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Cairns - Daintree
Far North Queensland Adventure

Great DrivesThis circular excursion from Cairns takes you to some varied environments - from the agricultural Atherton Tableland to the fashionable coastal resort of Port Douglas, and on to rainforest-rich Daintree National Park.

From the bustling gateway city of Cairns, head south on the Bruce Highway, then travel up to the Atherton Tableland - a high cool region that provides relief from the coastal heat - and stop off at Lake Barrine, a volcanic crater lake that features giant kauri trees and cruises.

At the rainforest village of Yungaburra have a look at the amazing curtain fig tree before driving into Atherton, the Tablelandís main town. This area is famous for its lush green scenery, high peaks and waterfalls, which you can see in Bellenden Ker National Park. Further north, Mareeba is at the centre of a fertile farming district, where tobacco, sugar, mangoes and coffee are grown.

From here, drive to the picturesque village of Kuranda (also see opposite page), where the attractions include heritage markets, arts and crafts, and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. Then itís back down to the coast and on to Port Douglas, a popular resort town that offers some exclusive accommodation and fine dining. This is also perfect for a spot of golf or a boat trip to the Great Barrier Reef.

From here, you can either head back to Cairns on the very scenic Captain Cook Highway or travel further north to the town of Mossman, home of a sugar mill and tropical fruit farms and the starting point for a trip to Mossman Gorge, in World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park. The small village of Daintree, beyond Mossman, also provides access to the park, and you can take a river cruise to spot crocodiles and birdlife.

Where to Stay

Time required: 3-4 days are recommended


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