Reef & Rainforest (Cairns to Cairns) 4 nights
5 days/4 nights Cairns - Mossman - Atherton - Cairns.
Price from £656 per person
This exceptional self-drive Australia tour includes 5 days car rental with Hertz Australia (Intermediate Automatic). You will enjoy 4 nights 'boutique' accommodation, meals indicated and daily driving notes. Price includes car pick up from downtown depot - supplements may apply from airport.
Cairns – Mossman – Atherton - Cairns
Price above depends on seasonality and based on per person twin share.
DAY 1 CAIRNS – MOSSMAN (NM)
Pick up your Hertz Intermediate Automatic rental car at the Cairns City Depot or Cairns Airport Depot and commence your drive north to Mossman. Travel north along the Captain Cook Highway perhaps stopping for lunch at Port Douglas. Pass though the town of Mossman and follow the signs to Silky Oaks Lodge.
PORT DOUGLAS, once a fishing village, is now one of the leading tourist towns in Far North Queensland due mainly to its proximity to the wonders of the reef and the rainforest and its superb year-round climate. All the natural beauty is supported by numerous restaurants, delightful shops, luxury hotels and resorts and historic Queenslander buildings. What should not be missed is a visit to the award winning Rainforest Habitat which gives a taste of life within the rainforest environment.
OVERNIGHT: Silky Oaks Lodge, Mossman (2 nights)
DAY 2 MOSSMAN (NM)
Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore the Mossman, Daintree River or Cape Tribulation.
MOSSMAN GORGE - The Mossman Gorge Centre is a new Indigenous eco tourism development that will better serve visitors to the Mossman Gorge World Heritage site. Mossman Gorge will provide one of Australia’s most iconic Aboriginal experiences in Tropical North Queensland and is the perfect option for visitors looking for a genuine, authentic engagement with Indigenous Australia. At the Mossman Gorge Centre you will find an array of services to help you organise your adventure through the Gorge. Staff at the Visitor Information desk will assist you in planning your route around the Gorge, as well as book onto your Dreamtime Walk. Plan your route over a coffee at the café or peruse the art gallery, a pleasure that might have more relevance after hearing about the Dreamtime stories from the Kuku Yalanji people. A “must do” for every visitor to Mossman Gorge are the Indigenous guided Dreamtime Walks, conducted by the traditional owners of the Gorge, the Kuku Yalanji people. Ngadiku (Nar-di-gul) meaning stories and legends from a long time ago in local Kuku Yalanji language, takes you on a journey along private, easy graded tracks, visiting special places and culturally significant sites, past traditional bark shelters and over meandering cool rainforest streams.
Dreamtime Gorge Walk
Join your 1.5 hour Dreamtime Gorge Walk tour at the Mossman Gorge Centre located at Mossman Gorge Road. Experience a traditional welcome ‘smoking’ ceremony that cleanses and wards off bad spirits. The easy grade walk then meanders through stunning rainforest and takes in traditional huts or humpies. The experienced interpretive Indigenous guides demonstrate traditional plant use, identify bush food sources and provide an enchanting narrative of the rainforest and their special relationship with this unique tropical environment. A stop at ‘the Beach’, offers the opportunity for a refreshing swim in this water hole, where your guide demonstrates traditions like making bush soaps and ochre painting. Tour includes traditional bush tea and damper. Tour concludes approximately 1.5 hours after departure, at Mossman Gorge Centre.
Dreamtime Legend Walk
Join your 2.5 hour Dreamtime LegendWalk tour at the Mossman Gorge Centre located at Mossman Gorge Road. The Dreamtime LegendWalk offers a more intimate look into the culture, spirituality and traditions of the Kuku Yalanji people and their unique connection with this ancient land. The experienced local Indigenous guide will share their dreamtime legends, demonstrate traditional plant use, identify bush tucker and explain the history of cave paintings. Experience a traditional welcome ‘smoke’ ceremony that cleanses and wards of bad spirits. Be guided through sacred ceremony sites, traditional huts or humpies and the rainforest’s unique flora and fauna. As the track meanders through the lush tropical rainforest the gentle rhythm of clap sticks become apparent, an Indigenous performance awaits at the majestic rock amphitheatre. Dwarfed by the towering rainforest and the ancient Kauri Pine Tree, the journey continues down to the creek where you have an opportunity for a refreshing swim. Here your guide will explain the significance of the Gorge to the Yalanji people and demonstrate traditions like making bush soaps and ochre painting. Tour includes traditional bush tea and damper. Tour concludes at approximately 3.30pm, at Mossman Gorge Centre.
DAINTREE is nestled in the heart of the Daintree River catchment basin, entirely surrounded by the rainforest-clad McDowall Ranges. The area has an abundance of native plant-life, birds, exotic tropical butterflies and Australia's pre-historic reptile, the estuarine crocodile that can be seen lurking in the mangrove-lined creeks and tributaries of the Daintree River. Several cruises operate on the Daintree River offering passengers a leisurely tour to observe the beauty of the river and rainforest, and enjoy morning or afternoon tea. The township has art and craft centres, a butterfly farm, coffee plantation, timber museum and gallery and several eating houses.
CAPE TRIBULATION is one of the truly magnificent areas of Australia. Enjoy the lush tropical rainforests, crystal clear swimming creeks, long sandy beaches and plenty of things to see and do. Cape Tribulation is a National Park and there is no real centre. Cow Bay is just north of the Daintree Ferry and there are small pockets of settlement located along the main road. There are magnificent, wide beaches with very clear, blue water. The rainforest joins the sandy beaches making it unique as an area where two World Heritage areas meet. Cape Tribulation has a special feel to it and those people that love nature and the outdoors will really enjoy this National Park.
DAY 3 MOSSMAN – ATHERTON TABLELANDS (NM)
Head south on the Captain Cook Highway/Mossman Daintree Road and take the turn-off to Mareeba along the picturesque Kennedy Highway, passing through Mount Molloy, Mareeba and on to Yungaburra.
MAREEBA - Mareeba was first settled in 1877, the name is derived from an aboriginal word meaning "meeting of the waters", those waters being the mighty Barron and Granite Rivers. Mareeba is a bread bowl township, the heart of Australia's thriving tropical fruits and coffee industry. It is far simpler to list the fruit, flowers, vegetables, nuts and berries that Mareeba does not grow, than to detail the smorgasbord of local produce.
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.
LAKE BARRINE, in Crater Lakes National Park, is a maar: a crater lake formed by volcanic explosions. The surrounding rainforest is typical of that found on fertile red basalt soils in high rainfall areas. In several places, large kauri pines emerge through the canopy - a species that dominated the tableland forests over thousands of years. Take the 5km track around the lake, pausing to view the two giant kauris. Some of the many animals that inhabit the park, including the colourful Boyd's forest dragon, amethystine python and eastern water dragon, can sometimes be seen from the track. Lake cruises operate from the teahouse.
LAKE EACHAM is also in Crater Lakes National Park and like Lake Barrine is a maar surrounded by rainforest. Differences in soil type, drainage or past disturbances have shaped the forest and resulted in varied rainforest communities. Go for a swim - or relax in the shady picnic area. Walk the 3km lake circuit track, where you may be lucky enough to see an Australian mammal that is active only during the day: the musky rat-kangaroo.
OVERNIGHT: Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat, Atherton Tablelands (2 nights)
DAY 4 ATHERTON TABLELANDS (NM)
Today is free to explore the Atherton Tablelands and its surrounds.
DAY 5 ATHERTON - CAIRNS (NM)
Return to Cairns today via the Gillies and Bruce Highways. Return your vehicle to the Cairns Airport depot or Cairns city Hertz Depot.