Douglas Shire Ecotourism Destination

Project Overview

This website has been created by DOUGLAS SHIRE COUNCIL for the purpose of engaging with visitors and local stakeholders about sustainable tourism.

The Douglas Shire and the Port Douglas Daintree destination is a place of spectacular beauty. The area encompasses world-class landscape features, including pristine rainforests and beaches, and a diversity of cultural, economic and environmental values. The destination is highly valued by the Traditional Owners of the land, including the Eastern Kuku Yalanji to the north and Yirrganydji to the south; as well as the Douglas Communities and visitors to the area.

The Wet Tropics bioregion has some of the oldest continuously surviving tropical rainforests on earth. It provides an important record of the ecological and evolutionary processes that has shaped the flora and fauna of Australia over the past 415 million years. The Great Barrier Reef contains the world's largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral and is home to the endangered dugong and large green turtle.

Port Douglas Daintree's vision is to become the world's leading tropical visitor destination, delivering world class sustainable tourism experiences. The destination's brand incorporates elements of natural, aspirational, tropical, laid back and untamed experiences. Destination experiences are focused on sustainable interactions with nature where visitors are encouraged to travel green and step lightly, helping us to conserve our pristine environment for the enjoyment of generations to come.

Destination Achieves Ecotourism Level Certification

Douglas Shire Council and the destination Port Douglas & Daintree were awarded Ecotourism level certification after successfully completing 90% of the internationally recognised Green Destinations standard for sustainable tourism. This comes only a year after the Council was awarded a Nature level certification with 80% of the completed criteria. While the destination is kicking goals in working towards sustainable practices, also the tourism industry has done their part. This year two different tourism operators in Douglas Shire joined the Ecotourism Australia’s Hall of Fame. The Daintree River Cruise Centre and Sailaway were recognised for being ECO certified for 20 years. The certification is internationally recognised and shows the operators' commitment to deliver quality tourism experiences that care for the environment we live in.

For more information CLICK HERE

Douglas Shire Receives a Best of Communities & Culture Award

Winners for Sustainable Destination Awards 2020 announced!

The Douglas Shire destination received a ‘Best of Communities and Culture’ award at 2020 Sustainable Destination Awards in ITB Berlin. The award recognises the location’s efforts in celebrating indigenous experiences and creating local jobs through the Mossman Gorge Centre. The competition is part of Green Destination’s Top100 program. ITB Berlin is the world’s largest tourism trade show where people and businesses from over 180 countries present their products and services. The award showcases sustainable tourism in the region and recognises the efforts internationally.

For more information CLICK HERE

  • Kuku Yalanji & Yirrganydji people

    The Traditional Owners of the land, the Kuku Yalanji  and Yirrganydji people have inhabited and cared for this ancient landscape for thousands of years.

  • 1770 - Captain Cook names Cape Tribulation

    On 10 June 1770 Captain James Cook's ship, the HMS Endeavour struck the Great Barrier Reef.  He named that point 'Cape Tribulation', because according to his log book, "here began all our troubles".

  • 1880 - St Mary's Church

    The popular wedding venue was originally erected on Flagstaff Hill in 1880.  The church was later moved to its current location in Market Park in 1989 and renamed St Mary's By the Sea.

  • 1970 - First Commercial Cruise to Low Isles

    Quicksilver Cruises began the first commercial cruise to Low Isles in 1970.  They later built the first reef platform in 1983 at Agincourt Reef.

  • 1981 - UNESCO World Heritage Listing - Reef

    The reefs and waters of the Great Barrier Reef were inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage Site Listing in 1981.

  • 1981 - Cape Tribulation National Park

    The Cape Tribulation National Park was declared in 1981, to protect the rainforest from logging.

  • 1987 - Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime Walks

    The Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime Walks commenced in 1987 at Mossman Gorge, conducted by local Indigenous guides.

  • 1988 - The Sheraton Mirage resort opens

    The Sheraton Mirage resort, developed by Christopher Skase, officially opened in 1988.

  • 1988 - UNESCO World Heritage Listing - Rainforests

    The rainforests of the Wet Tropics of Queensland were inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage Site Listing in 1988.

  • 2006 - Tourism Port Douglas Daintree Established

    Tourism Port Douglas Daintree, established in 2006 is the sole recognised tourism marketing organisation for the Douglas Shire.

  • 2012 - Mossman Gorge Centre Opens

    The Mossman Gorge Centre, which includes a cafe, retail shop, art gallery and training centre was opened in 2012.  Since opening it has maintained a 80-90% Indigenous employment rate.

  • 2018 - Quicksilver Dive Centre Opens

    Quicksilver Cruises opened a state-of-the-art dive centre in the heart of Port Douglas, featuring a 4-meter deep dive pool, on 23 October 2018.

  • 2019 - ECO Destination Certification

    The Douglas Shire (Port Douglas Daintree) became the first certified ECO Destination under the Ecotourism Australia program on 4 December 2019.

  • 2020 - Continuous Improvement

    Douglas Shire Council and Tourism Port Douglas Daintree continue to work with partners to strengthen the destination's environmental practices.


Port Douglas Daintree is a premium destination located within Tropical North Queensland, Australia.  Renowned for its natural beauty and rich biodiversity, it is the only place in the world where two natural World Heritage areas meet - the Daintree rainforests of the Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef.

For more information about visiting Port Douglas Daintree CLICK HERE



ECO Destination Certification

The Douglas Shire and the Port Douglas Daintree destination hold the ECO Destination at the Ecotourism level.  This was achieved November 2020 by Douglas Shire Council and Tourism Port Douglas Daintree.

Ecotourism Australia's ECO Destination Certification program has been designed to provide assurances to travellers that a destination is committed to strong, well-managed sustainable practices and provides high quality nature-based experiences.  The certification methodology is based on the internationally accredited and recognised Green Destinations Standard and incorporates pre-qualifying and additional ecotourism criteria specific to the Australian context.

For more information about the ECO Destination Certification program CLICK HERE


Sustainable Destinations Top100 Competition

The Douglas Shire and the Port Douglas Daintree destination made the Top100 list in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

The Sustainable Destinations Top100 competition is organised by 12 organisations, including Ecotourism Australia.  The competition is open to destinations across the world and aims to showcase environmental success stories and good practices.

For more information about the Sustainable Destinations Top100 competition CLICK HERE