Exploring Tropical Paradise – Planning a Road Trip around Cairns

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Exploring Tropical Paradise – Planning a Road Trip around Cairns

Cairns, situated in the tropical north of Queensland, Australia, is a gateway to some of the world’s most stunning natural wonders. Cairns is an ideal destination for a road trip adventure with its lush rainforests, the Great Barrier Reef, and beautiful coastal drives. This guide will take you through the steps to plan an unforgettable road trip around Cairns.

1. Chart Your Route

Start by mapping out your road trip route. Cairns offers access to a wide range of breathtaking destinations, so consider your interests and how much time you have. Here are a few popular routes to explore:

  • Cairns to Port Douglas: This scenic coastal drive takes you through lush rainforests and offers access to the Great Barrier Reef. Be sure to stop at Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation along the way.
  • Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands: Discover the highlands of the Atherton Tablelands, known for its waterfalls, crater lakes, and charming villages. Don’t miss MillaaMillaa Falls and the Curtain Fig Tree.
  • Cairns to Mission Beach: Experience a tropical paradise with long stretches of pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and the opportunity to see the endangered cassowary.
  • Cairns to Cooktown: Venture north to Cooktown, an historic town surrounded by rugged wilderness and the Daintree Rainforest. This route is perfect for those seeking a more remote adventure.

2. Prepare Your Vehicle

Ensure your vehicle, whether rented or your own, is in excellent condition for the road trip. Check the tires, brakes, engine, fluids, and lights. Carry a spare tire, tools for minor repairs, and a roadside emergency kit. Explore Cairns car rental options to ensure you have the best vehicle for the journey. Familiarize yourself with local road rules and conditions, including driving on the left side of the road in Australia.

3. Plan Your Stops

Research and plan the specific stops and attractions you want to visit along your chosen route. Cairns and its surroundings offer a wealth of opportunities for adventure and relaxation, from snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef to exploring ancient rainforests and discovering indigenous culture.

4. Choose Accommodations

Consider your lodging options, which can range from beachfront resorts and boutique hotels to campgrounds and eco-lodges. Booking accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, is crucial.

5. Pack Essentials

Pack essentials such as comfortable clothing suitable for warm tropical weather, sunscreen, insect repellent, a first aid kit, toiletries, chargers, and a camera to capture the stunning landscapes and wildlife.

6. Stay Safe and Informed

Stay informed about local weather conditions, particularly during the wet season (November to April). Be cautious of wildlife on the roads, particularly in remote areas, and respect road signs and speed limits.

7. Dive into Adventure

Cairns is known for its adventure activities, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, white-water rafting, and hot air ballooning. Consider adding some adrenaline-pumping experiences to your road trip itinerary.

8. Explore Indigenous Culture

Learn about the rich culture of the region by visiting cultural centers, attending performances, and exploring ancient indigenous rock art sites.


A road trip around Cairns promises an incredible adventure through some of Australia’s most breathtaking landscapes. With careful planning, an adventurous spirit, and an appreciation for the natural beauty and culture of the region, your road trip around Cairns is sure to be a journey you’ll cherish for a lifetime. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on an unforgettable tropical road trip adventure.

Featured photo by Freepik
Emma Morre

Emma Morre, a designer by profession. At the same time I’m very much conscious about my health and fitness so I never skip my workout.

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