Great Tropical Drive (Cairns to Cairns) 6 nights
7 days/6 nights Cairns - Atherton - Undara - Charters Towers - Townsville - Mission Beach - Cairns.
Price from £529 per person
This fascinating and varied self-drive tour includes 7 days car rental with Hertz Australia, 6 nights standard accommodation, meals indicated and daily driving notes. Price includes car pick up from downtown depot - supplements may apply from airport.
Cairns – Cape Tribulation – Atherton – Undara – Charters Towers – Townsville - Mission Beach - Cairns
Prices depend on seasonality and based on twin share accommodation.
This itinerary is not available from mid November to March.
DAY 1 CAIRNS – ATHERTON (NM)
Pick up your HERTZ STANDARD AUTOMATIC rental car at the Cairns City Depot or Cairns Airport Depot and commence your drive to the Atherton Tablelands. Just north of Cairns City join the Kuranda Highway at Smithfield. As you climb the range you will travel through lush, green rainforest. The views of the Coral Sea are spectacular. At the top of the range is the Kuranda, the 'village in the rainforest' known for its vibrant and diverse markets. Continue on the Kennedy Highway through Atherton to Yungaburra.
KURANDA has come a long way from its initial origins as a centre for those choosing an alternative lifestyle in the late 60’s. Historic Buildings from the villages past now house a variety of upmarket restaurants, cafes and bars. It is still laid back, but with a style and sophistication that sets it apart from other Cairns Highlands Venues and Attractions. Kuranda’s shops and markets with their exotically handcrafted goods, Aboriginal artefacts, restaurants and coffee shops make Kuranda a well-known destination. Take the time to visit some of Kuranda’s many first class nature based tourist attractions, which include koalas, butterflies, native and exotic birds, kangaroos and reptiles.
ATHERTON is the 'capital' of the Tropical Tablelands, a land of beautiful lakes, waterfalls, rich red soil and tropical rainforest. Here the temperature is cooler, the pace is slower and there is a feeling of relaxation in the air.
YUNGUBURRA is a picturesque and very quaint town located in the middle of the Lakes district of the Tablelands. Close by are scenic attractions like Lake Barrine, Lake Eacham and the Curtain Fig Tree.
OVERNIGHT: Eden House Retreat & Mountain Spa, Yunguburra
DAY 2 ATHERTON – UNDARA (NM)
MILLAA MILLAA is the centre of the famous Waterfall Circuit, which includes Mungalli Falls, Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls, Ellinjaa Falls, and many more. The town name is the aboriginal word for ‘plenty water’, and it’s easy to see why. Green grass, rainforest, and tropical plants are everywhere to be seen.
RAVENSHOE today is one of Queensland's charming rural towns due to its isolation and creative population. The community is a growing and vibrant one, a magnet for creative people. A stroll down the main street is an interesting glance at a town once struggling to keep afloat, and now reinvented itself. The older buildings are freshly painted, have lush gardens and attract interesting tenants. Fantastic craft shops and a high quality art gallery are examples of the creative talent which exists within this Australian town. Local attractions include the Millstream Falls, which is a spectacular sight especially during the wet season, when it becomes the widest waterfall in Australia, and the Little Millstream Falls.
UNDARA NATIONAL PARK: The Undara Lava Tubes were formed some 190,000 years ago when a major volcano in the McBride volcanic province erupted, its molten lava flowing down a dry river bed. As the top layer quickly cooled and crusted, the fiery magma below continued to flow through the tubes taking it further and further from the volcano. The word Undara means ‘a long way’ in Aboriginal language. One of the lava flows from Undara extends over 160 kilometres (or 100 miles). This makes it one of the longest lava flows from a single volcano on our planet in modern geological time.
OVERNIGHT: Undara Experience, Mt Surprise
DAY 3 UNDARA – CHARTERS TOWERS (NM)
Today, travel south from Undara to Charters Towers along the Kennedy Developmental Road and the Gregory Developmental Road.
CHARTERS TOWERS is a scenic gold mining city that is big on history and character. From a chance discovery of gold in 1871, Charters Towers was soon turned into a bustling metropolis, which in its heyday, boasted being the second largest city in Queensland. Today, the pace is a little less hectic, with locals able to take advantage of the rich heritage of Charters Towers, whilst enjoying an affordable lifestyle with modern housing and well established cultural, health, educational, sporting and recreational facilities. The Charters Towers business centre supports the growing mining and beef industry sectors with excellent retail, manufacturing, transport and mining services.
OVERNIGHT: Charters Towers Park Motel, Charters Towers
DAY 4 CHARTERS TOWERS – TOWNSVILLE (NM)
Explore a little more of Charters Towers before setting off mid-morning. Drive north-east along the Flinders Highway to Townsville, perhaps stopping at Bowling Green Bay National Park, just south of Townsville.
BOWLING GREEN BAY NATIONAL PARK is the largest park between Bowen and Townsville. Rugged granite mountains rise abruptly above the coastal plain in Coastal wetlands, saltpans and mangroves cover much of this coastal park. Alligator Creek flows through the park in a series of cascades, deep pools and waterfalls. Have a picnic at Alligator Creek. Picnic tables, a shelter shed, gas barbecues and toilets are provided. Look for brushtail possums, sugar gliders and northern brown bandicoots. See agile wallabies, allied rock-wallabies and rufous bettongs feeding early morning and late afternoon.
TOWNSVILLE is the second largest city in Queensland and main commercial centre of Northern Queensland. Castle Hill offers a panoramic view of Townsville. Great Barrier Reef Wonderland is one of the most popular attractions in Townsville and is well worth a visit with its walk-through underwater tunnel, giving a great all-round view of the coral and the fish.
OVERNIGHT: Holiday Inn Townsville, Townsville
DAY 5 TOWNSVILLE - MISSION BEACH (NM)
Depart Townsville today via the Bruce Highway and head towards Mission Beach.
MISSION BEACH is a relaxed, yet vibrant beachfront town with over 14 kilometres of magnificent golden sandy beaches. Here two World Heritage areas, The Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest, come together to form a tropical paradise. In many places, the rainforest literally fringes stretches of pristine golden beach, giving the destination reputation as an ideal natural holiday choice.
TULLY is a small town that has the reputation of being one of the wettest towns in Australia. With all that rain, the nearby Tully River is one of the best places in Australia to go white water rafting. The Tully River has excellent rapids that range from Grade Three to the more challenging Grade Four.
OVERNIGHT: Castaways Resort & Spa Mission Beach, Mission Beach (2 nights)
DAY 6 MISSION BEACH
Spend a day relaxing in Mission Beach or experience the thrill of white water rafting on the Tully River. Rafting companies operate daily and provide transfers from Mission Beach. The nearby Misty Mountains Trails (15kms from Tully) will challenge even the best bush walker!
DAY 7 MISSION BEACH – CAIRNS (NM)
Depart Mission Beach today via the Bruce Highway and head towards Cairns via the town of Innisfail.
INNISFAIL – The character of the district was established with the influx of migrants, mainly Italian, after World War I. The town and the area have retained that very cosmopolitan mix ever since. In the 1950’s Dr Alan Maruff started growing tea commercially at Nerada, west of Innisfail, and over the years the production of tea from the Nerada Plantation has continued to rise. Tours of the plantation are conducted regularly. At Mena Creek, south of Innisfail are the ruins of Paronella Park, a Spanish-style castle built by a migrant named Jose Paronella. There are also walks through rainforest and stands of bamboo and kauri pine to Mena Creek and Teresa Falls. Mt. Bartle Frere, north of the town, is the highest mountain in Queensland.
Return your vehicle to the Cairns Airport depot or Cairns city Hertz Depot.