12 days in Tropical North Queensland Itinerary

12 days in Tropical North Queensland Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Tropical North Queensland trip itinerary planner

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Route & dates

12 days in Tropical North Queensland Itinerary

Start: Auckland
Fly:  8​h 30​min
— 2 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
Port Douglas
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
Cape Tribulation
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
— 2 nights
Drive:  5​h 15​min
Mission Beach
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
End: Cairns


Cairns ©
A neat, cosmopolitan city of shaded plazas and laid-back neighborhoods, Cairns serves as a popular base for exploration of the surrounding region and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as a center for watersport activities like surfing or waterskiing.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Muddy's Playground as well as Kuranda Scenic Railway. Start off your visit on the 9th (Thu): let the kids burn off some steam at Muddy's Playground. On the 10th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: hunt for treasures at Rusty's Market, take a memorable tour with Kuranda Scenic Railway, then take in the dramatic natural features at Babinda Boulders, and finally admire the sheer force of Josephine Falls.

For other places to visit, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Cairns trip planning tool .

Auckland, New Zealand to Cairns is an approximately 8.5-hour flight. You'll gain 2 hours traveling from Auckland to Cairns due to the time zone difference. While traveling from Auckland, expect warmer days and somewhat warmer nights in Cairns, ranging from highs of 32°C to lows of 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Port Douglas.

Things to do in Cairns

Parks Nature Tours

Side Trips

Babinda Boulders, Crystal Cascades, Kuranda Scenic Railway
Find places to stay May 9 — 11:
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Josephine Falls ©
Josephine Falls
Muddy's Playground ©
Muddy's Playground
Babinda Boulders ©
Babinda Boulders

Port Douglas

A holiday in Port Douglas balances an activity-filled getaway with plenty of opportunities to relax, thanks to its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and bustling beach life.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Sat): look for gifts at With Sugar. Here are some ideas for day two: trot along with a tour on horseback, then view the masterpieces at Des Spencer Galleries, then look for all kinds of wild species at Opal Reef, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Ngarru Gallery.

To see maps, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Port Douglas itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Cairns to Port Douglas takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. In May in Port Douglas, expect temperatures between 32°C during the day and 24°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Cape Tribulation.

Things to do in Port Douglas

Wildlife Parks Tours

Side Trip

Find places to stay May 11 — 13:
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Horseback Riding Tours
Sunday Market Port Douglas ©
Sunday Market Port Douglas
Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery ©
Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery

Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation ©
A lush headland that's part of the forested Daintree Region, Cape Tribulation was so named by Lieutenant--later Captain--Cook in 1770, when his ship ran aground in the area.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Myall Beach and Cow Bay Beach. Kids will appreciate attractions like Thornton Beach and Cape Tribulation Beach. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Cape Tribulation: Walu Wugirriga Lookout (in Cow Bay), Bloomfield Waterfall (in Bloomfield) and Daintree (Daintree Tea, Floravilla Ice Cream Factory, & more). There's more to do: admire the sheer force of Alexandra Bay Waterfall.

To find other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Cape Tribulation tour itinerary planner.

You can do a combination of car and ferry from Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation in 2 hours. Another option is to take a bus. May in Cape Tribulation sees daily highs of 32°C and lows of 24°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Thu) so you can drive to Cooktown.

Things to do in Cape Tribulation

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Daintree, Cow Bay, Bloomfield Waterfall
Find places to stay May 13 — 16:
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Cape Tribulation Beach ©
Cape Tribulation Beach
Thornton Beach ©
Thornton Beach
Cow Bay Beach ©
Cow Bay Beach


Cooktown ©
Cooktown is a small town and locality in the Shire of Cook, Queensland, Australia. On the 17th (Fri), stroll the grounds of Cooktown War Memorial, then contemplate the long history of Cooktown History Centre, then identify plant and animal life at Great Northern Tours, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Finch Bay. On your second day here, get interesting insight from Tours, then enjoy the sea views from Grassy Hill, then admire the natural beauty at Cooktown Botanical Gardens, and finally explore the wealth of natural beauty at Black Mountain National Park.

Plan my day in Cooktown using traveler tips and tourist information provided by Inspirock.

You can drive from Cape Tribulation to Cooktown in 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Sat) to allow time to travel to Mission Beach.

Things to do in Cooktown

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trip

Black Mountain National Park
Find places to stay May 16 — 18:
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Finch Bay ©
Finch Bay
Grassy Hill ©
Grassy Hill
Fishing Charters & Tours

Mission Beach

Mission Beach ©
Gracing the coast along the Coral Sea, Mission Beach is a collection of villages that merged into one city.
Kick off your visit on the 19th (Sun): view the masterpieces at Helen Wiltshire Gallery, contemplate the long history of Historic Cardwell Post Office & Telegraph Station, then explore the striking landscape at Tully Gorge National Park, and finally enjoy breathtaking views from Golden Gumboot. Here are some ideas for day two: stroll through Kennedy Walking Track, stop by The Pocket, and then get engrossed in the history at Australian Sugar Industry Museum.

For more things to do, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Mission Beach trip itinerary planning website .

Traveling by car from Cooktown to Mission Beach takes 5.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Mon) early enough to drive back home.

Things to do in Mission Beach

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Tully, Historic Cardwell Post Office & Telegraph Station, Australian Sugar Industry Museum, The Pocket
Find places to stay May 18 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Tully Gorge National Park ©
Tully Gorge National Park
Kennedy Walking Track ©
Kennedy Walking Track
Golden Gumboot ©
Golden Gumboot
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