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Driving The Great Barrier Reef Pt 1

The World Heritage Great Barrier Reef is the only living structure on Earth that can be seen from Outer Space -

One of many reasons you should experience this part of the world from EVERY possible angle!

1. Where should I start?

If you don’t have the time to drive your own vehicle up to Tropical North Queensland, I would recommend starting in Cairns and working your way up to the Daintree and then back down to Townsville.

2. How long do you need?

The longer the better, I know a lot of people struggle taking the time off work, so 14 days would be more than enough to properly experience this region.

3. I know theres the reef, but was else shouldn’t I miss?

Read below to find our some of the highlights from our recent trip and a sample itinerary for your travels!


Day 1

  • Fly into Cairns (from whatever part of the world you are from) and pick up a rental car/camper. We travelled in the ‘Apollo Vivid Camper,’ it was ridiculously good on fuel (7L per 100km) and a great setup for a short trip. Its a great way to save money on accomodation and transport whilst travelling.

  • On your way out of Cairns, stop in at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure and do a private tour with one of the amazing animal caretakers. This was one of my highlights and I couldn’t recommend this place enough - Hartley’s is all about Australian animal conservation and everything they do is in the interests of their animals. Many of the beautiful creatures have been rescued from the road or from people mis-treating them as illegally kept pets. (My face says it all)

  • Drive to Dougies Backpacker Resort in Port Douglas, this was my favourite stay - awesome people, amazing caring staff, pool tables, great amenities and the best Happy Hour in all of Port Douglas! Relax, get a drink and get ready for your busy/exciting days ahead!

Day 2

  • Spend the day around Port Douglas, searching for your favourite beach surrounded by coconut filled palms.

  • Stay another night at Dougies, soak up this place - you will miss it!

Days 3 & 4

  • Head up and explore the most ancient rainforest in the world, The Daintree. There’s a car ferry that runs every 20 minutes and costs $24 for a return ticket per car!

  • I would recommend at least 2 days up in this area, but this area is very remote so make sure you carry enough water and food for your time here! When you are soaking up the sun on the beaches you will be between two World Heritage Areas, The Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree - a truly memorable moment.

Days 5, 6 & 7

  • Make your way to Mossman Gorge and make sure you do a Dreamtime Tour with a local Aboriginal - who better to learn about the land from!

  • After your tour B-line for Atherton Tablelands, there are so many waterfalls in this area to check out, some smaller walks and others along longer hikes. They are all worth seeing, spend a few days exploring this amazing area, you might just have a waterfall all to yourself. Some worth noting; Nandroya, Elinjah, Milla Milla

  • On the way to these waterfalls its worth stopping in at Gallo Dairyland - the cheese platters and coffee are delicious.

Day 8

  • Explore Wooroonooran National Park and you might just find Australia’s best infinity pool… it may be just as hard as pronouncing the National Park’s name but you never know what you will discover in this hidden gem.

  • Paronella Park - I had heard quite a bit about this mysterious castle but I never knew the history and story behind it being built which makes it even more remarkable! Take a tour and learn for yourself how and why this beautifully designed castle and landscape was built around a natural waterfall. You can also roam the gardens after for yourself!

Days 9 & 10

  • A MUST! Take the Mission Beach to Dunk Island Water Taxi, and spend the whole day on what feels like, a completely deserted island. You get dropped at the island’s jetty and from there the only way around is to walk! Explore Dunk’s hidden coves, beaches and lookouts, also, don’t forget your snorkelling gear (we saw so many turtle’s from the waters edge)!

If you have the right equipment or can afford to buy some, theres the perfect place to camp on Dunk Island - we unfortunately didn't get the chance this time, but if you have a tent I would suggest you stay and set up camp right on the beach!

Day 11

  • On your way down towards Townsville make sure you stop at these two spots; 1. Cardwell Spa pool (found just outside of the small town Cardwell) 2. Wallaman Falls is the tallest single drop waterfall in Australia, if travelling here its well-worth the hike down to the base of the falls where you can appreciate how big and powerful the water is!

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