Embark on the Great Barrier Reef Drive and leave the bustling CBD behind for a unique and unforgettable adventure from Cairns to Port Douglas. Winding along the Coral Sea and past isolated, tropical beaches, stop to explore the chic seaside village of Port Douglas, Great Barrier Reef and spectacular Four Mile Beach. You'll find spectacular 180-degree views at lookouts and enjoy the unrivalled coastal and rainforest-clad mountain views on this epic journey called the Great Barrier Reef Drive.
Named after the palms that line the beach, Palm Cove is a secluded coastal village dotted with cafes, restaurants and boutique shopping along the paperbark-lined Williams Esplanade. The beach is the most popular of the Cairns Northern Beaches, with the pristine sand and water, free BBQs, jetty and walking paths. Sitting off the coast you’ll spy the twin-peaked Double Island, a private luxury island and popular kayaking destination. Sit back and enjoy the view from a beachfront bar, sipping to the success of a fabulous day on the Great Barrier Reef Drive.
Just north of Palm Cove you will catch a glimpse of Ellis Beach as you wind along the coastline of the Great Barrier Reef Drive. Admire the beauty of the rainforest-clad mountains as they descend towards deserted beaches stretching as far as the eye can see. It is an area untouched by development and the long, sandy beach stretches approximately 1 km along the Coral Sea. An ideal destination to take a walk or stop for lunch or a coffee at the cafe.
Discover an isolated beach known better to locals than to tourists, capturing views of an unspoilt coastline stretching as far as the eye can see. Wangetti Beach is a perfect place to stop and refresh for a quiet walk along the beach, shared only with a few palm trees and the occasional local.
Feel the excitement build as you climb the mountain range towards Rex Point Lookout for a spectacular 180-degree view over the Coral Sea. A popular launch pad for hang gliders and the perfect place to stop, stretch your legs and take a group photo while admiring the glorious outlook.
Pull over and take in the 180-degree vista of the Coral Sea with views of Double Island to the south. Watch the hang gliders as they take off from this cliff face and get a bird's eye view of the fringing reefs below.
As the name suggests, the small yet striking beach along the Great Barrier Reef Drive is covered with tiny, smooth shingle and cobbles along the shoreline. Heading south between Pebbly and Ellis beaches, you’ll find an area where visitors and locals alike stop on the Great Barrier Reef Drive, to create unique rock formations and ‘make their mark’ in an earth-friendly and fun way. Remember to take care when pulling over to stop at this area and consider other motorists.
South of Port Douglas lies the Mowbray Valley, in the foothills of the Macalister Range and the Wet Tropics Mowbray National Park. The historic 'Bump Track' can be accessed here, first blazed in 1877 from traditional Aboriginal walking tracks to transport gold from the Hodgkinson Goldfield in the Tablelands to the port (now called the Sugar Wharf) at Port Douglas. Now the Bump Track is open to walkers, mountain bikers and horses and traverses Mowbray National Park between the coastal lowlands and Black Mountain Road. Take on this adventurous (and steep) walk and be rewarded with epic coastal views to Low Isles and watch the scenery change from eucalypt forest to rainforest. While exploring the Mowbray Valley, stop and dip your feet into the local swimming spot at the Spring Creek bridge, or spot the local Crocodylus residents sunbaking under the Mowbray River bridge. If you are up for a real adventure, take a guided walking tour to the Mowbray Falls or go rock hopping to Spring Creek.
Follow the palm-fringed road as it guides you towards the iconic Port Douglas village, alive with restaurants and boutique shopping. Settle into your exclusive resort or spacious boutique apartment and prepare to discover the best-kept secrets that keep the a-listers coming back for more. Stroll down to Four Mile Beach and soak up those glorious Coral Sea views to Low Isles or pack a few picnic essentials and walk the Flagstaff Hill Walking Track to Rex Smeal Park for a breathtaking sunset underneath the palm trees. Dinner can be simple - cast a line from the Sugar Wharf and cook your catch at a beachside BBQ barbeque or add a touch of luxury with a five-star dining experience.
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