Cape Tribulation: A Rainforest Paradise in Queensland
Cape Tribulation is one of northern Queensland’s many insider secrets. Known locally as Cape Trib, this is a low-key slice of paradise where adventurous travellers are rewarded for going a little further afield.
You only need to look at these incredible photos to wonder why Cape Tribulation isn’t busier. It is home to stunning beaches, a beautiful rainforest and water so blue it could be Photoshopped (don’t worry, it isn’t, I’ve seen it for real!) Thankfully, the area isn't filled with tourists which is great for the rest of us as it’s likely you’ll get these incredible beaches all to yourself.
But sssshh, don’t tell anyone!
Cape Tribulation is just 110km north of Cairns and is within the Daintree National Park. It’s a great place for a day trip from Cairns or to stay for 2-3 nights in one of the many eco-lodges, B&Bs, hostels or campsites available.
The Daintree Rainforest is a tropical rainforest and became a World Heritage Site in 1988. At over 110 million years old, it is the oldest rainforest in the world and there’s so much to see among the dense trees and flora and fauna.
Cape Tribulation is known as being the area where the forest meets the reef as the Great Barrier Reef is just off the coast. Visitors can spend one day in the world’s oldest rainforest and the next day exploring the world’s largest coral reef!
What to do in Cape Tribulation
Keep your eyes peeled for Cassowaries
The extremely rare cassowary bird can be found in northeast Australia. The only other place in the world they live is in New Guinea and the surrounding islands. They are huge, flightless birds similar to an emu. They have glossy black feathers and beautifully colourful heads in shades of bright blue, purples and reds. Cassowaries can be very dangerous, particularly if they have babies with them, so keep your distance and keep dogs on a lead.
Take a night forest trek
The forest may be buzzing during the day but it really comes to life at night. Take a guided walk through the forest with a wildlife expert. With their specially trained eyes you’ll spot everything from hairy spiders to fluorescent frogs and nocturnal birds you didn’t know existed.
Ride a horse along the beach
Those perfectly smooth, curved beaches make the ideal place for horse riding. Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced rider, this is a fantastic activity you’ll never forget. Gallop along the shore and allow your horse to splash in the waves. Trust me, you’ll love it almost as much as they do!
Go canopy surfing
Do you fancy seeing the rainforest from a different perspective? Look up and you will see ziplines through the trees and treetop platforms you can launch yourself from. You’ll learn all about the forest as you whizz through it, but remember to look up and enjoy the views.
Take an ocean safari
Take an exhilarating boat trip to the Great Barrier Reef where you’ll have the chance to dive in and snorkel with the fish. Mackay and Undine Reefs are popular spots from Cape Tribulation and among the tropical fish you’ll see colourful coral and possibly even turtles, starfish, giant clams and eagle rays.
Go sea kayaking
If you’re feeling adventurous (which we hope you are!) take to the water in a sea kayak. You will have a guide who will take you to the most beautiful spots in the area and help you perfect your sea kayaking technique. If possible, opt for the sunset kayaking trip for a magical experience.
Need to know: The water may look beautifully inviting but there are many dangers lurking beneath the surface. There are crocodiles in the rivers of the Daintree Coast so swimming in rivers or in the sea near the mouth of a river is not recommended!
Stinging jellyfish are present between November and May so wearing a stinger suit is advised. Stinger suits are available to hire and are usually included if you book an ocean based tour.
How to get there: It’s best to drive to Cape Tribulation in your own vehicle. It’s a beautiful drive from Cairns and doesn’t take long at just 110km away. You will need to use the Daintree River Ferry, a 5-minute cable ferry that connects Cape Tribulation with the Daintree National Park.