Driving in Far North Queensland
Far North Queensland covers vast distances and stunningly diverse landscapes, making it ideal for exploring by car. Self-driving allows you to travel at your own pace and discover harder to reach places. In more remote areas, ensure you have a detailed map and keep an eye out for wildlife on the road.
Rental cars are easily available at major centres like Cairns as well as some airports, and can be delivered to your accommodation.
If you are visiting from overseas, be aware that Australians drive on the left side of the road. For more information please see the section under International visitors.
Roads in the Port Douglas, Daintree and Cape Tribulation area are accessible by conventional vehicle. Roads north of Cape Tribulation are accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles only, and can be impassable during Green Season. It is always advisable to take a detailed map, check with the local police and read road signs.
- Take the Bruce Hwy. This highway stays about 20km inland of the coast all the way to Cairns. Visit a few small seaside towns and beautiful waterfalls in the Wooroonooran National Park.
- There's also a few excellent alternative routes you can follow through the high rainforests of Atherton Tableland. Here, you'll discover more waterfalls, beautiful crater lakes and some amazingly large trees. From the Bruce Highway, take the Palmerston Highway at Innisfail. Visit places such as Millaa Millaa, Malanda, Atherton and Lake Tinaroo. It's worthwhile to stay in the highlands for at for least couple of days. To reach Cairns you can either take the Gillies Highway towards Gordonvale, or the Kennedy Highway through Kuranda.
- Take the Captain Cook Highway. Running alongside the Coral Sea and the rainforest, this highway is one of the most scenic coastal drives in Australia.
- Pass Cairns' attractive northern beaches
- A detour to the breathtaking waterfalls of Barron Gorge near Kuranda is quite worthwhile
- Stop by the resort town of Port Douglas and Four Mile Beach, a small detour away
- At Mossman, consider driving a little bit further to the Mossman Gorge carpark, then use your feet to walk on the stunning track!
- Drive through the town and you will see a road veering to the left, with a sign saying, 'Daintree Township/Daintree River Ferry'. Veer left and follow the road for approximately 25km.
- Drive along the coast road via the magnificent ancient Daintree Rainforest.
- Take a right turn at the sign 'Daintree River Ferry/Cape Tribulation'
- Follow this road to the ferry and cross the river by ferry
- Drive to Cape Tribulation. Take a detour to Cape Kimberley and stop for a great photo shot at Alexandra Range outlook. You can also take a detour to beautiful Cow Bay.
FROM CAIRNS TO:
Mission Beach: 138km
Millaa Millaa: 106km
Port Douglas: 69km
FROM PORT DOUGLAS TO:
Daintree Village: 50km (Approx. 1 hour drive)
Daintree Ferry Crossing: 55km (Approx. 1 hour drive)
Cape Tribulation: 82km (Approx. 1.5 hour drive)
- A 40km/h limit in school zones or where otherwise indicated
- A 50km/h limit in residential and commercial areas or where otherwise indicated
- A 100km/h limit in rural areas or where otherwise indicated
- A 110km/h in highest speed zones or where otherwise indicated