Cape Tribulation is an epic destination.
It has the world’s oldest rainforest. It’s the place where the rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef. There is hiking, gourmet food, deserted beaches, camping, and luxurious accommodation options. And it’s only a few hours away from Cairns.
If you don’t have your own transportation, it is possible to do trips to Cape Tribulation from Cairns, but in doing so, you will miss out on many of the great little hikes and attractions along the way. One of the great things about Cape Tribulation are all the great little hidden secrets along the way. A random turnoff can take you to a beautiful creek, or a cute little boardwalk. These are the things you will miss out on if you don’t have your own transportation.
Cape Tribulation Tip #1 : Have your own transport if possible. There are plenty of budget car rental agencies in Cairns
Your Cape Tribulation adventure starts at the Daintree river ferry. The ferry costs $22 return per vehicle. Your adventure can even start before crossing if you wish, as there are several crocodile boat tours that operate on the Daintree river whose offices and departure points are just before the ferry itself.
Cape Tribulation Tip #2 : The ferry only accepts cash, as do several other places in Cape Tribulation. Take out sufficient cash in Cairns or Port Douglas.
What to do
There is plenty to do in Cape Tribulation. We stayed for two nights and were seriously cutting it short. We managed to do all the main things we wanted to, but I would have loved to have had more time to spend at the incredible beaches.
If you are a beach lover, then you will be in paradise here. There are some seriously amazing beaches here – and this is coming from someone who isn’t typically that into lazing around on a beach.
Cape Kimberly in the first beach you will come to after the ferry. You will need to drive down 5 km of unsealed roads to get here, but it is well worth it. When we went there, we were the only people to be seen. Giant lizards lazed around the car park and Dan chased after them with the camera, while Jacob and I hung out on the beach. If you are looking for a deserted beach experience… well you have found it.
Cow Bay beach is a more popular beach, but also very beautiful. We visited this on our way back out of Cape Tribulation and didn’t have as much time to spend there as I would have liked.
Myall beach is a super long white sand beach. This is the beach that the camp ground is located on, and where we stayed.
There is some great hiking in Cape Tribulation. Many of the walks are nice and easy, 30 – 60 minutes long, well sign posted and often with boardwalks in place. One of the first attractions you will come upon the the Daintree Discovery Centre and it’s canopy walk. They charge a pretty penny to go here, and there are so many free hikes in the area that Dan and I decided to spare the expense and stick to the free. Two of our favourites were the Jindalpa board walk and the Dubuji board walk.
There are plenty of cute little boutique food places in the Cape Tribulation area. The Daintree tea company, and the Daintree ice cream company are two examples. The Daintree ice cream company uses local nuts, seeds, and fruits to make interesting ice cream varieties. Ever seen wattle seed ice cream before? I bet not…. it tastes sort of…. like mocha. Another really cool experience is the Cape Tribulation Exotic Fruit Farm… and I had such a good time there I am going to dedicate another post just to it.
Snorkel and Dive
Cape Tribulation is the place with the most accessible part of the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is only about a 20 minute boat trip out, and this area sees a lot less traffic than the reef around Cairns allowing you to have a more “un touched” experience.
Where to stay
Accommodation abounds in Cape Tribulation, but you will probably want to book ahead. We stayed at the Cape Tribulation Camp Ground in a safari tent. The weather was beautiful so there was no issue, but we might have preferred a few more amenities if the sun was not shining so brightly.
How long should I stay?
We stayed for two days, and I will admit, it was a little bit rushed. Three or four days might have been better.