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Tropical North Queensland Self Drive

from £1576 excluding flights

  • 8 nights
  • Year round
Home Destinations Australasia Australia Tropical North Queensland Self Drive


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Journey into the lush Daintree rainforest

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Explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef

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Search for wildlife including kangaroos, emus and native birds

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Drive the waterfall circuit in the Atherton Tablelands

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Explore the cafes, galleries, boutique shops of Port Douglas

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Traverse over tropical rainforest in Kuranda's Skyrail gondola

Why this trip...

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Tailor made

This itinerary can be tailor made to suit you and is intended to give you a guideline of what is possible in a given timeframe

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Explore at leisure

With the route, transport and accommodation sorted, each day offers the freedom to explore

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Well-researched route

We've put our years of experience into creating this well-paced itinerary that includes the places we know you'll enjoy


This well paced self-drive itinerary explores the verdant delights of tropical north Queensland starting from and returning to Cairns. Enjoy a wealth of experiences and combine adventure and relaxation within some of Australia and indeed the world’s greatest natural wonders.

From Aboriginal encounters deep in the world’s oldest living rainforest to luxury sailing on the Great Barrier Reef, the scenery, wildlife and activities of northern Queensland are a-plenty and encapsulate some of the very best that Australia has to offer.

Explore the ancient Daintree rainforest and Mossman Gorge and enjoy the tranquility of the Atherton Tablelands.


On arrival at Cairns Airport make your own way to your accommodation and spend the rest of the day is at leisure exploring this lively town. Stay overnight at Bailey, Crystalbrook Collection Hotel.

Collect your rental car and begin your journey along the Great Barrier Reef Drive towards the seaside town of Port Douglas. On the way stop near Kuranda and board Skyrail gondola traversing World Heritage Listed rainforest. Journey along the boardwalks with your ranger guide and visit the Rainforest Interpretation Centre before arriving in Kuranda, the village in the rainforest. Enjoy time at leisure in Kuranda before boarding the Kuranda Scenic Railway, one of Queensland’s oldest railways. Marvel at the spectacular views as the train winds through the dense rainforest, traverses tumbling waterfalls and crosses dramatic gorges. On arrival at Freshwater Station, disembark and take the free transfer back to the Skyrail terminal and your vehicle. Continue onto Port Douglas. Spend three nights at Thala Beach Nature Reserve with breakfast included.

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Enjoy an authentic sailing experience on the Great Barrier Reef, following the coastline and views of the Daintree mountains. Once at the protected Coral Cays, you’ll be able to snorkelling over the pristine coral reef with a qualified marine biologist or a glass bottom boat tour is also on offer. Soak up the sun, peace and tranquillity and swim in turquoise clear waters. A tropical buffet lunch, morning and afternoon teas & coffees will compliment a day of adventure and relaxation.

Spend the morning at leisure enjoying the many delights of beautiful Port Douglas. With a plethora of cafes, galleries, boutique shops and not forgetting the world famous 4-mile beach, this seaside town offers something for everybody. Alternatively, enjoy an optional scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest offering a different perspective on these two natural wonders (additional cost applies). Later this afternoon head down to Port Douglas Marina where you will board a luxury sailing vessel. Sail through the Dickson Inlet of Port Douglas and out over the Coral Sea where you will enjoy canapes as you watch the sun set over the glistening water.

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Depart Port Douglas and travel north into a pristine area of natural beauty, the Daintree Rainforest. On the way stop at Mossman Gorge and join an Aboriginal led morning dreamtime gorge walk. Walk through the dramatic rainforest and learn about traditional plant use, identify bush food and hear enchanting stories of this ancient landscape and its relationship with the local Indigenous communities. Refresh yourself with a swim in a natural swimming hole before enjoying traditional bush tea and damper. Continue on to your accommodation in the rainforest, the perfect place to stay for close encounters with Australia’s outdoors. Spend two nights at Daintree Eco Lodge with breakfast included.

Spend the day at leisure either enjoying a guided rainforest walk or cruise down the Daintree River. Alternatively you may choose to embark on a voyage of adventure and fly through the treetops over cascading rivers on a jungle surfing canopy tour.

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Set off on a drive into the heart of the Atherton Tablelands offering a different perspective and experience of Queensland. Your accommodation this evening is uniquely situated beside the World Heritage listed Wooroonooran National Parks and offers an unforgettable tropical bush experience. Keep watch for the smallest and most primitive kangaroo in the world, the musky rat-kangaroo, and also the colourful king parrot and rainbow lorikeet. Spend time admiring the rainforest scenery from your treehouse or explore one of the many nearby rainforest walking tracks. Spend two nights at Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat with breakfast included.

Enjoy the serene quiet of the Atherton Tablelands perhaps visiting waterfalls such as Millaa Millaa falls as you explore at leisure.

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Drive the short distance to Cairns and return your hire car before continuing with your onward journey.

Accommodation Options

We have selected accommodation specifically suited to this holiday as referenced in the itinerary, but we can adapt to suit your personal preference mixing different grades and styles.

  • thala beach lodge guestroom
  • rose gums wilderness retreat2
  • daintree eco lodge bedroom
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Prices and Departures

Price from £1576 excluding flights

Airfares start from around £730 per person and are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.
Note: Airfares tend to be cheaper the earlier you book.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • 6 breakfasts, 1 lunch
  • Car rental throughout
  • Skyrail and Scenic Rail Experience
  • Great Barrier Reef Sailing Cruise
  • Morning Dreamtime Gorge Walk
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

This itinerary starts from around £1,576 per person, based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom in standard hotels, and rental of an intermediate vehicle.

Prices may vary depending on departure date and booking date, as well as any changes to the included components. The final cost of a tailored holiday will be based on the level of accommodation, size of vehicle, included activities, travel season, and how far in advance it is booked. We will confirm the exact price for your holiday in your individual quotation, based on your chosen travel dates and inclusions.

As Standard, Complete Piece of Mind

We’re listening. We always care what our fellow travellers think and love building strong customer relationships so we continuously focus on improving future experiences based on feedback. How incredible for the last three years we have received the Feefo Platinum Award.

The World's Great. Pass it On

To mark our 40th anniversary, we've launched our Education Bursary Fund to help disadvantaged school children experience the wonders of travel. A percentage of revenue from every holiday booked will go into the bursary fund to pay for at least 40 students to join one of our school trips abroad.