High up in the tropics, Far North Queensland feels very different to the rest of Australia. With ancient rainforest coming down to the meet the Great Barrier Reef, coconut palm-lined beaches and an even more relaxed attitude to life, this area is the perfect place to unwind. It is a special part of Australia and to give you some ideas about the best places to go when you’re up there, here’s 7 amazing places to visit in Far North Queensland.
7. Cooktown – Far North Queensland
Starting near the very top of Far North Queensland is the community of Cooktown. It is the main access point and service area for Cape York.
You’re getting really into the wild out here, but nevertheless there’s an amazing amount to see and do around the place – from incredible 4wd tracks to awesome lookouts, even the museum here is brilliant. Steeped in history, with remote and incredible scenery all around, Cooktown is definitely worth a visit.
6. Cape Tribulation – Far North Queensland
Just below Cooktown, the town of Cape Tribulation, also set within the Cape York Peninsula, is little more than a hamlet of hotels and hostels stretched along a beach. With the rainforest as green as it is and the beach every bit as beautiful as you’d expect from this remote location however, Cape Tribulation is well worth enjoying for a day or two.
To get across to Cape Tribulation you have to catch the Daintree Ferry, but put in the effort to come this far north and you’ll be rewarded with a famously remote and idyllic destination..The ferry operates daily from 5am to midnight, it takes about five minutes to cross ($17 per vehicle).
5. Port Douglas – Far North Queensland
The beachside resort town of Port Douglas is loved by almost anyone that goes there. From the great swimming beach to the lovely cafes and even the awesome market, Port Douglas is the perfect place to relax and enjoy yourself. It is also a perfect place to depart to the Great Barrier Reef.
Days are spent on the beach, with yoga in the morning, before a reef snorkelling trip in the afternoon. Don’t miss a walk up to the lookout either, this is the best spot in town for some great photos.
4. Cairns – Far North Queensland
The capital of Far North Queensland, Cairns sits at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. It is most famous for the many snorkelling and diving trips that leave its shores and head for this amazing marine masterpiece.
If you’re not already qualified to dive yet, then don’t worry Cairns is the perfect place to learn, with tons of companies offering courses for the novice. Don’t miss The Esplanade to relax by during the day.
3. Kuranda – Far North Queensland
Tucked behind Cairns in the Atherton Tablelands, the rainforest town of Kuranda is accessed via a steep windy road that takes you high into the hills above the beach. You can also take the 34km-long Kuranda Scenic Railway which links Cairns with Kuranda and goes through 15 tunnels. Departures from Cairns at 8.30am and 9.30am. Departures from Kuranda at 2pm and 3.30pm. The journey time is 1 hour 45 minutes (One-way ticket: $50, Return: $76).
Although it became a little tourist hub, Kuranda is a fantastic location. There are tons of great lookouts to enjoy from beneath the rainforest canopy. Famous attractions include the magnificent Baron Falls and the fabulous Kuranda markets, which are open daily. To get to the Baron Falls you can take the Sky Rail. It is the longest and most ecological cable car in the world, skimming the forest for 7.5km. It also stops at Red Peak.
2. Mareeba – Far North Queensland
Mareeba is the largest town in the Atherton Tablelands. It is an excellent place to base yourself when exploring the area around, which features some breathtaking scenery.
From incredible rainforest walks, through to drives along rolling hills, this area is one of the prettiest areas not only in the whole of Australia. Cute historic towns are surrounded by crashing waterfalls and everywhere delicious locally-grown treats from cheese to chocolate can be sampled and purchased. Well worth exploring for a few days, make sure you allow plenty of time when it comes to seeing this part of Far North Queensland.
1. Mission Beach – Far North Queensland
Home of the illusive cassowary – a giant flightless that only exists in this part of Australia – Mission Beach is a great place to tick this crazy-looking animal off your bucket list! It’s also a wonderful place to enjoy jumping out a plane with sky diving companies. With promising epic overhead views of the Great Barrier Reed and a tropical beach landing every time.
If both of these activities sound a bit much for your adrenaline levels, then beach strolling, sunbaking, kayaking and snorkelling are also high on the agenda here. Enjoy delicious coconuts straight from the tree or relax in one of the town’s delightful cafes.
So there you have it, my list of the 7 amazing places to visit in Far North Queensland. Have you been to any of these destinations? Which was your favourite?
Updated on 23/09/2019 – Initially published on 31/08/16