Cape Tribulation QLD

About Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation is one of the iconic places in Australia’s European history. It was here that Captain James Cook, who had successfully navigated the H.M. Barque Endeavour through the treacherous waters of the Great Barrier Reef, was finally beaten by the reef. The vessel ran aground, limped its way to Cooktown, and was there for a number of weeks while repairs were made. It was the first time Europeans had settled, albeit briefly, on the east coast of the continent. Today Cape Tribulation is a popular destination for tourists making a northerly day trip from Cairns and Port Douglas. It is an opportunity to enter the tropical wonderland that is the Daintree National Forest. For the more adventurous it is the beginning of one of the most outrageous journeys on the planet – a road which should never have been built – which runs from Daintree to Cooktown.

Why, never built? Because this is cyclone country and every year when the rains come they wash the red and yellow soils into the once-pristine waters. Still, for all its failings, the road is spectacular and the experience of driving through the rainforest is unforgettable. Equally unforgettable is a stay at Bloomfield Lodge, a remarkable and exclusive resort in the rainforest with superb views across the Coral Sea (sourced from the Aussie Towns website – click for more).

We left Port Douglas for a leisurely 82km drive (maplink) up to the Daintree for a 4 night stay at Cape Tribulation Campground.

Daintree River Ferry

To get to our destination we had to cross the Daintree River on the ferry ($33 return). A no fuss crossing as you cannot get out of your car to check out the view or look for crocs. This was also our last chance to use our mobile phones as once on the other side, there is no phone reception at all.

Cape Tribulation Campground

The drive from the ferry to Cape Tribulation Campground is nothing but spectacular passing between gigantic melaleuca trees and through avenues of palms and greenery that totally encloses the road – a big green tunnel.

Arriving at our destination we checked into one of the coolest looking caravan parks (maplink) we’ve ever been in. It was so lush and green and only metres from the beach – shame you cannot swim here as it’s a beautiful beach only 1km south of the famous Cape Tribulation. A 4 metre saltwater crocodile was reportedly living on the southern end of our beach which was probably about 300 metres from other  camp ground – whoo hoo – a bit scary (hence no swimming).

As soon as we’d set-up our campsite we immediately headed off to check out the beach. A short walk through the coconut palms and you are onto a truly beautiful sweeping beach. Mangroves on one end (home of the croc) and Cape Trib on the other end. The tide was out so we got some great photos of interesting sand formations and some great shells. We also found ‘WILSON!’ plus a cheeky backpacker – see if you can spot them in our photos below 😀…

Exploring Cape Tribulation

On our second day we went for a lovely stroll out to the Cape followed by a short drive up the beginning of the famous Bloomfield Track which links the Daintree to Cooktown with 30 kms of really rugged 4wd track. We didn’t go that far but agreed that we’d have a more serious look at it later from the Cooktown end.

We then took a stroll along the Dubuji Boardwalk travelling over swampy looking mangroves with their space creature looking tree roots. It was rather devoid of bird-life which we found a bit strange; and we did not see a single Cassowary while walking along but we did arrive at a beautiful beach.

Snorkeling on Mackay and Undine Reefs

When we were in Airlie Beach we took a snorkeling tour with Ocean Rafting (click here to view that blog) and it was soooo good we decided to do another with their Cape Trib crew – Ocean Safari and it was not disappointing at all. This company really do know how to run a great snorkel tour.

We headed out to the Great Barrier Reef from the beach at Cape Tribulation due east for 25 minutes to visit 2 fabulous snorkel locations at Mackay and Undine Reefs. It was a bit choppy but what we saw was really amazing, nemos, plate coral, sea cucumbers, clams and heaps more fish. Merrisa and I were the only people to not see a turtle (bugger) but we still had a ball.

Cooper Creek Croc Tour

We’d seen so many crocs on our half lap trip in 2018 we were a bit undecided whether to do another one or not but decided too anyway. This single man operation travels up Cooper Creek (it’s an ocean estuary about 10km north of the Daintree River).

The tour only cost $35 per head for a 1 hour trip (up and back). It was a bit underwhelming to say the least but we at least got to see one female pregnant croc on the creek bank and the eyes of another, just poking out of the water.

Cape Tribulation Sunrise

On our last day at this paradise of a location I got up nice an early to join a few other bleary eyed campers on the beach to watch the sunrise. It was fairly overcast but I still got some nice photos. See what you think…

Summing up…

  • Accommodation Cape Tribulation Campground is totally awesome. One of the best places we have stayed at.
    • Cost per night$48.00 (@ 19-Sep-2020) great value!
    • Facilitiesbush camp type facilities
    • CP Locationin the best location, about 2kms from the cape. It’s right on the beach located within the national park and really “bushy” (maplink)
    • Our rating/score10/10
  • Was it a nice town to visit? absolutely. Make sure you include this in your itinerary
    • Activities & places of interest as you can see from our post we crammed a fair bit in – fantastic!
    • Tourist info centre?Daintree Discovery Centre (website)
    • Would we return?definitely
    • Overall Score10/10
  • Summing up – This was one of the real highlights of our trip. Make sure you go there and stay at the campground.

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