Great Tropical Drive Cairns ~ Atherton ~ Undara ~ Charters Towers ~ Townvilìe ~ Mission Beach ~ Cairns
World class coastlines, beaches and marine wildlife.
Explore palm-fringed beaches, ancient rainforests and the golden outback on a self-drive tour taking in the highlights of North Queensland. With 26 different routes to follow, the Great Tropical Drive takes you to some of Australia's best-known tropical attractions including the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree rainforest, Hinchinbrook Island and the Undara Lava Tubes. Taste the flavors of the tropics on the Atherton Tablelands where local produce and fruity wines are popular, step back in time with an adventure into the western goldfields or discover incredible views as you drive between the two World Heritage areas of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest. Along the way you can cool off under a waterfall, visit a turtle hospital, go jungle surfing or learn how to hunt mud crab with a spear. Encounter nature, Indigenous culture, food and wine, wildlife, heritage or adventure and know that natural wonders are around every corner. The Great Tropical Drive offers ever changing landscapes as it passes through unique regions of North Queensland including Cooktown, Port Douglas and Daintree, Cairns and its beaches, Mission Beach and the Cassowary Coast, the Atherton Tablelands, the Gulf Savannah, Townsville, Charters Towers and Hinchinbrook.
Day 1. 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. Stop at a deserted beach along the way and linger at the Rex Lookout where an incredible 180-degree view of the Coral Sea and its coastline begs a photograph. The road leaves the blue of the ocean for the green of sugar cane fields just before the palm-lined entrance to Port Douglas.
Day 2 - Port Douglas It is the closest mainland port to the Great Barrier Reef and only a short drive to the Wet Tropics rainforest at Daintree and Cape Tribulation.
Day 3- Port Douglas
Day 4 - To Undara Travel from the resort town of Port Douglas through the Atherton Tablelands to the outback to see the world's longest lava tubes at Undara Volcanic National Park. Drive north from Port Douglas towards Mossman and turn left onto the Rex Range Road to access the Atherton Tablelands. At the top turn left onto the Kennedy Highway and drive through Mount Molloy. The Mareeba Wetlands Nature Reserve at Biboohra, 10 kilometres before Mareeba, has tours of the wetlands and accommodation. Continue from Mareeba through Atherton to the Mt Hypipamee National Park and the Crater, a huge volcanic vent. Next is Ravenshoe, Queensland's highest town, and then Innot Hot Springs, a natural mineral spring. Sit in the the sandy creek and enjoy the hot water or stay at Innot Hot Springs Leisure and Health Park to experience their seven pools, each with different temperatures. Follow the Kennedy Highway to Mount Garnet and drive through the Forty Mile Scrub National Park. Turn right onto the Gulf Development Road to join the Savannah Way. The turn-off to Undara is 18 kilometres along the road and goes through Whitewater Station on a sealed road for 14 kilometres to Undara Lava Lodge.
Day 5 - Townsville Ghost stories and a giant carpet snake, coastal wonders and rugged mountains - you'll find it all on this drive from Townsville. Bowling Green Bay National Park south of Townsville is almost 60,000 ha of such contrasts. In the park, Alligator Creek descends in a series of cascades, deep pools and waterfalls while Mount Elliot dominates the landscape at 1210 metres. On the north side of the mighty Burdekin River, 85 kilometres south of Townsville, the prosperous community of Ayr is the Burdekin Shire's main town. This prime sugar country also contributes one-third of the nation's mango harvest. Don't miss, Gubulla Munda, the giant carpet snake sculpture at nearby Plantation Park. \n\nHome Hill, at the delta of the Burdekin River, is also a major sugarcane growing area. Drive south-west to Ravenswood, a wonderful example of a true ghost town. Once boasting 48 hotels and 5000 residents after the discovery of gold in 1868, the township was deserted after an industrial strike in 1912, and subsequently World War 1 in 1915. \n\nThere are just two gold mines in operation in the area, several historic buildings and legendary ghost stories. Stop at another historic town, Mingela, on your return journey to Townsville.
Day 6 Townsville to Cairns Known as the Great Green Way, this 350 kilometre journey takes you through 12 national parks and over 20 tropical islands. Drive through the living museum of Charters Towers, detour to Paluma National Park or explore Tyoto Wetlands near Ingham. Visit Wallaman Falls, Australia's highest single drop waterfall. Explore Hinchinbrook Island, Australias largest island national park or walk along breathtaking Mission Beach. Check out the Chinese temple and art deco buildings in Innisfail and go white water rafting in Tully Gorge National Park. Discover wetlands and rare plants of Eubenangee Swamp National Park and spectacular waterfalls in Wooroonooran National Park. Your trip ends in the relaxed, international city Cairns.
Call 1-800-221-2474 9AM - 8PM Mon-Fri Eastern Time or (516) 248-2042 outside USA/Canada Although we have provided as much information as possible on our website, we are happy to answer your questions directly on the phone. Sometimes, it is just easier to speak to one of us. We are awaiting your call. or email