Far North Queensland is famous for its abundance of natural wonders and features highly on travel bucket lists around the globe.

This largely untouched wilderness area in Australia’s north-eastern corner covers more than 380,700 square kilometres and is as diverse as it is spectacular. Along with the popular tourist towns of Cairns and Port Douglas, this region in Queensland is also home to the Great Barrier Reef and remote Torres Strait Islands and Cape York, lush Daintree rainforest, and Cooktown which has a museum managed by the National Trust. From thundering waterfalls to saltwater crocodiles, ancient fossils and lush landscapes that stretch on forever, there are incredible photo opportunities at every turn. This friendly tropical tourist destination is packed with natural wonders and a rich First Nations history to engage with and explore.

Our Far North Queensland tours

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Tailor-Made trips

Take two or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

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Far North Queensland highlights

Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef

Get active in Cairns

Once considered little more than a convenient jumping off point for the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns has become a bucket list destination in its own right. Take a boat tour to the outer reef or Fitzroy Island, go on a day trip from Cairns to the tropical rainforest at Cape Tribulation, take a full day tour to see native wildlife, visit Mossman Gorge, marvel at mighty Barron Falls, or ride the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway then jump onboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway for the return trip to Cairns.

Cassowary

Chill out at Mission Beach

Mission Beach is the perfect spot to disconnect with the pressures of modern life and reconnect with nature. This sleepy beach destination encompasses the village of Mission Beach plus three other nearby towns - South Mission Beach, Bingil Beach, and Wongaling Beach. It’s an adventurer’s paradise with pristine wilderness areas to explore and activities such as white water rafting, swimming in the sparkling ocean, spotting cassowaries and taking a day trip to nearby Dunk Island.

Kuyu Kuyu First Nations tour

Discover the Daintree

With lush, tropical rainforests and stunning coral reefs to explore plus the opportunity to engage with the rich culture of the Kuku Yalanji people, the Daintree is a must-visit on any Far North Queensland holiday. Swim around world’s largest coral reef system, cool down in a freshwater swimming hole, hike through National Parks, spot cassowaries in the wild or take a trip to Cape Tribulation where two UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites meet, the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.

Donkeys at Atherton, Far North Queensland

Explore the Atherton Tablelands

Discover the Atherton Tablelands on a unique journey with a specialist guide and a team of pampered pack donkeys which are experts when it comes to transporting bags across all kinds of terrain. With your trusty four-legged mate leading the way, you’ll be able to venture beyond the usual vehicle routes and explore more of this special part of Far North Queensland near Cairns which includes the chance to spot rare Lumholtz tree-kangaroos, swim in ancient crater lakes, and visit coffee and tea plantations.

Crocodile on a river bank

Croc spotting in Cooktown

Cooktown offers excellent fishing, friendly locals, a sense of history and beautiful tropical scenery. It also gets hot, hot, hot – especially in summer. Named after Captain James Cook, this sleepy town has a museum honouring its most famous visitor and quintessential Aussie pubs with wide verandas, hearty meals, and ice cold beer. You’ll probably need one after hiking to Grassy Hill Lookout which offers 360 degree views of Cooktown and the surrounding ocean. Croc spotting tours are also popular.  

Port Douglas at sunset

Relax at Port Douglas

Four Mile Beach, with its rainforest-fringed sand lined with swaying palm trees, has played a starring role in so many tourism commercials that it’s immediately recognisable. Go hiking through the rainforest, cruise the Daintree River, take a stroll along the beach, see crocs up close, or swim with jewel bright tropical fish on a snorkelling trip. Port Douglas offers an impressive choice of tours, easy access to the Daintree and Great Barrier Reef, and enough world-class restaurants for every night of the week.

Far North Queensland tour reviews

Far North Queensland FAQs

Everyone travelling on an Intrepid trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage. 

All travellers are required to produce:  

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination

  • All children aged 5 to 17 years old must provide proof of vaccination (if eligible), proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.

  • If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional. 

In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy

Cairns is the closest major airport to Far North Queensland with a number of domestic airlines flying to and from most major Australian cities. A small number of international flights also arrive in Cairns. There are regular long distance buses which travel up and down the coast to Far North Queensland. The easiest way to get around Far North Queensland is to drive or join a small group tour. Some destinations like Cape Tribulation require a 4WD if you want to fully explore the area. 

Most people choose to hire a car or join a small group tour to explore Far North Queensland. While it is possible to catch long distance buses between some of the towns in Far North Queensland, you really need your own transport to get out and explore this region properly. Some destinations like Cape Tribulation require a 4WD if you want to venture beyond the regular tourist spots.  

Summer in Far North Queensland is very hot and very humid and tropical downpours and the occasional cyclone are common. Spring and Autumn are cooler and the region tends to be quieter. Winter is ideal for those who don't enjoy humid temperatures and the weather is typically good. If you are visiting between October and May and swimming in the ocean, it is advisable to wear a 'stinger suit' to protect yourself from possible jellyfish stings. 

Read more about if you need to wear a stinger suit

 

Far North Queensland is a rugged off-the-beaten-track destination that is so laid back it's almost horizontal. Wearing jeans and a t-shirt to dinner is considered 'dressy' so leave your fancy clothes at home. Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, swimmers and a hat and remember to bring any essentials as there are no major stores in some of the more remote areas in Far North Queensland. 

Clothes that breathe are a good idea as Far North Queensland can be humid, even in winter. Pretty much anything goes when it comes to dressing for dinner at this destination, provided it's (reasonably) clean. 

If you stick to major Far North Queensland towns like Cairns and Port Douglas, internet is easy to access. However, once you venture to more remote destinations and National Parks, your internet access is likely to be pretty much non-existent for at least some of the time. With nothing to distract you, it's easy to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Far North Queensland so embrace your time here as a chance to disconnect and de-stress. 

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. Some of the walking trails and remote beaches in Far North Queensland can make walking difficult for travellers who are less mobile on foot. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

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