Great Barrier Reef Drive

Useful Travel Tips from A to Z

Tropical North Queensland & Australian Travel Guide

Domestic and international travellers can enjoy the open spaces of Tropical North Queensland by relaxing on secluded beaches, exploring lush tropical rainforests, diving into the Great Barrier Reef or adventuring through the rugged outback.

Find out all you need to know about Australian travel and exploring Tropical North Queensland below.


cairns airport


The international airport in Cairns (CNS) is just a few minutes north of the city. From the Domestic Terminal, there are excellent connections (nonstop) to all major cities in Australia as well as to Coolangatta (Gold Coast), Cape York, and the outback. You can find more information at

Cairns Airport 

accessible travel in Palm Cove

Accessible Travel

Tropical North Queensland’s destination website has an important section: the new “Accessibility Hub” aims to assist travellers with special travel or accessibility requirements in selecting activities, travel routes, and accommodation options. It provides information about all beaches with accessible entrances, as well as providers offering accessible reef tours and more. It showcases accessible hiking trails and natural attractions like rainforest trails and boardwalks.

Accessible Travel


Across the region, you’ll find well-equipped and well-maintained campsites and some even offering private shower and toilet facilities. Many caravan parks are strategically located, often nestled right by the beach, such as in Mission Beach, Ellis Beach, Palm Cove, and Cape Tribulation. Camping within national parks is permitted, though a camping permit is required for overnight stays (costing 7.25 AUD per person). Other fees may apply in some areas.

Rustys markets in cairns

Opening Hours

Stores in Cairns operate daily, usually between 9 am and 5 pm, although some extend their hours. Some cafes start serving as early as 6 am, while most restaurants and bars remain open into the late hours.

Self Driving

All reputable motorhome and car rental providers have depots in Cairns. Cars can also be rented in Port Douglas or Mission Beach. Traveling around Queensland’s north is easy, with excellent infrastructure. However, consider the long distances and country-specific traffic rules (left-hand traffic!)

Getting Around by Car

Swimming at Cairns Esplanade Lagoon

Sun Protection

Essential all year round! It is recommended to use SPF 30+ reef safe sunscreen. When exploring the reef, operators offer suits that protect you from the sun and stingers (Nov-May), without harming the reef.


Many hotels, caravan parks, cafes and restaurants offer free WiFi. Mobile reception is available along the coast and in most populated areas but may be limited on some islands and in certain remote areas.

When to Travel

The climate in Tropical North Queensland is undeniably one of its most appealing features, offering consistently warm days throughout the year. However, each season brings its own unique characteristics, offering something special to suit every taste.

Weather & Seasons

Explore more

There are thousands of ways to adventure through the tropics.

Cairns & Northern Beaches
50 must-do day trips from Cairns

While Cairns itself is known for its laid back city vibes and stunning esplanade, the Great Barrier Reef, rainforest, waterfalls and quirky townships are just a stone’s throw away. Grab a pen and paper and add these day trips from Cairns to your holiday bucket list.

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Luxury places to rest your head

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10 Great Barrier Reef Experiences for Adventure Seekers

While most people come to the Great Barrier Reef for postcard-perfect swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving in the real-life World Heritage-listed aquarium, there’s plenty of ways to experience the reef and not all involve getting wet. Choose your own Tropical North Queensland reef adventure with this adrenaline scale ranging from sunset sails to vistas served at speeds of up to 200km per hour.

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Palm Cove
Eat your way through these Palm Cove Restaurants

Taste the flavours of the north in the seaside village of Palm Cove, where restaurants take pride in local produce, fresh flavours and providing a warm tropical welcome served with an icy-cold drink.

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Port Douglas
Dive into this guide of swim-out hotel rooms

Walk in: swim out. For that added splash of luxury to your weekend getaway, family holiday or romantic retreat the following hotels will get you as close as you can to the most convenient and luxurious pools in the region.

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Guide to Cairns & Port Douglas

A getaway is looming and you’re longing for a tropical escape – Cairns and Port Douglas are both popular holiday havens boasting a wealth of experiences. Read this guide to help plan your trip to these two seaside locales.

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accessible travel cairns palm cove
Cairns & Northern Beaches
Accessible Travel in Cairns & Palm Cove

As a region, Tropical North Queensland offers an array of experiences that will engage your senses and immerse you in its natural wonders. From the rainforest to the reef, you’re sure to find an abundance of accessible adventures for all tastes.

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The Wet Tropics’ Famous Five Precincts and a guide to exploring them

If you’re looking to connect with nature and discover a rainforest that’s the oldest, longest and largest in Australia, go behind the foliage with this guide to the five precincts of the Wet Tropics.

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