Cape Tribulation Self Drive Tours

The drive from Cairns or Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest is one of Australia's most impressive drives.

On leaving Cairns you being the journey through Smithfield and pass by the Cairns Northern Beaches communities of Machans Beach, Holloways Beach, Yorkeys Knob, Trinity Beach and Palm Cove. If you are planning to overnight in Cape Tribulation a visit to Palm Cove or Trinity Beach is recommended. The next beach area you come to is Ellis Beach which is one of the most impressive beaches in Northern Queensland, the 1 km plus stretch of beach is lined with palm trees and some basic tourist facilities and a caravan park. Ellis Beach is the place to go if you want to escape the crowds of the Northern Queensland beaches.

Once leaving Ellis Beach you head towards Port Douglas, this section of road offers amazing views of the rainforest mountains on one side and the Coral Sea on the other. A most stop spot is Rex Lookout which offers views back towards Cairns. This is a great spot to relax and take a break before driving on.

After approx 1hrs driving from Cairns you reach the turn off for Port Douglas, here you can venture into Port Douglas or continue onto Mossman and Mossman Gorge, which is another must stop location on the way to Cape Tribulation. Mossman Gorge is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Cairns and Northern Queensland. Located in the Daintree National Park, Mossman Gorge offers tropical rainforest walks and a mountain river perfect for swimming.

Beach near Port Douglas on the way to Cape TribulationAfter leaving Mossman Gorge you will continue towards the Daintree River, your travels will take you through cane fields and farming land. After approx 45 min's drive you will arrive at the Daintree River Ferry which is one of the only cable ferry's left in Australia. The ferry operates daily from 6 am to 12 midnight, cost is approx $20 return for cars.

After crossing the Daintree River you head towards Cape Kimberley and Cow Bay. This part of journey offers lowland and tropical rainforest. As you make the final part of the journey to Cape Tribulation you will pass numerous tourist attractions, accommodation options, camping grounds and tropical beaches and some small stores. Be sure to keep your eyes open for the signs as most attractions do require leaving the main road.

A 4WD is not required to travel to Cape Tribulation but the Bloomfield Track which starts on the Northern side of Cape Tribulation is a 4WD only track.

Note: Care needs to be taken in the wet season and after heavy rains as water does cover the road in some places and you should take care crossing any such sections.

Recommend Day Tour Itinerary
8.00 - Leave Cairns or Cairns Northern Beaches.
9.00 - Leave Port Douglas if staying there.
9.30 - Visit Mossman Gorge.
10.30 - Daintree River Cruise.
11.30 - Daintree Discovery Centre.
1.00 - Lunch at Coconut Beach Resort or similar local restaurant. Or enjoy a packed lunch under the tropical rainforest canopy.
2.30 - Explore Cape Tribulation Beach and Board Walks.
4.00 - Leave Cape Tribulation for Cairns, Northern Beaches or Port Douglas
5.30 - Arrive Port Douglas
6.30 - Arrive Cairns or Northern Beaches.

Note: This is only a suggested itinerary and we recommend you research and customize the activities to your interests. An overnight trip is strongly suggested if time is available to explore and enjoy Cape Tribulation.