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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Burleigh Head National Park

Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Discover a wild, natural headland in the heart of the Gold Coast that offers walks along the rocky foreshore and through rainforest, and the chance to see whales in spring and sea-eagles soaring along the coast.

Tallebudgera Valley

Tallebudgera Valley, Gold Coast Area
Its formal name is Tallebudgera Valley but in true Aussie minimalist style, you'll probably hear locals around these parts refer to it as the Tally Valley. However you prefer to wrap your mouth around it, this lush valley at the back of Tallebudgera Beach leads you into emerald-green farmland and natural forests and the relaxed ambience for which the southern Gold Coast is renowned.

Palm Beach

Palm Beach, Gold Coast Area
If the Gold Coast had a middle child it would possibly be Palm Beach, nestled between Tallebudgera Creek on one side and Currumbin Creek on the other. But don't for one minute think this destination is dull.

Currumbin

Currumbin, Gold Coast Area
The coastal nook of Currumbin on the Southern Gold Coast is a haven of pristine beaches and calm waterways attracting surfers and SUP enthusiasts by the dozen. Swim in the sheltered waters of Tallebudgera Creek and the Currumbin Rock Pools and test your balance kite-surfing or kayaking.

Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast Area
Situated between glistening Surfers Paradise and laid back Coolangatta, Burleigh Heads is famous for pumping surf breaks, towering pine trees and 'to be seen' hip dining. Hit the Burleigh foreshore any day of the week, a hive of families and roaming entertainment, to make use of the water's edge barbecues with fresh produce from the farmers' market.

David Fleay Wildlife Park

West Burleigh, Gold Coast Area
From AU$22.95 - 56.80
David Fleay Wildlife Park, on Tallebudgera Creek near Burleigh Head, on Queensland's Gold Coast, is a wildlife park with a difference! You can stroll through natural habitats and visit a nocturnal house to see some of Australia's most iconic wildlife.

Palm Beach Reef Dive Site

Gold Coast, Gold Coast Area
Free Entry
Palm Beach Reef, located close to its namesake beach on the Gold Coast, is a large reef of varying depths, perfect for any diver. With sections of the area as shallow as five metres, and other sections dropping to depths of 24 metres, there are lots of different environments here 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).