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HomeCooktowk and Cape York - From Cairns

Cooktown and Cape York

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12 Day Cape York 4WD Adventure.

Stand at the Australian mainland’s most northerly point. Exclusive to APT, learn about wilderness conservation at the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve. Travel remote 4WD tracks, venture into the Daintree with local experts and encounter native wildlife. View complete itinerary

Trip code: GOCY12
Duration: 12 days
Accommodation: To enhance your Outback experience
Journey: Cairns Return
Meals included: 32

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrive Cairns, Port Douglas

Arrive in Cairns today, located in the heart of tropical North Queensland. Be met at the airport by your Driver-Guide and Tour Director, then take your early afternoon transfer to Port Douglas, where your beautiful, recently refurbished resort awaits. Enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at your leisure. Take some time out to relax at your stylish hotel, unwind on glittering white sandy beaches or explore the oldest, continuously surviving rainforest on the planet. You may also like to perhaps take some time to enjoy the resort’s sparkling saltwater lagoon pools. This evening, get to know your fellow travellers, Driver-Guide and Tour Director during a Welcome Dinner at your hotel.
Stay: Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas Resort
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Dinner

Day 2. Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge, Daintree National Park

A special cultural experience awaits today as you travel to stunning Mossman Gorge in Daintree National Park. Here, set off on the enthralling Ngadiku Dreamtime Gorge Walk, led by local Indigenous guides. Starting with a smoking ceremony, APT guests will enjoy a journey along private, gentle tracks, visiting culturally significant sites and traditional bark shelters, meandering past cool rainforest streams. Later, embark on a Daintree River Cruise. The tidal convergence of freshwater and saltwater here has enabled a plethora of wildlife to inhabit this beautiful mangrove estuary. Spot crocodiles, birds, butterflies and a variety of reptile species. Tonight, enjoy a delicious dinner.
Stay: Daintree, Heritage Lodge and Spa
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 3. Daintree National Park, Cape Tribulation, Bloomfield Track, Cooktown

Following breakfast today, explore Cape Tribulation, where ancient rainforest meets the spectacular coastline. This is the only place in Australia where you can experience the splendour of tropical rainforest in close proximity to the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. This astoundingly beautiful region was named Cape Tribulation by James Cook when his ship grounded on the off shore reef. Later, set off along the remote and rugged 4WD Bloomfield Track, one of Australia’s most iconic Outback trails. This spectacular coastal route winds its way along the breathtaking coastline. Journey through dense sections of the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest, tackling steep climbs and several challenging creek crossings. Later, arrive in Cooktown, an unspoilt coastal town full of natural beauty and fascinating history. Here, discover the Cooktown Botanic Gardens, the James Cook Museum and the cemetery. Just before sunset this evening, enjoy a tour of Grassy Hill Lookout, which boasts simply stunning views across the Endeavour River. Later this evening, gather with your fellow travellers for a delicious dinner at your Cooktown hotel.
Stay: Cooktown, Sovereign Resort Hotel
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 4. Cooktown, Split Rock Art Gallery, Old Laura

Your journey through the small farming community of Lakelands takes you to a magnificent escarpment, known as Quinkan country. This majestic place is ranked by Unesco as one of the top 10 rock art areas in the world and considered one of Queensland’s best kept secrets. Here, you will embark on an informative guided walk with an Indigenous guide to the site of Split Rock. Afterwards, continue your journey with a visit to the Old Laura Homestead, whose historic significance dates back to 1879 with the establishment of the cattle industry on the Cape York Peninsula. Later, turn off into Rinyirru Lakefield National Park, where numerous wallabies can be seen frolicking amongst the open woodland. Freshwater crocodiles are also often found lazing along the banks of the many rivers here. Afterwards, arrive at Lotus Bird Lodge. Retreat to your log-style cabin with a private ensuite, set amongst shady eucalypts. Relax on your own private verandah overlooking the billabong, before enjoying a delicious dinner this evening.
Stay: Lotus Bird Lodge
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 5. Rinyirru Lakefield National Park, Musgrave, Coen, Gulf Country, Weipa

Stop at Musgrave, the only remaining overland telegraph station on the peninsula. Explore the fascinating old gold mining town of Coen this morning. Coen first attracted gold miners and prospectors in 1876, after gold deposits were found in the Coen River. It wasn’t until 1883, however, that Coen became the centre for several regional goldmines. Stop at the well-known Archer River Roadhouse for lunch, then continue to the town of Weipa, home to the largest community on the Cape York Peninsula. Along the exquisite shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Western Cape offers a unique insight into the history of Cape York. Here, board a stunning sunset cruise and discover the region’s beautiful ecosystem and gain an insight into the local culture. Later, settle into your accommodation in Weipa before enjoying dinner this evening.
Stay: Weipa, Albatross Bay Resort
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 6. Weipa, Moreton Telegraph Station

Discover the history behind Weipa as you embark on a mining tour, which includes a visit to Rocky Point and the Regeneration Unit. Get up close to the 190-tonne Belly Dumper Haul Trucks while touring the working mine site and follow the conveyor belt system as the bauxite makes its way to the loading dock. Continue along rugged dirt roads through remote areas of Cape York to Moreton Telegraph Station, which was completed in 1887 and only ceased communication operations in 1987. Today, it is now a holiday park located beside the Wenlock River, which is the idyllic spot to spend an afternoon at leisure. This evening, enjoy dinner with your Driver-Guide, our Director and fellow travellers.
Stay: Moreton Telegraph Station
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 7. Moreton Telegraph Station, Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve

Today, enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime visit to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, which is normally off-limits to the general public. You will be welcomed by a ranger from Australia Zoo, who will provide an introduction to the wildlife, sonar detector tracking, as well as the important research programs that take place at the property. After lunch at Camp Coolibah located beside Stone’s Crossing, discover the movement of the crocodiles in the area and the endangered Speartooth Shark. Here, you will also see a demonstration on how crocodile cages are deployed and operated. Visit Bluebottle Creek and uncover the geology of the region, the significance of bauxite and how the plateau filters water to ensure survival of endangered species. You will also learn about bush tucker and the native flora, including the Sarsaparilla Bush and Hanguana Malayana. Stay at Bramwell Station, a working cattle station.
Stay: Bramwell Station
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 8. Bramwell Station, Punsand Bay

Observe the amazing termite mounds of Bramwell Junction. The journey becomes adventurous when you travel on some of the original sections of the Old Telegraph Track, carved out in the 1880s and where some of the first telegraph poles can still be seen. Crossing the Heathland Reserve, the vegetation is reflective of the complex water table in this area. Stop at Fruit Bat Falls and enjoy a refreshing swim in the pristine waters of the Elliott River. Cross Jardine River by ferry, then skirt Jardine River National Park and continue through the traditional land of the Injinoo Aboriginal people.
Stay: Two Nights: Punsand Bay
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 9. Punsand Bay, Tip of Cape York

Punsand Bay is the perfect starting point for your adventure to the most northerly tip of mainland Australia. Awake this morning to sweeping views of the tip and after breakfast, travel along a 4WD track through lush dense rainforest to spectacular Frangipani Beach. From here, take a mildly challenging but thoroughly awe-inspiring walk to the tip of the peninsula to experience being at the Australian mainland’s most northerly point. Soak up this truly once-in-a-lifetime moment and take in the sweeping views over York and Eborac islands and the Torres Strait. Later, travel to historic Somerset Hill, once the official government residence of the cape and the site of a station established by John Jardine in 1863. On Somerset Beach, admire Albany Pass and Island, as well as discover the history of ‘Jackey Jackey’ and Frank Jardine.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 10. Punsand Bay, Thursday Island

Take a ferry across Endeavour Strait to Thursday Island, home to around 3,000 people, primarily of Melanesian descent. Whilst today it is a multicultural outpost, Thursday Island was once a base for pearling luggers. Join a local guide to discover the island’s intriguing history. Step back in time with a visit to Green Hill Fort, located atop the island’s highest hill. Once used as ammunitions storage space, the fort’s maze of underground tunnels and rooms now house the interesting Torres Strait Museum. Admire views of the mangrove-covered coastlines, azure waters and golden sand beaches before visiting the local cemetery to see the poignant memorial to the Japanese Pearl Divers. You’ll also enjoy time at the Gab Titui Cultural Centre, which houses a range of historical artefacts and contemporary Indigenous art.
Stay: Thursday Island, Jardine Motel
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 11. Thursday Island, Horn Island, Cairns

This morning, transfer to nearby Horn Island aboard the local ferry. Located around 30 kilometres off Queensland’s coast, Horn Island offers a fascinating blend of tropical scenery and important Australian military history. During your guided tour today, you’ll visit the World War II Base and Torres Strait Heritage Museum, and learn how the island became an advanced operational airbase following the bombing of Darwin. This afternoon, board an included Qantas flight from Horn Island over the Great Barrier Reef. Marvel at this spectacle from the air before arriving in Cairns. Reunite with your Driver-Guide and later, enjoy a Farewell Dinner.
Stay: Cairns, Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast
  • • Lunch
  • • Dinner

Day 12. Depart Cairns

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.
  • Daily Meals Included:
  • • Breakfast

Trip Highlights

  • Discover Mossman Gorge and set off on a Dreamtime Gorge Walk
  • Stroll along sublime Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the reef
  • Travel the rugged Bloomfield Track, one of Australia’s most iconic Outback trails
  • EXCLUSIVE! Explore the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, normally off-limits to the general public
  • Traverse the Old Telegraph Track, carved out in the 1880s
  • Journey to the most northerly point of Australia’s mainland, with sweeping views of the Torres Strait

Map

Photos

Discover the aqua blue waters of Cape York in Northern Australia.

Click for larger version

Included Experiences

  • All-inclusive sightseeing experiences in up to 18 locations
  • Two person crew - Driver-Guide and Tour Director
  • Small group - a maximum of 20 travellers
  • Travel in a custom-designed 4WD vehicle
  • Qantas flight from Horn Island to Cairns
  • All meals, park fees and airport transfers
  • Finest dining - a total of 32 meals    

Additional Information

Activity Level

  • A good level of fitness and health is required to participate in APT’s holiday packages.  Some sightseeing excursions will involve the climbing of stairs and walking over uneven surfaces and in some cases walking over rocks and through shallow streams. This tour contains mainly easy walks with some more moderate walks.  Sturdy walking shoes are an absolute must on all adventures.  Please enquire about our Health and Fitness Mobility checklist at the time of booking

Frequently Asked Questions

Trip Notes

  • Itinerary and inclusions subject to change
  • Weather may cause disruptions to itinerary
  • APT highly recommends travel insurance
  • Price is for land only. Flights not included

 

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