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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Ravensbourne

Ravensbourne, Toowoomba Area
Perched on the edge of the Great Dividing Range, Ravensbourne was a traditional bush tucker refreshment stop for Aboriginal people en route to and from the Bunya Mountains nut festivals. Punctuated by patches of rainforest, the drive to Ravensbourne along the winding Esk-Hampton road is one of the regions prettiest drives.

Highfields

Highfields, Toowoomba Area
Just a short drive north of Toowoomba along the New England Highway is Highfields, a blooming community with many unique and specialised art and craft stores. Beautiful parks, delightful walking tracks, lovely cafes and an historic village make this a lovely spot to spend a day or two.

Crows Nest Falls

Crows Nest, Toowoomba Area
Free Entry
Weeping bottlebrush, river she-oak and forest red gum line watercourses while dry vine scrubs grow in sheltered gullies where soil and moisture accumulate at Crows Nest Falls, a prominent feature of Crows Nest National Park, located about a half-hour drive from Toowoomba.

Hampton

Hampton, Toowoomba Area
At the top of the escarpment on the Great Dividing Range, Hampton is a picturesque village surrounded by forests and striking natural beauty. At 715 metres above sea level, it's the heart of the high county and home to a thriving arts community.

Spring Bluff

Spring Bluff, Toowoomba Area
Spring Bluff is a beautiful valley tucked in the ranges north of Toowoomba and best known for its picturesque railway station. Spring Bluff Railway Station is a heritage listed site located on the main railway line between Ipswich and Toowoomba.

Cabarlah

Cabarlah, Toowoomba Area
Further along the highway is Cabarlah, it's a great spot for a good country pub meal at the Farmers Arms Tavern, one of the longest continually licensed pubs in Queensland. Nearby is the original railway station master’s house which now is home to Colours of San Cris;

Southern Queensland Country

Toowoomba, Toowoomba Area
Just 90 minutes’ drive from Brisbane, our unique region is the only Queensland destination to offer truly seasonal experiences. From Stanthorpe in the south to Kingaroy in the north, and from Toowoomba as far west as St George, you can savour crisp country air, award-winning wines and fresh seasonal produce.

Meringandan

Meringandan, Toowoomba Area
Meringandan sits amongst the valleys just off the New England Highway, between Toowoomba and Crows Nest, nestled at the gateway to Cooby Dam. Meringandan and its neighbouring community, Meringandan West, are a quiet detour from the busy highway.

Picnic Point Lookout And Parkland

Toowoomba, Toowoomba Area
Free Entry
Don't miss the panoramic views from Toowoomba's heritage-listed Picnic Point Lookout and Parkland - 160-acres perched high on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, overlooking Main Range and the Lockyer Valley.

Toowoomba

Toowoomba, Toowoomba Area
Crisp winter air, knee-deep autumn leaves, clear summer days and a riot of colour in spring; nowhere else in Queensland will you experience all four seasons as distinctively as right here. Just 90 minutes from Brisbane, Toowoomba crowns the edge of the Great Dividing Range 700 metres above sea level, overlooking the Lockyer Valley.
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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).