About an hour’s drive north from Cairns is the quiet town of Port Douglas. Although its foundations are as a resort destination, there are some brilliant budget accommodation options as well. Its location is perfect for access to the reef and the rainforest and it sits next to the beautiful Four Mile Beach, which makes it a good alternative to Cairns if you are looking for something a little more laid-back. Port Douglas town is a short string of shops and restaurants with plenty of alfresco cafés and juice bars. It is quaint and inviting, albeit pricier than Cairns. Tour operators abound here and you have quicker access to the Low Isles of the Great Barrier Reef, Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest. It is a very popular place to take a dive course, and there are several reputable companies offering four-day PADI certifications.