Cairns to Cape York: FNQ Adventure

Discover the wonders of Far North Queensland on this self-drive adventure from tropical Cairns to Australia’s northernmost tip in idyllic Cape York.

Journey Overview

Discover the scenic and cultural wonders of Far North Queensland on this adventurous self-drive odyssey from tropical Cairns to idyllic Cape York, Australia’s northernmost tip. Be immersed in the breathtaking Daintree Rainforest, explore the rugged beauty of remote cattle stations, marvel at the turquoise waters of the Arafura Sea and be welcomed onto traditional lands by an indigenous host who gives privileged access to ancient rock art sites and shares a treasure trove of stories about the land, its spirits and the Dreamtime. This unforgettable road trip is sure to leave you spellbound

Journey Highlights

  • Take a guided tour of a private conservation garden in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest
  • Camp under the stars on traditional Aboriginal lands
  • Interpret the meaning of ancient Aboriginal rock art with your indigenous host
  • Stay at the most northern address in Australia – Punsand Bay
  • Meet a Thursday Island local and hear about the island’s fascinating history
Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Cairns

Arrive into tropical Cairns and pick up your rental car* at the airport, starting your unforgettable adventure with the drive north to Cooktown (five hour drive). Pause en route at a private garden in the heart of the breathtaking Daintree Rainforest for an exclusive guided tour. Here, the owners are recreating small microcosms of rainforest from the four corners of the globe, protecting and preserving the world's most unique plant species. Enjoy a fascinating interpretive tour of this beautiful tropical oasis and the passion of its owners before relaxing over a cup of tea and some locally grown exotic fruits.

Sovereign Resort Cooktown is a luxurious base from which to explore the surrounding wonders, set in extensive tropical gardens. Relax with a few laps in the lagoon-style swimming pool, and unwind in one of the elegantly appointed rooms, all with balconies. Stay connected with free Wi-Fi, and savour a flavourful meal, with the onsite restaurant showcasing delicious modern Australian fare. As the sun goes down, enjoy a cocktail in the onsite bar with gorgeous views over the rolling gardens below.
Sovereign Resort Cooktown | L

Day 2: Laura

Rise this morning ready to explore, with a two-hour drive to Laura ahead. On the way, you might choose to stop and take a self-guided tour of the James Cook Museum. The museum houses an extensive collection of local indigenous Guugu Yimithiir artefacts, along with an original anchor and canon from HMB Endeavour that were salvaged in the 1970s and a model of the ship that dates to the early twentieth century.

Arriving into Laura meet your indigenous host, who will lead you on a fascinating journey over the next three days, starting with a captivating rock art tour. Be escorted across the land which has been his family’s home for many years. Discover amazing Quinkan rock art, regarded by UNESCO as one of the 10 most significant bodies of rock art in the world. In the afternoon, stand in awe of the rolling landscapes as you admire the view from a nearby lookout, and then wash off the day’s red dirt under a luxury bush shower overlooking the deep gorge and rocky cliff-faces. As night falls, relax by the fire to the sounds of the Yigi Yigi (didjeridoo) echoing through the valley while your roast dinner sizzles over the coals. Then there’s time for billy tea and a yarn before slipping into your cosy tent or slumbering under the stars in a comfortable swag.
Camping on country with Indigenous Host | LD

Day 3: Laura

Wake up to a breathtaking sunrise over red sandstone, escarpment country. Tuck into a hot bush breakfast over the campfire ahead of a day of adventure and historical immersion. Explore the pioneering history of this remote and rugged part of Australia, guided by the wisdom of your indigenous host. Sample native bush tucker, learn about traditional bush remedies and get in-depth insight to the indigenous way of life which has existed here for thousands of years. Head back to camp for another memorable night under the stars.
Camping on country with Indigenous Host | BLD

Day 4: Lockhart River

Today, depart Laura and travel onward to the spectacular Lockhart River region. As you travel, be spellbound by the rugged beauty of outback far north Queensland. You might take a detour out to the eastern side of the peninsula though the largest remaining area of lowland rainforest in Australia. The beaches here are beautiful – all fine white sand flanked by leaning coconut palms. Arrive into Lockhart River and your elegant base for the evening.

Remote by definition, charming by character, Greenhoose nestles within the Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park near Lockhart River in Cape York, Far North Queensland. Offering a glimpse into rainforest living and surrounded by nature, the rooms are simple yet comfortable with verandas and free Wi-Fi. Homestyle meals can be provided on request with communal dining arrangements.
Greenhoose | B

Day 5: Bramwell Station

Today you continue your explorations toward the captivating Cape. Before you head off, consider some local art appreciation, browsing the gallery at the Lockhart River Art Centre. Journey onward to Bramwell Station (2.5 hour drive) and your atmospheric accommodation on a working cattle station. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore before settling in for the evening.

Adjacent to the original homestead and cattle yards, Bramwell Tourist Park offers a chance to stop for the night and swap stories with fellow travellers moving up and down the Cape. The ringing of the station’s bell signals happy hour, and after a station chat about the property, settle in for a uniquely Australian evening of entertainment.
Bramwell Tourist Park | BD

Day 6: Punsand Bay

Rise this morning ready for adventure, continuing your journey to Punsand Bay and Australia’s northernmost point, Cape York, aptly named ‘the Tip’ (four hours drive). The Tip is rich in history, with wrecked WWII planes rusting away in Lockerbie Scrub, old radar installations at Mutee Head and even older cannons and historic graves at the ruins of Somerset, the earliest – and for a long time, only – European settlement on the Cape.

Drop a fishing line off the wharf at Seisia and reflect on an epic adventure while you watch the sun slip into the sea. Kick back, meet fellow travellers and relax with a woodfired pizza in The Corrugation Bar at your accommodation five kilometres west of Cape York overlooking the golden sands and turquoise waters of the Arafura Sea, Torres Strait Islands and northwards to "the Tip" of Australia.

Cape York Camping Punsand Bay is the ultimate base for any adventurer, angler, beachcomber, birdwatcher or history buff looking to explore and discover the Cape York Peninsula and Torres Strait Islands. Its unique geographical position makes Punsand Bay one of Australia's untouched wildernesses with an abundance of wildlife. Watch the sun rise out of the Coral Sea in the Pacific Ocean and set over the Arafura Sea in the Indian Ocean.
Cape York Camping Punsand Bay | B

Day 7: Punsand Bay

Get an engaging glimpse into another culture on a guided tour of Thursday Island. Your host’s easy storytelling style and their passion for the place bring the island’s history to life. Take in the stunning panoramic island views and enjoy the vivid and interesting displays of Thursday Island’s hilltop museum. Housed in the refurbished underground tunnels and rooms of Green Hill Fort, the museum features three main local themes; pearling, shipping and Australia’s strategic defence. Learn of the extraordinary impact the pearling industry had on this little community when you pause at the striking Japanese Pearl Divers Memorial where over 700 are buried.

Following your tour, return by ferry to Seisia with the evening at leisure.
Cape York Camping Punsand Bay | B

​Day 8: Bamaga - Depart Cairns

Today your northern adventure comes to an end, with your departure flight** from Bamaga to Cairns.
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Notes

*Car hire not included.

**Flight not included.

Price is per person based on 4 adults travelling.

This journey is for the adventurous self-drive traveller and includes a combination of motel-style properties and campground accommodation. The itinerary is seasonal and operates May-October.

Show Full Itinerary

Journey Dates & Prices

As this suggested itinerary can be personalised to your specific requirements, it is not available for online booking.

Depending on your preferred dates and arrangements, final pricing will vary from low season to peak season travel.

Please call A&K on 1300 851 800 or send us a booking enquiry to book this journey.

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