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Port Douglas or Hamilton Island?

Chicago
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Port Douglas or Hamilton Island?

I am having the toughest time choosing between these two. My other half and I will be touring Australia this September (a tight itinerary, only a little over a week), and have allocated 4 nights to spend in either of these places. I've been looking at qualia on Hamilton Island (expensive, but the reviews seem really positive) and also the Sheraton Mirage at Port Douglas (much more economical, but I'm afraid of the chain-hotel feel - I admit I've gotten spoiled with hotels lately).

So here's the thing - we want to see the Great Barrier Reef (we snorkel, but not scuba), possibly the rain forest (only if we stayed in PD), and also have a couple of days of downtime. I like that PD seems to have more going on and more things to do even in terms of shops/restaurants. And I like that Hamilton Island looks just absolutely beautiful and that qualia seems completely top-end.

We are both 30-something, have traveled all over, and like to take one really great week-long trip every year (last year was S.Africa). We're also both in good shape and can handle a fairly active itinerary - not sports ethusiasts, but also not people that just like to lie on the beach and do nothing else. We're not crazy party-goers either, but enjoy a late dinner and a few drinks in a nice spot.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Australia
Australia
South Pacific
Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island
Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Port Douglas
Port Douglas
Queensland, Australia
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
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1. Re: Port Douglas or Hamilton Island?

Sheraton Mirage vs Qualia...no question.

Have you considered Peppers Bale as an alternative in Port Douglas.

Based on the accom alone then i would go Hammo. it laos has more nightlife IMHO.

But if you want reef and rainforest the you cant go past PD. it has a wonderful array of restaurants and much more options to be active in anatural environment.

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Port Douglas
Port Douglas
Queensland, Australia
melbournechloe
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20 posts
1 review
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2. Re: Port Douglas or Hamilton Island?

I would go to Port Douglas. Hamilton Island is not at all that nice. I went there for the first time 2 weeks ago, and it was not good ! It is just a grab for people's money. It is not at all what is seems and there are kids everywhere on Hamilton Island. I wouldn't recommend it although i would go there to check it out for a day trip.

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Port Douglas
Port Douglas
Queensland, Australia
Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island
Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Chicago
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99 posts
300 reviews
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3. Re: Port Douglas or Hamilton Island?

Thanks for the tips! I am sort of edging towards the Port Douglas area. One of the big reasons being that it's easier to get to (and we're trying to cram reef, rock, and Sydney into 8 nights). The Peppers Bale looks really nice (but not sure how far it is from the beach?) Also, any thoughts on Thala Beach lodge or Sea Temple? I should also mention that I'm a little adverse to bugs...I don't mind an occasional lizard in the room in the tropics; but am concerned about lots of flying bugs being so close to the rainforest.

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Port Douglas
Port Douglas
Queensland, Australia
Sydney
Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
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4. Re: Port Douglas or Hamilton Island?

I'd probably go Port Douglas too only due to the fact you have more attractions on the mainland ie...Daintree National Park / Cairns / Great Barrier Reef / Cape Tribulation etc.etc..

The Whitsundays IMO are best seen by sailing.

Thala is located outside Port Douglas - beautiful not not close to town.

Sea Temple would probably be your best bet - close to beach or if you can afford it - get a villa at the Sherton Mirage... on the beachfront .

wotif.com/hotels/sheraton-mirage-port-dougla…

http://www.wotif.com/hotel/View?hotel=W50534

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Port Douglas
Port Douglas
Queensland, Australia
Daintree National Park
Daintree National Park
766 Reviews
Cape Tribulation, Australia
Cairns
Cairns
Cairns Region, Australia
Destination Expert
for Adelaide, South Australia, Kangaroo Island
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5. Re: Port Douglas or Hamilton Island?

Despite the fact that I'm travelling to Hamilton Island later this year I am putting my vote in for Port Douglas (was there six months ago). The only reason we go to the Whitsundays is to sail (one day on Hamilton itself). There is so much more to do and see in Port Douglas. If you don't want a resort then consider doing what we do and rent a home. We had a fabulous one last time.. far nicer than a resort and much more private. The sheraton is a little tired but has a fabulous pool. The Sea Temple is very swish indeed. Thala is nice but a little way out of town (you'd need a car) and is perched on top of a high cliff on the beach. I would say it's perfect for honeymooners.. private, lovely and remote. At Thala you'd be right in the forest whilst resorts are more "sculptured" grounds. Port Douglas has access to far nicer reefs than Hamilton Island.

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Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island
Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Port Douglas
Port Douglas
Queensland, Australia
6. Re: Port Douglas or Hamilton Island?

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