Is there any nightlife in Port Douglas? There certainly is. Part and parcel of a great vacation is enjoying some nights out as well as exploring the local landscapes during the day. Port Douglas is not the largest town in Queensland by any means, but it’s a town which knows and understands its visitors love to socialize and it has enough pubs, bars, and restaurants with atmospheres lively enough to rival any venue in the state capital.
Macrossan Street comes to life after the sun has set and has a unique vibe which draws the crowds every night. You’ll find bars on Macrossan Street with live music ranging from traditional Irish to laid back jazz serving schooners of beer or classy cocktails. There are late night eateries where you can grab a bite to stave off the hunger pangs which appear after a few drinks or go all out and spoil yourself with a fish dinner in a first class restaurant.
Away from the centre of Port Douglas, there are some superb places on the waterfront for drinks and dinner or to chill out while watching the sun dip below the horizon. Whatever you’re preferred night time activity is, you’ll find it in Port Douglas. Don’t miss doing any of these twenty best things to do in Port Douglas; they’re all guaranteed to make your holiday evenings unforgettable.
1. Sunset Catamaran Cruise
Start a night out in Port Douglas by heading down to the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina and boarding the luxury catamaran, Indigo 2. The catamaran carries a maximum of twelve passengers on its sunset cruise, so expect a quiet, intimate sailing rather than a rowdy party boat. The boat leaves the harbour at around four in the afternoon, navigating over the Coral Sea along the Port Douglas coastline for approximately two hours. Expect to see a glorious sunset over the Mossman mountains, and as dusk sets in, Port Douglas start to twinkle as the town lights up for the night.
2. The Mexican
Spice up your night out in Port Douglas with dinner at The Mexican. You’ll find the modern, and colourful eaterie about half way along the pedestrianized Macrossan Street. The restaurant has a small outside terrace which is a great place to sip a refreshing pre-dinner cucumber margarita or watermelon daiquiri. Take a table inside to eat your fill of tasty tacos, nachos, burritos or fajitas. After the fiery main course, there’s only one way to finish a meal at The Mexican – with a chilli chocolate espresso martini. Desserts just don’t get any better than that.
3. The Clink
Take in a show at The Clink theater on Port Douglas’s Mowbray Street. The theater has been hosting both amateur and professional performances for over twenty-five years. The theater, run by the Douglas Theater Arts Group, has an auditorium with seating for one hundred and twenty spectators plus an in-house bar for pre-show or interval drinks.
The presentation of shows at The Clink changes frequently and current runs could include anything from classic musicals such as Oliver, to stand up comedy, tribute acts and even the odd naked magician or two. Booking in advance is recommended due to seating restrictions.
4. Paddy’s Irish Pub & Grill
Drop into Paddy’s Irish Pub on Macrossan Street in Port Douglas for a pint of authentic Guinness. Sip your Dublin stout while being serenaded by gifted local musicians playing all the traditional top tunes or if you’re in Paddy’s on a Tuesday evening, test your general knowledge in the free trivia quiz starting at seven thirty in the evening. You can shoot some pool on one of several tables and even challenge the locals to a competition if your skills are good, don’t forget to chalk your cue though.
5. Wildnight Nocturnal Tour
Discover what the wildlife of Port Douglas gets up to after dark with a nighttime visit to the Wildlife Habitat on the town’s Port Douglas Road. Join a small group led by one of the zoo park’s keepers at dusk for a two hour guided tour as the timid creatures of the night begin to appear. Observe as the guide’s flashlight picks out Lesser Sooty Owls and Striped Possum in the trees. Get interactive with wallabies and kangaroos before having the chance to feed the shy Mahogany Gliders while listening to interesting facts about the endangered species.
6. Flames Of The Forest
For a magical night you’ll never forget, go back to nature and enjoy a meal in the middle of the rainforest. Just ten minutes from the center of Port Douglas on Barrier Street is the award-winning venue, Flames of the Forest. Arrive there to be greeted with the flickering light of a thousand candles and a welcome drink under the stars before taking a table in the black silk marquee for a six-course gourmet dinner. Sample starters of kangaroo loin carpaccio followed by smoked crocodile rillette and fresh prawn tortellini, then mains of coral trout and roast lamb. Australian wine, acoustic music, and transport to and from the venue are also included in the rainforest dinner package.
7. Jimmy Rum’s
Visit Jimmy Rum’s, Port Douglas’s version of a speakeasy on Macrossan Street, for stylish cocktails. As with all good speakeasies, it’s not the easiest of places to find so when you’re walking along Macrossan Street and passing the Portico Building, keep an eye out for the red light. Find that and you’ll have found Jimmy Rum’s.
The interior of Jimmy Rum’s is dark, very decadent and furnished with plush brown leather sofas which add to the atmosphere. When you’re there, try a flaming Lava Chill or a shot out of an edible glass made from chocolate. If creative cocktails aren’t your thing, the bar has a lengthy whiskey menu as well as other classic drinks.
Indulge your fast food cravings with the best burger in Port Douglas at the N17 Burger Co on Macrossan Street. N17 take the basic burger patty and turn it into something special. Sourcing their meat from a local butcher, N17 prepare some very succulent burgers which will have you salivating after a night on the town.
Don’t miss trying the N17 signature burger which carries Hickory smoked bacon, fried egg, practically every salad ingredient in existence including beetroot and a healthy lashing of their own special N17 burger sauce. Vegetarians are catered for with a lip-smacking spiced chickpea, and sweetcorn patty smothered in spicy tomato chili relish. If you need something to wash it all down, they also serve some fantastic craft beers made by the Barrier Reef Brewing Company from Cairns.
9. Lady Douglas River Cruise
Hop aboard the Lady Douglas paddle boat at the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina for an evening sailing into the Port Douglas Estuarine Conservation Area. The Lady Douglas is a single deck, canopy covered riverboat with a licensed bar and restroom facilities.
On the one hour cruise, you’ll navigate the inland water channels passing through thick mangroves where you’ll have the chance of spotting saltwater crocodiles in their natural habitat as well as lots of birdlife. There is live music onboard, and a complimentary drink and snacks are included plus, for an added bonus, the boat arrives back in Port Douglas just as the sun is setting.
10. Hemingways Brewery FNQ
When the weather’s good and the evenings are balmy, no one wants to spend their holiday nights drinking inside a stuffy bar. One way to remedy that in Port Douglas is to head down to the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina and find a table on the waterfront terraces of Hemingway’s Brewery FNQ. The gastro brewpub serves handcrafted beers brewed to be extra refreshing in the tropical Queensland climate.
Study the beer menu before ordering as each one has its own interesting history attached. If you can’t decide which one to taste first, try a tasting paddle and have several different ones all at the same time. Hemingways Brewery FNQ also serve guest beers, cocktails, tasting paddles of Australian gin and have live music session from five o’clock onwards on Friday nights.
11. Anzac Park
One of the best things to do at night in Port Douglas doesn’t cost a single cent. Stroll down to Anzac Park and along the palm tree-lined waterfront to see the spectacular Port Douglas sunset from the land. It’s an incredible sight and a perfect photo opportunity. You can make the most of the moment by taking some folding chairs, a picnic and even some beers or a bottle of wine. If you’ve been busy sightseeing, it’s the perfect way to relax and end the day. And as you’ll see, when nature has anything to do with it, not all good nights out in Port Douglas need to be spent in a bar.
12. The Courthouse
Stop off at The Courthouse Hotel for a game of Keno followed by drinks on the rooftop terrace or outside in the beer garden. The Courty, a stunning white, balconied building on the junction of Macrossan and Wharf Street in Port Douglas, is the town’s oldest established bar and has superb views across Anzac Park and the marina. Make a night of it and feast from The Courty’s great pub grub-style menu, play a few games in the Coral Riches gaming lounge then listen to some fantastic live music to finish the night.
13. Mai Thai Massage
If you’ve been driving around sightseeing all day and it’s left you drained with a kink in your neck or a few aches and pains, try an early evening massage. The Mai Thai Massage Center is located on Macrossan Street in Port Douglas and offers several types of Thai massage as well as aromatherapy and reflexology treatments.
Try a basic head, neck, and shoulders massage, some warm stone therapy or pamper your feet with a thirty-minute foot massage. You’ll come out feeling like new and be re-energized ready for the night ahead. If you’re traveling with a partner and want to share the experience, the center has a special room to accommodate couples.
14. The Beach Shack
If you can’t manage to drag yourself away from the beach even in the evening when you’re on vacation, don’t worry, in Port Douglas you don’t need to. The Beach Shack on Barrier Street is right by Four Mile Beach and has enough sand on the restaurant floor to keep even the worst beach addict happy.
Don’t expect smart or sophisticated at The Beach Shack; it’s a rustic and down to earth place serving tasty tapas, pizzas and ice cold beers alongside a small, but varied bar food menu. The Beach Shack is popular with both locals and visitors so book your restaurant table well in advance.
15. Wicked Ice Cream
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a tasty ice cream treat from Wicked Ice Cream on Macrossan Street. Choose your favorite combination from the huge array of forty-two flavors, then decide if you prefer cone or tub or want to go for a full blowout with a triple ball ice cream sundae with all the toppings. Believe it, making that decision takes a lot longer than actually eating the ice cream. Lick away while you wander along Macrossan Street soaking up the night time atmosphere or take a seat on the terrace and enjoy your gelato while watching the world go by.
16. Nautilus Restaurant
There’s nothing more exciting than getting dressed up for dinner when you’re on vacation and going out to dine somewhere special. The Nautilus Restaurant, accessible from both Macrossan and Murphy Street in the center of Port Douglas, certainly ticks all the boxes when it comes to being exceptional. The tables at the Nautilus are set out in a tropical garden beneath the shady fronds of banana trees, palm trees, and leafy ferns.
On the menu, you’ll discover exciting specialties like the Moreton Bay bug, a type of lobster, coral trout and mud crab. As well as the a la carte menu, the Nautilus offer their guests the choice of a five or seven-course tasting menu. It’s not the place to go if you’re in a rush to get some food. The Nautilus is all about relaxed, elegant dining. No, it’s not cheap, but it is well worth the expense.
17. Iron Bar
The Iron Bar is one of Port Douglas’s main late night venues and for a lively night out, it’s one of the best places to go in Port Douglas. The Iron Bar has three floors dedicated to evening enjoyment, an air conditioned gaming lounge, nightly DJs, and some very odd ideas about how to entertain their guests. The Iron Bar hosts cane toad racing seven nights of the week which really draws the fun seeking crowds. If blowing through a straw to get a cane toad around the circuit and win a prize isn’t your thing then there’s karaoke and live music instead. The Iron Bar is also renowned for its steak dinners, but don’t worry, there are no frog’s legs on the menu.
18. Four Mile Beach
Holiday memories are made by special moments like walking along a deserted beach under the light of the moon. Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas is perfect for doing just that. The beach is within easy walking distance of the town center so when you want to escape the hubbub of Port Douglas’s nightlife, you can. You’ll find there really is nothing more beautiful or romantic than the Coral Sea when it’s shimmering under the starlight and the compact sands are perfect for walking along, but don’t get carried away and go skinny dipping. If you do go for a stroll along Four Mile Beach in the evening, don’t forget to be croc aware and don’t dive into the water, as tempting as it may be after a few drinks, during stinger season.
19. Central Hotel
Join in with one of Australia’s favorite pastimes by heading to the Central Hotel and spending a couple of hours playing the pokies. While the Central Hotel competes with The Courty for being Port Douglas’s oldest bar, there’s no disputing the modern technology in the hotel’s pokie room.
There’s more to the Central Hotel than pokies. The Central Hotel has been functioning since the late 19th century and has a vibe which is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. While you’re there, you might want to grab some salt and pepper squid, a Fisherman’s basket full of prawns and scallops or if you’re in the mood for meat, a big T-bone steak. Don’t forget to leave some room for a big helping of the Central Hotel’s warm apple pie with vanilla ice-cream or you’ll regret it.
20. Dave’s Takeaway
Is there any better way to finish a night out in Port Douglas than with a fish and chip takeaway supper? If you’ve done a bar crawl down Macrossan Street and worked up a late night appetite, then drop into Dave’s Takeaway to finish the night. Don’t let the Finding Nemo oriented décor freak you out, there’s more than fish on the menu though the fish and chips do come highly recommended. If your name’s Dave, you’re in luck. Every Dave who visits Dave’s Takeaway gets his photo taken, their picture put up on the wall and a ten percent discount on their dinner.
Whether your name is Dave or not, don’t worry, you’ll have a great night out in Port Douglas.