Leave hustle and bustle in the rear-view mirror on this five-day journey to some of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest and the untouched coast it spills onto. This tour takes you into the heart of the land the Kuku Yalanji people have called home for 50,000 years, into the complex ecosystem of the forest and deserted white-sand beaches. Learn about hunting native plants from a First Nations guide, encounter crocodiles and colourful birds on a cruise through mangrove thickets and walk under heavy green canopy in Mossman Gorge.
Ages: Over 8
Accommodation: Resort (4 nights)
Welcome to Cairns! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 11 am. With the formalities out of the way, it’s time to hit the road for Port Douglas, with a couple of stops en route to break up the journey. First up is a Barron Gorge lookout that looks over a set of tumbling falls bursting from the rainforest. Spend some time ooh-ing and ah-ing at the lookout, then continue to the town of Kuranda. This little mountain village is the perfect place to grab a quick lunch (not included), before hitting the road again at around 2 pm. Settle back into the vehicle for an approximately 1.5-hour drive along the coast to Port Douglas. Take in views of cliffs covered in distinct native flora on one side and glittering blue ocean on the other, with some photo stops along the way. Arrive at the accommodation and spend a few hours settling in. In the early evening, take an orientation tour around Port Douglas. Stop at Trinity Bay lookout point to admire the perfect crescent of sand and surf in the twilight. Head to a local restaurant for drinks and dinner with your fellow travellers, then return to the resort for the evening.
Grab breakfast and get ready in time to leave the resort at 8 am, jumping on the ferry and crossing the river into the Daintree Rainforest. Meet up with a local family who live and breathe the rainforest, so much so that they hosted David Attenborough’s documentary crew when they were filming in the area. Spend some time learning from them about the forest, then continue exploring with a cruise along Cooper Creek. Your guide will point out crocodiles, birds and other wildlife while you glide through the water. Stop for an included lunch at a heritage restaurant smack-bang in the middle of the forest. If you need to cool off, there is also time to take a swim before continuing to Cape Tribulation. Take in views over the cape from a lookout, then head down to the beach for a guided walk and to learn about the region’s history. Return to the resort for the evening, where you can grab dinner at one of the restaurants within walking distance or choose to enjoy an optional al fresco dinner experience with Flames of the Forest.
Enjoy a day to explore this tropical paradise at your own pace. There are tonnes of activities on offer today, so be sure to talk to your leader about your options when it comes to snorkelling, reef tours and nature experiences. Your leader will also be on hand today to provide a transfer to Port Douglas town (and back) at 10 am and 6.30 pm if you want to spend the day shopping or grab dinner. If you’d prefer to move as little as possible, you could always take a day to unwind with spa treatments at the resort or chill by the pool with a book.
Grab breakfast before leaving the resort at 8.15 am for a guided walk through the rainforest of Mossman Gorge. Work up an appetite on this gentle 1.5-hour hike, then grab morning tea (not included) before heading to Kuyu Kuyu (Cooya Beach) for an educational experience with a local member of the Kuku Yalanji family. Learn to throw a spear, which plants are edible and how Kuku Yalanji people live in harmony with the ever-shifting landscape. Enjoy lunch, then join an Aboriginal painting class in the afternoon. Learn about the significance of traditional and contemporary art and storytelling to First Nations people and leave with a small souvenir. Return to the resort in the early evening and enjoy a few free hours to relax. Grab dinner tonight with your group and toast to the beauty of the country around you.
Enjoy breakfast and time for one last swim before a 10 am departure for Cairns. We will make one drop-off stop at Cairns Airport and another at a central hotel in Cairns – before your tour begins please let your Intrepid representative or travel agent know which option you would prefer.
163 Abbott St
163 Abbott St
1. A single supplement is available for every night of this trip
2. If you'd like to stay a little longer post-trip accommodation can be booked in Port Douglas, or we can take you back to Cairns on day 5 where post-trip accommodation is also available
All group trips are accompanied by a group leader. In Australia your group leader is also your driver, taking you from start to finish. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Yor leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, as well as recommening great local cafe's, pubs and restaurants. They will also introduce you to our local friends along the way. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the areas visited on the trip, including historical, environmental, cultural and social aspects.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we make no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
All travellers, except New Zealand citizens, must obtain a visa or travel authority before travelling to Australia. Failure to do so means you may not be allowed to board your flight to Australia. Most nationalities can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority via the internet before arrival. Please check the following website or with your relevant Australian visa issuing office for your nationalities requirements. http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/
Why we love it
Explore the world’s oldest rainforest – including a private area not open to the general public – with passionate local guides.
Spot crocodiles during a wildlife cruise on Cooper Creek, with expert eyes on board to point out creatures hidden in the forest.
Take a guided walk along the pristine, rainforest-rimmed beach of Cape Tribulation, where Europeans tried and failed to tame the coastal wilderness for hundreds of years.
After warm days spent walking deserted beaches and rambling through rainforest, relax in the comfort of your 4-star resort accommodation.
Is this trip right for you
This trip requires a moderate level of fitness as it involves a lot of walking, allowing you to really get among nature. Please bring sturdy, comfortable walking shoes and comfortable clothing.
Dengue, Murray Valley Encephalitis (MVE) and Ross River Fever occur in northern parts of Australia (the Northern Territory, Northern Queensland and northern Western Australia). All three viruses are transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against them, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. January 2009 saw an earlier than usual seasonal outbreak of dengue fever in northern Queensland, with over 600 confirmed cases in and around Cairns and Townsville.
There have been 77 confirmed cases of Whitmore disease (melioidosis) in the Northern Territory, mainly in greater Darwin, but with cases reported in the Katherine and East Arnhem regions too. One case has occurred as far south as Tennant Creek. The risk of melioidosis will continue to be present as long as the rains continue. Those most at risk are those with underlying conditions that impair the immune system such as diabetes. Please visit the NT Department of Health and Families website http://www.health.nt.gov.au - for more information.
The Australian Dollar (A$) is the currency of Australia.
Credit and debit cards are readily accepted just about everywhere in Australia. Occasionally there may be a minimum spend for both in smaller shops. You can usually withdraw money from shops where EFTPOS is available. Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are common across Australia. ATM's may be limited in remote areas and your leader will advise you when to withdraw extra cash.
Credit cards in Australia require a pin number rather than a signature and may have a small surcharge for purchases.
Tipping is not expected but appreciated.
In Australia, tipping, while appreciated can be the exception rather than the norm. As a guide, tipping is appropriate in a restaurant for a meal (10-15% as a general rule).
In a taxi, a cafe or bar, rounding up is acceptable.
You can consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline AU$2-5 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
What to take
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps.
You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.
Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.
- Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing and warm layers. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Maybe bring a change of smart clothes for dinner in bigger cities. Australia is pretty casual. A pair of shorts or a skirt and a top with thongs is our usual summer wardrobe.
- Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings. A pair of sandals or thongs (flip flops) are great for the beach.
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses.
- Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent.
- Water bottle. We recommend at least 1.5litre capacity.
- Camera with spare batteries.
- Ear plugs to guard against street noise and snorers.
- A good book, a journal and music player for longer drives.
Please keep your luggage to a minimum. One small soft-sided bag plus a day pack (no more than 15-20kgs in total per person) is essential. We recommend against bringing hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store in the vehicle and can damage equipment and other travellers' belongings.
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We recommend that you photocopy/scan all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals.
If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.
Climate and seasonal
Summer (December – February) Average temperatures range from 18 - 26°C (65.5 - 78.4°F). Its pretty humid
Autumn (March – May) The mildest time of year when the humidity drops and average temperatures fall between 15 - 22°C (58 - 72°F).
Winter (June – August) Sydney’s coolest months are June to August when average temperatures drop between 9 - 17°C (48 - 63°F). Rainfall is generally highest in June. July is the coolest month.
Spring (September – November) In spring, days are warmer but the humidity is not as high as summer.
Averages range from 11 - 23°C (51.8 - 73.4°F).
Summer (December – February) Its between 21 - 29.8°C (69.8 - 85.6°F) in summer with the most rainfall and spectacular thunderstorms.
Autumn (March – May) It finally cools down - 15 - 25°C (59 - 77°F), with low humidity and less rain.
Winter (June – August) Generally dry and mild with mean temperatures between 11 - 21°C (51.8 - 69.8°F).
Spring (September – November) Warm, sunny days are tempered by cool sea breezes. 15 - 25°C (59 - 77°F).
Summer (December – February) Average temperatures range from 24 - 31°C (74 - 88°F). The wet season begins building up around December, with the most rainfall in the summer.
Autumn (March – May) It is still very warm during both the day and night. Temperatures average between
22 - 29°C (70.7 - 84.2°F). The rain subsides from April but it gets windy until October
Winter (June – August) Brings slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity. Average temperatures range from 18 - 26°C (63.5 - 78.8°F) with little rain.
Spring (September – November) Temperatures range from 21 – 29°C (68.9 - 84.2°F). Its the end of the dry season when humidity starts to build..
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Before you travel please download our pre-departure checklist to make sure you are fully prepared for your trip.
EAST COAST: ALL general enquiry must be directed to our Reservations team on 1300 654 604. In the case of a GENUINE EMERGENCY, or concerns about a missed pick-up on the DAY OF DEPARTURE ONLY please contact our Operations Manager in Cairns. If your call does NOT warrant an emergency situation you will be asked to call our Reservations team in business hours.’
Via Travel: 0474 229 435
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Australians are not required to be covered for hospital care due to being covered by Medicare. However we strongly recommend that Australians have a domestic travel insurance policy which covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. It is also strongly advisable that Australians have current ambulance cover in the case of emergency evacuation or incidents requiring ambulance transportation.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all international travellers and should be taken out at the time of booking. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US$200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide proof of your travel insurance on the first day of your trip; you will not be able to join the trip without it. If you obtain travel insurance through us you acknowledge that you are satisfied with the level of insurance we have arranged.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience.
Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. Sharing a room can be a great way to get to know people quickly and make close friends. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
We've allowed plenty of room for freedom and flexibility in our trips. In fact, flexibility is one of the ingredients that makes each of our trips so exciting. This style of travel offers us some unexpected circumstances at times, for example, bad weather and road conditions, technical defects of transportation, inconveniences caused by local operators and authorities, and other circumstances beyond our control. Changes in the program may be required to make the best of the unique situations that we encounter.
Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group. Our described itineraries are to be used as a general guide only.
Resort (4 nights)