Which town to stay in Cairns region for first timers?

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