Embracing two World Heritage areas, the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef Drive is an envious rival of the Great Ocean Road drive. The drive is just 80 miles long that you can take a full-day exploring ... or stop over in a few places to make it a week-long drive. The choice is yours. But make sure that you don’t run out of time, as Cape Tribulation is the crown of this majestic drive and you need 3-4 days just to explore all it has to offer.
Here’s route map that you can follow however long you choose;
Cairns to Cape Tribulation
Distance 140 km Time 2 h 38 min
Start from Cairns heading north across the Barron River to the stunning beaches of Trinity Beach, Palm Cove and Ellis Beach. Then drive along the edge of the Coral Sea to Port Douglas, an ideal place for cruising to the Great Barrier Reef.
Port Douglas is also the gateway to the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, the Daintree. Cross the Daintree River on the cable ferry for a leisurely drive through ancient rainforest, as you wind your way past pretty beaches to Cape Tribulation where the rainforest meets the reef. Head north to the beautiful Mossman Gorge to discover the Kuku Yalanji people. Take a crocodile spotting tour, fish for barramundi, follow a food trail, or marvel at the incredible birdlife. Turn your journey into a rainforest adventure.
Palm Cove to Port Douglas
Distance 43 km Time 42 min
To the north of Cairns, Palm Cove and Port Douglas are cosmopolitan beachside villages linked by a spectacular section of the Great Barrier Reef Drive. With its long sandy beach lapped by the Coral Sea and a backdrop of rainforest-clad mountains, Palm Cove has the perfect setting for an intimate getaway. Everything is within walking distance in this friendly village.
Driving north pass through pretty Ellis Beach. Stop at a deserted beach along the Rex Lookout for an incredible 180-degree view of the Coral Sea that just begs a photograph.
Port Douglas is known as the place where A-list celebrities escape. This village has an eclectic range of restaurants, great boutiques and the iconic Four Mile Beach.
Port Douglas to Daintree village
Distance 55 km Time 47 min
The Port Douglas and Daintree region is the traditional country of the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people who call the Wet Tropical Rainforest their home for a thousand years.
To the south is the Mossman Gorge with steep mountains, thick with rainforest where the Mossman River is dipping over the Gorge’s gigantic granite boulders that makes clear freshwater swimming holes.
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Daintree village to Cape Tribulation
Distance 48 km Time 1 h 15 min
The picturesque township of Daintree Village is famous for the resident saltwater crocodiles that live on Daintree river-banks. You can try to find Scarface, Fat Albert or Gummy on cruises that depart regularly. If you are inclined to eat croc-meat, try a croc burger or croc san choy bow at one of the cafes.
Further, venture over the river on the cable ferry exploring the Daintree region. On this journey through the world’s oldest tropical rainforest see an endangered cassowary, be dwarfed by an ancient king fern or swim in a clear freshwater creek.
It's an awesome experience to march straight to the beach from the rainforest, at Cape Tribulation. Explore the coastal reef by kayak spotting turtles and dugongs, enjoy a night tour watching nocturnal animals by flying through the rainforest awning on a flying fox.
Things you’ll see on The Great Barrier Reef Drive:
· The Great Barrier Reef
· The Daintree Rainforest
· The endangered cassowary
· Lots of stunning beaches
· huge salt water crocodiles