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

Activities

  • Birdwatching
  • Camping
  • Cycling
  • Hiking/Trekking
  • Horseriding
  • Off Road Driving
  • Sailing
  • Scuba-Diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming

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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Elliott Heads Beach

Elliott Heads, Bundaberg Area
Free Entry
Elliott Heads is a 15 minute drive from Bundaberg Central Business District and is surrounded by rural cane and small crop farms. Elliott Heads offers swimming at the patrolled surf beach or drop your boat in for a fish at Riverview.

Mon Repos Turtle Centre, Mon Repos Conservation Park

Bundaberg, Bundaberg Area
Free Entry
No visit to Mon Repos is complete without a stop at the turtle centre. Here you’ll learn heaps about marine turtles, and the conservation and research programs that are protecting them. You'll also find out how a colourful history and ancient connections have shaped the Mon Repos you see today.

Bargara

Bargara, Bundaberg Area
You may be mistaken for thinking you have flown into a tropical paradise upon arrival at Bargara. Palm trees line the foreshore, the Southern Great Barrier Reef stretches out before you, and the climate is just like Hawaii - it's time to kick back and relax.

Coral Cove Beach

Coral Cove, Bundaberg Area
Free Entry
Just a short 20 minute drive from Bundaberg will get you to Coral Cove, the friendly and relaxed coastal town between Innes Park and Elliott Heads. Make sure you take time to explore the lagoon and waterway that runs parallel to the beach, you never know what type of birdlife and animals you might find.

Avoca

Avoca, Bundaberg Area
Avoca is one of the first suburbs you will drive through as you enter from the Bruce Highway into Bundaberg. It has one of the region's main shopping precincts with Sugarland Shoppingtown representing many of the larger retailers.

Oaks Beach

Burnett Heads, Bundaberg Area
Free Entry
Only 18 kilometres north east of Bundaberg you will find Oaks Beach - a small beach good for snorkelling, fishing, rock walking or swimming. There is also a 200 metre stretch of beach perfect for surfing.

The Hummock

Calavos, Bundaberg Area
Situated off the road to Bargara is the low-lying volcanic remnant known as The Hummock which, although only 96 metres above sea-level, offers visitors good views over the whole area. The ocean is visible to the east while, to the west, the sugar fields can be seen encircling the city with the smoke stacks of the Bundaberg Distillery and Mill on the horizon.

Elliott Heads

Elliott Heads, Bundaberg Area
You can take in nearly every picturesque vista imaginable on your journey to Elliott Heads - small crops, sugarcane, rural settings with cows and paperbark trees all feature along the road to your beachside destination.

MV Karma Shipwreck

Bundaberg, Bundaberg Area
Christmas came early to divers in the Bundaberg area in December 2003, when a 42 metre long gravel barge sank off the coast north of the city. That ship was the MV Karma and today it rests in 26 metres of water and is one of the best wreck dives in Queensland.

Barolin Rocks Dive Site

Bargara, Bundaberg Area
Free Entry
Head to the Woongarra Marine Park on the outskirts of Bundaberg to find some of the most brilliant and easy-to-access shore diving in Queensland. There's something different everywhere you look - turtles, rays, sea snakes, nudibranchs, moray eels, a wide variety of reef fish and coral and even wobbegong sharks.
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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).