Cape Tribulation Day Trip | Cairns, Australia

Cape Tribbin’ with Uncle Brian’s Tours

On one of my last days in Cairns, I wanted to make it out of the city to explore more of the stunning nature in the rainforest and countryside of Queensland. Traveling on my own, knowing I had a long flight across the country in a few days, I didn’t want to bother to search for other backpackers heading that way, in case plans fell through at the last minute. I booked a day excursion with Uncle Brian’s since my experience on their waterfall tour had been fantastic.

Early morning starts, while painful, are my favorite when they are for a day of touring around a new place. There’s something about climb onboard a bus that’s packed with strangers, knowing you’ll return at the end of the day as friends. Uncle Brian’s tour guides are skilled at creating a fun and inclusive atmosphere so even solo travelers will have no problem finding friends for a day.

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Port Douglas

First stop of the day was at Port Douglas, about an hour drive straight north of Cairns City. It’s a charming town that offers the perfect escape from the bars and clubs of Cairns, nestled right on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. We had coffee, tea and morning snacks like biscuits and cakes, a great way to start the morning before going on a walk on Four Mile beach in search of coconuts to crack open later. The beach is a vast expanse of soft white sand, a nice change from the mud of Cairns City. There is a set of stairs and a short upward hike from the beach that opens up to a stunning view of the beach. The blue water contrasts nicely with the lush green forest and stark white sand of the beach in Port Douglas. It’s a great resort town that could be the perfect stop for travelers exploring Queensland.

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Cape Tribulation

Named for the trials and tribulations of Captain Cook when his ship ran aground here during his Australian expedition in 1770, Cape Tribulation is now a gorgeous, remote spot to tour around during a visit to Queensland. It’s a great stop along a journey in the tropical north, it’s close to the Daintree River ferry, so it’s the perfect place to pull off for a quick visit. We ate lunch at PK’s Jungle Village. The food was delicious, I had a massive salad with chicken, and the nearby beach was great to explore after our meal.

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Freshwater River Swims

After lunch, we went on a walk through a bit of the Daintree Rainforest and stopped in a freshwater spring for a swim. The water was cold, but it felt refreshing after a long ride in the van. We cracked open our coconuts that we had gathered from the beach in Port Douglas, and gnawed on the fresh fruit. While I was a bit wary of potential predators lurking somewhere in the river, no one from our group was eaten.

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Daintree River Crossing

This was an unforgettable experience, to cross over crocodile-infested waters on a small ferry carrying our tour bus. The Daintree Rainforest is a magnificent region of dense, lush forest that spans from inland Queensland all the way to the sea. The little ferry shuttled our van across quickly, but I couldn’t help feeling a small grip of nerves, knowing that crocodiles, one of the most sleuth and deadly apex predators, were lurking in the murky water of the river.  The spindly mangroves along the shore were an impressive sight to see – a weaving of branches and thick plant life that really defines this area as being a rainforest.

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Crocodile Tour

Saving the best for last was definitely the structure of this Cape Tribbin 1-day tour from Cairns. This last part of our day trip before climbing back on the bus to head back to the city was the ultimate way to end the day. We boarded an airboat to cruise through the swampy, backwater area of the Daintree River. Our guide gave us a spectacular tour, where we saw several crocodiles, including babies, and other wildlife like the stunning royal purple Kingfisher. Bird watching enthusiasts travel to Australia to see these little birds, and for a moment, we got a glimpse of one as he landed on a branch to check us out.

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The van pulled back into Cairns City in the evening after sunset. It was a long day, but well worth the energy to see all these incredible points in Queensland. While it would be ideal to go camping or have several days to relax and enjoy these spots, we all know that time is limited and with a country as big as Australia, opting for jam-packed day tours is sometimes the way to go. I feel lucky – both my trips with Uncle Brian’s were fantastic from start to finish, everything coordinated perfectly. There’s nothing better than getting dropped off at your doorstep at the end of a long day either, they offer accommodation transfers included in the tour.

During a visit to Cairns City, I highly recommend spending at least one day out exploring some of the wild sides of tropical north Queensland.

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