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The Tour Specialists Tour Blog

Apr 05

Tropical North Queensland – Self Drive

Posted on April 5, 2018 by

Great Barrier Reef Drive – Photo Courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland

A drive along one of Queensland’s most scenic routes should be on everyone’s bucket list… Join us on our Great Barrier Reef Drive!

For a typical, tropical journey, start in Cairns, drive north along the Captain Cook Highway and over the Barron River towards the northern beaches this is where you will find the seaside village of Palm Cove.

Cairns City – Photo Courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland

This laid back destination is a lovely place to pause for its intimate village atmosphere with shops, boutiques, resorts and world-class restaurants overlooking its sandy beach, ideal for swimming.

The Northern Beaches and Palm Cove are fantastic locations for family holidays… you feel miles away but still very close to Cairns city and airport.

Palm Cove Beach – Photo Courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Drive further north and you’ll head past pretty Ellis Beach before the road hugs the coastline as it winds between two World Heritage areas: the Great Barrier Reef to your right and the Wet Tropics rainforest to your left.

This is arguably one of the most stunning drives on the planet. For the perfect selfie, stop in one of the safe parking bays at Rex Lookout which offers a 180-degree view of the Coral Sea.

Rex Lookout – Photo Courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland

This winding drive eventually swaps the ocean for green sugar cane fields, turn right on to Port Douglas Road to get to the main part of town and enjoy the palm-lined entrance to Port Douglas.

Holidaying in Port Douglas – Photo Courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland

A-list celebrities from around the world have been drawn to Port Douglas for decades for its fine restaurants, boutique shopping and the iconic Four Mile Beach.

It is also the closest mainland port to the Great Barrier Reef and from here a number of operators offer incredible tours. It is also only a short drive to the Wet Tropics rainforest at Daintree and Cape Tribulation.

Rainforest View from Alexandra Lookout – Photo Courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Port Douglas is also a great holiday destination!

To the north of Port Douglas sits the Mossman Gorge from there you can learn about the culture of the area’s Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people who have called the region home for thousands of years.

Mossman Gorge sits in the  southern section of the Daintree National Park, estimated at 60,000 years old and home to steep mountains thick with rainforest.

Mossman Gorge – Photo Courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland

It’s also where the Mossman River tumbles over the gorge’s massive granite boulders creating cool, clear freshwater swimming holes.

There are plenty of free walks around the gorge or you can join an Indigenous Guide on traditional Kuku Yalanji land and learn how their ancestors hunted and gathered foods to eat.

Traditional Fishing Method – Photo Courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland

In Mossman itself, there’s also an Indigenous Art Gallery where the resident artist, Brian “Binna” Swindley will demonstrate the traditional dot painting techniques as well as share stories from the Dreamtime.

Along the coastal village of Cooya Beach you can experience traditional hunting with an Indigenous guide who will show you how to hunt mud crab with a spear.

Continue driving through sugar cane fields and you’ll hit the Daintree Village which was originally created in the 1870s by timber cutters.

While the Daintree still retains its sleepy atmosphere, these days, you can partake in a plethora of croc spotting tours, barramundi fishing or birdlife watching.

Crocodile Spotting On The Daintree River – Photo Courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Or you may wish to partake in an Indigenous spa treatment or wander through art galleries, before retiring to a range of interesting accommodation among the world’s oldest rainforest.

A little further you will find Cape Tribulation; this is good spot to stop for a night or two as well.

Cape Tribulation – Photo Courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Beaches are stunning and the Rainforest is simply amazing.

For a more unusual approach to exploring the Daintree Rainforest you should consider zip lining from trees to trees before taking a guided night walk.

Zip Lining Through the Rainforest – Photo Courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland

And to complete your adventure you should consider a half day Great Barrier Reef trip from Cape Tribulation where you will get a chance to visit two pristine reef locations.

This is just a ‘sample’ itinerary… there is so much to do and see in Tropical North Queensland!

We hope you enjoy the drive and if you need more information on accommodation along the way and/or to prebook your tours, give us a call 1300 761 612

Author: Christine Retschlag – Travel Blogger

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