Explore palm-fringed beaches, ancient rainforests and the golden outback on a self-drive tour taking in the highlights of North Queensland. With 26 different routes to follow, the Great Tropical Drive takes you to some of Australia's best-known tropical attractions including the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree rainforest, Hinchinbrook Island and the Undara Lava Tubes.
Taste the flavours of the tropics on the Atherton Tablelands where local produce and fruity wines are popular, step back in time with an adventure into the western goldfields or discover incredible views as you drive between the two World Heritage areas of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest. Along the way you can cool off under a waterfall, visit a turtle hospital, go jungle surfing or learn how to hunt mud crab with a spear.
Encounter nature, Indigenous culture, food and wine, wildlife, heritage or adventure and know that natural wonders are around every corner. The Great Tropical Drive offers ever changing landscapes as it passes through unique regions of North Queensland including Cooktown, Port Douglas and Daintree, Cairns and its beaches, Mission Beach and the Cassowary Coast, the Atherton Tablelands, the Gulf Savannah, Townsville, Charters Towers and Hinchinbrook.
From Cairns you head north across the Barron River to the Cairns Northern Beaches including Trinity Beach, Palm Cove and Ellis Beach. The drive then winds along the edge of the Coral Sea past unspoiled tropical beaches to Port Douglas, the ideal place to cruise to the Great Barrier Reef.
Intimate, relaxed Port Douglas is the gateway to the Daintree, the world's oldest tropical rainforest. To the north is beautiful Mossman Gorge where you can discover the culture of the Kuku Yalanji people before driving through sugar cane fields to the township of Daintree. Take a crocodile spotting tour, fish for barramundi or marvel at the incredible birdlife.
Cross the Daintree River on the cable ferry for a leisurely drive through ancient rainforest, pausing at lookouts for a glimpse of the Coral Sea as you wind your way past pretty beaches to Cape Tribulation where the rainforest meets the reef. Turn your journey into a four wheel drive rainforest adventure, follow a food trail, or learn more about the Aboriginal people of the rainforest.
Palm Cove and Port Douglas are cosmopolitan beachside villages linked by a spectacular section of the Great Barrier Reef Drive. With its long sandy beach lapped by the Coral Sea and a backdrop of rainforest-clad mountains, Palm Cove has the perfect setting for an intimate getaway. Everything is within walking distance in this friendly village where restaurants, shops and resorts overlook the beach.
Driving north pass through pretty Ellis Beach before the road hugs the coastline as it winds between the dual World Heritage areas of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest. Stop at a deserted beach along the way and linger at the Rex Lookout where an incredible 180-degree view of the Coral Sea and its coastline begs a photograph.
The road leaves the blue of the ocean for the green of sugar cane fields just before the palm-lined entrance to Port Douglas. Known as the place where A-list celebrities escape, this tropical village has an incredible array of restaurants, great boutique shopping and the iconic Four Mile Beach. It is the closest mainland port to the Great Barrier Reef and only a short drive to the Wet Tropics rainforest at Daintree and Cape Tribulation.
The short drive from Port Douglas to Daintree Village offers the opportunity to learn about the Aboriginal people who have called the Wet Tropics rainforest home for thousands of years. The Port Douglas and Daintree region is the traditional country of the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people who continue to have ongoing connections with the area and offer tours where you can experience their culture.
Mossman Gorge is the southern section of the Daintree National Park where steep mountains, thick with rainforest send the Mossman River tumbling over the Gorge's massive granite boulders creating cool, clear freshwater swimming holes. Take a picnic and discover the rainforest on one of the free walks around the Gorge or join a local Indigenous guide on their traditional land to learn how their ancestors trapped fish and safely prepared poisonous foods to eat.
In Mossman you can visit an Indigenous gallery where the resident artist will show you how to paint your own burnie bean. Experience traditional hunting at the coastal village of Cooya Beach where an Indigenous guide can show you how to hunt mud crab with a spear or relax with an Indigenous spa treatment at Daintree Village.
Daintree Village is perched on the southern side of the Daintree River and is famous for the resident saltwater crocodiles that live on its banks. The village has a number of crocodile, bird and wildlife spotting cruises that depart regularly where you can attempt to find Scarface, Fat Albert or Gummy. If eating croc is more to your liking, try a croc burger or croc san choy bow at a cafe.
Venture over the river on the cable ferry and explore the Daintree region encompassing Cape Kimberley, Cow Bay, Cooper Creek, Thornton Beach, Noah Valley and Cape Tribulation, where the bitumen road ends. Journey through the world's oldest surviving tropical rainforest to see an endangered cassowary, be dwarfed by an ancient king fern or swim in a clear freshwater creek.
Stepping straight on to the beach from the rainforest is a very special experience at Cape Tribulation where the dual World Heritage areas of the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree rainforest meet. Spot turtles and dugongs as you kayak over the coastal reef, join a night tour to spotlight nocturnal animals, taste exotic fruits, explore the rainforest on horseback or fly through the rainforest canopy on a flying fox.
Chances are you will spot a cassowary on this drive. See the giant Golden Gumboot which stands 7.9 metres tall to mark Tully's record-breaking rainfall and climb inside for a view of the town, its sugar mill and Mount Tyson.
Tully is one of the best places to go white-water rafting with the mighty Tully River plunging through Tully Gorge National Park or kayak Banyan Creek at a more leisurely pace on an Aboriginal cultural tour.
Just 36 kilometres south-west of Tully is beautiful Murray Falls in Girramay National Park where the clear waters of the Murray River cascade over boulders into rock pools.
Head back to Tully to visit El Arish, a former World War 1 soldier settlement where the streets are named after generals and battles.
Next stop is laidback Mission Beach which has beautiful sandy beaches lined with coconut palms and tropical islands close enough to paddle to.
This picturesque 14 kilometres length of coastline comprises the four villages of South Mission Beach, Wongaling Beach, North Mission Beach and Bingil Bay. With a variety of accommodation and restaurants, Mission Beach is a popular base for exploring the surrounding Wet Tropics rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.
Journey back to another era - one of romance, gardens and castles - on the scenic Canecutter Way between Innisfail and Kurrimine Beach.
From Kurrimine Beach where most homes have a tractor to launch their tinnie for a day of fishing on the nearby reef, follow the old highway through lush sugar cane paddocks, tropical rainforest and fruit farms.
The tiny town of Silkwood is the home of Australia's smallest National Australia Bank and largest religious festival, the Feast of the Three Saints.
Drive on to the perfect picnic area at Liverpool Creek, near Japoonvale, before reaching Mena Creek, the home of Paronella Park.
Built in 1929, the ruins of a Spanish castle are framed by magnificent gardens, lakeside tunnels and bridges, all built by a Spanish immigrant to show his love for his wife.
Cane trains operate down the main street of quaint South Johnstone while nearby farms have old cane barracks still standing.
Don't miss the bakery at Wangan, home of award-winning meat pies, which can be enjoyed relaxing at Innisfail just minutes away.
Innisfail is home to Australia's largest collection of Art Deco buildings and an historic Chinese Joss House still in use.
Explore deep into the past of our early colonial history and even further back to ancient Aboriginal culture - all from Cooktown, a beautiful, unspoilt, small coastal town surrounded by stunning countryside.
A life-size statue of explorer Captain James Cook stands at the very spot where he stepped ashore while much needed repairs were made to his ship the Endeavour, after hitting a reef in 1770. See the town's historic buildings, cemetery and museums to discover more about Captain Cook as well as Indigenous, European and Chinese history.
Head north on a four wheel-drive journey along Battle Camp Road to Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park. Queensland's second-largest national park features spectacular wetlands and extensive river systems that are home to an array of wildlife, especially birds and crocodiles.
People travel from all over the world to view the largest known collection of prehistoric rock art near Laura, the next stop on the circuit route. This area is known as Quinkan country after the Aboriginal spirits depicted at the Split Rock and Gu Gu Yalangi rock-art sites.
Next stop is Lakeland, also known as Lakeland Downs, a small farming centre and ideal rest stop south of Laura, before you reach Cooktown.
Explore the Hinchinbrook Heritage Trail to learn the history of Ingham and stock up on Italian fare at one of the town's many delicatessens before driving to a nearby beach for a picnic. Catch some waves at Forrest Beach or hook a fish at Taylors Beach further north.
Heading towards Lucinda, don't miss Halifax, a small community where historic building facades and heritage-listed mango trees line the main street.
You can access the Hinchinbrook Channel at Lucinda, a popular departure point for fishing charters and transfers to Australia's largest island national park, Hinchinbrook Island.
Nearby is Girringun National Park with the spectacular Wallaman Falls, Australia's longest permanent single-drop waterfall. Heading back towards Ingham, take the turn-off to Mt Fox, a well preserved dormant volcano, formed more than 100,000 years ago.
Wind through Paluma Range National Park on the historic Mount Spec Road to reach Hidden Valley where you may see platypus. The road continues to Paluma, a quaint village with historic bush walks to scenic lookouts.
Returning to Ingham, stop about 500 metres south of Ingham at the Tyto Wetlands, where you can explore lagoons and walking tracks which are home to more than 230 species of birds and wallabies.
Many travellers start their journey along The Great Green Way from the major regional city of Townsville.
Setting off along the Bruce Highway you will pass Townsville's northern beaches. Bushland and Saunders beaches both have boat ramps and accommodation, while Toolakea and Toomulla beaches are popular with bird watchers and anglers.
At Rollingstone, don't miss the heritage walk and Railway Museum. Nearby is Balgal Beach, a popular fishing spot with easy access to the Palm Group of Islands.
Winding through Paluma Range National Park, the historic Mount Spec Road features beautiful stonework, especially the masonry arch bridge over Little Crystal Creek where you can enjoy a dip before driving through rainforest.
Further along Mount Spec Road, which was built by hand during the Great Depression, is Hidden Valley where you are sure to see platypus.
The road continues to Paluma, an historic village with cosy tea houses, arts and crafts and an historic walk.
Thornton's Gap crosses Herveys Range west of Townsville following the tracks that once led to the goldfields.
At the top, the oldest known building in North Queensland, the Eureka Hotel, has been restored and is now the Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms.
With amazing underground limestone caves and volcanic lava tubes this true adventure drive starts just an hour's drive from the coast at Mareeba and heads to the vast savannah plains of the great Australian outback.
At Dimbulah, you can take a detour to the historic former mining towns of Thornborough and Kingsborough to explore old cemeteries and see the well preserved Tyrconnell Gold Mine.
Nearby is Mount Mulligan, a dramatic escarpment known as Queensland's Uluru and the scene of the State's worst mining disaster.
If you're a train buff, stop at Almaden and join one of North Queensland's most unusual rail journeys aboard the Savannahlander railmotor.
Exploring the famous limestone caves and surrounding Australian scrub at Chillagoe is a must. Fish the Walsh River and visit the historic copper smelter ruins while there.
This trail is also your link to the fascinating Undara Volcanic National Park - home of lava tubes and gem fossicking. The remote park contains the remains of the Earth's longest flow of lava originating from a single volcano, occurring more than 190,000 years ago.
On the way back via Ravenshoe and Atherton, take a welcome rest at Innot Hot Springs to enjoy the waters' healing powers.
This drive is aptly named Western Heritage with western rural experiences and remnants of the gold rush heyday.
Along the Flinders Highway, Mingela's population may be small (about ten), but it's still a popular stop for those on their way to Charters Towers.
There are few historic town hearts as beautifully preserved as Charters Towers' One Square Mile, still proudly displaying some of the magnificent buildings and homes built during the flourishing gold rush days of the 1800s.
At Pentland see the historic railway station, Norwood Lockup, Burra Range Lookout, birdlife and the dry inland salt lake of Lake Buchanan.
Visit Dalrymple National Park and experience the changing landscapes from ancient geological formations dating back to the volcanic period to the salt lakes and natural springs of Fletcher Creek.
See parts of the former Dalrymple township, one of the first inland settlements in northern Australia.
One original track over Hervey's Range to the remote gold mining camps is still accessible through Thornton's Gap.
Once the Eureka Hotel provided a welcome rest stop at the top and the split log cabin circa 1865, one of the oldest buildings in North Queensland, has been restored as the Hervey's Range Heritage Tea Rooms.
Ghost stories and a giant carpet snake, coastal wonders and rugged mountains - you'll find it all on this drive from Townsville.
Bowling Green Bay National Park south of Townsville is almost 60,000 ha of such contrasts. In the park, Alligator Creek descends in a series of cascades, deep pools and waterfalls while Mount Elliot dominates the landscape at 1210 metres.
On the north side of the mighty Burdekin River, 85 kilometres south of Townsville, the prosperous community of Ayr is the Burdekin Shire's main town. This prime sugar country also contributes one-third of the nation's mango harvest. Don't miss, Gubulla Munda, the giant carpet snake sculpture at nearby Plantation Park. \n\nHome Hill, at the delta of the Burdekin River, is also a major sugarcane growing area. Drive south-west to Ravenswood, a wonderful example of a true ghost town. Once boasting 48 hotels and 5000 residents after the discovery of gold in 1868, the township was deserted after an industrial strike in 1912, and subsequently World War 1 in 1915. \n\nThere are just two gold mines in operation in the area, several historic buildings and legendary ghost stories. Stop at another historic town, Mingela, on your return journey to Townsville.
See nature at its very best on this waterfall trail. Just before Innisfail turn off to the Palmerston Highway, a gateway to the Atherton Tablelands.
Wind through the mountain range with spectacular lookouts and walking tracks along the way. The Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway gives you a close look at the World Heritage rainforest. Beautiful Millaa Millaa nestles in emerald hills surrounded by dairy farms and a circuit of waterfalls including Millaa Millaa Falls where you may see a platypus.
Included in the circuit are Zillie Falls and Elinjaa Falls which both have picnic and barbecue facilities. Picnic and swim at Malanda Falls, and spot fascinating wildlife including the elusive Lumholtz Tree-Kangaroo.
Yungaburra is a picturesque village with a streetscape largely unchanged since 1910, and the amazing Curtain Fig Tree only minutes away.
The remains of Atherton's Chinatown, dating back to the late 1800s, now feature at the community's restored place of worship, the Hou Wang Temple.
Enjoy great coffee and the mango wine at Mareeba and see the best of the region from a hot air balloon.
One of Kuranda's most treasured landmarks is the Barron River and its spectacular gorge which is home to the mighty Barron Falls.
Explore pretty beaches north of Townsville and drive the historic Mount Spec Road through Paluma Range National Park to Paluma to see arts and crafts.
Around Ingham you can see Mount Fox, a dormant volcano, Australia's longest permanent single-drop waterfall Wallaman Falls and the Tyto Wetlands with more than 230 species of birds.
Visit Cardwell's cultural precinct, take a trip to Australia's largest island national park, Hinchinbrook Island, and picnic at beautiful Murray Falls.
Go white water rafting at Tully and see the giant Golden Gumboot marking the town's record-breaking rainfall. You are sure to see a cassowary in the rainforest at one of the many walks around Mission Beach or kayak to Dunk Island to see colourful fish and coral.
Walk to the Great Barrier Reef at Kurrimine Beach then learn about the region's sugar history at the Australian Sugar Industry Museum at Mourilyan.
Admire Art Deco buildings at Innisfail, take in the view from the Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway along the Palmerston Highway and take a dip at the Babinda Boulders.
Access the islands of the Frankland Group National Park from Deeral and see Walshs Pyramid, one of the highest freestanding natural pyramids in the world, at Gordonvale.
Visit the Australian Sugar Industry Museum at Mourilyan, then do The Innisfail Town Walk to discover the Art Deco capital of Australia. From Cairns, travel on Kuranda Scenic Rail, an engineering feat of the 1880s involving up to 1500 men building the railway track, tunnels and bridges by hand.
The Atherton Tablelands became the largest military base in Australia hosting up to 300,000 troops during World War 2. Fly in an ex-military aircraft at Warbird Adventures at Mareeba Airport, pay your respects at the Rocky Creek War Memorial Park near Tolga and follow the memorial markers throughout the Tablelands.
Visit the century-old Hou Wang Temple at Atherton to discover the region's Chinese history.
Take the Heritage Walk though Herberton, the oldest town on the Tablelands, and visit Herberton Historical Village where restored shops, homes and businesses dating back to the 1870s have been filled with memorabilia.
Heritage-listed Irvinebank has architecture from the turn of the last century and Tyrconnell Mine features restored miners' cottages and a working 120-year-old gold ore stamper.
Explore what's left of the Mt Mulligan township where 75 miners died in a mining disaster under the shadow of the magnificent mountain known as Queensland's Uluru.
Visit turtles being cared for at Reef HQ Aquarium's Turtle Hospital in Townsville and see a colony of koalas at Magnetic Island.
nWatch platypus at Paluma, then venture out at night to see gliders, night spiders, possums, bettongs and owls come to life in the dark.
Stop at Cardwell jetty to see dugongs and watch for dolphins as you paddle a kayak from Mission Beach to Dunk Island.
Encounter a cassowary in the rainforest at Mission Beach and watch for the electric blue flash of the Ulysses butterfly.
On the new moon when the tides are low you can walk to the Great Barrier Reef from Kurrimine Beach to discover sea cucumbers and starfish.
Colourful king parrots and musky rat-kangaroos are often seen at Josephine Falls, while Eubenangee Swamp National Park has more than 190 bird species, as well as crocodiles in the Alice River. From Bramston Beach you can access the Russell River National Park with a 4WD to see spectacled flying-foxes roosting or canoe along Babinda Creek to spot fish, turtles and often platypus. Turn off at Deeral for a tour to the islands of Frankland Group National Park where you can snorkel with turtles and watch seabirds.
See the reef and the rainforest in a day with Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours at Cape Tribulation and a high-speed trip aboard Jet Sprinter to snorkel at Low Isles Reef. Look for the glint of a crocodile's eye on a night spotting tour in the Daintree rainforest.
Hurtle downhill in a huge zorb ball and explore old rainforest logging tracks on a quad bike at Daintree Station before ending the day with a view of the Coral Sea bungy jumping at AJ Hackett at Smithfield.
Take a boat from Cairns for Fitzroy Island to explore the coral on AquaJet, a water toy that speeds you along under the water. Eyeball a four-metre crocodile as you swoop over him on a flying fox in the heart of the city at Cairns Zoom.
Head south to Tully to raft white water as it thunders through the rainforest, then take to the sky the next day for a tandem jump from 14,000 feet on to the sand of Mission Beach.
Hit the throttle on a jet ski to Dunk Island to explore its beaches and rainforest, and then back on the mainland ride like the wind on a BloKart along the ocean's edge.
Admire Australia's highest single-drop waterfall, Wallaman Falls, at Girringun National Park near Ingham before driving to Cardwell to access Hinchinbrook Island, Australia's largest island national park.
Discover swimming holes and waterfalls, especially beautiful Murray Falls in Girramay National Park, around Cardwell.
Camp beside the mighty Tully River or go on a butterfly walk at Tully Gorge National Park.
Mission Beach is surrounded by national parks with Djiru and Clump Mountain national parks on the mainland and Family Islands National park centring around Dunk Island. Walk through a forest of fan palms, swim in a cool creek or admire the views from the summit of Mount Kootaloo on Dunk Island.
Woroonooran National Park is accessed along the picturesque Palmerston Highway, near Innisfail, with highlights including the Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway.
On the Atherton Tablelands there is a waterfalls circuit including Millaa Millaa Falls. Take a short side trip to Bromfield Swamp to see a variety of birds including brolgas and marvel at the eerie, green stillness of Hypipamee Crater.
Swim in the Crater Lakes of Eacham and Barrine, stand in awe of rainforest giants like the 1000-year-old twin kauri pines and see the Curtain Fig Tree at Yungaburra.
Share a kupmurri meal with the Nywaigi people at Mungalla Station near Ingham and sit under the stars listening to the didgeridoo.
Next stop is Girringun Art Centre before doing the Yalgay Ginja Bulumi walk at Murray Falls in Girramay National Park.
Join Ingan Tours at Tully to make a rainforest fibre bracelet on a tour of traditional Jirrbal land.
Cool off at the Babinda Boulders where the spirit a Yidinji woman is said to cry out for her lost lover.
In Cairns watch artists making prints under the guidance of an Indigenous arts industry pioneer at Canopy Artspace, a gallery featuring Queensland Indigenous artists.
Travel on Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for a personalised walking tour with the Djabugay people at Barron Falls.
In Kuranda learn why Aboriginal people paint their body at Rainforestation's Pamagirri Cultural Centre, then journey into the Dreamtime at Tjapukai by Night at Caravonica.
Experience a smoking ceremony at Mossman Gorge Centre and paint a boomerang at Janbal Gallery in Mossman.
Hunt mud crab with a spear on a Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tour at Cooya Beach and enjoy an Indigenous performance and dinner in the rainforest at Flames of the Forest near Port Douglas.
Discover black sapote fruit on a tour of Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm, then try it made into ice cream at Floravilla Ice-Cream Factory at the Cow Bay turnoff.
Cross the Daintree River and travel to Port Douglas to buy fresh prawns from a trawler and sample the town's world-class restaurants.
Head to the Atherton Tablelands via Kennedy Highway to Kuranda and indulge in home-made fudge, rock candy or local honey.
Tour a coffee plantation in Mareeba and visit a boutique winery where tropical fruits like mango are the main ingredient.
Stop at roadside stalls or visit a farmer's market to sample and purchase tropical produce.
Pick strawberries at Shaylee Strawberry Farm at Atherton, visit Nerada Tea Plantation at Malanda, try smoked red claw at Tarzali Lakes Smokehouse Café, and taste yoghurt and cheeses at Mungalli Creek Dairy in Millaa Millaa.
Travel the Palmerston Highway to Innisfail for cheese and cured meats at Oliveri's Continental Deli and follow the Canecutter's Way where country pubs, a European butcher and an old fashioned bakery will tempt you.
Try bush tucker wines at Murdering Point Winery at Silkwood and end your journey with fish and chips at Kurrimine Beach.
Combine Port Douglas and Cooktown with lush rainforest and adventure on this drive which includes a four-wheel drive adventure on the beautiful coastal Bloomfield Track.
From the fabulous restaurants and boutique shopping of Port Douglas it's only a short drive to Daintree Village where you can take a tour to spot crocodiles before catching the ferry over Daintree River.
Take time to stop at the many spectacular beaches and to explore the rainforest on your way to Cape Tribulation.
The Bloomfield Track crosses Bloomfield River to its spectacular falls, past the Aboriginal community of Wujal Wujal, the eclectic Lion's Den Hotel and mysterious Black Mountain on the way to Cooktown.
It is easy to spend days in historic Cooktown exploring its many museums and remnants of the gold rush days.
On the return journey you'll head inland to explore the diverse landscape along the Mulligan Highway to Lakeland.
Situated on the historic Palmer River, site of the original gold rush, the Palmer River Roadhouse boasts home cooked meals and a museum.
Turn into Mount Molloy to see the grave of explorer James Venture Mulligan before heading down the mountain range to Mossman and stunning Mossman Gorge.
You'll see natural wonders including Australia's widest waterfall and volcanic lava tubes on this drive from the high plateau of the Atherton Tablelands into the grasslands of the Gulf Savannah.
Start your journey at Ravenshoe, the highest town in Queensland where you will find the highest pub and railway station. Ravenshoe is also famous for Millstream Falls, the widest waterfall in Australia.
Stop at Innot Hot Springs to enjoy the thermal waters, then walk in the path of a volcano at the Undara Lava Tubes, formed by volcanic activity about 190,000 years ago.
Continue on to Georgetown with its restored historical buildings including the 1908 Shire Hall. Don't miss the magnificent mineral display at TerrEstrial.\nAnother mining relic is found 20 kilometres west of the town, the Cumberland Chimney, which is all that stands of the gold crushing plant.
Head south to Forsayth, one of the stops for the weekly tourist train The Savannahlander and see a serene hidden outback oasis, Cobbold Gorge, south of this township.
Visit Copperfield Gorge at Einasleigh before heading to The Lynd Junction. Stop at The Oasis Roadhouse and enjoy a drink at Queensland's smallest bar. From the Junction, head north to return to Ravenshoe.
The Atherton Tablelands is the ultimate one-stop destination for mountain biking with rainforest tracks, mountains and rolling fire roads to suit every rider level.
The Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park has easy trails suited to beginners as well as the new six kilometre blue level trail, Ridgey Didge.
For the experienced, Baldy Loop is a 20-40 kilometre ride on dirt roads to the top of the Great Dividing Range with stunning views across the Tablelands.
The Inner Wallum Loop consists of some spectacular climbs and descents that form part of the 2013 National Cross Country Marathon course.
If you prefer a flatter ride on bitumen, try The Ariga Loop, an epic ride to the northern edge of the Atherton Tablelands and the fringe of the drier Savannah country.
The Crater Loop is another bitumen ride of 60 kilometres to the volcanic crater of Mount Hypipamee National Park, while the 40-60 kilometre East Barron/Kairi Loop boasts views across the Atherton Tableland to Queensland's highest mountain, Mount Bartle Frere.
Nearby at Tinaroo, serious riders can tackle the 40-60 kilometre Kauri Creek/Mount Edith Loop taking in the shores of Lake Tinaroo and an epic 1212 metre climb to the top of Mount Edith.
Discover two contrasting mountain biking trails within an easy drive of each other, one in the rainforest on the coast, and the second on the Atherton Tableland.
Smithfield Trails has something for everyone with the rainforest trails ranging from the easy, designated by a green circle, to the double black diamond icon for experienced riders.
The downhill and cross-country trails wind through scrub, rainforest and pine forest in the foothills of the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics rainforest.
This great site at Smithfield Conservation Park will host the 2017 UCI World Mountain Bike and Trials Championships and the UCI Mountain Bike World Cups in 2014 and 2016.
It is accessed at McGregor Road, Smithfield between James Cook University and the AJ Hackett bungy jumping site.
For some different terrain, head up the Kennedy Highway to Davies Creek National Park where you will find an easy trail through grasslands and intermediate trails taking in rocky creek crossings and eroded fire trails.
This 15 kilometre loop through open eucalypt woodland can be split into three smaller rides with the closer trails easier for inexperienced riders.\nStop at the Transfield Carpark just 2.5 kilometres along the Davies Creek Road to access the trails.
Drive through the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area on a former logging trail, considered to be one of Queensland's great engineering feats, to the spectacular Blencoe Falls. The Kirrama Range Road in Girringun National Park has a long Indigenous and pioneering history, and features bridged creek crossings, a roadside waterfall and wide elevated views of the valleys. At Tuckers and Murray Valley Lookouts are signs detailing the history of the road.
Near Society Flat in Kirrama National Park is a bora ground (meeting place) where Indigenous tribes once met for initiations, unions, trade of goods and disputes. A boardwalk takes you past kauri pines and rose gums which were logged in the area, showing the difference between open woodland and dense rainforest as well as logged and unlogged areas.
The three-hour drive continues to Blencoe Falls which drop 90-metres into a pool before cascading a further 230-meetre into Herbert River Gorge. From the camping area, the five-kilometre Jabali walk goes to the Blencoe Falls and Herbert River Gorge lookouts. Nearby is The Wet Tropics Great Walk, a stunning multi-day hike following the Herbert River.
Continue the drive for two hours through cattle stations to Mount Garnet on the Upper Tablelands.
Travel from the resort town of Port Douglas through the Atherton Tablelands to the outback to see the world's longest lava tubes at Undara Volcanic National Park. Drive north from Port Douglas towards Mossman and turn left onto the Rex Range Road to access the Atherton Tablelands. At the top turn left onto the Kennedy Highway and drive through Mount Molloy.
The Mareeba Wetlands Nature Reserve at Biboohra, 10 kilometres before Mareeba, has tours of the wetlands and accommodation. Continue from Mareeba through Atherton to the Mt Hypipamee National Park and the Crater, a huge volcanic vent.\n\nNext is Ravenshoe, Queensland's highest town, and then Innot Hot Springs, a natural mineral spring. Sit in the the sandy creek and enjoy the hot water or stay at Innot Hot Springs Leisure and Health Park to experience their seven pools, each with different temperatures.
Follow the Kennedy Highway to Mount Garnet and drive through the Forty Mile Scrub National Park. Turn right onto the Gulf Development Road to join the Savannah Way. The turn-off to Undara is 18 kilometres along the road and goes through Whitewater Station on a sealed road for 14 kilometres to Undara Lava Lodge.
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