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
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.
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.
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.
Approximate Distance: 95 km | 51 miles
Total Driving Time: 1 hour 25 mins
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.
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.
Approximate Distance: 119 km | 74 miles
Total Driving Time: 1 hour 35 mins
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.
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.
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.
Approximate Distance: 56 km | 35 miles
Total Driving Time: 47 mins
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.
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.
“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!ENQUIRE
Like what you see? Contact us today to find out more about our exclusive itineraries. Each Absolute New Zealand tour is tailored to who you are and what you want to do.
North Queensland is blanketed with rainforest, fringed by coral reef & steeped in ancient culture.
Our team has access to New Zealand's most unique accommodation, superb activities, and flight specials. Contact us for a personalised New Zealand experience.
Inspiring travel itineraries and expert advice delivered to your inbox.START PLANNING
Situated on Cairns’ Marlin Marina, this hotel provides luxury and convenience. With exquisite rooms and suites, restaurants and bars, set amongst lush tropical gardens, with on-site pool and luxury facilities.
Set on 93 hectares of tropical highland rainforest, this award-winning eco-friendly retreat offers a choice of 12 handcrafted tree houses and villas. Each includes a fully equipped kitchen, large spa bath, and wood fireplace. All accommodations features king-size beds, laundry facilities and a private verandah with a barbecue.
The property features an organic coconut plantation and natural swimming pools formed by granite boulders and waterfalls. Free guided nature tours are available and include tree planting, stargazing at an outdoor observatory, beach discovery, wildlife walks and bird-watching tours.
With only 7 elevated cabins designed to be hidden within the giant Fan Palm gully of the rainforest, this is an experience that will linger in your memory. Prepare to explore hidden paths and boardwalks, discover swimming holes, spot rare birds and wildlife, or snorkel off Cape Tribulation. An immersive destination where you live and breathe the rainforest. A true rainforest experience……
Enjoy a day to remember with this reef and island cruise to Low Isles. Explore the protected Coral Cay, with white sandy beaches and coconut palms, surrounded by magnificent coral gardens and the Coral Sea. Sailaway ensures your enjoyment with small numbers of guests, excellent service and personal attention from our helpful friendly crew. Sailaway moors in the sheltered blue lagoon, you can just relax on the island, join the guided snorkel tour, take a trip on the glass bottom boat or laze on deck before an exhilarating sail back to Port.
The Atherton Tablelands are dominated by volcanic formations, tropical fruit and vegetable plantations, and dairy and grazing farms. Atherton is the ‘capital’ of the lovely 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. The fertile Tableland area is famous for producing peanuts, maize and potatoes. The area also has a number of natural attractions such as the Curtain Fig Tree, Millaa Millaa Falls, crater lakes and amazing rock formations.
Cairns is situated in the Northern end of Tropical Queensland. The city is framed by the spectacular twin backdrops of rainforest mountain ranges and the sparkling Coral Sea. The World Heritage-listed Wet Tropical Rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef and the Outback are all within easy reach. Cairns is both an adventure and a nature lover’s paradise. From white-water rafting to bungee jumping and skydiving, you’ll find the perfect activity to suit your penchant for thrills and with hundreds of tours visiting the Great Barrier Reef each year, you’re sure to find one, or a couple, to try out.
Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland is one of Queensland’s premier holiday destinations. Located just north of Cairns, Port Douglas offers a sophisticated and low-key escape for travellers from around the world. Known as a glamorous hotspot for the rich and famous, Port Douglas still manages to retain an unpretentious and relaxed ambience. You’ll only find buildings up to three stories high, not much taller than the nearby palm trees as well as boutique clothing shops, and exquisite alfresco dining restaurants.
A visit to Four Mile Beach is essential, where you can laze away the day on the pristine sand. Enjoy lunch at one of the many cafes scattered along Macrossan Street or spend the afternoon shopping at the Marina Mirage. Port Douglas is also a popular base from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforests of the Wet Tropics, Daintree, and Cape Tribulation.
The Daintree Rainforest is a region located on the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia, north of Mossman and Cairns. At around 1,200 square kilometres, the Daintree is a part of the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest on the Australian continent.
The World Heritage-listed is so beautiful that its ancient ferns, emerald green vines, and lush canopy provided inspiration for the movie Avatar. Here, you can trek through the jungle and discover plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet.