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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Bush Tucker Garden

Richmond, Richmond Area
Free Entry
Wander through the Bush Tucker Garden and be educated on the regions native plants and their traditional purposes. Situated on the banks of Lake Fred Tritton, the garden offers a quiet retreat for bird watching.

Betoota

Diamantina Area
Betoota stands alone on a vast gibber plain, 170 kilometres east of Birdsville. While Betoota is mainly a ghost town, it comes alive twice a year for the annual Horse and Motorbike Gymkhana and the Betoota Races.

Undara Experience

Mount Surprise, Etheridge Area
From AU$58 - 60
Only three and a half hours from Cairns in Tropical North Queensland's Gulf Savannah lies a land so different in contrasts - the Undara Volcanic National Park. Undara is a pristine wilderness possessing one of the oldest and best preserved lava tube systems anywhere on Earth.

Einasleigh

Einasleigh, Etheridge Area
Einasleigh in the 21st century is only a small community - there are no shops however there is a hotel where you can purchase food. You can also top up fuel here or get food from the roadside caravan takeway, under a massive tamarind tree thought to be more than a century old.

Whitsunday Region

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
In the heart of Queensland's Great Barrier Reef lie the Whitsundays, 74 islands floating like jewels in the tropical waters of the Coral Sea. Discovering the Great Barrier Reef is one of life's must-dos and it's easily accessible from Airlie Beach or directly from the islands.

Forsayth

Forsayth, Etheridge Area
Sometimes history is more bizarre than fiction. Forsayth was once paved in gold - in a manner of speaking. Part of the Etheridge Goldfield, this area was known as 'Poor Man's Goldfield' as a prospector did not need expensive equipment to search for gold.

Cannonvale

Cannonvale, Whitsunday Area
Just three minutes to the west of the tourist hot spot of Airlie Beach you’ll find its quieter, less known, but just as beautiful cousin Cannonvale. A perfect place to base the family, Cannonvale is conveniently located close to all the sights and sounds the Whitsundays has to offer.

Boathaven Beach

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
It's not every day that a town gets a new beach, but Airlie Beach is proud to announce the opening of the brand new Boathaven Beach! Part of the new Port of Airlie development, Boathaven Beach is situated on the new peninsula known as The Beacons, and boasts 60,000 cubic metres of soft, white sand, a northerly aspect and is the area's first true all-tide beach.

Conway National Park

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Conway National Park is a peaceful coastal park with rainforest-clad hills, secluded beaches and panoramic outlooks over the scenic Whitsunday area. This park includes the rainforest-clad Conway Peninsula and protects the largest area of lowland tropical rainforest in Queensland outside Tropical North Queensland.

Cedar Creek Falls

Proserpine, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
You will find Cedar Creek Falls about half way between Airlie Beach and Proserpine on Saltwater Creek Road. Set in a natural rock amphitheatre, you will enjoy spectacular waterfalls in the wet season and abundant flora and fauna including majestic white cedar trees, Alexandra Palms, wild orchids, colourful butterflies and many beautiful birds.
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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).