What is there to see between Cairns and Cape Tribulation?

What is there to see between Cairns and Cape Tribulation?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 10/11/2022

Reading time: 4 mins

A direct drive from Cairns north to Cape Tribulation will take under 3 hours, but the direct route would have you missing out on some of Far North Queensland’s best natural sights and attractions.

There is so much beauty and incredible nature to explore in tropical Queensland. Cairns to Cape Tribulation could easily be stretched out to a multi-day trip when you go at your own pace. We’ve broken down the must-see places along the way, kicking off in the cheerful city of Cairns.

Cairns City

The second largest city in Far North Queensland and a hub for tourism, Cairns is the best spot to begin your journey. The city itself is filled with bars and cafes lining the esplanade, laid-back locals, and bustling weekend markets. The marina has you a stones-throw away from the world-famous Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef

The world’s best coral reef runs along the north-east coast of Australia. Tours depart daily from Cairns and Port Douglas and will allow you to snorkel and dive amongst the colourful and impressive coral and marine life. The crystal-clear waters are home to favourites like sea turtles and clownfish.

For a unique spin on your day on the reef, visit the Sunlover pontoon at Moore Reef. This massive floating pontoon is fantastic for families. A waterslide directly into the welcoming waters, a touch pool, sundecks, and glass bottom viewing areas. You can snorkel in the lagoon or stay dry on the pontoon.

Green Island and Fitzroy Island

Two small islands located on the Great Barrier Reef and easily accessible via boat or helicopter. Spend the day strolling along the pristine beach, paddle boarding or kayaking in the calm waters or snorkelling offshore over the incredible reef system. If you prefer to stay on land, stroll through the lush forest or relax on the beach before heading back to the mainland.


Often referred to by locals as the ‘village in the rainforest,’ Kuranda -25km north of Cairns – is a lush town surrounded by tropical forest and an abundance of wildlife. The historic Scenic Railway will take you through Baron Gorge, and the Skyrail Cableway sees you gliding above the tall rainforest canopy. Visit Birdworld or Koala Gardens for your wildlife fix or stroll through the town and stop in for a coffee at a café.

Port Douglas

Small but full of energy, Port Douglas is a chic tropical paradise on the way to Cape Tribulation. Stroll along the stunning 4 Mile Beach, shop along the main street at boutique stores, and enjoy a meal and a refreshing drink at the many eateries when it’s time to stop and relax. You are in the perfect spot to carry onto the Daintree Rainforest.

Mossman Gorge

Get lost and immerse yourself in nature at Mossman Gorge. Walking trails, trickling waterfalls and greenery for miles. Embrace the crisp air of the rainforest and keep an eye out for wildlife as you make your way through. Visit the Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre to take part in a self-guided or Dreamtime Walk led by a local indigenous guide.

Daintree Rainforest

The world’s oldest rainforest boasts a rich and unique ecosystem. Spend hours strolling through the wet tropics and embrace the chance to reconnect with nature. Learn about the traditional custodians of the land – the Kuku Yalanji – spot crocodiles on a river cruise, hike through the forest or enjoy a spa experience. The Daintree Discovery Centre is home to a treetop walk and interactive exhibits.

Cape Tribulation

At long last we have reached Cape Tribulation. Visit the picture-perfect beach (for strolling, not swimming) which sits directly alongside the Daintree Rainforest. You can reach the Great Barrier Reef from here, experience a horse ride along the sand, or bushwalk in and out of forest and beach. Guided tours are the best way to learn about the diverse flora and fauna.

Tropical Queensland is a beautiful and rich part of Australia to explore. Take your time in each location, chat with locals and experience the culture. If short on time, join a guided and inclusive tour of the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns or the Daintree and Cape Tribulation.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.