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“The Right Choice For FNQ”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Coral Beach Lodge

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Coral Beach Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Townsville, Australia
1 review
“The Right Choice For FNQ”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2010

It was always my intent during my time backpacking across Australia to visit the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Forest. Like many other travellers with these attractions in mind it was the city of Cairns that I found coming up again and again as the place to be. So, off I went. My experiences in Cairns, however, were defined by a sense of overwhelming congestion and in your face tour agencies. Although the lagoon was nice and the bars were plentiful the place felt way too packaged for my tastes. Seemed more suited for tourists than backpackers; there is a difference between the two and any experienced back-packer knows what I’m talking about. Cairns is where a person goes to party and drink all their savings. So when I heard that Port Douglas operated at a slower pace, was more relaxed, and also provided a better launching pad for tours to the reef and forest, I decided to look into accommodations. That’s when I came across Port O’ Call Lodge.

The initial reason that sold me on the lodge was quite simply the complimentary shuttle bus both to Port Douglas and, after my stay, back to Cairns for my flight out to Japan. This seems like a basic concept but any budget traveller will appreciate the chance to save cash on potential transit costs. From what I noticed no other hostels in the area are offering this service and it’s great to see that Ryan and Janine, the current operators at Port O’ Call, are aware of the importance that frugality has in the plans of any traveller through far north Queensland. This helps them generate additional business, sure, but more importantly it helps people travel to Port Douglas way more affordably than they would otherwise be able to. Smart and well received.

As organized the shuttle bus arrived in the morning to the Esplanade in Cairns. During the forty five minute commute I was impressed to see Ryan provide an interesting narration about the ecological and economic character of the region between Cairns and Port Douglas, along with a description of the many attractions available to the traveller. On arrival we were greeted kindly by Janine and she quickly found us to our rooms. I stayed in a four-bed share and was pleasantly surprised by the facilities. The rooms were a nice size, the bathrooms were clean, each room had private safety lock boxes, and the beds were quiet and comfortable. If you’re a tall person you’ll appreciate that the beds don’t have end-boards which restrict a persons’ ability to stretch out and enjoy a proper night sleep. Also, each room has its own mini-fridge to use at their leisure.

The environment at Port O’ Call can be described as quiet, laid back and friendly. Perhaps this sounds cliché but in this case it holds very much true: certainly a welcome change from the rushed atmosphere one finds in Cairns. Having said that there is always a healthy buzz of socialising each evening in the common area, making it easy to make new friends and gather testimony on potential travel plans. Nothing too loud or too late, though. The kitchen facilities are modern, clean, and well-equipped. Only an oven is missing, but this is relatively standard for hostels throughout Australia so it’s hard to upset about this. The pool is inviting and the flat screen television with satellite is a nice touch. Internet facilities are satisfactory but a better connection for more demanding users can be found in-town. Laundry facilities are standard.

For expert advice on tours in the area Ryan and Janine represent a wealth of information and will never recommend anything but the best. I booked three tours during my stay in Port Douglas, all through Port O’ Call, and in each case they found a way to save me money, either through recommendations or special discounts. I never paid the listed price for the tours I was interested in.

There were a few occasions when I asked Ryan and Janine for a bit of extra consideration and they were always more than willing to help. From making last minute extensions to my stay, trusting us their own soccer ball for the beach, to actually giving us free taxi around Cairns during drop off – not just a ride into the city as part of the complimentary shuttle - the staff at Port O’ Call did everything within their control to make the experience in Port Douglas seamless and enjoyable.

While Port O’ Call might be 5 to 10 bucks more than a few of the other hostels in town it’s certainly worth every dime. And remember that the free shuttle to and from Port Douglas pay’s for itself with a stay at a premium spot. You get what you pay for in life and accommodations are no exception.

Port O’ Call was essentially a microcosm of everything good about Port Douglas. Both are clean, quiet, relaxing, and friendly. Living is affordable yet a cut above what you might find in Cairns. The tours are fantastic and the people are honest. Instead of the large crowds and hyper transient populations of Cairns one finds intimacy and authenticity. Not only do I recommend Port O’ Call to travellers keen on north Queensland, but for all the same reasons I recommend Port Douglas itself. Do yourself a favour and make Port O’ Call in Port Douglas your home for the holidays. You’ll be glad you did.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled solo
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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405 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Hamburg, Germany
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 16, 2010

The Port O Call Lodge offers nice rooms, a friendly atmosphere and is located just a 2 minute walk from the amazing 4 Mile Beach where you can jump in the ocean for a wonderful swim! I was picked up in Cairns by the manager Ryan and enjoyed a free ride to the Hostel - he told me a lot of interesting things about the lodge, port douglas and possible tours! After that short 1 hour ride from cairns his wife Janine welcomed me and I was checked in a second later - everything was prepared! Ryan and Janine manage the Hostel in a very responsible and friendly way - when there was any question we were welcome everytime! I just can recommend this place!

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Jonas0701
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 10, 2010

This hostel is a wonderful place to relax in after a busy trip backpacking up the east coast. Highly recommend to stay here and to go past Cairns - you will not want to leave! Ryan the manager even picks you up for free from Cairns and gives you a little tour on the way up. Him, Jeanne and the lovely cleaning lady Cristine are so friendly and helpful you feel very welcome and at home. Great clean facilities, lovely pool, well stocked kitchen and very comfortable room - slept for 8 hours straight here which is almost unheard of in a hostel. They also run a very nice bistro with well priced delicious meals. It is a stones throw from the town and gorgeous 4 Mile beach - basically a perfect place to stay and I will certainly be back again.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Anniemorris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oswestry, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 2, 2010

I spent 4 nights (3 of which were part of the Rainforest Experience package), at the Port O Call Lodge. Fabulous stay and the attention given by the managers and staff to their visitors was excellent and always very courteous - a quality that I now associate with Queensland. The Port O Call is a former motel; therefore, the 'dorms' are very spacious with en-suite facilities and , very welcome, wardrobes and storage. The self-catering kitchen is more than adequate with an outdoor and indoor eating area; there is also an on-site restaurant that serves meals in the evenings - I sampled the baramundi which was very enjoyable. Very attractive, secluded and compact swimming pool, great for relaxing after a day's exploring.
The 3-day package was well put together and ran like clockwork - 1 day spent on the HABA company boat travelling to the Outer Barrier Reef for diving and snorkelling; at the ripe old age of 64 I have to admit that this was one of the most astonishing experiences of my life (and I'm widely travelled with many adventures under my belt). We were exceptionally well looked after by the multi-national crew, who were very professional with regard to the safety of people on board. The 2nd day was a trip to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation (very aptly named as, the day I visited, the weather was atrocious). The day included a walk up the Mossman Gorge and an amazing boat trip along the Daintree river, croc. spotting.

I cannot praise the Port O Call Lodge too highly. It was a wonderful stay (close enough to walk into lovely Port Douglas with Four Mile Beach almost on the doorstep). My only regret is that I couldn't stay for a much longer period (should my lottery numbers come up I will be on the first flight back to Cairns with a phone call to Janine to come and collect me from the airport to transport me back to the Port O Call Lodge). When I'm sitting in my rocking chair in the nursing home, some time in the future, I will have incredible memories of my time in North Queensland to keep me warm.

Many thanks to all the staff and keep up the good work. (Cynthia from England)

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank cynthia46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 1, 2010

I can highly recommend Port O Call with it's relaxed atmosphere and very friendly, helpful Managers (Ryan and Janine). There are plenty of local activities available if you choose to participate, and both Port O Call Managers are very keen to assist in coordinating, or advising on the best value products. Or you can simply relax by the pool !!

The Bistro is of very good quality, with some of the best value meals in town. Even the locals eat there. (that speaks for itself).

Port O Call will definitely be on my list, for a return visit.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank denis777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sonoma
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 23, 2010

My friend and I stayed for 3 nights and wished we had more time to stay. Most accommodating hosts helped to book tours to the Reef, Daintree Rain forest, Karanda Train and Sky Way. Good food, good rooms, great hosts. A great place to stay and rest.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank DrGSonoma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamburg, Germany
Level Contributor
22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2010

friendly and helpful staff - very clean hostel - helpful with booking a great snorkeltrip - I enjoyed my stay very much! Thanks!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Karotri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Coral Beach Lodge

Property: Coral Beach Lodge
Address: 1-7 Craven CL | Corner of Wharf St., Port Douglas, Queensland 4877, Australia (Formerly Port O'Call Eco Lodge)
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Queensland > Port Douglas
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 56 Specialty Lodging in Port Douglas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Coral Beach Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Quality accommodation with an emphasis on the things that matter - air conditioning, quality beds with the best quality cotton sheets and deep feathered pillows, your own refrigerator and free WiFi. ... more   less 
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