• The Great Barrier Reef Drive from Cairns to Cape Tribulation


    North Australia's Top Coastal Drive
  • Aerial photo of Cape Tribulation


    The Grand Finale To The Great Barrier Reef Drive
  • Coconut Beach near Cape Tribulation


    Remote Beach near Cape Tribulation

Explore The Great Barrier Reef Drive from Cairns to Cape Tribulation


The 140 km. journey from Cairns to Cape Tribulation is one of Australia's greatest coastal drives.

The Great Barrier Reef Drive takes you from the city to the jungle and shows you two World Heritage Areas, spectacular views over the Coral Sea, remote beaches that you often have all to yourself, villages like Port Douglas and Mossman, you can enjoy a refreshing swim and learn about Aboriginal culture in Mossman Gorge, spot crocodiles, cross the old fashioned cable ferry on the Daintree river, immerse yourself in the oldest rainforest in the world, meet a cassowary and finally reach your end destination at the small rainforest settlement of Cape Tribulation where you can take a rest and explore for a few days before heading back.

Where else in the world can you cruise a highway sandwiched between two World Heritage Areas and see resort towns, dozens of beaches, indigenous culture, two National Parks, crocodiles and cassowaries in your first few hours out of an international airport?

Places along the Great Barrier Reef Drive

From City To Jungle

The map above shows you the main locations along the way, but in between hide a lot of attractions; beaches, coral reefs, rainforest, stunning sea views, crocodiles, cassowaries, resort towns, historic villages, adrenaline pumping tours, markets, dining experiences...

Cairns City

The city of Cairns is for many the arrival and departure point of their north Queensland holiday. Most tourists quickly head out from here to see the nearby attractions of the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree rainforest, but the city has a few things to explore too

Cairns Northern Beaches

Cairns may not have much of a beach in the city centre but the Northern Beaches make up for it, between 10 and 25 minutes from the CBD are beach side suburbs with fantastic long wild beaches. Yorkeys Knob is conveniently close, Palm Cove is further out but very popular with sun seeking tourists.

Rex Lookout

A very popular stop between Cairns and Port Douglas with awesome views looking out over Wangetti Beach to the south. Hang gliders often hover over this area, try it for a thrill and even better views.

Port Douglas

A famous resort town with a long beach, lots of accommodation, bars, cafes and restaurants, popular Sunday markets, a wildlife park, and boats to take you out for fishing, sailing, snorkel and scuba diving tours.

Mossman Gorge

Just outside the sugar cane town of Mossman a river cuts its way through the rain forest providing a very scenic location for photographs and a refreshing swim, and the chance to learn about Aborginal culture and use of plants for food and medicine on a guided tour with an indigenous guide.

Daintree Village

If you don't do the right hand turn to the Daintree river ferry where you see the signpost for Cape Tribulation, then you will reach Daintree Village. This historic village has a range of croc spotting tours, some places to eat and sleep, and a timber museum where you can buy wooden arts and crafts and see old photos of the massive red cedar trees that once stood here. Nowadays the village is surrounded by fields with grazing cows so to see the famous Daintree rainforest you need to get across the Daintree river on the ferry

The Daintree Rainforest

This is where the real adventure begins! After you cross the crocodile infested Daintree river on this old fashioned cable ferry you are in deep jungle with no basic infrastructure like water or electricity supply, and the beauty of the ancient rain forest and the deserted beaches is simply breath taking. Along the way there are pristine deserted beaches and boardwalks in the National Park such as Jindalba, Marrdja, Dubuji and Kulki. Keep your speed down after the ferry, cassowaries are big and can unexpectedly step out on the road.

Cape Tribulation

The small rain forest village of Cape Tribulation is the end of the Great Barrier Reef Drive and you should spend a couple of days here in some of the amazing rainforest accommodation to take it all in; the ancient rain forest, the pristine beaches, the walking trails, the local tours like jungle surfing and snorkel tours to the reef, and spot some of the amazing animals like the endangered cassowary. There is some amazing rainforest accommodation, places to eat and drink, and a great range of eco-tours.



This drive takes you along the edge of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, but make sure you hop on a boat from Port Douglas or Cape Tribulation too so you can immerse yourself in this amazing world of wild coloured coral and tropical fish.


While you can see some rain forest in various places along the drive you definitely have to cross the Daintree river to see the real ancient Daintree rain forest, do some of the National Park board walks, swim in the pristine creeks, or book a guided tour in Cape Tribulation to learn more about it.


You can see cassowaries in zoos around the world but meeting a cassowary in the wild is an experience not to be forgotten. This ancient flightless bird has been walking the planet ever since all continents were still joined together as one and dinosaurs roamed the earth. The cassowary is listed as endangered but has been making a good comeback, and there is a fair chance you will see one in the Daintree if you spend a few days there.


If you love the beach then you will love the Great Barrier Reef Drive, there are dozens of stunning beaches to explore along the way, just in the Daintree there's ten of them already, and even in the busy season there is a good chance you will find one all to yourself.

There is an amazing variety of things to do and see along the Great Barrier Reef Drive, click here for more information
Tourist attractions in the Daintree


What ever you can imagine, you will find it along the Great Barrier Reef Drive. Exotic fruit wines, hang gliding, home made icecream, crocodiles, rainforest sculpture trail, tea, insect museum, cassowaries crossing the road, massage, jungle surfing, Aboriginal culture tours, helicopter rides, More info added soon on the multitude of attractions and sights to see.