|Trip Length: 7 days Total Distance: 580 km Road Conditions: All sealed roads|
Few places on earth can match the beauty and sophistication of a Tropical North Queensland holiday - where the rainforest meets the reef. This 7 day adventure is part of the Great Tropical Drive and will take you to the very best of the tropics.
Take to the water and explore the natural attraction of the Great Barrier Reef. Head north to the glamorous seaside village of Port Douglas on your way to the superb tropical rainforest of the Daintree-Cape Tribulation coast - the only place in the world where two World Heritage areas exist side by side.
Continue on your tropical journey through the rolling countryside of the Cairns Highlands and finally relax and enjoy the palm-fringed southern beaches - each day revealing a new picture postcard.
|Cairns to Cape Tribulation||2 hrs 40 mins||145 kms|
|Cape Tribulation to Atherton||2 hrs 25 mins||135 kms|
|Atherton to Mission Beach||2 hrs 10 mins||160 kms|
|Mission Beach to Cairns||2 hrs 10 mins||140 kms|
The best place to start a Tropical North Queensland holiday is snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. Full-day cruises depart daily from Cairns City Wharf. In the evening you can take a leisurely stroll around the city and see how the colonial architecture merges with gracious parks, international standard restaurants, boutique shopping and modern art galleries.
The next day, twenty minutes or so north of Cairns, the highway drive hugs the coastline. Stop for lunch at Port Douglas, the famous seaside town where you can enjoy a village atmosphere and some great beachside dining experiences.
Continue north to the Daintree National Park. It takes less than five minutes to cross the Daintree River by ferry, but on the other side you enter an entirely new tropical world.
At Cape Tribulation accommodation is available in luxury resorts, guest houses and camping facilities.
To get a true perspective of the magnificent rainforest visit the Daintree Rainforest Environmental Centre. Here, touch-screen technology provides a detailed explanation of the region's flora, fauna, ecology and evolution. The 23-metre high Canopy Tower provides possibly the best above-ground-level views of rainforest available anywhere. Each level has its own large viewing platform, and at the top, the view across the forest canopy is dramatic. It's a photographer's dream.
Head back down the road, crossing the Daintree River again. If time allows take a Daintree River cruise and spot some crocodiles if you're lucky. Continuing south, take the turn-off to Mareeba along the picturesque Developmental Road, passing through Mount Molloy. Sitting atop a plateau rising, 1000 metres above sea level, is the farm and grazing landscape of the 'Highlands' known as the 'food bowl' of the north-western tropics. Arriving in Mareeba, you can taste locally grown espresso coffee and see the amazing diversity of wetland birdlife in the wild at Mareeba Wetlands, about 13 kms north of Mareeba near the town of Biboohra.
At the southern edge of Atherton town you'll find one of the tableland's major attractions, the Platypus Park. Here you'll find a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of a wild platypus. Stay overnight in Atherton.
Head off early down the Range towards Innisfail, taking a short stop at Millaa Millaa Falls on the way. It's easy to pass through Innisfail on the way to Mission Beach, without realising you're in one of Australia's largest sugar-producing towns. Guided walking tours are conducted daily.
Continue south to Mission Beach. Hugging the coast for about 15kms, Mission Beach takes in a handful of villages from Garners Beach in the north to Kennedy Bay in the south. Stretch your legs on the 1.5 km Ulysses Link Walking Track, which winds its way along the breathtaking Mission Beach foreshore. You'll find a range of accommodation close to rainforests and beautiful beaches.
Spend a day relaxing in Mission Beach or experience the thrill of white water rafting on the Tully River. Rafting companies operate daily and provide transfers from Mission Beach. The nearby Misty Mountains Trails (15 kms from Tully) will challenge even the best bush walker. If sightseeing is more your thing, take a drive to Paronella Park (47kms from Mission Beach) a crumbling Spanish castle at Mena Creek. Paronella Park appears to be hundreds of years older than its true age creating the image of a lost paradise and fantasy garden hidden in the depths of the rainforest!
On the way back north to Cairns drop into the El Arish Pub on the Bruce Highway for a counter meal - but be warned - the walls are covered with historical photos of local boar hunting expeditions!
* Please note: These rates are indicative based on the minimum and maximum costs only. To obtain a firm price from the provider, please use the contact the operator. All prices are quoted in Australian dollars.
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