Getting Around Port Douglas During the Iron Man 2023


If you’re planning on attending the Ironman Competition in Port Douglas, there are a few things you should know. First, it’s an endurance race that consists of three stages: a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run (the longest distance is used as an Olympic standard). Second, if you want to get from Cairns to Port Douglas for the competition itself–and back again after it’s over–you’ll need transportation services!

Getting to Cairns from Port Douglas

There are many ways to get from Port Douglas to Cairns. You can choose whichever method best suits your needs and budget, whether it’s a shuttle bus or car rental.

  • Shuttle bus: The most popular option for getting between these two cities is to take a shuttle bus from Port Douglas to Cairns. These buses run regularly throughout the day, stopping at various points along the way so you can easily hop off and on at any time during your journey.
  • Car rental: If you prefer driving yourself instead of being carted around by others (or if you just want some extra freedom), renting a car might be right for you! There are many different companies offering rentals in both Port Douglas and Cairns–and they’re all pretty cheap compared with what we pay here in America! You should also keep in mind that Australia has strict laws regarding driver licenses; if yours isn’t valid there yet then make sure not only to bring one but also check out our guide on how best to prepare yourself before hitting Australian roads.”

Ironman Competition in Port Douglas

Road Closures 

The following roads will be closed on Sunday 18 June 2023 from 5:30 am to 5:30 pm:

  • Captain Cook Highway between Port Douglas and Cairns
  • Mossman Gorge Road between Port Douglas and Cairns

See here for official information from the Queensland Police 

Tips for a Smooth Journey

  • Check road closures.
  • Plan your route and consider alternate routes.
  • Be prepared for delays, especially if you’re travelling during the competition day on the 18th of June.

Parking in Cairns

The city centre of Cairns is a busy place, and the Ironman Competition is no exception. If you’re planning on driving into the area for the event, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Public parking is available at various locations around town. These include on-street spaces and car parks like The Esplanade Car Park (located near where you’d catch a bus) or Trinity Wharf (where boats depart).
  • Private parking can be found at hotels like Quest Cairns Harbourside Hotel & Casino or Mantra Port Douglas Resort & Spa.

Cairns Airport

When you arrive at Cairns Airport, there are two options for getting to Port Douglas:

  • Take a taxi or shuttle bus. Taxi fares vary depending on the number of passengers and their luggage, but can be high. Shuttle buses leave from the airport every hour and cost $50 per person with no luggage restrictions. If you’re travelling with others, this may be your best option because it’s cheaper than taking multiple taxis or renting cars individually (and there’s no need to worry about parking). The downside is that it takes longer than driving yourself–you’ll have to wait until your scheduled departure time before boarding the bus (which could add 30 minutes or more onto your travel time), then transfer again once you reach Port Douglas’ jetty area ($5 admission fee).

Accommodation Options in Cairns

There are plenty of accommodation options in Cairns. You can choose from hotels, motels, hostels and apartments.

Exploring Cairns

Cairns is a beautiful city, with plenty of things to do and see. You can go for a swim in the ocean or take a walk along the beach. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at surfing!
There are also many museums and art galleries in Cairns that will keep you busy for hours. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Visitor Centre has exhibits about marine life on Australia’s northern coast, as well as information about how tourists can help protect this natural wonder from damage caused by human activities such as pollution or fishing practices that harm coral reefs.
If you want some time away from downtown Cairns but still want access to its amenities (restaurants), consider staying at one of these hotels:

Getting to Port Douglas from Cairns

You can get to Port Douglas from Cairns by shuttle bus, or Port Douglas to Cairns by any one of the following methods.

  • car rental, 
  • private transfer 
  • Shuttle bus: 

In my opinion, the best option for getting from Cairns Airport to Port Douglas is the Excellence Coaches shuttle bus service. The journey takes 1.15 hours and costs $50 one way (or $95 return). You should ideally book your ticket in advance online at least 24 hours before travel time just in case as there can be limited availability on certain days, so make sure you check ahead first before booking anything else like accommodation etc…


The transportation options between Cairns and Port Douglas are plentiful, and you can choose from buses, taxis or private cars. If you’re travelling with a group of people who have their own transportation (such as an RV), this will be your best option. If not, then consider taking a Shuttle Bus or Private Transfer if budget is not an issue.