Port Douglas, Australia
In 1877, the aptly named James Venture Mulligan struck pay dirt on Hodgkinson River, igniting the fabled North Queensland Gold Rush. At the height of the boom, Port Douglas boasted 12,000 residents and 27 hotels. Bust inevitably followed boom, and Port Douglas slid into decades of obscurity. Then came a second gold rush in the 1980s as tourists flocked to the North Queensland Coast. Located between the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas provides a perfect gateway to hardy adventurers en route to rainforest and reef.
In addition to its nearby scenic wonders, Port Douglas boasts several resorts ranging from the Sheraton Mirage to the Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa in the heart of the rainforest.
Note: Port Douglas is an anchorage port. Passengers transfer to shore via ship's tender.