In the far northern clutches of Queensland, where rain-forested cliffs plunge into the sea, is where you’ll find the powder-white stretch of Four Mile Beach. Welcome to Port Douglas, pop. 1,287, and one of Australia’s best-kept secrets — though not for long. Next month, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks’ latest war epic, The Pacific, begins shooting here, while this week the Rydges Sabaya Resort reopens its doors. After a multimillion dollar, 18-month makeover, the Balinese themed property will finally take on the town’s decidedly 80’s Sheraton Mirage. And how: think tropical hideaway vibe with a state-of-the-art spa and a swim-up bar at a lagoon-style pool.
Beyond its postcard-perfect peninsula, Port Douglas is also the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, both World Heritage sites. Back in town, of course, you can always hit the fabled beach, or even put your back into some kitesurfing — Port Douglas is considered the country’s premier destination for it (especially now, as the wind season lasts through to October). Just mind those sharks, mate: this is where “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin died after a stingray barb pierced his heart.