Day 1 - Cairns to Cape Tribulation (145 kms)
Pick up your Avis intermediate automatic sedan rental car at the Cairns City Depot or Cairns Airport Depot and commence your drive north to Cape Tribulation. Travel north along the Captain Cook Highway perhaps stopping for lunch at Port Douglas. Pass though the town of Mossman and, following the signs to Cape Tribulation, you will reach the departure point for the ferry that will take you across the Daintree River (Ferry fare is not included in the cost).
Continue straight along Bailey Creek Road and onto Cape Tribulation Road.
Port Douglas, once a fishing village, is now one of the leading tourist towns in Far North Queensland due mainly to its proximity to the wonders of the reef and the rainforest and its superb year-round climate. All the natural beauty is supported by numerous restaurants, delightful shops, luxury hotels and resorts and historic Queenslander buildings. What should not be missed is a visit to the award-winning Rainforest Habitat which gives a taste of life within the rainforest environment.
Mossman Gorge is one of the most popular places to visit. The Gorge is set in some of the best rainforest in North Queensland, with good walking tracks and great swimming holes. Mossman Gorge is one of the most accessible places to really experience what a rainforest is like. There is abundant wildlife in the Gorge and if you look carefully you may see a Boyd’s Rainforest Dragon sunning itself on a mossy rock.
Daintree is nestled in the heart of the Daintree River catchment basin, entirely surrounded by the rainforest-clad McDowall Ranges. The area has an abundance of native plant-life, birds, exotic tropical butterflies and Australia’s pre-historic reptile, the estuarine crocodile that can be seen lurking in the mangrove-lined creeks and tributaries of the Daintree River. Several cruises operate on the Daintree River offering passengers a leisurely tour to observe the beauty of the river and rainforest, and enjoy morning or afternoon tea.
Cape Tribulation is one of the truly magnificent areas of Australia. Enjoy the lush tropical rainforests, crystal clear swimming creeks, long sandy beaches and plenty of things to see and do. There are magnificent, wide beaches with very clear, blue water. The rainforest joins the sandy beaches making it unique as an area where two World Heritage areas meet. Cape Tribulation has a special feel to it and those people that love nature and the outdoors will really enjoy this National Park.
Hotel: Cape Tribulation Beach House (Standard) or Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa (Deluxe).
Day 2 - Cape Tribulation
Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore the Cape Tribulation area. The resort can arrange River Wildlife Cruises, river fishing, rainforest walks, horse riding and bike riding.
Day 3 - Atherton Tablelands (135 kms)
Head south crossing the Daintree River again. Continuing south journey along the picturesque Developmental Road, passing through Mount Molloy, Mareeba and on to Yungaburra.
Atherton is the ‘capital’ of the Tropical Tablelands, a land of beautiful lakes, waterfalls, rich red soil and tropical rainforest. Here the temperature is cooler, the pace is slower and there is a feeling of relaxation in the air. Atherton has become the regional centre and is home to quaint shops and galleries and traditional Queensland pubs.
Yunguburra is a picturesque and very quaint town located in the middle of the Lakes district of the Tablelands. Close by are scenic attractions like Lake Barrine, Lake Eacham and the Curtain Fig Tree.
Lake Barrine, in Crater Lakes National Park, is a maar: a crater lake formed by volcanic explosions. The surrounding rainforest is typical of that found on fertile red basalt soils in high rainfall areas. In several places, large kauri pines emerge through the canopy – a species that dominated the tableland forests over thousands of years. Take the 5km track around the lake, pausing to view the two giant kauris. Some of the many animals that inhabit the park, including the colourful Boyd’s forest dragon, amethystine python and eastern water dragon, can sometimes be seen from the track. Lake cruises operate from the teahouse.
Lake Eacham is also in Crater Lakes National Park and like Lake Barrine is a maar surrounded by rainforest. Differences in soil type, drainage or past disturbances have shaped the forest and resulted in varied rainforest communities. Go for a swim – or relax in the shady picnic area. Walk the 3km lake circuit track, where you may be lucky enough to see an Australian mammal that is active only during the day: the musky rat-kangaroo.
Hotel: Atherton Blue Gum (Standard) or Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat (Deluxe).
Day 4 - Atherton Tablelands
Today is free to explore the Atherton Tablelands and its surrounds. Step back in time and visit the Historic Village Herbeton to learn more about Australia’s pioneering past and cultural history or indulge in the regions gourmet delights inlcuding the spirits of Mt Uncle Distillery or the fresh produce at Mareeba’s Coffee Works.
Day 5 - Mission Beach (160 kms)
Head off early down the Range towards Innisfail, taking a short stop at Millaa Millaa Falls on the way. Continue south to Mission Beach. Hugging the coast for about 14kms, Mission Beach takes in a handful of villages from Garners Beach in the north to Kennedy Bay in the south.
Millaa Millaa is an Aboriginal word meaning plenty of water or waterfall and this is as true as ever as some of the most beautiful waterfalls are within a few minutes drive of the town. Millaa Millaa is just one of the many picturesque waterfalls found on Cairns’ Waterfall Curcuit – be sure to also visit nearby Zillie and Ellinjaa Falls.
Mission Beach is a relaxed, yet vibrant beachfront town with over 14 kilometres of magnificent golden sandy beaches. Here two World Heritage areas, The Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest, come together to form a tropical paradise. In many places, the rainforest literally fringes stretches of pristine golden beach, giving the destination reputation as an ideal natural holiday choice.
Tully is a small town that has the reputation of being one of the wettest towns in Australia. With all that rain, the nearby Tully River is one of the best places in Australia to go white water rafting. The Tully River has excellent rapids that range from Grade Three to the more challenging Grade Four.
Hotel: Castaways Resort & Spa (Standard) or Castaways Resort & Spa (Deluxe).
Day 6 - Mission Beach
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!
Day 7 - Cairns (140 kms)
Depart Mission Beach today via the Bruce Highway and head towards Cairns via the town of Innisfail.
7 day Self Drive - from £612
- Upgrade to the Deluxe Self Drive from £275
- Add extra nights in Cairns before or after your self drive from £36
- Add a Great Barrier Reef Day Cruise from £149