Imagine basking in the sunshine by the sea, while admiring the views of the lush rainforest.
It may sound like a dream, but this is the reality for residents of Port Douglas, a tourist town about a 45-minute drive from Cairns in far north Queensland.
The weather is wonderfully warm year round, and the relaxed lifestyle draws in people from all over the world. And it is the only place on earth that can claim two World Heritage-listed jewels: the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforest of the Daintree and Cape Tribulation.
“‘I’m selling up and moving!’ There’s a lot of us up here like that,” Thala Beach Lodge manager Nigel Walsh says.
It’s easy to see why. Not only are the tourist attractions enough to enthral anyone, there are a million and one things residents can experience for free.
“There are a lot of hidden gems. You can just drive along any road – there’s lots of lovely places and creeks to swim in,” Douglas Shire mayor Julia Leu says.
“There are serene and untouched areas that people can go to and just enjoy the silence and enjoy nature.”
In 1960, Port Douglas had a population of about 100 people. It is now home to approximately 1287 permanent residents, although this figure often quadruples in peak tourist season.
Even with its population increase, it is still a small town with a fantastic community atmosphere and a cosmopolitan touch.
Spend a day boutique shopping along Macrossan Street and top it off with dinner at one of the many award-winning restaurants.
A swim in the crystal-clear waters of Mossman Gorge will cool you in the warmer, humid months. And be sure to visit the markets held every Sunday, where you’ll find beautiful handmade items and fresh food.
For one resident, it is a no-brainer.
“Who wouldn’t want to live in a tropical paradise?”