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Car hire and bus transport to Cape Tribulation

Getting to Cape Tribulation is easy now that the road is sealed all the way, bus services runs daily between Cairns and Cape Tribulation and all car rental companies now allow their hire cars to go past the Daintree river up to Cape Tribulation.
Be prepared for lots of spectacular scenery, the road from Cairns to Cape Tribulation has been named the Great Barrier Reef Drive to recognize its outstanding scenic value, where else in the world could you drive a highway wedged between two World Heritage listed National Parks and cruise alongside deserted tropical beaches?
Below are some suggestions on how to get here.

daintree coast accommodation at cape tribulation
Off grid eco accommodation in the Daintree

Cape Tribulation lies at the end of the scenic Great Barrier Reef Drive, one of Australia's great coastal drives with beautiful sea views along the way that runs 140 km. from Cairns to Cape Tribulation. Simply follow the brown coconut signs from Cairns all the way from Cairns to Cape Tribulation and you can't go wrong.

great barrier reef drive

The most enjoyable way to get to Cape Tribulation is your own hire car of course, even though a lot of things are within walking distance and most tours pick up from Rainforest Hideaway, there are many attractions between Cairns and Cape Tribulation worth exploring where the bus would not stop and where a rental car will give you the freedom to explore at your own leisure.

rental car on the way to cape tribulation
The road between Cairns and Cape Tribulation is a very scenic drive

Hire Cars - To explore further north of Cape Tribulation you definitely need a four wheel drive. If Cape Tribulation is as far as you want to go, a normal (2WD) rental car is all you need, as the road has been sealed all the way since April 2001. If you are planning to rent a car scroll down to see some useful car hire links further down on this page. Refer to the maps page to see how to get here or see some photos of the drive up here.

Discover Car Hire is the best place to start your search for a cheap hire car.
Ofcourse you can search all the major car hire companies one after the other but you'll find it saves you a lot of time to simply type in your car hire location and dates, and get presented with an overview where you see all available cars next to their prices to compare on one page. Can it get any easier?

The map below we have borrowed from, it shows you that the drive to Cape Trib is far from boring, along the way the road hugs remote beaches and there are many attractions along the way.

map of north queensland

Bus to Cape Tribulation

Several bus companies do a door to door service from Cairns accommodation, Cairns airport, Port Douglas accommodation and Daintree Village to Cape Tribulation. Depending on the number of people in your party and the duration of your stay in Cape Tribulation it may be just as, or more, economical, to hire a small car.

Please note that imetables and prices are subject to change from time to time.

Cape Trib Adventure Bus - This bus leaves Port Douglas at 08:30 and arrives in Cape Tribulation around 10:30, and it leaves Cape Tribulation at 16:30 returning to Port Douglas around 18:00.
Return fare is $100.- , you don't have to come back to Port the same day, you can stay in Cape Trib overnight and return some other day. Bookings on 0488 425 968 or online via

Trans North - This bus does a run all the way from Cairns to Cooktown, so is a good option if you plan to head further north after your Cape Tribulation stay. They depart Cairns at 07:00 in the morning, arriving in Cape Trib about 10:30 but not every day, only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at the time of writing this page the one way fare Cairns to Cape Tribulation was $50.90.- See their website for up to date info and prices.
The return journey leaves Cape Trib at 10:10 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and arrives in Cairns around 13:30.
This bus also goes in to Port Douglas for drop off and pick up at hotels.

This one will drop you off at Rainforest Hideaway, most package deal buses will stubbornly not drop you off here.

If you book on a package deal bus, such as Cape Trib Connections, Tropics Explorer, and Jungle Tours etc. ask where they will drop you off, most of these drivers stubbornly refuse to drop you at Rainforest Hideaway and will leave you at another resort, and even though the town of Cape Tribulation is small enough to walk around a hike up the hill to Rainforest Hideaway with your suitcases may not be that comfortable.

Scenic views on the way to Cape Tribulation
Prepare yourself for a very scenic coastal drive

When driving yourself to Cape Tribulation along the Great Brrier Reef Drive you can either do it in 2.5 hours from Cairns or make a day of it, there are many attractions along the way such as:

- Rex Lookout, just north of Cairns, spectacular views over the Coral Sea
- Port Douglas, if you are passing through on a sunday check out the markets in the morning.
- Rainforest Habitat ( at the Port Douglas turnoff), have breakfast with the birds, see the famous cassowary and learn more about the rainforest
- Mossman Gorge.You can either do a self-guided walk along the gorge or book a guided tour with Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime Walks. An Aboriginal guide will take you on an easy 1 1/2 hour walk - cave paintings, special sites, traditional Aboriginal plant use, billy tea and damper. Learn about spiritual and cultural aspects of the Kuku Yalanji world view. Bookings 07 4098 2595 or 07 4098 1305.
Mossman is also your last chance to find a bank, there are none in Cape Tribulation. If it happens to be lunch time try Goodies cafe in the main street.
- You can make a detour into Daintree Village, keen birdwatchers might like to spend a night at Redmill House and go on Dan Irby's early birdwatching tour but don't expect Daintree Village to be the gateway to the Daintree rainforest, the forest around the village was cut down a hundred years ago and now cows roam the green fields. There is a timber museum with photos of the giant red cedar trees they used to cut around here.
- Crocodile spotting cruises on the Daintree River or Coopers Creek, at the river you will find several booking offices for these cruises or for Cooper Creek phone (07) 40332052
- Alexandra Range Lookout (north of the Daintree river ferry), stunning views out to sea, Snapper Island and the mouth of the Daintree river
- Daintree Disccovery Centre with its treetop tower, (as a guest of Rainforest Hideaway you get a discount on the entry fee, click here for your discount voucher)
Tell them you are staying in the area, they will stamp your book and you will be able to keep coming back for a whole week on one entry fee!
- Daintree Icecream Company, despite its grand name is a small shop, a must for ice cream lovers, home grown fruit flavours such as mango, black sapote, sour sop, wattleseed.
- Fanpalm Road, opposite Lync Haven, just north of the Icecream Company, this road does a loop from the main road, anywhere you stop along Palm Road you will find thousands of majestic fanpalms by just stepping off the road, there are some houses along this road so pick a place that is not inhabited.
- The Daintree Tea plantation is visible on both sides of the road which grows a tannin and pesticide-free tea that is available in many outlets around Cape Tribulation, supermarkets elsewhere in Australia and even on the internet.
- Cafe on Sea, a nice lunch stop on Thorntons Beach.
- Noah Beach National Park Campground, walk through the camping area to find a huge long beach, most of the time deserted and all to yourself or maybe a couple of other people.
- Marrdja broadwalk, a good walk to get an introduction to both rainforest and mangrove ecosystems

Once you're across the Daintree river take it easy, there are low speedlimits and some serious speedhumps to protect the endangered cassowary who can very unexpectedly step out on the road. These birds can be up to two metres tall and should not be approached or fed if you do encounter them on the road.

Click here to see a page of maps to help you find your way here.