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Epic Cape York


The Great Barrier Reef Drive from Cairns to Port Douglas is one of Australia’s most spectacular coastline and scenic drives, along secluded beaches and stunning rainforest clad mountains.

Oysters Family at the beach Salad

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From Cairns you head north across the Barron River along the edge of the Coral Sea past unspoiled tropical beaches to Port Douglas, the ideal place to cruise to the Great Barrier Reef and immerse yourself in the laid back tropical village atmosphere.

Travel on north of Port Douglas towards the sugar town of Mossman and up the Rex Range to Mt.Molloy joining the inland route to Lakeland and stop at Helenvale and enjoy a drink at the infamous Lions Den Hotel.

Driving onwards through the Black Mountain National Park, an imposing mountain range of black granite boulders with an extraordinary combination of flora, and a habitat for an unusual range of wildlife. It is also an important meeting place for the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people.

Go on a 4WD Track via Mount Amos Road, to the spectacular Trevethan Falls, where there is a lagoon for swimming, and stunning views from up the rocks.

Once you arrive in Cooktown visit the Museum, enjoy sunset on Grassy Hill Look Out and throw a line for a spot of fishing on the jetty.

46 kilometres north west of Cooktown is Hopevale, an aboriginal community with the Hopevale Arts and Cultural Centre which actively involves the entire a original community in passing on their cultural history.
Approximately 25 m outside of Hopefale is Elim Beach, a shady beachfront campsite ideal to see the Coloured Sand dune formations.

Take the Battlecamp Road (if dry and open) into Lakefield National Park, Rinyirru NP and visit the Old Laura Homestead along the way. Drive into Laura and visit the Quinkan Cultural Centre which showcases all aspects of Quinkan Coutnry including heritage and the natural environment. Visit Split Rock on the way to Lakeland.

Return to Cairns via Mount Molloy and Mareeba, stopping by the beautiful Mareeba wetlands and travelling down the Kuranda Range.

Insider info:

Have breakfast or coffee at Chill Café Palm Cove or Ellis Beach Café
Visit the Port Douglas Markets every Sunday 8-1pm
Go for a swim at Mossman Gorge
Have a beer at the Lions Den Hotel
Visit the Cooktown Museum
Check out sunset or sunrise on Cooktown’s Grassy Hill Lookout
Book Willie Gordon’s Aboriginal Rock Art Tour out of Cooktown
Have a coffee at Mareeba Coffee Works


Cooktown Discovery Festival 7-9 June
Cairns Amateurs 10-12 September
Mareeba Rodeo &Show Festival 11-12 July

Things to do:​

Cooktown Reef Charters Fishing Adventure
Willie Gordon Aboriginal Rock Art Tour, Cooktown
Close up Birding Adventures Tour – Cooktown
Great Barrier Reef Day Trip from Cairns or Port Douglas
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway & Scenic Kuranda Day Tour
Mareeba Wetlands Birders Tour