Guide Nature

How To Travel From Cairns To Daintree: The Queensland Road Trip

November 13, 2017
Queensland Road trip: Look Out

Once you come to the Northern parts of Queensland, it is very likely you will hire a car to get around. There are plenty of recommendations for things to do and places to go lurking on every corner. If you are like us and like to go places that are not advertised on hostel pamphlets, we put together this Queensland road trip itinerary for you.

Queensland Road Trip Day 1: Lakes And Swim Holes

Starting from Cairns, take the first day to explore the rainforests around the city. A great chance to do so is a drive to Lake Morris, hidden in the mountains right next to the city of Cairns. Once at the end of the road, there is a walking track that will get you to the Crystal Cascades in about one hour. You can have a swim in one of the swimming holes with very few people around. Drive for the night to Trinity Beach or Palm Cove.

Palm Cove has markets on the esplanade quite often, with live music, street food and all kinds of crafty stuff to buy. It is a tourist hotspot so accommodations are on the more pricey side. If you decide for Trinity Beach, you can take a sunset walk South of the town to the rocky shore. For dinner, we can only recommend the restaurant L’Unico (if you like Italian food), since the place is pretty small and has almost no other options. All along the beach, you can find BBQ facilities.


Queensland Road Trip Day 2: The Beaches

Day two of your Queensland road trip will take you further North. Continue along the Captain Cook Highway in the direction of Port Douglas. There are so many cool places to stop for pictures and even more for a swim. You are getting into the homeland of crocs and stinger jellyfish though, so make sure to ask someone about the situation before you run into the ocean. Big signs at every beach opening will also give you information on this. We recommend having lunch at the Port Douglas Surf Club. In the afternoon, you can take a walk along the main shopping street in town or along the 4 Mile Beach, whichever is closer to your heart ;-).

Queensland Road trip: Boats

Beautiful Beach Along The Coast From Cairns To Daintree

Queensland Road Trip Day 3: The Gorge And The Ferry

On this day you will finally arrive at Daintree to start a whole other adventure. But before that, please stop at the Mossman Gorge. There are a few walks through the rainforest, none of them too long or too difficult. There are also to swim holes in the gorge. The big one right at the beginning of the walking tracks is usually very busy. For a more quiet cooling experience follow the circuit walk and follow the signs the much smaller swim hole at the far end of this walk. It is well worth it. You can enter the Mossman Gorge by parking at the entrance and ride on the provided bus until you reach the boardwalk. Or you walk the distance that the bus drives and save some money that way 🙂

Queensland Road trip: Mossman Gorge Bridge

Lukas Posing On The Swinging Bridge In Mossman Gorge

Queensland Road trip: Mossman Gorge Swimhole

Jamie In The Smaller Mossman Gorge Swim Hole

After you are done exploring and continue driving North, you will turn off to the Cape Tribulation Road and head for the Daintree itself. There is only a small ferry ride separating you from the rainforests but it is rather pricey. If you return within three days you can get the ticket right away for both ways. Watch out while you cross, as there have been reported crocodile sightings in the river and you might take a lucky snap. 


This is obviously only one possible way to get to the Daintree rainforest. You can do it slower, faster, see different things or nothing at all. If you are interested in what you can actually do once you arrived at the Daintree rainforest, check out our Ultimate Daintree Guide 🙂


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Also published on Medium.

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