Cairns to Cape Tribulation Road Trip

The Tropical North of Queensland is possibly one of the most enchanting areas in Australia. The ocean is home the the world’s biggest reef systems, the Great Barrier Reef and then along the coastline is Daintree, the oldest rainforest in the world.


During our stay in Cairns we knew visiting the tropical rainforest of Daintree was a must. We researched a number of options on how to do this. The options were an organised tour or hire a car. We decided to rent a car as it gave us flexibility and we could travel at our own pace.


The journey took around 3 hours from Cairns to Daintree without any stops but we took a more relaxed pace. We stopped many times to take in the breathtaking views of the pristine beaches and torquise water surrounded by the lush green rainforrest. The road north follows the coast and is well sign posted at each turn.

We stopped off in Port Douglas to explore this small town and have some lunch. We had heard great things about a local multi award winning pie shop. Mocka’s Pies has been running shop since 1969 in Port Douglas and is a favourite for locals and tourists a like. All their pies are made from scratch with the freshest ingredients. They has something for everyone, meat pies, veggie pies and dessert pies too.


Back on the road we continued north stopping off for some nice photos at the different lookout points. To reach Daintree rainforest we had to get a ferry across the Daintree river. The drive-in rope guided ferry runs every 30 minutes and costs $25 return per vehicle.


After crossing you are in Daintree Rainforest, the landscape changed. We were no longer on the coastal roads, but now on the winding roads of the rainforest. We followed the road along stopping at some stunning view points, such as the Mt Alexandra lookout.

We stayed in Daintree rainforest for one night at Crocodylus eco resort. Crocodylus is centrally located in Cow Bay and was the perfect location to explore Daintree and Cape Tribulation.

The accommodation is safari style huts located in the resorts own 21 acre rainforest. There was a fan to proved air-con and a mosquito net around the bed to prevent any bites during the night. The only outlet source is in the dinning area where you can charge your devices and the accommodation has no wifi, the digital detox was refreshing.


After getting settled in to our hut we explore the local area and visited Cow Bay Beach. We took a long walk along the beach taking in the beautiful sights and sounds of the nature surrounding us. When visiting Northern Queensland swimming in the ocean is not allowed due to the risk of crocodile attacks. However Daintree rainforest is one to many fresh water swimming holes where it is perfectly safe to swim in.


We had an early night and fell asleep enjoying the sounds of nature all around us. At Crocodylus you are truly in the rainforest. As we lay in bed we could hear the sounds of nature surrounding us, we really felt immersed.


The next morning we headed down to Cow Bay beach for a morning walk before we checked out and headed north for Cape Tribulation. 

Next stop was Thornton Beach where we had the entire beach to ourselves. It was so quiet and peaceful.

We then stopped off at Marrdji Boardwalk which was one of the most interesting walks we did in Daintree rainforest. The boardwalk is 540m and follows the creek through the rainforest where it leads to a lookout point over Noah Creek.

Next was a quick dip in Mason’s swimming hole. Don’t be fooled by the warm climate, this pristine water was freezing!! For lunch there is a cafe near the swimming hole called Mason’s Cafe, they are well known for their burgers.


After cooling off at the swimming hole we visited Dubuji Boardwalk. This 1.2km boardwalk curves through the large trees of the rainforest, shaded by the many species of flora. We followed the boardwalk which lead us to another boardwalk taking us to Myall Beach.

The final stop before we had to turn around and drive south to Cairns was Cape Tribulation. This mini village situated in Daintree National Park. We explored the area and the stunning beach.


After exploring the natural wonders of Cape Tribualation we began our journey south heading for Cairns. We went to the ferry to cross the Daintree river. On the way back to Cairns we decided to stop one final time in a small town called Mossman.

This place is home to the famous Mossman Gorge. We parked at the visitors centre where we paid $8.90 for a shuttle bus to take us to the centre of the Gorge. Mossman Gorge provides visitors with insight into the lives and culture of Indigenous People of Australia and their connection to the natural environment.


We then made the journey back to Cairns to drop off our rental car. Visiting a rainforest and sleeping in the midst of nature was an experience we will not forget. If you are visiting Cairns we highly recommend you experience it for yourself 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Cairns to Cape Tribulation Road Trip

  1. I stayed at Crocodylus nearly 20 years ago, back when it was a hostel not an eco resort! It has made me smile to think it’s still going strong. I have great memories of my stay though, and it is like no other hostel I stayed at in Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

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