Port Douglas is friendly and laid-back and fully used to tourists at all times of year. It is a safe town as far as towns go, yet there are dangers and annoyances to be aware of, such as box jellyfish and crocodiles in the sea and waterways. The climate also has a rainy season so it is worth spending time planning a trip.
Customs and etiquette
There are few rules of etiquette that need remembering when visiting Port Douglas. It is only a small town and tourists often outweigh the locals. Simply retaining common sense, being polite and taking any abruptness from the natives in your stride will stand you in good stead. Percentage tipping is not required as with anywhere in Australia, although swanky restaurants are not averse to charging for service.
The Australian dollar (AUD) has polymer-impregnated notes that go from AU$5 up to AUD100 and coins from 5 cents to AUD2. You can easily buy Aussie dollars overseas, although it is more convenient to have perhaps a couple of days' worth of money on entry to Australia and then obtain cash from ATMs as and when.
ATMs are everywhere and generally accept major debt and credit cards, while hotels, shops and restaurants will usually take travelers checks and credit cards. Prices in Port Douglas are in line with those of Cairns and Brisbane and are cheaper than those in the average US/European city.
It rains quite a bit around the Port Douglas area, which is why there are rainforests here. There are two seasons: the mild, dry winter (May through October) and the hot, wet summer (November through April). Downpours in the summer usually only occur in the afternoon as opposed to raining all day, everyday. May/June time is nice for a visit.