Port O'Call Eco Lodge in Port Douglas, Queensland is rated 4 green stars for environmental friendliness and is the first accommodation property in Queensland to gain a 4 green star rating by AAA Tourism for ecological sustainability.
Port O'Call Eco Lodge generates 100% of its hot water needs from the Sun and operates with solar heated hot water, wind energy for public and outside lighting, and water and waste minimization programs.
Port O’Call Eco Lodge has been awarded the most eco-friendly hostel in Oceania by Hostelbookers.com.
This award is given to the top three eco-friendly hostels worldwide with the highest overall customer ratings in 2010.
Tropical North Queensland is home to a myriad of premium, world class tourism products competing annually for the prestige and distinction of being Awarded a Tourism Excellence Award at the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Awards gala evening.
Port O’Call Eco Lodge was awarded a Developing Sustainable Communities Award from Douglas Shire Council in September, 2007 and the aim is to become the most energy efficient property in Australia, leaving the smallest carbon footprint possible. The awards were judged on factors such as improved biodiversity of the land, adoption of energy efficient practices and advanced waste management.
Backpackers Uncovered 2010: a survey detailing the experiences of 576 visitors to Australia. Click here to download the survey results (2MB PDF).
Looking for a hostel in Port Douglas? One of the best hostels to stay in Port Douglas is the Port O'Call Lodge YHA and this realbuzz hostel review of Port O'Call Lodge YHA will give you all the info on why we have rated this hostel as one of the top hostels in Port Douglas.
Location: Port Douglas is a fairly small town, so despite Port O’Call Lodge being set away from the centre it is still within easy walking distance of everything you need. Within a 5-10 minute walk is the beautiful Four Mile Beach, the main street and the harbour, with a big choice of restaurants, bars and shops. We were warned that we might encounter crocodiles on the riverside road into town, so a torch and a friend that you can outrun may be advisable! Port O’Call Lodge is about 1 hour from Cairns, but the hostel does run an excellent minibus service, and can pick you up/drop you off in Cairns or at the Airport – just make sure you arrange your airport pickup in advance!
Attractions: Whilst staying in Port O’Call lodge we arranged some really good trips which the hostel provides loads of information and advice on. We dove at the Barrier Reef, leaving from the harbour in Port Douglas, and took a tour to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest, including boat trip down the crocodile inhabited Daintree River. Both trips are highly recommended, and even had door-to-door transfers! If you prefer relaxing then you could easily spend a day on the picturesque Four Mile Beach, a 5 minute walk from the hostel!
Atmosphere: Port O’Call Lodge was a relaxed hostel with plenty of people coming and going. The hostel also had good communal areas including a pool and small bar, which were fairly quiet out of season, but would be much busier during the vacation periods. There were also areas inside and outside for people who wanted to be able to relax in a more peaceful environment.
Staff: All the staff were extremely friendly, and keen to help – whether recommending places to eat, trips to do or booking your next hostel or activity. The reception was open form 7.30am to 7.30pm, which meant that you had plenty of time in the evening after getting back from whatever you had been doing for the day to book up the next day's activity! The free minibus service was also great, with a guided tour of Port Douglas when you arrived!
Cleanliness: The room we stayed in slept 4 people and was lovely, with air conditioning, it’s own bathroom and a small patio space with a couple of chairs. The bedroom was clean when we arrived and the bathroom was cleaned daily! Clean sheets and all other bedding was provided. The kitchen and all other communal areas were also nice, which made a change from some other hostels!
Facilities: In addition to the courtesy minibus, the sea-water swimming pool, the large guest kitchen, and the reception area with endless information on tours etc, Port O’Call Lodge had a guest laundry, free WiFi and tablet hire, a TV room and a small bar. The very tasty and reasonably priced meals from the bar were brilliant! There was also an option to have breakfast provided for a small extra cost, although there was plenty of space and storage in the kitchen for those who wanted to cater for themselves.
Value for money: Not the cheapest accommodation in Australia ($32 if you’re a YHA member), but given free airport transfers, free WiFi and tablet use, is very good value for money if you want to stay in a lovely, friendly and clean hostel with easy access to shops, restaurants and a beautiful beach! Everything the hostel offered such as internet access and meals from the bar were also reasonably priced, and they were able to offer you discounts on quite a few of the activities. With all the other facilities the hostel has to offer it’s definitely worth the extra few dollars!
Best bit? The friendly staff and the ease of booking all the trips and accommodation we needed was a definite good point! But the pool and the bar were pretty cool too, and it was definitely worth spending a few hours there!
Worst bit? Difficult to think of a real bad point about the hostel, but I suppose for people who want accommodation right in the centre of Port Douglas it may not be in the best location. Despite this all the essentials are within walking distance!
Would you stay at Port O’Call Lodge YHA in Port Douglas again? Definitely! Port Douglas is definitely worth a visit for a few days, and Port O’Call Lodge was the perfect base for seeing the town and doing all other activities nearby!
WHEN Christopher Skase built the Mirage at Port Douglas in the 1980s, locals worried the town had been ruined for everyone but the rich.
But the poor and not-so-rich, like the common cold and the obscenely rich, are always with us, and travellers can still go a long way on a small budget in Port Douglas if they know where to look.
While a lot of the marketing for the iconic tropical north Queensland town focuses on five-star resorts with day spas, there are also affordable places to stay and eat and even some free things to enjoy.
For instance, you can go sailing free of charge every Wednesday afternoon from Port Douglas Yacht Club.
You can go to local shops or the Sunday markets to buy fresh fruit and vegetables to take home to cook in your apartment or communal kitchen at a backpacker lodge.
At the markets, you get to meet some of the locals from the days when Port Douglas was a hippie town. They're older and greyer, the men are skinnier and the women are fatter, but they're still turning out crafty stuff by the stall-load and recycling clothes. There's also well-made jewellery and art, and it doesn't cost to look.
While adjoining cafes were busy with people tucking into bacon and eggs and the full brekky, I loved my good coffee and a big, buttery fresh croissant served by friendly people. These coffee shops are popular with locals, who sit at tables on the footpath or at a long coffee bar overlooking the street.
My favourite affordable restaurant was at my accommodation at Port O' Call Lodge, 10 minutes' walk from the heart of town and five minutes to the famous Four Mile Beach. There were meals under $20 for a main course and a seafood platter for $25 was great value fresh, well-prepared and delicious.
Port 0' Call generates all its hot water needs from the sun, uses wind energy from on-site turbines for all lighting and has water and waste minimisation programs.
Prices start at $129 for a deluxe motel room for two and $17 for each additional person up to four; $109 for budget double rooms; and $36 a night per person for a four-bed room with ensuite bathroom, bar fridge and airconditioning.
The Lodge is registered with YHA and offers discounts for members. Bunk rooms cost $28 a night per person for non-members. There's a big communal kitchen, wi-fi and Internet connections. Transfers from Cairns or the airport are free if you stay at least two nights, a good saving with airport shuttles costing around $36 per adult.
The Wet is regarded as tow season but is actually a great time to visit if you're interested in rainforests and roaring waterfalls and streams.
One of the best things about Port Douglas for budgeters is that you really don't need a car. The focal bus service runs on a continuous 15-minute loop from 7am to midnight along the main road into town from the highway and costs $3 each way.
Tour operators pick up from accommodation centres and you really only need a car if you want to spend time on your own around the Cairns highlands sampling the cafes there.
Visit Marina Mirage for a breakfast or Lunch for under $15.
By building the first major five-star luxury development here, Skase alerted a lot of people to the town's natural charms and its surrounding rainforests and reefs. He also alerted concerned locals to the threat posed by uncontrolled development, and the Douglas Shire was the first local authority in Australia to impose a population cap.
So far the friendly small town feeling remains strong and locals are happy to share the best of their Wet Tropics wonderlands with visitors.