Top Things To Do in Cape Tribulation, Australia
Featured destinations: Australia, Cairns
Published 30 March 2016
North of Cape Tribulation there are only dirt tracks, no electricity and not a whole lot of people. You’ve basically reached the end of the road here in far northern Queensland. This makes Captain Cook’s Cape Tribulation (as he named it after his ship ran aground here) a pretty special place to visit. The ancient Daintree rainforest, home to the quirky cassowary, grows down to deserted golden beaches littered with driftwood. Idyllic creeks babble their way to the ocean – but you have to watch out for crocs. Just off the coast is the biggest nature reserve in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef. This is a different kind of Down Under.
Visit the Daintree rainforest
The Daintree lays claims to being the oldest surviving rainforest in the world, having been around for roughly 135 million years. The World Heritage listed rainforest contains more rare or endangered plants and animals than anywhere else on earth. If you’re lucky, you might see a cassowary on your visit to the Daintree rainforest. These odd-looking, multi-coloured birds sport horns on their heads and are related to the ostrich family. There are a number of walks with varying levels of difficulty within the rainforest. Once you’re done getting lost in natural history, pop to the Daintree Ice Cream Company for an amazing treat made from locally-grown tropical fruits.
Ride a horse on the beach
You don’t need the skills of Zara Phillips to enjoy this ride. There are a few local companies offering horse treks with all ability levels welcome. Early risers will be rewarded with a gallop on the peaceful Cape Tribulation beach as the sun is rising. It’s a pretty special way to enjoy the natural surroundings and cover more ground than you might on foot.
Hike along the beaches then swim in the creeks
As I’ve already mentioned, Cape Tribulation is an area of stunning natural beauty and tranquillity. It’s a great place to relax yet those wanting to explore a little don’t have to go far to be handsomely rewarded. Start with a walk along Cape Tribulation beach to the lookout where you can take in the whole bay and the Great Barrier Reef just offshore. Myall beach is to the south and you can walk along here to an area of mangroves teeming with crabs.
Heading inland, be careful not to get in any water on this side of the main road (including the ocean) as you may encounter a crocodile. Once you’ve crossed the road the creeks are safe to swim in and provide a nice relief from the Queensland heat. Those really after a challenge can climb Mount Sorrow located inland off the main road. The 7km track will take you up to the peak at 680m, but be prepared for a hot and sweaty walk as the ascent is strenuous.
Go crocodile spotting
The Daintree river is an excellent spot to take a crocodile cruise. There’s nothing quite like seeing these prehistoric predators in the wild and if you’re lucky you’ll spot a few of the big boys hanging out on the river banks or lurking in the shallows. Unlike the croc cruises in Australia’s Northern Territory there is no baiting or disturbing of the reptiles here, so you can enjoy watching these toothy giants with the respect they deserve.
Snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef
You’ll be rewarded by far fewer people in the water than further south in Cairns or Port Douglas. There is nothing quite like the Great Barrier Reef, and you’d be a fool to travel all the way to northern Queensland and not take a dip in the world’s largest marine park. Only half an hour from the shores of Cape Tribulation, the reef is full of fish and you don’t have to be too lucky to see turtles and stingrays. Unfortunately, there are currently no dive centres operating out of Cape Tribulation so snorkelling will have to do for now.