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ITINERARY: Cape Tribulation 4/4

a large body of water

In our last article we were taking a drive along the Great Barrier Reef Drive. On this majestic journey we were explaining the merits of stopping at some of the major highlights and taking in some of the most immaculate scenery in the world. The last place we talked about was Jindalba Boardwalk, this is in the Daintree Rainforest, but we still have a further 25km to travel before arriving at Cape Tribulation. Shortly after Jindalba is the small township of Cow Bay, blink and you will miss it. The next recommended stop on route is:

Cape Trib’s Two Day Adventure

The Daintree Ice Cream Company (120km from Cairns)

This is no ordinary ice cream stop. All of the ice cream sold here is made on sight from some of the finest exotic tropical fruit you can find. Coming down the driveway to the shop front you will be surrounded with their orchid which has mangos, bananas, tea, sour sops, jackfruit, chocolate sapote, davidson fruit plum and many more organically grown delights. Not only is it a great place to pick up a treat, but a fantastic learning experience and a visual delight to boot. We have also been known to see the occasional cassowary here.

Thorton Beach

This is one of the most picturesque beaches in the region. The backdrop is the towering Thortons Peak (third highest mountain in Queensland) and a short distance away from the shore is a small island known as Struck Island. There is a small coffee shop and its a great place for a roam along the beach. If you walk to the northern end of the beach you might also be lucky enough to find some ancient bouncing rocks (we will not say too much, but if you drop one of these rocks on the ground it will bounce). One of the most important pieces of advice here is, please do not swim as this has been the place of a crocodile attack in the past. It is also very close to Thorton’s creek where they have a crocodile spotting cruise. There are picnic benches here to enjoy a nice stop.

Mardja Boardwalk

Mardja Boardwalk starts at Olivers Creek in the depths of the rainforest canopy. It is an intriguing 1.2km walk through some very diverse rainforest including some amazing fig trees, cannonball mangroves and some sensational ferns. The is a solid boardwalk all the way around making this an easy walk for all (it is even wheelchair accessible). Although the path is just over a kilometre in length there is much variation through the walk including many relics from the dinosaur age. It is also fantastic for spotting some wildlife, sometimes you might spot a cassowary, a crocodile, some beautiful kingfisher birds, bearded dragons (a lizard) and if you are really lucky we have been known to see a Bennetts tree kangaroo.

Dubiji Boardwalk

Dubiji Baodrwalk is right in the centre of the Cape Tribulation village across the road from the Turtle Cafe and next door to PK’s Jungle Village. This is another easily accessible 1.2km walking trail that has some immense variation through it. The boardwalk was upgraded in 2019 and is accessible to all. It, again covers some of the most pristine rainforest in the Daintree and is a must see on any visit. One of the highlights for me is the fan palm forest which is an astounding aerial view. As well as this, the walking track goes all the way to Myall Beach where you can get your first glimpse of the headland known as Cape Tribulation (Kulki). If you haven’t seen the rainforest meet the beach, this will astound you. Animals we have seen on this boardwalk include goannas, bearded dragons, cassowaries, azure kingfishers and many more. Sometimes you might even spot a croc on Myall Beach.

Ocean Safaris Express Reef Trip

Cape Tribulation is known as the place where the rainforest meets the reef, so what better place to explore the reef than from here. Ocean Safaris runs out of the Turtle cafe across the road from Dubiji boardwalk and they run one of the best tours out to the barrier reef. The Safaris are half day tours that run jet boats out to the reef, it is an exhilarating experience and one you will remember for the rest of your life. Depending on the weather they will find you some of the best reefs to view. Every time we have been on this tour we have seen a few turtles.

Kulki Lookout – Cape Tribulation Beach

Kulki is Cape Tribulation, this is the indigenous name for the beach and headland. From Kulki there is access to Cape Tribulation beach where you may go for an hour long walk and enjoy the rainforest sensations on the beach. There is also a 600m boardwalk here where you can get some great photos across Cape Tribulation beach and even walk across to Myall Beach for another stunning beach walk. This is a place you have to stop if you have come this far. Yet again this is another sensational spot to find the elusive Cassowary.

Now most people think that once you have reached Cape Tribulation there is nothing more to see and this is the end of the road, but we are here to tell you they are wrong. From here there are still two more very accessible treats in store for you.

Mt Sorrow

If you travel a further 300m around the corner past Kulki, and look really closely on the left side of the road, you will see the trailhead for the Mt Sorrow hike. This is a 6.6km hike up to an altitude of around 700m above sea level. It is a very strenuous hike and should only be started in the morning, and is not recommended if it is too wet. The hike will take somewhere between 3 and 4 hours. For more information please check out our hiking blogs.

Emmagen Creek

This is the furthest you will wish to travel along Cape Tribulation road if you have a two wheel drive, as this marks the first creek crossing along the Bloomfield track. Only 4wd’s should attempt to go any further. However if you are looking for a beautiful and secluded waterhole that is more than likely to be empty than this is the place for you. Emmagen is a luxurious swimming hole which is only an 800m walk from the main road. There are a couple of parking spots near the creek and the track is easy to find from here. Along the way to the waterhole you pass by one of the largest and most majestic Pandanus trees ever seen. If this doesn’t take your breath away then the turquoise waters and rope swing will. There is fun here for the adventurous of all ages.

So over the past two articles we have discussed 12 places to visit between Cairns and Cape Tribulation. These are just the highlights for those who are time poor, if you have more time try and spend a few weeks, or even a month around here and it will unlock a multitude of secrets about the region, travel safe and have fun.

Photo credit: Photos courtesy of Scott Plume, Barefoot Tours