If you’re looking for fun day trips from Cairns, going from Cairns to Cape Tribulation is an excellent choice! There are different ways to go on a Daintree Rainforest day trip from Cairns but, if you don’t have your own car or van, I’d recommend renting a car – that’s what we did. In that way, you’ll get the most out of your day. If you don’t have the possibility to go by car, don’t worry – there are several Daintree Rainforest tours to choose between as well.
Continue reading to find out how to get the most out of your drive from Cairns to Cape Tribulation and to get to know all the must-sees you should check out along the way!
What you need to know before going on a Daintree Rainforest day trip from Cairns
There are a few things to think of before you start your drive from Cairns to Cape Tribulation:
The Daintree River Ferry
When you drive from Cairns to Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation, you need to pay for a ferry that will take you across the Daintree River.
General safety tips
This is Australia – there’s a lot of things to think of when it comes to safety. I’m especially thinking about the heat and the diverse wildlife. Always read the signs everywhere you go, such as at beaches and bush walks. If you’re from Europe like me, you’re most likely not used to not being able to enter a beach or the water due to crocodiles or venomous jellyfishes. Remember to be crocwise. During some months, when it’s stinger season, you shouldn’t enter the water at all – and remember, there’s also the wet season!
As you see, there are quite many things to keep track of before you visit this part of Australia. Remember to be well prepared before you go on your Daintree Rainforest day trip! If you’re unsure of something and can’t find the information you need online, ask at a tourist information desk or perhaps at your accommodation. Be careful out there! You should also be careful when you’re driving, as the cassowary lives in the rainforest.
When it comes to the heat, remember to bring a hat and lots of water. Don’t forget to put on sunscreen regularly during the day!
Must-sees driving from Cairns to Cape Tribulation
Here’s my list of must-sees to check out on your drive from Cairns to Cape Tribulation – everything between Daintree Rainforest walks to the Cape Tribulation beach!
Sunrise at Trinity Beach
Trinity Beach is the perfect first stop on your Daintree Rainforest day trip – and, even better, it’s only 20 minutes away from Cairns. Get up early, bring breakfast and watch as the sun rises in the horizon. It’s magical!
After breakfast at the beach, continue driving and make a quick stop at Rex Lookout. From here, you’ll get a beautiful view over Trinity Bay before heading on towards Port Douglas.
Port Douglas is also worth a visit! Without stops, the Cairns to Port Douglas drive will take you about an hour. Make your visit a longer or shorter one depending on what you’re interested in seeing and if you’re planning on visiting the next stop in this Cairns to Cape Tribulation itinerary or not. Remember to check out Four Mile beach while you’re in Port Douglas, as long as it’s safe!
Coming from Europe, seeing wild crocodiles (from a safe distance!) was a very unique experience for us. I usually don’t book tours like this, but we found one Daintree Rainforest tour company, called Solar Whisper, with a zero emission boat that takes you out on the Daintree River. Spotting a crocodile felt pretty unreal!
The tour starts on the south side of the Daintree River. As mentioned above, when driving from Cairns to Daintree Rainforest, you’ll need to pay a fee to go on the Daintree River Ferry across the river and continue your journey.
Marrdja Boardwalk is your next stop. This is a short walk, a 1,2-kilometre loop, but it has a lot to offer. If you’re interested in plants and their evolution, this is one of the Daintree Rainforest walks you have to check out – and don’t miss the hollow strangler fig tree! Another thing I liked about Marrdja Boardwalk is the accessibility. It’s wheelchair friendly and makes the perfect stop before it’s time for lunch.
Lunch in the Daintree Rainforest
We brought our own food and had a picnic, but if you want to try some local food or just don’t feel like bringing anything, there are a few restaurants and cafes at Cape Tribulation, which is also where the next stop is.
This is another nice and short walk, about the same length as Marrdja Boardwalk, and it’s also wheelchair accessible. Dubuji Boardwalk is a shaded loop track with lots of information signs along the path. It felt very refreshing walking around here in the shade before our next stop – it’s time for the beach!
Cape Tribulation Beach
Cape Tribulation is where two UNESCO World Heritage sites meet – the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Admire its beauty from the Cape Tribulation Beach itself, or explore it from the viewpoint by walking up the Kulki Boardwalk.
Daintree Rainforest has some amazing and unique ice cream! If you’re a fan of trying new things or just of ice cream in general, this should be included in your Daintree Rainforest day trip. We tried out Floravilla Ice Cream and were very happy with our visit!
Mount Alexandra Lookout
It’s time for the last stop – I hope you’ve had an amazing time driving from Cairns to Cape Tribulation and making stops along the way! Since it will take you a few hours to drive back, don’t leave this beautiful place too late. I suggest stopping at Mount Alexandra Lookout to watch the sunset before driving back to Cairns. We were unfortunately there a bit too early, but this viewpoint is gorgeous at any time of the day!
Thank you for reading my Cairns to Cape Tribulation itinerary, I hope you get to have a lovely visit!
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