Tropical North Queensland: Destination Guide

A veritable tropical paradise, home to two of the world’s greatest natural wonders, pristine beaches and rugged outback regions, Tropical North Queensland boasts a diverse landscape for intrepid travellers.

From the iconic Great Barrier Reef to the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics, from the rugged grasslands of Gulf Savannah to Atherton’s Tropical Tablelands, Tropical North Queensland serves up some of Australia’s most impressive landscapes.

Read on to discover what makes Tropical North Queensland a must-visit destination, or head straight to Turu's listings to find and book holiday accommodation.

POrt Douglas

Port Douglas

Port Douglas is the gateway to the World Heritage wonders of Tropical North Queensland. It is the closest mainland port to the Great Barrier Reef and only a short drive into the heart of the Wet Tropics rainforest at Daintree and Cape Tribulation.

Favoured by A-list celebrities as the place to get away, Port Douglas is an intimate and relaxed town where food, wine, arts and culture are appreciated.

Read our Port Douglas Destination Guide

Cape York

Cape York

Hailed by Lonely Planet as one of the best 4WD routes on the Australian continent, the Cape York Peninsula offers an experience beyond the beaten track.

Swap your camper van for a 4WD and get ready for an adventure in one of the world’s last accessible wilderness areas.

Here you will come face-to-face with wild crocodiles, challenging river crossings and spend your nights camping under the star-lit skies of the southern hemisphere.

Torres Straight

Torres Straight

At the very tip of Cape York where the South Pacific Ocean and the Arafura Sea mix their currents are the 274 islands of the Torres Strait. Virtually untouched, the Torres Strait islands and surrounding Great Barrier Reef are home to some of the world's most stunning blue waters as well as an abundance of marine life including dugongs, dolphins, giant marlin and sea turtles.

With beautiful beaches, awesome fishing and rich indigenous culture, visit the far corner of nature's theme park in the Torres Strait to experience one of Australia's most beautiful, natural hidden gems. 

Cairns

Cairns

Energised by nature, Cairns is the place to soak up the tropical lifestyle.Swim at the Esplanade lagoon, sample local produce at a farmer's market, enjoy free entertainment, shop for a summer wardrobe or cruise around the marina.

After dark choose a lively bar for drinks, taste local seafood at an award-winning restaurant, party on a dance floor, discover treasures at the markets or watch a local cultural show.

Read our Cairns Destination Guide

Palm Cove

Palm Cove

Relax under a coconut palm, paddle around a Great Barrier Reef island, enjoy a spa treatment or delight in a fusion of tropical delicacies. It is all part of life at Palm Cove, an intimate slice of paradise boasting a plethora of holiday experiences.

This sophisticated beachside hub boasts award-winning restaurants, peaceful day spas and exceptional resorts along its picturesque esplanade where ancient melaleucas define the relaxing atmosphere. 

Cooktown

Cooktown

Historic Cooktown became a thriving port during the gold rush era after it was discovered by Captain James Cook when the HMS Endeavour hit a reef in 1770. Hardened, pioneering characters and years of geographic isolation have added to the frontier town's unique character which continues to charm adventurers today.

Monuments and museums with carefully preserved relics are reminders of the town's rich history, while the well-maintained cemetery bears testament to the hardships endured more than a century ago. 

Gulf Savannah

Gulf Savannah

Stretching from the Great Dividing Range in the east to the Northern Territory border in the west, the rugged grasslands of Gulf Savannah tells a story of gold rushes, pioneers and wandering indigenous tribes.

Take a 4WD through the arid grasslands and stunning coastal landscapes leading up to the tranquil oasis of Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park where dramatic sandstone escarpments meet clear fresh water gorges.

Kuranda -Scenic -Train

Kuranda

Colourful, quirky Kuranda in the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics rainforest has daily markets and a quaint main street lined with shops and galleries as well as wildlife experiences perfect for close encounters.

The village in the rainforest has earned a reputation as the arts and crafts nexus of Tropical North Queensland and is a popular destination in conjunction with journeys on Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and Kuranda Scenic Railway.

Atherton

Atherton

Atherton is the 'capital' of the lovely Tropical Tablelands, a land of beautiful lakes, waterfalls, rich red soil and tropical rainforest. Here the temperature is cooler, the pace is slower and there is a feeling of relaxation in the air.

The area has a number of natural attractions such as the Curtain Fig Tree, Millaa Millaa Falls, crater lakes and amazing rock formations. Find out more about Atherton from our Destination Guide.

Mission Beach

Mission Beach

Mission Beach is a cosy beachfront village that has managed to strike the right balance between frolicking holiday makers and sandal-clad backpackers looking for adventure.

Dive the greatest tropical reef system in the world, parachute on to a palm fringed beach or go wild in the Class 4 rapids of the Tully River. Find out more about Mission Beach from our Destination Guide.

Cardwell

Cardwell

Cardwell lies in the heart of the Great Green Way driving route, and is the gateway to Hinchinbrook Island - the largest Island National Park in Australia.

Cardwell offers a range of attractions, site seeing, annual events and historical places to visit. The Cardwell Rainforest and Reef Visitor Information Centre has a magnificent interpretative display capturing all the flora and fauna native to the area.

Enjoy Tropical North Queensland Tropical North Queensland Destination Guides

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