Great Barrier Reef Drive

Multiple Locations

The Great Barrier Reef Drive from Cairns to Cape Tribulation is along spectacular coastline hugging two World Heritage areas, the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest.

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 4WD rainforest adventure, follow a food trail, or learn more about the Aboriginal people of the rainforest.

Journey Details

Duration
2.5 Hours
Distance
140 Kilometres

Full Itinerary

Cairns to Port Douglas

Leaving Cairns behind, head north past the northern beaches of Clifton beach, Trinity beach and Palm Cove. 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.

Driving north you pass through pretty Ellis Beach before the road hugs the coastline as it winds between rainforest clad mountains and the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. 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, Port Douglas 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 rainforest at Daintree and Cape Tribulation. Settle into your exclusive resort or spacious boutique apartment where everything is in close proximity.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Bus, Car, Four Wheel Drive, Motorcycle
Distance 140 kms
Route Type Return
Port Douglas to Mossman Gorge

The short drive from Port Douglas to Daintree Village offers the opportunity to learn about the Aboriginal people who have called the Daintree rainforest home for thousands of years. This 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.

You can visit an Indigenous gallery in Mossman, experience traditional hunting at nearby Cooya Beach or relax with an Indigenous spa treatment at Daintree Village.

The quaint township of 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.

Choose from a luxurious rainforest lodge, hidden holiday houses or cosy safari tents to immerse yourself in the rainforest.

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Bus, Car, Four Wheel Drive, Motorcycle
Distance 140 kms
Route Type Return
Mossman Gorge to Cape Tribulation

40 kilometres north of Mossman Gorge you will arrive at the Daintree River where the cable ferry transports you into the worlds oldest Rainforest. Continue the leisurely drive, pausing at lookouts for a glimpse of the Coral Sea as you wind your way past pretty beaches. Alexandra Lookout enjoys spectacular views of Snapper Island, Port Douglas and beyond and is located on the fringes of dense Daintree rainforest.

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. Spot turtles and dugongs as you kayak over the coastal reef, join a night tour to spotlight nocturnal animals or fly through the rainforest canopy on a flying fox.

The drive journey concludes at the only place in the world where dual World Heritage areas of the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef collide and is nothing short of spectacular. It is indeed the perfect climax to the completing of the Great Barrier Reef Drive.

Route Details
Mode of Travel 4x4, Bus, Car, Four Wheel Drive, Minibus, Motorcycle
Distance 140 kms
Route Type Return

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Child Island Dive Site

The Keppels,
Child Island is one of the most exciting dive sites at the Keppel Islands off Yeppoon. Being a fair distance offshore, Child Island is best dived when conditions are calm, but this site nearly always has the best visibility in the area.

Shelving Beach Dive Site

The Keppels,
The Keppel Islands off Yeppoon are a great place for divers to explore, but this area also has some wonderful snorkelling sites, with one of the most popular being Shelving Beach. Located at the south west corner of Great Keppel Island, Shelving Beach can be a little difficult to reach without a boat, but many visitors walk the bush track to explore this secluded spot.

Rosslyn Bay

Rosslyn, Livingstone Area
Protected from the elements behind an enormous volcanic outcrop, Rosslyn Bay is just seven minutes' drive south of Yeppoon on the beautiful Southern Great Barrier Reef. The steep volcanic outcrop that shelters the bay was formed over 70 million years ago and is one of the most fascinating geological formations in the area.

Great Keppel Island

Great Keppel Island,
Experience Oz and NZ ranked Great Keppel Island number six in Australia's Top 10 Islands to Experience 2017! The beaches on Great Keppel are really what set it apart from other islands. There are 17 pristine beaches on the island - many fringed with coral reefs, making this destination a dream holiday for those who love snorkelling or scuba diving.

Kinka Beach

Kinka Beach, Livingstone Area
With wide open beaches lapped by the calm, gentle waters of Keppel Bay, Kinka Beach, just 15 minutes’ drive south of Yeppoon, is the perfect seaside destination for families looking for an affordable getaway.

Egg Rock Dive Site

The Keppels,
Egg Rock is actually three rock pinnacles that rise from 30 metres to break the surface. Located in the Keppel Islands off Yeppoon, Egg Rock is always a reliable place to see schools of pelagic fish and other large marine life.

Man and Wife Rocks Dive Site

The Keppels,
There are many wonderful dive sites found around the Keppel Islands off Yeppoon, with one of the most popular sites being Man and Wife Rocks. These two rocky outcrops can be enjoyed by divers of any experience level, as there are shallow rocky reefs and walls dropping to 18 metres.

Bald Rock Dive Site

The Keppels,
Bald Rock is located at the eastern end of Great Keppel Island, off Yeppoon, and is a great spot for smaller marine life. The rocky reef around Bald Rock varies in depth from 6 metres to 15 metres, and divers will find plenty of gutters, ledges and small caves to explore.
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Note: Information on listed products and services are provided by the operator and were correct at the time of publishing. Rates are indicative based on the minimum and maximum available prices of products and services. Please visit the operator’s website for further information. All prices quoted are in Australian dollars (AUD).