9 Day Tropical North, Rainforests & Reef

North Queensland is blanketed with rainforest, fringed by coral reef & steeped in ancient culture.
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Tropical North Queensland
A day sailing ex Port Douglas
Waterfall in the Daintree Rainforest
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ITINERARY
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9 Day Tropical North, Rainforests & Reef

Blanketed with rainforest, fringed by coral reef and steeped in ancient culture: Tropical North Queensland is unlike any place on Earth. Why not spoil yourselves with a relaxing Self-Drive holiday to lush green jungles and the world-famous Great Barrier Reef? You'll never forget your blissful time in this unique tropical paradise. Throughout your stay you'll sleep soundly each night in comfortable, welcoming accommodation hand-picked for you by our Travel Specialists. We take care of every detail: your job is to kick back, relax and let your cares melt away.

Duration: 9 Days

Starts: Cairns

Finishes: Cairns

Drive Journey
  • Dedicated Travel Designer
  • Full In-Country Support
  • Specialist Guides on all selected experiences
  • Full Vehicle Selection
Your Experiences:
  1. Low Isles Cruise and Snorkel Great Barrier Reef
Your Locations:
  1. Atherton Tablelands
  2. Cairns
  3. Port Douglas
  4. The Daintree Rainforest
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Day by day tour itinerary

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DAY 1
Welcome to Cairns, capital of the Tropical North

Unwind in luxury upon arrival

Welcome to Cairns! Close to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, Cairns is a haven of scuba diving, snorkelling, reef cruises, all types of fishing, rainforest walks, native bird and wildlife watching.

Sun-seekers and locals alike flock to Cairns Esplanade’s swimming lagoon on the city’s foreshore. There are picnic areas, birdwatching viewpoints, free barbecues and fitness equipment along the boardwalk, perfect for unwinding after your flight.

Cairns waterfront
DAY 2
Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands

Enjoy a 2 night escape in a rainforest Wilderness Retreat

Take a leisurely drive to the Atherton Tablelands for a two-night escape in a rainforest Wilderness Retreat.

Atherton Tablelands

Here in the Atherton Tablelands, you’ll become acquainted with a vast array of Australian landscapes, from glistening waterfalls to grassy savannahs, rainforests and coffee plantations.

Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat

For the next two nights, you will enjoy a blissful rainforest getaway in the cool highlands above Cairns. Your treehouse accommodation offers total seclusion, with World Heritage mountain or rainforest views from your private balcony. Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat is a welcoming, family-operated nature retreat named by Tourism Queensland as one of its top Queensland experiences.

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    Approximate Distance: 95 km | 51 miles

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    Total Driving Time: 1 hour 25 mins

Atherton Tablelands Waterfall
DAY 3
Free day in the Atherton Tablelands

Explore the waterfalls of the rainforest

If you can tear yourselves away from your pristine rainforest hideaway, there’s much to explore in the Atherton Tablelands:

Suggested Activities at Rose Gums Retreat

Rose Gums is situated on a 93-hectare property at the edge of the World Heritage Listed Wooroonooran National Park. There are 9 kilometres of trails on the property to explore: keep an eye out for the 5-metre-high hidden waterfall!

View colourful parrots, learn about Australia’s unique animals and feed the amazing Australian Brush-Turkey at a daily wildlife talk. Wander down to the creek and if you remain quiet and still, you may be rewarded with a sighting of the oldest mammal in the world: the shy Platypus.

Explore the Atherton Tablelands

Outside the property, there are many charming villages to discover within an hour’s drive (with wonderful food markets at weekends). Swim in a volcanic crater lake, tour a local coffee plantation, or go in search of colossal Curtain Fig and Cathedral Fig Trees in the forests. You’re in dairy farming country, so be sure to stop off at local farm shops for gourmet ice-cream, yogurt, and cheese.

Of course, if you prefer, you could remain on your private rainforest balcony all day, immersed in the views and the beautiful birdsong.

DAY 4
Atherton Tablelands to Port Douglas

Return to pretty Port Douglas, your base for the next 3 days

Resume your Queensland road trip and journey to pretty Port Douglas, tropical playground of the rich and famous.

Port Douglas: Reef and Rainforest

Port Douglas is a foodie haven with cafés, bars and restaurants galore. A year-round resort destination, you can dine al fresco and swim in the warm ocean waters no matter when you visit. With three nights here you have ample time to discover the region’s many delights.

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    Approximate Distance: 119 km | 74 miles

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    Total Driving Time: 1 hour 35 mins

Port Douglas Palm Trees
DAY 5
Free day in Port Douglas

Spend today enjoying Port Douglas at your leisure.

Four Mile Beach runs along the edge of Port Douglas, stretching as far as the eye can see. Take a dip in the warm Coral Sea, explore the rock pools or follow the walking trail up Flagstaff Hill to be rewarded with mountain views.

In town, funky boutiques offer major international labels, handcrafted local jewellery and everything in between. Head to the Reef Marina for Port Douglas’ top eateries: don’t miss Hemingway’s Brewery where you can sample locally brewed beer made with water from nearby Mossman.

Port Douglas
DAY 6
Sailing the Low Isles of the Great Barrier Reef

Explore the Great Barrier Reef

Spend today on a full day sailing trip.

Explore the Great Barrier Reef’s Low Isles for a full day on a catamaran cruise from Port Douglas. With tropical breeze and crystal clear oceans, guided by a marine biologist, you’ll have informative commentary to accompany your beach lounging, snorkeling, or glass-bottom boat tour. Enjoy the ability to travel light, as cruises include lunch and snorkeling equipment.

A day sailing ex Port Douglas
DAY 7
Port Douglas to the Daintree Region

The oldest rainforest on the planet

Cross the Daintree River and enter an environment described by David Attenborough as “The most extraordinary place on Earth”.

Daintree: The Oldest Rainforest on the Planet

Arriving in the Daintree, you may think you have stepped onto the film set of “Avatar”. In fact, the area’s stunning forest canopy served as inspiration for the movie. With jungled mountains descending to the startling blue Coral Sea, separated by empty white beaches, it’s hard to imagine a more dazzling scene.

You’ll spend the next two nights at the remote headland of Cape Tribulation. This is the only place on the planet where two World Heritage Listed areas exist next door to each other: the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Within its jungles, you will find unique endemic species of plants & animals that exist nowhere else in the world.

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    Approximate Distance: 56 km | 35 miles

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    Total Driving Time: 47 mins

Waterfall in the Daintree Rainforest
DAY 8
Free day in Daintree/Cape Tribulation

Perhaps visit the freshwater pools of Mossman Gorge

With a full day to explore the Daintree region, how will you choose to spend your day?

A guided walking tour of Mossman Gorge is a must-do. Operated by the Aboriginal Kuku Yalanji people, you can learn about traditional spear fishing techniques, sample some bush foods, and learn all about the medicinal plants that surround you.

While in the area, head to the freshwater pools of Mossman Gorge: perfect for swimming and also crocodile-free!

Speaking of crocodiles, you can view them from the safety of a Daintree River Cruise vessel, along with tree snakes and many other weird & wonderful rainforest natives.

Laid-back Daintree Village is a haven for artists, with quirky stores selling local arts, crafts & clothing.

However, you choose to spend your day, expect a little rainforest magic to rub off on you and leave you forever changed.

Cape Tribulation Beach
DAY 9
Farewell to Queensland

Say farewell to the forest and return to Cairns airport and board your onward flight. We know you will enjoy your 9 Day Tropical North Queensland vacation, taking with you the magical memories of a truly exceptional Australian experience. We hope you will return soon to discover even more highlights of this incredible continent.

Jaime Boyce - Travel Designer
Jaimee, OUR ABSOLUTE NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL DESIGNER SAYS: “The Daintree Rainforest is David Attenborough's favourite place on the planet, you can't argue with that recommendation! Home to crocodiles, cassowaries, and rare plants with great names such as the Idiot Fruit, the Daintree has been around for 180 million years and we reckon it's unmissable. For a remote and relaxing Queensland getaway, you can't get much better than this.”

Ready to find out more? Talk to one of our friendly travel designers about his tour. We guarantee you it will be the experience of a lifetime!

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    9 Day Tropical North, Rainforests & Reef

    North Queensland is blanketed with rainforest, fringed by coral reef & steeped in ancient culture.

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