Your next destination: Cape Tribulation in one day! What to see, how to travel cheap? From Cairns to Cape Tribulation I share with you my travel tips.

Travel tips and trip budget for a road trip Cairns-Cape Tribulation: a guide for budget travelers

Cheap and easy road trip wanted! I give you some travel tips to prepare your trip Cairns-Cape Tribulation. Tips, budget and more travel tips. Ready? Read! Overview
  1. Before going to Cape Tribulation: travel tips and budget
  2. Get there – travel tips for the itinerary
  3. On the way: tips to sightseeing
  4. In Cape Tribulation
  5. On the way back
  6. At a glance – 6 travel tips and trip budget

    Before the trip

     Plan the trip budget

    The basic trip costs are based on our calculation for three travelers. As professional backpackers in Australia, our road trip budget has been obviously debated! And good surprise … it ended up as a cheap day trip. If backpackers’ tours propose the same itinerary from Cairns to cape tribulation for approximately 100$ AUD each, it did cost us 37$ AUD. Fuel costs are up to 30$ for 300 kilometers return. Don’t forget to take into account the daintree ferry fare, 25$ each car, and obviously the price of the rental car if you need one – the car represents a budget of 60$ including insurance for a day trip to Cape Tribulation.

    Minimize your trip budget – travel tips for backpackers

    Simple but effective: share the trip costs with other travelers! At your hostel or on Facebook, post an ad and ask around. Cairns – Cape Tribulation is a wanted road trip. Fill the car  with travel mates and minimize the trip budget. Plus, the more, the merrier …

    Other practical travel tips: take your favorite road trip songs… and a picnic! You won’t have to worry about finding food on the way (challenging given the lack of cities between Cairns and Cape Tribulation) and your trip budget will say thank you!

    Tips for those who want to rent a car

    If you need to rent a car, read below! I give some travel tips about that, based on my own experience.

    First, I recommend you to book online both the car and the insurance before the D Day. Easy and quick, it’s one of my travel tips to save time – and sleep longer! This way, you’ll only have to pick up the rental car in Cairns on the morning of the road trip. East Coast Car Rentals in Cairns is a cheap and yet safe option if you want a budget vehicle. Given hiring a car can kill the backpackers’ road trip budget, it’s worth running a search of cheap rental companies on price comparison sites like Next travel tips: check the vehicle at the car hire shop in Cairns before starting the road trip and take pictures if you see any damage on the car … et voilà, let’s go to Cape Tribulation!

    Get to Cape Tribulation, starting from Cairns – Travel tips for the road

    A day is only made of 24 hours … it’s not a lot of time, especially in Australia, where there are so many things to see and so many hours to drive! First of all travel tips:  if you are in Cairns and planning to go on a day trip to Cape Tribulation try to leave early, around 7.30 / 8 a.m. Doable even for those who are not early birds!

    What about the road trip itinerary Cairns-Cape Tribulation? Australia is wonderful for drivers who don’t like spending hours on their GPS … it’s straight ahead to Cape Tribulation. In Cairns, start from Sheridan Street and follow the Captain Cook Highway, direction Cape Tribulation. Note that it’s still possible to get lost, if you are a highly absent-minded driver! (it happens!)

    On the way to Cape Trib – sightseeing without killing the budget

    Mossman Gorge National Park

    Depending on how much time you want to spend at Cape Tribulation, some stops can be made on the way. Most of them are free. They are perfect travel tips if you want to do sightseeing without increasing the trip budget! Mossman Gorge is one of these spots. It will take you one hour drive from Cairns to get to the Gorge.

    Good news for those traveling on a budget: the access to Mossman Gorge is free! To get to Mossman River from the tourist centre, do it the backpacker way and go by foot. Cars are not allowed beyond this point, but oh surprise … a paid shuttle bus service is available for around 10$. My travel tips: unless you are too lazy to walk 15 minutes on the sealed path through the beautiful tropical rainforest, don’t miss this short hike and save monies on the trip budget! Then, spend 2 hours in the park, do short walks and swim.

    Daintree river, crocodiles and co

    The Captain Cook highway will bring you after one and a half hour to the daintree river. The attractions: the crocodiles, the wildlife … and the funny old ferry, only way to cross and to go further to the North! If you have time, embark on one of the daintree crocodile and wildlife spotting cruises. Approximately 1 hour long, the prices are up to 28$. Check Daintree River Cruise website for more travel tips on the cruises and the trip budget to plan. From the Daintree river to Cape Tribulation, it’s a twisty road. Don’t panic, it remains a pretty easy journey as long as you drive carefully.

    Port Douglas

    The town is located between Mossman Gorge and Cairns. It’s a nice stop on the way in or back. To have breakfast or watch the sunset at the harbor, it’s a peaceful break during the road trip.

    Lookouts and beaches – quick stops on the way to make your road trip to Cape Tribulation even better

    Rex Lookout and Alexandra Bay offer breathtaking views along the coast. The first one is located a few kilometers after Cairns. The second one provides you with an amazing overview of Queensland’s rainforest and the Daintree flowing into the ocean. Check this link to see all the beaches and other travel tips from Cairns up to our destination.

    When you are at cape tribulation

    Chill, relax and swim – best travel tips ever! Just be aware that nasty jelly fishes take a swim too from November until May. Crocodiles are also around at some places. If you go to Cape Tribulation at this period of the year, stay in areas which are open for authorized swimming.

    Hikes are also doable if you have more time to explore Cape Tribulation. They won’t do any harm to your trip budget since they are free. Walks will bring you to beautiful lookouts which overview Queensland’s coastal line and the tropical forest. Depending on your time schedule and your love for hiking (or not), you have the choice between several options in Cape Tribulation, Daintree and Cow Bay region. From short beach walks, hikes in the rainforest (up to one hour) to the challenging hike on the Mount Sorrow (6 hours return), get here travel tips on hiking at Cape Tribulation. Learn more on all activities and spots to see on tripadvisor.

    As a deserted beaches lover, I would recommend to go to some isolated beaches around the main one, like the beautiful deserted spot of Myall beach – travel tips to get a more adventurous experience of cape tribulation and pictures without tourists!

    On the way back – travel tips to get safe in Cairns

    Don’t forget to go back home! If you want to play on the safe number, leave Cape Tribulation for Cairns before it gets dark. First, cassowaries, kangaroos and co love taking night walks on the roads. Second, you could be in time for catching a beautiful sunset at Port Douglas’ harbor!

    And finally, the most important thing among all travel tips: enjoy!!

This is a non-exhaustive guide to Cape Tribulation based on our own one day road trip and budget. If you’ve got more travel tips, share them with the travel community. Leave a comment below!

Cairns guide for backpackers part one – why to choose Cairns