Simply The Best Tropical Coast Hugger Roadtrip. Ever!

DAY 1 – Townsville – Mission Beach

(Approx Travel Time: 3hrs / 235km)

Starting in Townsville and heading north along the Great Green Way, stopping along the way to walk to McClellands Lookout for dizzying views over the islands and coastline.

Continue on through the sugar cane fields and stop in at Ingham for morning tea or at one of the nearby picturesque beach towns, such as Lucinda, Halifax, Taylors Beach or Forrest Beach.

If you have the time you can stop and take a detour to Hinchinbrook Island from Lucinda. Hinchinbrook is Australia’s largest island national park, home to cloud-covered mountains, fragile heathland vegetation, lush rainforest, eucalypt forest and mangrove fringes.

Keeping on going you will wind along the wide bays and rocky headlands of the east coast towards Cardwell and Kennedy.

As you get closer to Mission Beach, and if you have the time, detour east off the highway to Edmund Kennedy National Park for a beach picnic. An unsealed road leads you north from here to Tully Gorge National Park. Walk through World Heritage-listed rainforest, past traditional healing ponds and along the banks of Echo Creek with a local Aboriginal guide. Swim beneath waterfalls in crystal clear swimming holes or have a white water rafting adventure down the Tully River.

If you’d prefer relaxation, picnic alongside the river and follow the 20-minute Rainforest Butterfly Walk to the gorge. You can watch rafters tackle a tricky set of rapids from the Flip Wilson Lookout every day at 1pm. Hike to Elizabeth Grant Falls, Cannabullen Falls and other beauty spots on short walks within the Misty Mountains Trails.

Stay the night at Mission Beach

Scottys Beach House
Scotty`s Beach House is an old-school backpackers for people who like friendly,helpful service,24 hr access to facillities and a truly laid-back,’beachy’ atmosphere.

A: 167 Reid Rd Mission Beach QLD 4852
P: (+61) 07 4068 867669

Eco Village Resort
Eco Village Resort Mission Beach provides individual self-contained beach front accommodation set amongst a beautiful rainforest setting.

A: Clump Point Road Mission Beach Qld 4852
P: +61 7 4068 7534

DAY 2 Mission Beach to Cairns

(Approx Travel Time: 2h 46 mins)

Heading to Cairns today a must see along the way is a detour off the highway to Mena Creek and Paronella Park, a Spanish castle surrounded by waterfalls and butterfly-fringed gardens.

Innisfail is well worth the stop for its elegant art deco buildings, the Chinese temple and sugar museum and the opportunity to tour a tea plantation. Visit a lavender oil farm in Aloomba and drive down the charming main street of Gordonvale. Pass through Edmonton on your way into Cairns, gateway to the islands, rainforest and reef of Tropical North Queensland.

On arrival at Cairns spend the evening at The Abbott Boutique Hotel. Located in the heart of Cairns, this beautifully renovated boutique accommodation is the perfect spot to stay before the truly magical drive tomorrow.

The Abbott Boutique Hotel
A: 69 Abbott Street, Cairns, QLD, 4870
P: 07 4220 9961

DAY 3 Cairns to Cape Tribulation

(Approx Travel Time: 2h 45 mins / 155km)

If the Great Ocean Road is Victoria’s best drive then the stretch between Cairns and Cape Tribulation is quite simply Queensland’s own claim to the best tropical coast hugging roadtrip. Ever! As you journey into a land where World Heritage Listed rainforest and beach combine, pause to soak in the panoramic views. Some great photo opportunities along the way today include Mossman Gorge, Ellis Beach and Mount Alexandra Lookout. Make sure you’ve got your camera at the ready!

Start your roadtrip today by exploring the coastal communities that stretch from Cairns to Palm Cove including: Yorkeys Knob, Trinity Beach, Clifton Beach and Palm Cove. All are packed with restaurants, cafes and accommodation set alongside sweeping stretches of beachfront parkland.

Continue on up the coast to Ellis Beach and get used to the thrill of having a beach all to yourself: it only gets better the further north you drive.

Pull off the road at Rex Lookout take in the stunning panoramic views of the Great Barrier Reef, turquoise waters and coastline.

Arrive Port Douglas for morning tea and a hit of retail therapy.

Continue on your journey through sugarcane country towards the emerald green mountains & friendly town of Mossman. Take a wander through the shops, art galleries and pubs along the main street. A short drive west of town is the striking Mossman Gorge which is well worth a visit.

Alexandra Lookout – A great spot to get your bearings on the beauty ahead

Cow Bay – Take a detour to Cow Bay for more secluded beaches right on the rainforest’s front door. Take note of signs warning of crocodile hazards and seasonal marine stingers.

Thornton Beach, Noah Beach, Coconut Beach are all worth a wander for leisurely, solitary beachcombing.

And while there’s no crocs in the waters at Mason’s Cafe, if you’re brave, you’ll have opportunity to dine on them for lunch with the cafe’s signature croc burger. And if croc ain’t your thing then there’s emu, boar, buffalo or camel to tempt your tastebuds with.

Mason’s Cafe
A: 3781 Cape Tribulation Road, Cape Tribulation
P: 07 4098 0016

Check In to Cape Tribulation Beach House Cabins

Cape Tribulation Beach House
A: 52 Rykers Road, Cape Tribulation, QLD, 4873
P: 07 4098 0030

After your long journey, settle into Cape Tribulation life with a massage on the beach. With stunning and expansive views as far as the eye can see, our in-house massage therapist will work on removing any knots & stresses.

*Note: Please advise at time of booking if you would like to book a massage so we can ensure our massage therapists are available when you arrive.


After a day of travelling and exploring, enjoy dinner at Tides Bar & Restaurant. Favoured by locals and travellers alike Tides’ offers a variety of delicious cuisines in their beachfront restaurant.

After dinner, and before retiring for the night, gather on the beach and watch the fire flicker with Cape Tribulation Beach House’s nightly beach bonfire.


Now that you have arrived it is time to leave the car and immerse yourself in this simply incredible destination. Your time at Cape Tribulation can be as fast or as slow as you like! Some of the activities on offer include:

  • Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours – explore the world’s oldest rainforest on a fully-guided and exhilirating zipline tour. You’ll swing like Tarzan (or Jane) between six tree canopy platforms.
  • Saddle up to enjoy the most breathtaking scenery in Australia on horseback – Cape Trib Horse Riding, the only place you can ride along the beach in the region. You will be captivated as you meander your way through the Daintree Forest and beach side on the leisurely ride.
  • Board the Ocean Safari Courtesy Bus from the front of Cape Tribulation Beach House for an exhilarating ride to snorkel the pristine untouched Great Barrier Reef off the Daintree Coast at Cape Tribulation. On most days, you can snorkel alongside sea turtles, which are found in abundance swimming over reefs full of colourful coral, along with myriads of tropical fish, eagle rays, giant clams and starfish. Often the coastal rainforest of the Daintree can be seen along the mainland beach whilst snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Cape Tribulation Lookout – located on Cape Tribulation Beach, which the resort sits right next to. It takes around 45 minutes to walk there and it is a fantastic opportunity to see the beach and the rainforest. A simple walk, but one that is a favourite among our guests.
  • Paddle Trek – explore fringing reefs, see marine wildlife and continue to soak up the stunning views of the Daintree Rainforest by sea kayak.

Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours
A: 24 Camelot Cl, Cape Tribulation QLD 4873
P: 07 4098 0043
W: Tour Bookings

Cape Trib Horse Rides
A: 152 Rykers Road, Cape Tribulation, QLD, 4873
P: 07 4098 0043

Ocean Safari
P: 07 4098 0006

Cape Trib Paddle Trek
P: (07) 4098 1950

Where the Reef meets the Rainforest