21 Best Things To Do In Cape Tribulation, Queensland 2024 Guide
With so many jaw-dropping things to do in Cape Tribulation in Tropical North Queensland, you’d be crazy to miss out on this beautiful part of the Cairns region when exploring the incredible Wet Tropics.
It seems that the further north you travel from Cairns, the more special it becomes, which is unsurprising to hear that Cape Tribulation is one incredible place you won’t find anywhere else like it in Australia.
While you can dip into The Daintree Rainforest at Mossman Gorge near Port Douglas, the heart of the ancient rainforest is located up in Cape Tribulation.
This is where you’ll genuinely see two World Heritage Listed Sites come together as the world’s oldest rainforest meets the world’s largest coral reef system, The Great Barrier Reef.
To witness two UNESCO World Heritage areas come together is not usually seen in many places worldwide.
The Cape Tribulation drive from Cairns is much further than you think it is! Being a 2h30m drive, you’ll pass by pristine beaches and a wildlife habitat like no other. The Daintree region is somewhere everyone needs to see in person.
Driving from Palm Cove will take you slightly less time being a 2h10m drive.
It will take 1h45m drive to get there from Port Douglas. What about the other direction? From Cooktown, it takes 2hrs.
There is no airport in Cape Tribulation, so you’ll have to drive it or jump on one of the excellent day trip tours we mention below.
What Makes Cape Tribulation Special?
I remember my first time to Cape Tribulation on a backpacker tour where I didn’t really understand the importance of this significant part of the world.
I remember the tour guide taking us onto Cape Tribulation Beach before hopping back into the bus and going back to Cairns.
Cape Tribulation is a really special place to visit in Australia, but what is there to do? Although many people make the effort to visit, they tend to drive to the beach and a couple of lookouts to the most ancient rainforest in the world, before returning down the coast again.
You’ll be pleased to learn there are loads of things to do in Cape Tribulation, and hopefully some of our top picks will inspire you to learn more about this fantastic area where the rainforest meets the reef in Far North Queensland. Seeing where two world heritage areas in one place is unheard of, so take time to appreciate the unbelievable natural beauty of the Daintree coast.
Where To Hire A Car
You can’t come to Tropical North Queensland and not hire a car! With so many places to visit, if you’re like us, you’ll be running around to see them all. Here are our personal favourite places to hire a car for your trip.
Jucy Vans – get 15% off on your next camper van or car adventure
Check Out Our Tropical North Queensland Map
We’ve put together an epic map to show you were all of the amazing hidden gems in Tropical North Queensland are located. We wish we could have seen this map before we visited the region.
Tours to Cape Tribulation from Cairns or Port Douglas
The easiest way to see the best of Cape Tribulation and the Daintree National Park is by jumping on a tour. As there’s so much to see in the area, this could save you heaps of time so you can sit back and enjoy the natural beauty of this Far North Queensland wonder.
1. The Ultimate Daintree & Cape Tribulation Tour
One of the best ways to explore the Daintree and Cape Tribulation is by jumping on a full-day tour from Cairns, Palm Cove or Port Douglas. Not only will you tick off the bucket list experiences, but you’ll also be taken on the Bloomfield Track, which is one of the best scenic drives in Queensland.
On this tour, you’ll be heading straight for The Daintree Rainforest so you won’t be stopping off anywhere on the way up to Cape Tribulation. This means this tour is best for those who just want to explore this area and not bypass Mossman Gorge. (If you want to stop off at Mossman Gorge and a few other sites, check out this tour)
Expect to visit the following:
You’ll go on a river cruise to spot crocodiles
Spend time on the famous Cape Tribulation Beach
And best of all swim at the hidden gem, Emmagen Creek on the Bloomfield Track which only be accessed by 4wd.
Find out more about this epic day trip to the Daintree & Cape Tribulation. This is the tour we would personally do to see the best of Cape Tribulation.
2. See the highlights on this 2 day tour
See the famous Millaa Milla Falls
There is so much to see and do in Tropical North Queensland that it might feel a little overwhelming. If you’re just unsure how to spend a few days in Cairns, why not jump on this affordable 2 day tour which will take you to our two favourite areas in the region – Atherton Tablelands and The Daintree Rainforest.
Day 1 – Atherton Tablelands (mind blowing waterfalls and swimming holes)
Millaa Millaa Falls
Day 2 – Daintree (where the rainforest meets the reef)
Marrdja Botanical Boardwalk
Daintree Ice cream Company
Crocodile cruise in The Daintree
3. Enjoy the spectacular Great Barrier Reef drive to Cape Tribulation
If you fancy driving to Cape Tribulation and not jumping on a tour, enjoy the scenery of the World Heritage rainforest along the Cape Tribulation road. Wildlife enthusiasts will love the abundance of plant life and wildlife to be found in one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet.
You’ll need to catch the Daintree River Ferry to get over to Cape Tribulation and and ancient Daintree rainforest, so make sure you check times and prices before you set off.
4. Horse riding on the beach
I don’t think there’s anything more romantic or beautiful than going on a horse ride along the beach. Jump on the Cape Tribulation horse riding tour which will take you along the stunning Myall Beach. This tour departs from Cape Tribulation which is perfect for anyone staying in the area or visiting for the day.
5. Swim At The Beautiful Mason’s Store Swimming Hole
Masons Store swimming hole in Cape Tribulation.
While the second section of Daintree National Park is up in Cape Tribulation, the crystal clear waters of the Mossman River provide exceptional swimming spots free from crocodiles! Although there are so many places to discover, we recommend sticking the following swimming spots you can swim in.
Please do not go to any swimming spots which are sacred to the local Indigenous people. You should listen and follow this advice out of respect to the oldest living community in the world.
Mason’s Store Swimming Hole is often regarded as the best swimming hole in Cape Tribulation. The turquoise water is enough for anyone looking to find a spectacular swimming spot near Cairns. So head down to Mason’s swimming hole and enjoy the natural wonder.
6.Great Barrier Reef Ocean Safari
Jump on a Great Barrier Reef Ocean Safari tour from Cape Tribulation beach and snorkel two reef sites – Mackay and Undine Reefs. You’ll also see fantastic views of the tropical rainforest on the beach and if you’re lucky, you might come across a few sea turtles too!
7. Daintree Rainforest Aerial Walkway
According to Australian Geographic, walk along one of the top 10 skywalks in Australia at the Daintree Rainforest Aerial Walkway. It sits 11m high above the rainforest and is a spectacular way to take in the experience of standing in the world’s oldest rainforest!
8. Go On A Guided Night Walk
Looking to do something a little different? Led by a team of entertaining Wet Tropics accredited biological scientists, you’ll be guided into the rainforest to learn all about the ancient stories of the wildlife in their natural habitat. This is a fun and memorable guided night walk for the whole family, departing from Cape Tribulation at 7:30pm.
9. Cape Tribulation Beach
You can’t come to the area without stepping foot on Cape Tribulation Beach! Although you absolutely cannot swim here as the water is completely infested with crocodiles, it’s a stunning beach to walk along. Head up to Kulki Lookout to see views of the beach and rainforest.
10. Alexandra Lookout
Near to the Daintree Discovery Centre and about 10 minutes after the Daintree River ferry crossing you’ll come to the famous Mount Alexandra Lookout. From here, you’ll see out to the Daintree River Estuary, Snapper Island, and out to the Coral Sea. It’s a spectacular sight you should detour on your way to Cape Tribulation.
11. Cow Bay Swing
Just a little further on from Alexandra Lookout will bring you to the the Insta worthy Cow Bay Swing! Cow Bay is a quieter beach than Myall Beach, but you might like to check out Thornton Beach next door as well.
I personally wouldn’t swim in these beaches because there have been crocodile sightings here. If you do want to swim, head to the swimming holes we mention in this post or to Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas which is a safer bet.
12. Try The Famous Daintree Ice Cream
No trip to Cape Tribulation is complete without a visit to award-winning Daintree Ice Cream Company. The seasonally made ice cream is made from the fruit grown on-site, but expect exotic fruits such as black sapote and coconut, goji berry, honey and yoghurt and so much more.
13. Check out Cape Trib Farm
One of the best things to do in Cape Tribulation is to support local farms in the area. Make sure you stop by Cape Trib Farm to try some of the 70 different tropical and exotic fruits such as durian, soursop, mamey sapote, black sapote, abiu, pitaya and so much more. You’ll learn loads about the different benefits while learning about the rare exotic fruit orchard!
14. Spot A Crocodile On The Marrdja Boardwalk
Although the Marrdja Boardwalk is only 1.2km long, it’s a completely fascinating walk everyone should do when looking for things to do in Cape Tribulation (and it’s wheel chair accessible too!). There’s loads of educational signs along the way, teaching you about the 180 million year old rainforest. You’ll also walk across the Noah Creek Bridge and might be lucky to spot a crocodile in the water here.
15. Spot A Cassowary On The Jindalba Boardwalk
About 30 minutes south of Cape Tribulation is the Jindalba Boardwalk, which is a good spot to see a rare cassowary. If you’re not going to Etty Bay or Mission Beach, make sure you go here and you might be lucky to see one.
16. Drive One Of The Best 4WD Roads In Queensland
<meta charset=utf 8>Emmagen Creek image via tropicalnorthqueenslandcomau
If you’re heading up to Cooktown, the 4WD only Bloomfield Track is one of the most scenic drives in Queensland. Also known as the Coast Road or the Cape Tribulation to Bloomfield Road, the Bloomfield Track is 33km of incredible landscapes, swimming holes and much more.
Some of the highlights include Emmagen Creek, Woobadda Creek and Bloomfield Falls (also known as Wujal Wujal Falls). Visit the Aboriginal town of Wujal Wujal and check out the Banan Yirrijil Art and Cultural Centre.
You should only attempt this drive in your own car which needs to be a 4×4 and not in a rental because the terrain changes a lot and you’ll most likely be driving through large sections of water.
Be on the safer side and check out this small group day trip tour which will take you to the Daintree, Cape Tribulation and the Bloomfield Track from your accommodation anywhere from Cairns up to Port Douglas.
17. Laura Quinkan Dance Festival
I thought it’s worth a mention because a lot of people I know have been talking a lot about the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival recently. Although it’s a 3hr drive from Cape Tribulation, this festival in Queensland is supposed to be absolutely amazing.
It’s believed the Laura Quinkan Dance Festival is the longest-running Aboriginal cultural festival in Australia which showcases 20 local communities coming together through song and dance, allowing the wider community to gain awareness of the ancient culture. Laura is also home to some of the most significant collections of rock art and the festival is set on a sacred site on the old traditional Bora ground. It’s on our list to visit one day too.
Places to visit nearby
Whether you’re staying in Cape Tribulation or visiting for the day or a couple of days, make sure you check out some of our favourite things to do nearby.
18. Visit Port Douglas
Trinity Bay Lookout
As a popular holiday destination in Tropical North Queensland in its own right, Port Douglas is beautiful and close to Cape Tribulation and The Daintree Rainforest too! But, there’s also loads to do here with access to the Great Barrier Reef Islands.
Here’s some of our top picks for what to do in Port Douglas!
Mossman Gorge is one of the most popular places to visit near Cairns. It’s also one of the easiest ways to get into The Daintree Rainforest as you can swim here (be aware most of the Daintree swimming holes are off limits as they are sacred for the local indigenous community). It is a stunning slice of paradise and a bucket list item to tick off that you’ve swam in the oldest rainforest in the world! It is busy so don’t expect to have it to yourself.
Trinity Bay Lookout
One of the first things to do in Port Douglas is to make a beeline to Trinity Bay Lookout. This beautiful lookout has views stretching as far as the eye can see over Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas and right back down the coast towards Cairns. It’s a stunning first point of call when you come to Port Douglas! Good news is you can drive right up to it, so no walking is involved!
19. Don’t Miss Atherton Tablelands
Atherton Tablelands and The Daintree Rainforest are our two favourite places to visit near Cairns. If you love chasing waterfalls and swimming in wild swimming spots, Atherton Tablelands is somewhere you need to explore!
Although you really need to read our guide, there’s a few standouts you absolutely cannot miss.
This is a must visit when looking for things to do in Cairns. The Spanish castle hidden in the beautiful rainforest in Tropcial North Queensland is a sight you won’t see anywhere else in the world. We were blown away by it and spent a few hours here so excited to walk around and take photos of this special place. You can check out our guide for visiting Paronella Park to find out more. Tip – buy the combo package and visit Mamu Tropical Skywalk around the corner as well – it’s brilliant!
There are so many amazing waterfalls in Atherton Tablelands to visit, but make sure you tick off the famous ones along the Waterfall Circuit because they really are all worth visiting!
Palm Cove has a lovely holiday vibe to it and is a great spot to stay at when looking to venture between Cairns, Port Douglas and Atherton Tablelands. Read our guide for the Best Things To Do In Palm Cove.
Here’s some of our top picks for what to do in Palm Cove.
Visit The Meditation Rocks At Wangetti Beach
Just north of Palm Cove lies the beautiful Wangetti Beach which you’ll find on the coastal drive from Cairns to Port Douglas. You’ll find The Gatz Balancing Rocks at the southern end of the beach. While the art of balancing stones can have many meanings, each stone tends to represent a prayer or thought of gratitude. You might like to stop by and add to this ever-evolving work of art.
Vivo For Dinner
Make sure you go to Vivo in Palm Cove for dinner. It’s a fantastic restaurant and totally has a good holiday vibe. We loved it and had a great night!
Cairns is biggest town in Tropical North Queensland which has some excellent restaurants and overall cheaper accommodation (especially good for backpackers!). Check out our full guide on the 25 Best Things To Do In Cairns!
Here’s some of our top picks!
Helicopter Ride Over Great Barrier Reef
Easily one of the best things we have done in Cairns is a helicopter flight over the Great Barrier Reef. It tops any snorkelling or scuba diving tour we’ve done there too. There are quite a few different options to choose from to book, but here’s the most popular options:
Luxury: The exceptional Noah Creek Eco Huts have incredible views of the Daintree, your own kitchen, fireplace and balcony views and a bath outside amongst a sky full of stars.
Mid Range: The popular Daintree Manor B&B is set in the heart of the Daintree with access to free bike hire, a shared lounge, gorgeous garden and terrace. Expect a full English breakfast and an a la carte menu.