24 September, 2020
Last updated on 13 November, 2021
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Posted by Spaceships Crew
If there is one region made for road tripping, it is Tropical North Queensland for sure. Famously known as the place where the rainforest meets the reef, it's the kind of place you can revisit and see completely different things than you saw on your previous trip there.
Whether you’re a beach bum, hiker, or waterfall chaser, Tropical North Queensland got more than enough attractions to fill a 5-day road trip. Here are our picks for the Top 10 stops to make around the Cairns area with your campervan.
1. Fairy Falls
Fancy enjoying your own personal waterfall and swimming hole? Nearly everyone who parks at the Crystal Cascades car park visits the cascades, but if you take the path on the far end of the lot and follow it along the left side of the creek, you’ll be rewarded with this other gem of a spot. Odds are pretty good you’ll have Fairy Falls all to yourself.
The magic of Fairy Falls: a must-see on your Cairns road trip
2. Mossman Gorge
Mossman is probably the most touristy spot on the list, but it must be done - ideally first thing in the morning before the crowds swell. It’ll be some of the clearest water you’ve ever seen in your life!
3. Masons Swimming Hole
Making your way up to Cape Tribulation, you won’t want to miss this secluded swimming hole behind Masons Cafe. They do ask for a $1 donation to access it, but it’s well worth the price to enjoy this croc-free swimming spot.
Enjoying the scenery at Masons Swimming Hole
4. Cow Bay
Take your pick of beaches on Cape Tribulation to lap up the sunshine, just be sure not to go in the water - there are crocs and/or jellyfish in the sea, depending on the time of year.
Still, don’t let the dangerous creatures dissuade you from enjoying the beaches of Cape Trib. They are absolutely gorgeous and make you feel as if you’re on a tropical island. Cow Bay is our favourite.
Time to relax at Cow Bay
5. Babinda Boulders
Heading back south of Cairns is the town of Babinda, which is worth a stop for its creek full of big, smooth boulders. It’s a top spot for relaxing on your floatie or sprawling out on one of the boulders. There are barbecues and picnic tables at the car park, which makes it a convenient place to break for lunch or dinner after your swim.
6. Milala Millaa falls
These magnificent waterfalls are surrounded by lush rainforests located on the Waterfalls Circuit. There’s a pristine waterhole below, perfect for a refreshing swim. Have fun and enjoy the cool water. Or go for a picnic, there’s a grassy picnic area that is perfect to relax.
Millaa Millaa Falls is a must-see on your road trip. It certainly is Instagram-worthy. You might even catch a glimpse of a platypus there.
7. Nandroya Falls
Continuing the quest for natural wonders less frequented, Nandroya fits the bill perfectly. An easy half-hour walk deposits you in front of this beautiful waterfall.
8. Tully Gorge
Tully Gorge offers million-dollar views without the tedious drive or hike in. There typically isn’t much water at the top where the lookout is unless you go after the heavy rains of the wet season. It’s still well worth a look though, especially given how accessible this spot is.
9. Etty bay
If you want to get up close and personal with a cassowary, Etty bay is your best bet near Cairns. A family of cassowaries can typically be spotted on this beach early in the morning and just before sunset.
Amazing views on your road trip from Cairns: there's so much to do and see
10. Mission Beach
Mission Beach conjures up images of the typical laidback Aussie beach town. The best thing to do here is to hire a bike and ride the 14km of smooth flat sand whilst admiring the towering palms.