Tropical North Queensland Holidays

Australia’s tropical far north is unlike anywhere else on the planet. This is a place blessed with the most tantalising collection of natural wonders.

Tropical North Queensland is one of the world’s best natural playgrounds; see coral-dotted coastlines, head deep into a prehistoric rainforest, and experience life on the fringe of one of the seven natural wonders of the world: the Great Barrier Reef. This giant coral reef system includes a mind-boggling chain of nearly 3000 reefs and 900 rainforest-clad islands – its showstopping swirls are even visible from space. From reef sharks and whales to potato cods and manta rays, it’s thriving with marine life.

The raw and wild Daintree Rainforest is a serious disconnection from the tech-obsessed modern world. Part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Daintree is a real-life Jurassic Park, where crocodile sightings are the norm and phone receptions are a no-go. Spectacular ecosystems include an ancient rainforest and mangrove fringed rivers, plus empty reef lined beaches and boulder-strewn ancient valleys.

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Tropical North Queensland Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in Tropical North Queensland

Lizard Island

Beautiful Lizard Island offers a rare combination of contemporary comfort and island wilderness.

Silky Oaks Lodge, Daintree Rainforest

Discover a pocket of wilderness perfection at the edge of the Daintree rainforest.

Kewarra Beach Resort & Spa

A beachfront hideaway nestled between tropical rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.

Mandalay Luxury Beachfront Apartments

Close to Four Mile Beach

Oaks Port Douglas Resort

A sprawling resort just outside of Port Douglas with a cool, tropical vibe.

Port Douglas Peninsula Boutique Hotel

Adult-only hotel overlooking Four Mile Beach

Pullman Palm Cove Resort & Spa

Asian inspired tranquillity

Pullman Port Douglas Resort & Spa

Tropical beachfront resort at the end of Four Mile Beach

Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort

This brand new hotel by the beach is a sophisticated addition to Cairns Esplanade

Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas

This large resort sits in 350-acre gardens on spectacular Four Mile Beach.

Thala Beach Nature Reserve

Within a private beachfront nature reserve, Thala Beach is a secluded eco retreat.

The Reef House – MGallery Collection

Laid back tropical hideaway in sleepy Palm Cove

Quicksilver Outer Barrier Reef Cruise Snorkelling

Board Quicksilver’s 45-metre high-speed catamaran on a full-day cruise to Agincourt Reef on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Explore the reef from a semi-submersible, an underwater observatory or snorkel and dive. This cruise is ideal for those keen to do lots of activities and for those wanting to add a wonderful airborne perspective, helicopter transfers are also available (at a supplement). Departs from Port Douglas.

• Duration: full day
• Start time: 9am
• Daily departures
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Reef Magic Outer Reef Full Day Cruise

Travel on board this fast stable motor catamaran for 1½ hours to reach Marine World on the Outer Barrier Reef. You’ll spend around 5 hours at this private reef platform, which provides the ideal base for activities including snorkelling, glass bottom boat tours, underwater observatory viewing and relaxing on the spacious sundeck. Other activities – such as scenic helicopter flights and diving – are available at extra cost.

• Duration: full day
• Daily departures
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Reef Sleep Experience

Reef Sleep is a unique adventure, offering the chance to sleep under the stars on the Great Barrier Reef! By day, Cruise Whitsundays’ ‘Reefworld’ pontoon at Hardy Reef is used by day trippers as a base to explore the marine-rich waters. After 3pm, it’s an exclusive spot for a small number of guests. Enjoy quiet snorkelling time, sip Champagne at sunset,  and watch as the reef comes alive. Then let the waves lull you to sleep in your cosy swag, set up out in the open-air on the top deck of the pontoon.

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Sailaway Sunset Sail

Board your Sailaway vessel at Port Douglas Marina and set off on a sunset sail cruise along the Port Douglas coastline on board a first class sailing catamaran. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a tropical sunset over the Coral Sea with spectacular mountain views, and enjoy a complimentary welcome drink alongside a selection of canapés.

• Duration: 1½ hours
• Start time 4.30pm
• Daily departures
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Ngana Julaymba Dungay

From Port Douglas, head off on this personalised and engaging small group tour to spend the day with a local Aboriginal guide. Visit a number of culturally significant areas and learn about the amazing relationships that the Kuku Yalanji have with their land. Walk through the rainforest and coastal habitats to learn about the environment, different foods and medicines utilised from nature, sample some bush tucker and try traditional Aboriginal hunting practices. Complete the adventure with time to enjoy lunch and cool off in a freshwater stream.

• Duration: full day
• Start time: 8am
• Departs Monday to Saturday
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Cruise to Great Barrier Reef - Snorkeller

Travel in comfort on board Calypso – a custom-designed motorised catamaran, complete with day bed-style seating and spacious decks, to 3 different Outer Barrier Reef sites that showcase the reef’s colourful marine life just a few metres below the surface. There’ll be the opportunity to listen to interpretive reef talks and enjoy guided snorkel tours.

• Duration: full day
• Start time: 8.20am
• Daily departures from Port Douglas
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Cape Tribulation & Daintree Wilderness

Wander through the recreated natural environments of Wildlife Habitat on an immersive guided experience where you will learn about the many species in our region. Then cross the Daintree River for lunch at Mason’s Café and enjoy a dip in the freshwater swimming hole. Explore the world’s oldest rainforest with one of the knowledgeable local guides and visit Cape Tribulation Beach. Stop at Alexandra Lookout before boarding a cruise and search for wildlife including Estuarine Crocodiles.

• Duration: full day
• Start time: 7.15am
• Daily departures from Cairns
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Outer Reef Experience from Cairns

Spend a full day diving and snorkelling around the Outer Reef. Embark on an unforgettable adventure as you enter a world teeming with exotic fish life and coral gardens. Whether you decide to snorkel or scuba dive, you'll have the opportunity to see green turtles, manta rays, clownfish, and soft and hard corals up close. After exploring, relax in comfort and style on a luxury catamaran as you cruise back to Cairns.

• Duration: 9 hours
• Start time: 8am
• Departs daily
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Ngana Kulkinga Dungay, Port Douglas

On a full-day Nagana Kulkinga Dungay tour, you'll be collected from your hotel and taken on an adventure through Kuku Yalanji country. You'll see some culturally significant sights and local attractions, including the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest. A local Aboriginal guide will lead the way, and you'll learn about the relationship the Kuku Yalanji people still have with their land. You'll walk through the world's oldest living rainforest, see natural wonders, and see where the rainforest meets the reef. Plus, you'll explore coastal habitats and learn about the environment, different foods, and medicines that are derived from nature. There’s the chance to sample some bush tucker and take a dip in one of the pristine freshwater streams in the area.

• Duration: 8½ hours
• Start time: 8am
• Monday to Saturday departures
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Cape Tribulation, Daintree and Mossman Gorge

An action-packed day on board a purpose-built vehicle awaits on this tour of the oldest rainforest on Earth. Your guide on the tour has been specifically selected for their local knowledge and experience and they will be on hand to tell you all you need to know about this UNESCO World Heritage Site and add to your memorable experience. First up is a guided walk through the Daintree National Park’s Mossman Gorge, a scar in the landscape carved out by the Mossman River and hugely important cultural site for the Kuku Yalanji people. Next, you’ll take to the water on a croc-spotting cruise along the Daintree River and have lunch in a stunning rainforest setting. The afternoon includes a visit to Cape Tribulation (or Kulki) and the stunning Myall Beach, the spot at which two natural World Heritage Sites of the rainforest and Great Barrier Reef meet. On the drive back to Cairns, you’ll make a pitstop at the Daintree Ice Cream Company and the Alexandra Lookout for some pretty jaw-dropping and far-reaching views.

• Duration: full day
• Start time: 6.45am
• Daily departures
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

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Get to know Tropical North Queensland and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.

Capital
TIME DIFFERENCE

GMT +10 hours; Queensland does not observe daylight saving time so is 9 hours ahead of the UK during British Summer Time

CURRENCY

Australian Dollar

FLYING TIME TO DESTINATION

Brisbane: 21 hours (not including stopover time)

RELIGION

Majority Christian

LANGUAGE

Australia has no official language but the majority of people speak English as their first language. Approximately 250 indigenous Australia languages are spoken.

Where are the Tropical North Queensland?
Between the Great Barrier Reef and the Gulf of Carpenteria in Australia’s northeast is where you will find Tropical North Queensland. The main town, Cairns has an international airport and regular connections to the rest of Australia.

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Cairns
Gateway to Tropical North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is a vibrant tropical metropolis offering a range of accommodation, restaurants and bars, and an attractive esplanade along the foreshore with a man-made lagoon. Cruises to the Great Barrier Reef depart daily from the city’s marina. Options include day trips for diving and snorkelling, liveaboard dive boats or an extended cruise of the Coral Sea. The other great attraction of the region is the rainforest.

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Port Douglas and Palm Cove
Sophisticated Port Douglas is around an hour north of Cairns and its most popular alternative. A key difference is Four Mile Beach, with its palm-fringed, pristine white sands. The centre of Port Douglas is compact and renowned for its array of restaurants. Between the steep, verdant slopes of the Great Dividing Range and the shores of the Coral Sea lies laid-back Palm Cove. Wherever you stay, you’ll never be more than a few steps from the town’s lovely beach. Kewarra Beach can be found at the southern end of the same sandy bay as Palm Cove and is a soothingly quiet and secluded place to stay.

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The Great Barrier Reef
A breathtaking chain of nearly 3000 reefs and 900 rainforest-clad islands, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living structure. It is also Earth’s largest protected marine area, hosting a staggering amount of species including 2000 types of fish, reef sharks, turtles, dugongs and whales. Tranquil Lizard Island is the most northern of the Great Barrier Reef resorts and a true island escape, home to just one indulgent yet understated resort, 24 powdery soft beaches, a lagoon and over 1000 hectares of national park. The island is reached by a one-hour flight from Cairns and is exclusively for guests – there are no day trippers here

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Daintree & Cape Tribulation
Part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Site, Daintree National Park contains one of the oldest living rainforests on Earth with diverse landscape featuring cascading waterfalls, deep gorges, mangrove forests, dramatic rivers and glorious coastal views. A historic spot that forms part of Daintree National Park, Cape Tribulation was first encountered and named by Captain Cook in 1770. It is at Cape Tribulation where the rainforest meets the reef, with the Great Barrier Reef just offshore and the rainforest creeping right onto the beach. Highlights include pristine, secluded beaches and abundant wildlife.

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Tropical North Queensland Weather

May - Oct

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Tropical North Queensland Weather by Month