Sunshine Coast and Tropical North Queensland
BRISBANE | MALENY | MOOLOOLABA | K'GARI | PORT DOUGLAS | GREAT BARRIER REEF | DAINTREE RAINFOREST | MALANDA | MISSION BEACH | CAIRNS
Explore the Sunshine Coast then head to tropical north Queensland to explore the magical wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and the majesty of the oldest rainforest on earth. Relax on pristine beaches and walk through the stunning rainforests, explore quaint market towns and snorkel over coral gardens teaming with multi-coloured fish. Walk with Indigenous guides as they explain their relationship with the land and their ancient way of life.
- Discover the magic of the Sunshine Coast
- Explore the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest.
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Sunshine Coast and Tropical North Queensland
Day 1 : Depart UK
Make your way to the airport to board your flight Down-Under.
Day 2 : Arrive Brisbane – Maleny (65 miles)
On arrival in Brisbane collect your rental car and head north into the Sunshine coast hinterland for a three-night stay at the Whispering Valley Cottage Retreat. Breakfast provisions included. Whispering Valley cottages Maleny are set on tranquil 46 acres amongst breathtaking nature in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. All guests get to admire the views from the cottages' spacious decks offering an experience of peace and relaxation. Unique spacious self-contained cottages all have a log fireplace, spa bath, and king bed and are equipped with all you need to enjoy your stay. An accommodation that reflects a comfortable simplicity that puts you close to nature in total privacy, perfect for a getaway or romantic weekend.
Day 3 : Maleny
Perhaps take a bush walk through the property or the neighbouring state forest. Visit waterfalls, market towns for local produce, arts and crafts, craft breweries and spirits. Visit Boulumba Creek, Maleny Botanic Garden or taste locally made chocolates.
Day 4 : Mooloolaba (35 miles)
Head down to the coast today for a three-night stay in Mooloolaba. With a sparkling coastline fringed by sugar white sand, it’s not hard to see why it has consistently been voted one of Queensland’s best beaches.
Day 5 : K'gari tour
Leave early for the drive to River Heads and an included visit to K’gari. Your tour today will commence with a ferry transfer to K'gari. Led by an experienced local guide, you’ll see the island’s iconic sights on a curated itinerary of highlights such as Lake McKenzie for a revitalising swim in its crystal clear waters, World Heritage-listed rainforest, 75 Mile Beach and the iconic Maheno Shipwreck. Stroll along the Wanggoolba Creek boardwalk to discover the ancient King Ferns, towering Ghost Gums and Pine trees. Float down the fast-flowing freshwater of Eli Creek. At the end of the day return on the ferry to River Heads, collect your car and return to Mooloolaba.
Day 6 : Mooloolaba at leisure
From relaxing on the beach to body surfing the rolling waves, walking or cycling along the esplanade to Mooloolaba Split or exploring the labyrinth of canals and waterways on a canal cruise, there’s plenty to see and do.
Day 7 : Port Douglas
Return your car to Brisbane airport in time to check in for your included flight to Cairns. On arrival in Cairns collect a rental car and drive along the scenic coastal road to Port Douglas for a for night stay. Port Douglas is one of the leading holiday resorts in Australia. This is the home of Four Mile Beach, an immense strip of soft white sand backed by tropical forest and lapped by sparkling azure blue waters. A laid-back resort with a bustling marina, shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants, it’s an ideal holiday location and a great starting point for snorkelling and diving trips to the Great Barrier Reef.
Day 8-10 : Port Douglas at leisure
Time to relax in a tropical paradise. We’ve included a couple of activities to enhance your stay.
The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from space and stretches hundreds of miles down the Queensland coast. Port Douglas is the main point of access to the reef in the north of Queensland and arguably has the best snorkelling and diving on the entire reef. On your included day cruise you can sit back and relax as your twin-hull yacht sets sail to the Coral Cays of Mackay or Undine Reefs. You will enjoy an authentic sailing experience, following the coastline and views of the Daintree mountains. Once at the protected sites at the Coral Cays, nature activities will include snorkelling over the pristine coral reef with a qualified marine biologist offering reef interpretation on a guided snorkel tour. A glass bottom boat coral viewing tour is also on offer. Premium reef sites showcase abundant marine life, including encounters with turtles and an amazing display of giant clam gardens, beautiful corals and a wide variety of fish. Exploring the white sands of the coral cays will relax the mind. Soak up the sun, peace and tranquillity and swim in turquoise clear waters. Small numbers of guests ensure personal interactive communication with your experience guides. A tropical buffet lunch, morning and afternoon teas & coffees, supplied by local plantations, will compliment a day of adventure and relaxation.
Port Douglas’ Wildlife Habitat is home to a vast number of native animals and birds. Fancy hand-feeding iconic Australian Wallabies and Kangaroos or catching a glimpse of the legendary Southern Cassowary or Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo? How about watching a crocodile feeding presentation or having your photo taken with a Koala? This award-winning and advanced eco-certified wildlife sanctuary allow guests to interact with Australian animals in their recreated natural environments. Explore five spacious unique environments and meet the species that call them home. If you’re feeling brave you can even swim with a salty – that’s a crocodile by the way!
Day 11 : Mossman Gorge - Daintree Rainforest (45 miles)
Leaving Port Douglas this morning your first stop is at Mossman Gorge where a "must do" for every visitor is the Ngadiku Dreamtime Walks, conducted by the local Indigenous people. Ngadiku (Nar-di-gul) means stories and legends from a long time ago in the local Kuku Yalanji language. This Mossman Gorge tour takes visitors on a guided walk along private, gentle tracks, visiting special places and culturally significant sites, past traditional bark shelters and over meandering cool rainforest streams.
Your included Dreamtime Walk begins with a traditional ‘smoking’ ceremony to cleanse and ward off bad spirits. Next, your guide will lead you on a meandering stroll through stunning, lush rainforest, observing traditional huts or humpies along the way. Your experienced interpretive Indigenous guide demonstrates traditional plant use, identifies bush food sources, and provides an enchanting narrative of the rainforest and its special relationship with this unique tropical environment. Discover traditions like making bush soaps and ochre painting. At the end of the tour, enjoy traditional bush tea and damper – the perfect treat after your journey. Continuing north you’ll cross the Daintree River on the cable ferry and continue into the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest. Be sure to stop at Cow Bay Beach for stunning photographs before arriving at the Daintree Wilderness Lodge for a two-night stay.
Day 12 : Daintree Rainforest
Explore the area described by Sir David Attenborough as “the most extraordinary place on earth”, the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is the world’s oldest surviving tropical rainforest. A landscape so biodiverse, this ancient forest is a living breathing window into the past, where you’ll find flora and fauna over 100 million years in the making. The Daintree is the only place in Australia where the rainforest meets the reef. With white sand, clear blue water and lush rainforest, it is easy to see why this is such a unique holiday destination.
Day 13 : Atherton Tablelands, Malanda (120 miles)
Leave the coastal rainforest behind today as you make for the cooler weather of the Atherton Tablelands. You’ll travel through Mareeba, the largest town on the Atherton Tablelands which has a rich history going back to the gold mining days. This is also the region that produces more than 70% of Australia’s coffee, so be sure to try a cup or two. Continue to the award-winning Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat for a two-night stay.
Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat is a multi-award-winning eco-retreat in the tropical rainforest of the Atherton Tablelands, just 90 minutes from Cairns. The luxury pole and timber treehouses are totally private and feature cosy fireplaces and verandas with stunning mountain views. Explore pristine rainforest streams and kilometres of walking tracks. There is abundant wildlife with over 160 species recorded. Guided bird watching is also available for guests. This cool tropical mountain retreat offers peace and relaxation.
Day 14 : A day to relax
Relax and enjoy your surroundings today. Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat is uniquely situated beside the World Heritage-listed Wooroonooran National Park. As Rose Gums itself has 230 acres of private tropical forests, the retreat offers its guests an unforgettable bush experience. Platypus inhabits the large rainforest creeks and is often seen. A wild Southern Cassowary often saunters through the forests, particularly when the rainforest fruit trees such as the quandong are dropping their fruit. Cassowaries are only found in the rainforests of north Queensland and their conservation status is “endangered”. Don’t get too close if you see one though, they can be pretty frightening and even dangerous.
Alternatively, if you’re wanting to explore the region we suggest heading for the village of Yungaburra with its quaint streets and platypus viewing area, the Curtain Fig tree and Lake Eacham.
Day 15-16 : Mission Beach (86 miles)
Leave Rose Gums this morning for the drive back to the coast. En route, you’ll pass through Malanda, home to the heritage-listed Majestic Picture Theatre and said to be the oldest continually operating cinema in Australia. Be sure to stop at Millaa Millaa Falls, magnificent waterfalls surrounded by lush rainforest. The falls cascade perfectly to a pristine waterhole below where you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the cool water. Millaa Millaa Falls are one of the most photographed in all of Australia, so make sure you bring your camera. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a platypus! Continue to Mission Beach, a coastal village off the beaten tourist track for a two-night stay.
Mission beach sprawls over 14 kilometres of golden coastline and the village of Mission Beach is home to palm-fringed beaches and laid-back cafes. A nature lover's playground with plenty of walking trails and pristine beaches, you’ll be spoilt for choice of what to do.
Day 17 : Cairns Departure (90 miles)
Head back to Cairns today. Be sure to arrive at the airport in time to drop off your car and check-in for your homeward flight.