Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Port Douglas - Four Mile Beach

View over Four Mile Beach
Four visits to Port Douglas so far - the last two in 2009 and 2010 for two weeks each time. Why Port Douglas? It is the ideal place for a relaxing holiday. Great beach, warm, sunny days with low humidity in July and August, variety of accommodation available, wide range of restaurants, opportunities to explore the Great Barrier Reef, close to the Daintree rainforests, opportunities for daytrips to Mossman Gorge, Cape Tribulation, Kurranda and other locations on the Atherton Tablelands.
Four Mile Beach

Swimming area at top of beach
The major attraction of Port Douglas is Four Mile Beach, a long wide stretch of firm sand ideal for walking along, jogging and cycling but also for making sand castles, playing beach cricket, beach soccer or any other related sport as well as creating sand castles and moats or sand sculpture. The patrolled area for swimming is at the section of the beach near the town.
Small crabs create sand patterns
Walking along the sand first thing in the morning sand patterns in the sand can be discovered.
Sand banks at low tide
Low tide exposes the mud flats near the mangrove end of the beach. Among the small mounds of mud armies of small crabs can often be seen scurrying across the sand before disappearing into small holes. This is a good time to explore the pools between the sandbanks for shells and small sea creatures as well as viewing seabirds looking for food.
Holes belonging to larger crabs

At the far end of the beach mangroves are at the waters edge. A sign at the beginning of this section warns of the possibility of crocodiles in the area.
Crocodile warning sign on beach

A variety of tropical vegetation lines the beach.

Most mornings we walk along the beach for up to three hours and every time the beach is different. On one morning there was a yoga class with fit young women taking part. Further up the beach a young woman played a guitar. Beach cricket would be the most popular game on the wide expanses of sand but we have also seen families playing beach soccer, Aussie rules and ping-pong. Dogs can sometimes be found playing in the water at the far end of the beach or looking for a passer-by to play fetch. All sorts of sights can be observed walking along the beach in various modes of undress - some bodies definitely having spent too long in the sun. Twice a day the Munch van travels along the beach selling drinks, ice-cream and other refreshments. There are also areas where beach umbrellas and lounges can be hired along with beach cricket sets, boards and other equipment for the water. The beach has been a wonderful place to stroll or relax but on the last visit it was obvious that the ubiquitous mobile phone had begun its invasion of the area. One morning when I walked along the beach it rained for the first hour but, although constant, the rain was light and the weather and water was warm. A number of other people were also enjoying their walk in the rain. Once the rain stopped any damp clothes quickly dried - it was another beach experience.

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