Our road trip itinerary will help you plan to perfect getaway along the Great Barrier Reef Drive from Cairns to Cape Tribulation, exploring both by land and water! This itinerary is designed to take four days, but there’s so much to see and do that you could easily extend it for a week or more!
Our itinerary focuses on the road trip from Port Douglas to Daintree, however we started our journey in Cairns, about an hour south of Port Douglas. We hired a vehicle from jucy as they were a great affordable option and allowed us the flexibility of stopping along the route to take in the views. Trust me – you’re going to want to be able to stop at every view point! The drive from Cairns or Port Douglas to Daintree is pretty straight forward, but absolutely stunning. If, like us, you’re coming from Cairns and lucky enough to pass Yule Point at low tide you’ll be treated to a hell of a view.
From Port Douglas to Daintree, you’ll eventually take the ferry across the Daintree River so keep your eyes open for crocs, hopefully you’ll be luckier than me and get to see one! Drive carefully on the way up to Cape Tribulation, where you’ll spend the night. Keep a look out for cassowary, we were lucky enough to see one with a baby but they moved too quickly for me to get a decent photo.
I spent the morning horse riding along the beach and I was lucky enough to be the only person in the group (Adam just came along to take photos!). I would highly recommend the morning ride as it’s cooler and also a great way to start the day! The ride takes you through the Daintree rainforest to Myall beach where you can even take the horses into the water.
If you’re feeling like a swim then Emmagen Creek is the place to go. It’s one of the few places in the Daintree area that offers safe swimming holes (due to all the crocs – seriously there’s signs everywhere about crocs and we never got to see one, I was very disappointed!). It’s worth walking up along the creek for a bit as a bus load of tourists arrived at the closest swimming hole to the road minutes after we did! Ok, so disclaimer: we never actually made it to the lookout, we somehow ended up on the other side of the headland (after taking directions from a local for the best spot to watch the sunset) looking out towards Myall beach.
However, the view was still pretty epic and you can apparently see turtles just off the shore there (so we were told, but I didn’t see any of those either, they must’ve been busy playing with the crocs that I also didn’t see!). This was a pretty nice spot for sunset, but to be honest this part of the country is all about sunrises as the coastline faces east.
I honestly kind of expected a dinosaur to jump out from behind a tree on this boardwalk. It’s soooo pretty though, it takes you through the rainforest and mangroves to Myall beach. It says it’ll take an hour, but it probably took us a lot longer as we got distracted taking photos along the way. This looped walkway takes you once again through the rainforest, but passes Oliver Creek where you can watch for crocs… you guessed it though, I didn’t see any.