Cairns to Cape Tribulation

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesCairns
FinishCape Tribulation
DifficultyDifficulty 3/5
Suitable For4WD AWD 2WD Caravan Camper Motorhome Bike 
Distance2834.31 km
Minimum Days1
Average Speed53.96 km/hr
Travel Time2 days 4 hrs 31 mins
Page Updated: 14 Mar 2017


Cape Tribulation is located within the Daintree National Park and the Wet Tropics World Heritage area about 110km north of Cairns. The region is a tropical wonderland that includes 95kms of magnificent coastal rainforest and pristine tropical beaches stretching from the sugar town of Mossman in the south to the Bloomfield River in the north. The Daintree has been left relatively untouched by the world of urban development, noise and air pollution allowing visitors to experience the purity of the natural surroundings. Most business operators are committed to eco-tourism activities and visitors will find wonderful opportunities of outdoor activities without the glitz of greedy commercialism.

This trek note provides a self-drive route along sealed roads with a vehicular ferry service transporting visitors across the Daintree River and a bridge over Cooper Creek making all weather access year round for all vehicles including 2WDs and caravans. Cape Tribulation is at the end of the sealed road, 35km from the Daintree River Ferry. The road is narrow and winding so take your time to do the drive safely. It is best to allow faster traffic to pass but only stop where you can pull off the road safely. Drivers should also watch for wildlife, particularly cassowaries.

Most people visit the area during the dry season with the peak period between July and November. (Please note that access north of Cape Tribulation is 4WD only via the Bloomfield Track and is often closed during the wet season February to April).

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The Daintree Rainforest encompasses the Cape Tribulation section of the Daintree National Park and is Australia's largest remaining tropical lowland rainforest. At at over 100 million years of age it is perhaps the oldest rainforest anywhere in the world. The rainforest eco-system and microclimate support primitive and ancient plant species and many rare native mammals, birds and butterflies. In 1988 the Daintree was declared a World Heritage area.

Taking a cruise on the Daintree River will allow you to view crocodiles and birdlife.


Prior the invasion of the Europeans, the Cape Tribulation area was occupied by Aboriginal people called Kuku Yalanji.

Captain James Cook named Cape Tribulation, "because here began all our troubles", when his ship ran aground on what is now known as Endeavour reef off the coast in 1770, however the area was not settled by Europeans until the 1920s, despite earlier timber cutting of red cedar and tropical agriculture.

Tourism began in the 1970s but by 1981 recognition of the area's significance led to the declaration of the Cape Tribulation National Park and by 1988 the Cape Tribulation area was included in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

The road to Cape Tribulation was only built in 1962. The first person to drive to Cape Tribulation was Marion Swenson in an old, ex army, Bren gun carrier. She drove along Coconut Beach, across Myall Creek mouth (at low tide) and up into Mason’s property via the existing track to the wharf in Myall Creek. Later, the last section of road was completed, eliminating the need to drive on the beach.

TrekID: 346


MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.

Most people visit the area during the dry season with the peak period between July and November. (Please note that north of Cape Tribulation is 4WD only via the Bloomfield Track and is often closed during the wet season February to April).


This trek requires crossing the Daintree River by ferry, which operates from 6am to midnight every day of the year (reduced service on Christmas Day). Fees vary depending on your vehicle with extra for trailers and caravans. For up-to-date information check Cairns Regional Council website.

Camping permits are required and fees apply for staying at Noah Beach campground in the Daintree National Park. Camps must be booked & paid for before travelling. Sites can be booked online, see ParksQ Online Booking.

Fuel Usage

4cyl 398 litres4cyl 459 litres4cyl 567 litres
6cyl 435 litres6cyl 513 litres6cyl 499 litres
8cyl 435 litres8cyl 470 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Closest Climatic Station

Low Isles Lighthouse
Distance from Trek Mid Point 14.35km NW
Mean Max. °C32.231.730.829.427.625.925.526.728.530.431.732.3
Mean Min. °C25.525.525.124.122.821.220.420.721.923.224.525.3
Mean Rain mm401.3418.9435.8230.798.862.335.637.236.945.591.1210.0
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended


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Cairns to Captain Cook Hwy & Yorkeys Knob Rd
Driving: 11.45 km
Heading: 320°
Avg Speed: 53.42 km/hr
EST Time: 12:51
Captain Cook Hwy & Yorkeys Knob Rd to Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Driving: 0.59 km
Heading: 278°
Avg Speed: 47.28 km/hr
EST Time: 00:44
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Ellis Beach
Driving: 16.84 km
Heading: 338°
Avg Speed: 57.56 km/hr
EST Time: 17:33
Ellis Beach to Pebbly Beach
Driving: 23.44 km
Heading: 318°
Avg Speed: 59.75 km/hr
EST Time: 23:32
Pebbly Beach to Captain Cook Hwy & Port Douglas Rd
Driving: 8.72 km
Heading: 318°
Avg Speed: 71.92 km/hr
EST Time: 07:16
Captain Cook Hwy & Port Douglas Rd to Mossman
Driving: 13.59 km
Heading: 309°
Avg Speed: 76.47 km/hr
EST Time: 10:39
Mossman to Dayman (Rocky) Point
Driving: 12.94 km
Heading: 31°
Avg Speed: 74.42 km/hr
EST Time: 10:25
Dayman (Rocky) Point to Wonga Beach
Driving: 4.96 km
Heading: 355°
Avg Speed: 69.95 km/hr
EST Time: 04:15
Wonga Beach to Junction Mossman-Daintree Rd & Cape Tribulation Rd
Driving: 8.23 km
Heading: 330°
Avg Speed: 89.07 km/hr
EST Time: 05:32
Junction Mossman-Daintree Rd & Cape Tribulation Rd to Daintree Ferry
Driving: 4.05 km
Heading: 37°
Avg Speed: 41.65 km/hr
EST Time: 05:50
Daintree Ferry to Alexandra Range Lookout (Walu - Wugirriga)
Driving: 7.55 km
Heading: 70°
Avg Speed: 38.11 km/hr
EST Time: 11:53
Alexandra Range Lookout (Walu - Wugirriga) to Thornton Beach
Driving: 14.96 km
Avg Speed: 41.33 km/hr
EST Time: 21:43
Thornton Beach to Marrja Botanical Boardwalk
Driving: 5.76 km
Heading: 357°
Avg Speed: 44.42 km/hr
EST Time: 07:46
Marrja Botanical Boardwalk to Noah Beach Campground
Driving: 1.6 km
Heading: 67°
Avg Speed: 36.04 km/hr
EST Time: 02:39
Noah Beach Campground to Noah Head
Driving: 1.23 km
Heading: 41°
Avg Speed: 47.35 km/hr
EST Time: 01:33
Noah Head to PK's Jungle Village
Driving: 2697.21 km
Avg Speed: 30.79 km/hr
EST Time: 87:36:00
PK's Jungle Village to Cape Tribulation
Driving: 1.19 km
Heading: 36°
Avg Speed: 37.71 km/hr
EST Time: 01:53
Distance is based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

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