Cape Tribulation Australia

Cape Tribulation & Daintree 2024: Adventurous Things To Do & Epic Hikes


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Cape Tribulation is a stunning part of Australia where the wild rainforest meets the empty beaches. Australia’s richest flora and fauna can be found in this part of the Cape York Peninsula.

Cape Tribulation thanks its name to James Cook, who was stranded on the reef and couldn’t find his way through the labyrinth of wilderness. According to him, this was the point where his troubles began.

How To Get To Cape Tribulation & Daintree

Not just Cape Tribulation itself makes it worth a visit. The road to it is already incredible and an absolutely must-do on your Australia bucket list!

Great Barrier Reef Drive

Take route 44, or the so-called Great Barrier Reef Drive along the coast to make your way up to Cape Tribulation from Cairns. You will pass some stunning places along the coast. Think of Palm Cove, which is a unique and relaxing village by the sea where centuries-old “paperbark” trees line the casual esplanade.

If you like boutique shops and high-end restaurants, Port Douglas is another stop for you. Once there, don’t forget to drive to one of the 3 look-out points. Or check them all out.

You’ll also pass a World Heritage Center: The wet tropics of Queensland. This s a region of spectacular and rugged landscapes with fast-flowing rivers, deep gorges, and numerous waterfalls. Make sure you stop at every viewpoint to breathe in the breath-taking views.

Via Route 81

If you take the inland route from Cairns (route 81), you’ll pass Ngarrabullgan, also known as Mount Mulligan. This is a huge table-top mountain around ten times the size of Uluru. It is over 18 kilometers long.

The Traditional Owners of Ngarrabullgan, the Djungan people, believe that this mountain is a sacred and dangerous place inhabited by the mean spirit Eekoo and they always approach it with caution.

Daintree road

Where route 81 and route 44 meet, there is a junction towards the Daintree road. This road will lead you along the Mossman gorge into Daintree. Both stunning places to have a look around or take a tour to explore these natural wonders.

At the end of the Daintree road, you will cross the river with a ferry to make your way to Cape Tribulation. A ticket for the Daintree Ferry cost $39 return and $23 one-way ticket for a car.

Do I need a 4wd in Daintree National Park?

The best part of exploring Cape Tribulation is that you don’t need a 4WD to explore the biggest part of it. This is unlike most other national parks in Australia.

With a 2WD you can get all the way to Cape Tribulation and even a bit more North. Depending on the water levels in the rivers (some are dry) you can even drive the first part of the Cape Tribulation Bloomfield road. At a certain moment, you have to cross rivers,“ and that is the point from where you need a 4WD to continue your way to Bloomfield.

Must Read: Brisbane to Cairns: The Complete Route Guide

Video: Cape Tribulation & Daintree Inspiration

About Cape Tribulation & Daintree National Park

Cape Tribulation

What is so special about Cape Tribulation?

Cape Tribulation is in my opinion one of the most beautiful places in the Northern Part of Australia I totally get that this site is a Unesco World Heritage listed site. The Great Barrier Reef meets the Daintree Rainforest and this gives unique viewpoints.

Cape Tribulation is great for outdoor lovers to escape and enjoy the real nature while hiking.

Daintree National Park

Did you know that the Daintree Rainforest is way older than the Amazon? And by way older, I mean millions of years older! Researchers believe this rainforest is over 180 million years old. No wonder you can find ancient plants, animals, and reptiles here. This National Park is really not only a must-see because of all the beautiful scenery but it has also a lot of outdoor activities to offer. Daintree is protected by several groups because of the cane farms.

Daintree National Park is a great place for the lovers of the Great Barrier Reef for snorkeling/diving trips is particular.

Best Time To Visit Cape Tribulation & Daintree

As Daintree National Park Rainforest has a tropical climate we speak we don’t speak over the seasons as we all know, but just the two seasons: Dry Season and Wet Season. In the chart below you will find the weather information about the Dry Season in Bold (April – November) and the Wet Season (December – March).

Dry Season

This period of time is great if you want to enjoy the beaches, as there are not that many dangerous stingers. If you come in contact with a stinger always make sure to rinse it with vinegar afterward.

Wet Season

During Wet Season you can have a lot of rainy days and you have to keep in mind that there is a big change of floating, so roads can be closed. It can rain for days but if you are lucky you can get some sunny days in between to enjoy the temperatures. If you go to the beach be aware of stingers as there is less wind on the coast there will be more of them. One of the greatest things I liked about the wet seasons was the fact that the waterfalls are really powerful because of all the rainfall.

Weather Chart Daintree

MonthMin Temperature °CMax Temperature °CRain mmRainy Days
January24.030.0368.8 12.0

Check out: 7 Beautiful Rainforests in Australia You Don’t Want To Miss

How much does it cost to travel Cape Tribulation?

Accommodation per person for a hostel bed$30AUD/night
Accommodation per person for a simple hotel$80AUD/night
Restaurant meals $10 – 30 AUD
Single bus ticket$2.5 – 5.0AUD
Average price tours$ 25 – 250AUD
Beer in a bar$5 – 10AUD
Campervan rental$45AUD/per day

Where To Stay At Cape Tribulation

There are beautiful options when it comes to accommodation as I camped 99/100 nights I camped on PK’s Jungle Village for just $15 a night. I really enjoyed my stay with the great swimming pool, facilities, restaurant and it’s really close to the beach. To give you a jump start for other suggestions see my list below:

Hotel & Hostel


8 Best things to do in Cape Tribulation & Daintree

1. River Drift Snorkelling Tour

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Location: Pickup from Port Douglas or Mossman, open in Google Maps

A really unique way to explore the Daintree Rainforest is by doing this river drift snorkelling tour on the Mossman River, let’s try to get a glimpse of the famous platypus. First, you will walk a short walk through the bush during a guided tour where you will learn everything about the surroundings and the really old trees, butterflies, rainforest birds, and much more. I would suggest booking the morning tour as it can be busy during the afternoon with local people enjoying the waterside. If you want to prepare yourself a bit, check out my Snorkel Guide For Beginners.

Book here your ticket for River Drift Snorkelling Tour in the Daintree

2. Go Fishing Like The Traditional Aboriginals

  • Duration: 1 day
  • Location: Pick up available from Cairns, Port Douglas & Northern Beach

After working together with my Aboriginal friend Manuel in an Aboriginal Centre in Katherine I was really interested in the Aboriginal Culture and wanted to learn more. During this tour: you will go on a cultural walk to learn from an Aboriginal guide, you will learn traditional hunting and gathering methods, and the guide will teach about the land of the Aboriginals while the food will be prepared for the lunch you can enjoy. What I really liked about this experience was the traditional smoking ceremony, I heard a lot of stories about this Welcome to the Country tradition.

Book here your ticket for Traditional Aboriginal Fishing

3. Cape Tribulation Crocodiles, I dare you!

These boats are totally solar-powered, which makes the boat really silent so a bigger chance to spot crocodiles for you! During the 60 minutes cruising the river and mangroves, you learn a lot about the wildlife. I was lucky to see some crocodiles, but also snakes and frogs are great to see during this tour. The guides have a great sense of humor and everyone enjoyed the trip. You can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea during the trip to make your trip the ultimate best.

Book here your ticket for Solar Whisper Daintree River Crocodile and Wildlife Cruise

4. Explore The Great Barrier Reef The Fullest

  • Duration: 4.5 hours
  • Location: The Turtle Rock Café, Cape Tribulation Rd, Cape Tribulation, open in Google Maps

Cape Tribulation and Daintree are the perfect locations to explore the world beyond the beach. Taking a small group Great Barrier Reef tour is a great way to experience the Mackay and Undine Reefs. You can enjoy the beautiful turtles, tropical fishes, eagle rays, starfish, and the colorful coral itself. I was surprised to see the colors of the coral as I wasn’t expecting that much of colors. No matter if you have snorkelling experience the guides will help you out, to give you the best experience. You can read the Ultimate Guide to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef before this tour, to learn everything about the reef and fish species.

Book here your ticket for Cape Tribulation Ocean Safari Tour

5. Cape Tribulation Horse Riding

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Location: Cape Tribulation Horse Rides , 3831 Cape Tribulation Rd, open in Google Maps

As a beginner, I really enjoyed this horse ride tour! You will start with a briefing about the flora and fauna and of course the riding instructions, but don’t worry you will be fine. Riding through the water on Myall Beach was a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the Daintree in the background, one word INCREDIBLE!

Book here your ticket for Afternoon Beach Horse Ride In Cape Tribulation

6. Daintree Rainforest Night Walk

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Location: 36 Camelot Cl , 36 Camelot Cl, Cape Tribulation, open in Google Maps

Would you dare to walk in the Rainforest while it’s dark surrounded by spiders and beautiful flora and fauna. I did and I can tell you I learned a lot about the history of the rainforest, fluorescent mushrooms, and all the spiders we saw. P.s. even if you are scared of spiders, this can be a nice tour to do! A nice idea is to visit the same spot during daylight before or after your tour, to see the total difference when it’s dark.

Book here your ticket for this unique Night Walk in Cape Tribulation

7. Hook-a-Barra Gourmet Farm Tour

  • Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Location: Hook A Barra , Lot 3 Vixies Rd, Wonga QLD 4873, open in Google Maps

As I worked at an Aboriginal Stockman’s Camp Tucker Restaurant I was wondering about this Barramundi Farm. You will visit the Barramundi viewing tanks, if you want you can feed the fish and of course, try to catch your own Barramundi. During lunch, you will get a tasting plate with different dishes of Barramundi: smoked Barramundi, sashimi, and my favorite gyoza.

Book here your ticket for this great Barramundi Experience

8. 4WD Tour Daintree and Cape Tribulation

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Location:Pick up available from Cairns, Port Douglas & Northern Beach

This is a day full of great experiences, it all starts with a coffee, tea, and biscuits at the Daintree Center before setting out to explore the Daintree River for a 1-hour tour. During this cruise, you can spot crocodiles, and tropical birds, and don’t forget the beautiful flora and fauna. After the cruise, you will stop at the Alexandra Range Lookout and I can tell you the view from there, you will never forget.

After the lookout, you will hike the Jindalba boardwalk during a 45 minutes guided tour. All of this just in the morning, after a great lunch you will continue with a fresh swim in the Emmagen Creek. Curious what will follow? Check out the tour via the link in the box below.

Book here your ticket for this great 4WD Experience

5 Best Self-Guided Activities In Cape Tribulation

1. Enjoy An Icecream At Ice Cream Company

  • Name: Daintree Ice Cream Company
  • Location: 1819 Cape Tribulation Rd, Diwan QLD 4873, Australië, open in Google Maps
  • Opening Hours: 12:00 – 17:00

Another amazing reason that makes you want to visit Cape Tribulation is the Daintree Ice Cream Company. They produce fresh ice creams on-sight on a daily basis with fruits that organically grow on their Rainforest farm.

Give your taste buds a twist and try one or more of their exotic tastes, like dragonfruit, marang, jackfruit, davidson’s plum, malay apple, soursop or any other of their freshly made flavors.

Tip: Bring some cash! You don’t want to miss this out because you only have a card in your pocket! The Daintree Ice cream Company is open from 11 am to 5 pm daily

2. Check out Cow Bay

  • Name: Cow Bay Beach
  • Location: 445 Buchanan Creek Rd, Cow Bay QLD 4873, Australië, open in Google Maps
  • Opening Hours: 24 hours

Driving along the rainforest beaches I stopped at Cow Bay Beach for a lunch stop and I can tell you I spend my whole afternoon here, this place has a great vibe. In the mood to play like a kid, you are lucky as there is a coconut tree rope swing on this beach. So just bring some cold drinks and enjoy! P.s. you wont find any cows on the beach!

Must Read: The Best Free Camping Guide in Australia For Backpackers

3. Exotic Fruit Tasting Experience

  • Name: Cape Trib Farm
  • Location: 3939 Cape Tribulation Rd, Cape Tribulation QLD 4873, Australië open on Google Maps
  • Opening Hours: 14:00 – 15:30

During my work at the Stockman’s Camp Tucker, I learned a lot about Aboriginal Herbs and was ready to learn more about food. Just a couple of minutes off Myall Beach you will find Cape Trib Farm, where you can do a fruit tasting tour of 1.5 hours, and really you will be surprised how many fruits they have. I taste all kinds of fruits I never heard of before and was surprised by the knowledge of the owners. Next time I will book a room at the farm to get those fruits as breakfast in the morning and to spend more time at this place.

4. Spot A Cassowary

  • Name: Spot A Cassowary
  • Location: Cape Tribulation
  • Opening Hours: 24 hours

I will never forget my first time standing close by a Cassowary, I was not sure what to do and a local told me about Cass-o-wary a website with a guideline on what to do! You will find signs on the side of the roads to be aware of crossing Cassowaries and really as they are endangered don’t hit one, always drive carefully!

Fact: A Cassowary can grow all the way up to 1.8 meters for males and 2.0 meters for females with a weight of 60 kilograms.

5. Visit A Swimming Hole

  • Name: Swimming Holes Australia
  • Location: Cape Tribulation
  • Opening Hours: 24 hours

The Beaches at Cape Tribulation may look incredible, with white sand clear blue ocean BUT you have to be careful of all kinds of factors. Like saltwater crocodiles, stingers, and don’t forget the sharks? Don’t be afraid if you want to cool off in a freshwater pool, visit one of the swimming holes Daintree has to offer.

3 Best Hikes In Daintree National Park

Boardwalks Daintree National Park

Exploring this interesting Rainforest is made easy with the many boardwalks. These are elevated paths that lead you through the forest while protecting the fragile environment. Boardwalks are generally a couple of hundred meters long, with viewpoints and rest areas in between. Here are some of the best hikes & boardwalks in the Daintree Rainforest:

1.Kulki Lookout, Myall Beach, and Dubuji Boardwalk

  • Distance: 5.3 km
  • Elevation gain: 62 m
  • Duration: 1 hour 16 minutes
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Kind of trail: Loop
  • Starting point: Parking at Cape Tribulation Beach, open in Google Maps

As you can see on the map this trail can be only done during low tide, check out the tide times here. From the start of the hike, you will explore the most unique viewpoints for example Kulki Lookout. This lookout provides you the incredible views like the photo above. The trail will show you different kinds of terrain and views and is really easy to walk especially the Dubuji boardwalk is for all fitness levels. Following the walk along the beach may require a shallow water crossing, nothing to worry about, but I just wanted to mention it.

Map not loading? Click here or on the title of the trail on the right corner of the map, to get more information.

2. Mount Sorrow Ridge Track

  • Distance: 6.8 km
  • Elevation gain: 711 m
  • Duration: 2 hours 55 minutes
  • Difficulty level: Hard
  • Kind of trail: Out & Back
  • Starting point: Parking at Cape Tribulation Beach, open in Google Maps

If you have a bit more time to spend in Cape Tribulation, take the day hike to the top of Mount Sorrow. Don’t let the distance of ‘only’ 7km return distract you. It isn’t a hike everyone is able to do and it will take about 6 hours to complete

The path up to Mount Sorrow is steep and walking is hard on the uneven grounds. Paths are marked with signs, but you wouldn’t be the first one to get lost. Make sure you prepare your trip and let someone know your plans. Let them take action if they don’t hear from you (don’t forget to inform them when you are back, hehe).

Once at the top, you will be rewarded with incredible views. You’ll see the Daintree and Cape Tribulation coastline, many islands, white sandy beaches, and rivers flowing into the ocean. The most incredible is that you see the top of the Rainforest, which you can’t see from any other viewpoint in the Daintree and Cape Tribulation area.

Map not loading? Click here or on the title of the trail on the right corner of the map, to get more information.

3. Mossman Gorge Rainforest Circuit Track

  • Distance: 3.1 km
  • Elevation gain: 87 m
  • Duration: 50 minutes
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Kind of trail: Loop
  • Starting point: Mossman Gorge Centre, open in Google maps

If you want to make a combination of hiking and relaxing in a natural pool then this is your hike! Just park your car at the visitor center en start learning about the Daintree Rainforest as there are information boards on the side of the tracks. During the hike, you will have 2 great opportunities to have a swim to cool down a little bit, and really the surroundings are incredible. Be aware of the fact that the trail must be accessed via a tour bus which will cost you around 12 dollars, all the money will go to the Aboriginal community.

Map not loading? Click here or on the title of the trail on the right corner of the map, to get more information.

Must Read: Get Prepared For Hiking Australia With This Ultimate Guide

Best Cape Tribulation Beaches

Cape Tribulation is known as the place where the Rainforest meets the Reef. The only little barriers are sandy strips, which we call beaches. The reef behind you and the ocean in front of you make these beaches really beautiful.

As Cape Tribulation is spread out along the coast, there are many beaches to explore. A lot of them will be empty and you have them all for yourself. Take breakfast or lunch with you to enjoy the sounds of the waves crashing on the rocks, while the birds sing their songs in the background.

Beach walks

A nice way to explore the beaches is by doing some beach walks. The following beach walks are a couple of the nicest in Daintree and Cape Tribulation

  • Cape Kimberley beach walk: Not a lot of people, but a lot of nature! Enjoy views on snapper Island and at low tide you can do rock-hopping. Explore little rock pools and see if you can spot some sea life, like crabs and oysters.
    Distance: 5km
  • Coconut beach walk: This beach is a stunning place to take pictures. You will see mature mangroves and stones smoothened by the sand.
    Distance: as far as you like
  • Cape Tribulation beach walk: This beach has the most diverse coastal vegetation anywhere in Australia. The vegetation is rich and protected by the reef. Plants growing near this beach were used by indigenous people for food, medicines, fishing, and tools.
    Distance: as far as you like
  • Thornton beach walk: This walk will take you to the mouth of Cooper Creek, which is one of Australia’s richest mangrove systems.
    Distance: 400m to the beach + as far as you like on the beach
  • Wonga beach walk: Wonga beach is one of the longest beaches in the Daintree and Cape Tribulation area. At the Northern end, you will find the mangrove and wetland system of the Daintree river behind the sand dunes.
    Distance: up to 9km

Can you swim in the ocean at Cape Tribulation?

Cape Tribulation looks like the perfect spot to have a nice swim with your friends, but STOP swimming is restricted all year around because of the saltwater crocodiles, stingers and sharks. If you want to go for a swim check out the swimming holes in the Daintree Rainforest!

Packing List Cape Tribulation

While hiking in Australia, you’ll be out in the wilderness and away from modern comforts. That means you must pack the needed supplies for self-sufficiency during your adventures. Here’s a list of essential items you should pack for your Australia hikes: 

  • Backpack – A 30 to 40 liter backpack should be enough space to carry your supplies on day hikes. But if you’re planning on multi-day treks, then plan on bringing a 55 to 65 liter backpack for camping gear. Choose a backpack with proper waist support to relieve stress on your shoulders.  
  • Sunscreen – The Sun in Australia is really strong, so always be sure to protect your skin.
  • Waterproof Backpack Cover – If you are caught in the rain, you don’t want the gear inside your backpack to get wet. 
  • Water Bottle/Bladder – Bring a 1-2 liter bottle that can be filtered. Water can be scarce on some Australian hiking trails, and you’ll need to pack enough water in a bladder for your hike. 
  • Navigational Tools – Pack a paper map, compass, GPS, or combination of the three. Don’t strictly rely on your phone’s GPS and always have a backup. 
  • First Aid Kit – Stock your kit with bandages, anti-inflammatories, antibacterial ointment, antiseptic wipes, medications, adhesive tape, and anything else specific to your needs.
  • Mobile Phone – Save important Australian phone numbers in case you have service and need to call someone for help.  
  • Multifunction Knife – A knife comes in handy for a variety of utility purposes to get out of any tough predicament. 
  • Firestarter – To start a campfire at night. 
  • Whistle – If you’re stuck in an isolated section and need to signal for help. 
  • Headlamp – If you’re in the wilderness at night, a headlamp is a must to observe your surroundings and remain on the trail. 
  • Repair Kit – In case you have damaged clothing or other material, you want to repair it on the spot. 
  • Toiletries – Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, and anything you need to refresh between hikes.
  • Toilet Paper & Trowel – If you have to use the bathroom and don’t have access to any bathroom facilities. 
  • Hand Towel – Some trails will leave you drenched in sweat, and you’ll need a towel to dry off. 
  • Spare Food & Water – Extra water is especially important since some regions of Australia can be extremely hot.  
  • Extra Shoes – In case your hiking boots get damaged on the trail or for casual activities between hikes. 
  • Trekking Poles – Not everyone will need trekking poles but they can help on difficult trails. 
  • Personal Tracking Device – In case you get lost, there will be a way to track your location. 
  • Camera – To take beautiful photos of stunning nature to show your friends and family. 
  • Trash Bag – Save a place inside your backpack for a bag to collect your trash from the hike. One of our pet peeves is seeing toilet paper and other garbage on trails in nature. Please don’t leave any of your trash behind!

Must Read: Get Prepared For Hiking Australia With This Ultimate Guide

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