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8 Best Cape Tribulation Tours & Day Trips: Reef & Rainforest

8 Best Cape Tribulation Tours & Day Trips: Reef & Rainforest

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

An inspiring travel guide to the absolute best Cape Tribulation tours and activities from Cairns, Port Douglas and half-day experiences to book at Cape Trib!

Cape Tribulation is the place where the ancient Daintree rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef. As a result, it’s a playground for nature lovers and adventurers. There are plenty of great tours and activities that combine the best of Cape Tribulation and in this roundup, I’ve selected the current best picks to help you plan your visit.

I’ve visited Cape Tribulation several times during my countless trips to Cairns and have joined several tours as well as day trips from Cairns and Port Douglas. Below are my favorites.

Best Cape Tribulation Day Trip Tours From Cairns

Only have a day to spare and looking for an organised tour to Cape Tribulation from Cairns? While there are dozens that you can book online, I've narrowed the search down for you to just two.

With varying itineraries, these trips typically depart in the early morning, driving the scenic Great Barrier Reef drive and crossing the Daintree River before arriving in Cape Tribulation.

If you're short on time and don't want to read the full guide, below are my top 3 picks.

Creek in the mossman gorge, daintree queensland

1. Daintree & Mossman Gorge with Cruise

An epic Daintree trip from Cairns covering the best highlights in Cape Tribulation and at Mossman Gorge - great if you don't have your own car.

Cape tribulation north queensland

2. Ocean Safari Great Barrier Reef Experience Top-rated

Experience the incredible Great Barrier Reef from Cape Tribulation. Visits amazing reef snorkeling spots to swim with turtles, eagle rays, giant clams, brilliant coral, starfish, & tropical fish!

Daintree rainforest

3. Daintree Night Walk

Experience the unique wildlife of the Daintree at night with a professional wildlife guide in Cape Tribulation.

1. Daintree, Mossman Gorge & Cape Tribulation Tour From Cairns

This 4.5/5 star trip from Cairns Adventure Group is the most popular Cape Tribulation trip from Cairns. It’s an action-packed, full-day activity covering many of the highlights on this list plus a few more.

This day trip does a good job of combining the natural and cultural history of the Daintree, with rainforest guides and indigenous ceremonies being a part of the experience. Here’s a roundup:

  • A short visit to Mossman Gorge
  • A wildlife river cruise (crocodiles)
  • Daintree River Ferry
  • Lunch
  • Witness a traditional smoke ceremony by the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people
  • Cape Tribulation Ice Cream
  • Alexandra Lookout
  • Rainforest boardwalk

Why? This is one of the top-rated tours you can book on Tripadvisor, GetYourGuide, and Viator. It combines all the top attractions and is affordable for solo travelers and groups.

Mossman gorge swimming

2. Billy Tea Safaris (4WD Tour)

This second option is one of the most popular, small-group options that also a little unique. Billy Tea Safaris run a 4WD organised tour to Cape Tribulation from both Cairns and Port Douglas and are among the best in the region!

If you’ve been around Cairns and Port Douglas for a while, you might have spotted the iconic 4WD vehicles by Billy Tea Safaris. Their unique military-style 4WDs are a Far North tourism icon. The 4WD trip differs from the one by Cairns Adventure Group and include:

  • 1-hour guided Daintree cruise
  • Alexandra Lookout
  • Boardwalks
  • Lunch at the animal refuge
  • Emmagen Creek
  • Cape Tribulation Beach

Why? If you're up for adventure a 4WD safari tour is great since you'll be able to reach some of the more difficult spots such as Emmagen Creek. This tour is also one of the top-rated in FNQ with hundreds of 5-star reviews.

Billy tea safari tour in cape tribulation

Best Cape Tribulation Tour From Port Douglas (Day Trip)

If you're staying in Port Douglas and on the search for a day tour to Cape Tribulation, then you're in luck. The above Billy Tea Safaris tour includes pickups from hotel accommodations in Port Douglas. However, there is a dedicated tour for visitors to Port Douglas and includes:

  • Includes a river cruise (croc spotting)
  • Lunch and hotel pickup/drop-off by luxury vehicle
  • Daintree Ferry included
  • Daintree Ice Cream Company
  • Thorntons Beach - where the rainforest meets the reef
  • Swimming hole in Cape Tribulation

Why? This is one of the most comprehensive tours available and squeezes many attractions into a single, affordable day trip. It also has over 1,000+ positive reviews on Tripadvisor.

Cape tribulation things to do

Best Half-Day Tours & Experiences in Cape Tribulation

If you've got your own car, or rented one in Cairns or Port Douglas, then there are many great experiences and tours you can book once you actually arrive at Cape Tribulation (and one you can do on the way).

1. Ocean Safari Great Barrier Reef Tour

A trip out to the Great Barrier Reef is one of the best tours on offer in Cape Tribulation. Due to its geographic proximity to the reef, Cape Tribulation offers one of the best opportunities to see the Great Barrier Reef on a day tour.

One of the only companies operating snorkelling trips to the reef from Cape Tribulation is Ocean Safari. These guys run tours daily and provide everything you need to snorkel on the reef. They also get you out there in just 25 minutes, so you can make the most of your precious time in the tropics!

Book: Ocean Safari

Swim with turtles in cairns, great barrier reef

2. Solar Whisper Wildlife & Crocodile Tour

A visit to the Daintree just isn't complete without spotting an estuarian (saltwater) crocodile. While it is possible to spot them in the wild at Cape Tribulation, this is quite rare as they are extremely good at hiding.

These are the largest crocodiles on earth and the best place to spot them reliably is on the Daintree River, just south of Cape Tribulation.

The best crocodile spotting tour is run by Solar Whisper. These guys are the only zero-emissions wildlife cruise in the Daintree, running silent, electric engines that allow you to get closer to the crocodiles without disturbing them in their natural environment.

You'll find the Solar Whisper boats right next to the Daintree River Ferry, which is perfect if you're planning to drive to Cape Tribulation yourself.

Crocodile cruise daintree, tours in cape tribulation

3. Cape Tribulation Horse Riding Tour

Is a beach horse ride experience on your bucket list? Cape Tribulation is one of the best places in Australia to tick it off!

Book best price: Cape Trib Horse Ride Afternoon
Morning ride: Cape Trib Horse Morning Ride

This Cape Tribulation tour departs twice daily and includes a guided horse ride through the Daintree Rainforest and on the golden sands of Myall Beach. This was one of my favourite bookable activities in Cape Tribulation and was surprisingly affordable too!

Photos from my trip: Cape Tribulation Horse Riding

Myall beach horse riding

4. Guided Night Walk (Wildlife Spotting)

The Daintree Rainforest is the oldest in the world and also one of the most biodiverse. Wildlife is a huge part of the Cape Tribulation experience and one of the most interesting ways to experience it is on a night walk!

You can either head down to one of the many boardwalks with a torch yourself or book a guided night walk with a professional wildlife spotter. I'll be honest, while I've done some night hiking and night photography in the Daintree independently, I haven't done this particular Cape Tribulation tour. However, based on the reviews, I have no problem recommending it.

Cassowary at etty bay queensland

5. Exotic Fruit Tasting

The tropical climate of Cape Tribulation and the Daintree make for the perfect conditions for exotic fruit orchards to thrive. There are a few orchards in Cape Tribulation including Wildwood and Cape Trib Farm.

However, only Cape Trib Farm is open to visitors for tours to taste freshly picked exotic fruits for non-guests. The particular fruits on offer will vary by season. However, I almost guarantee that they'll have at least a few fruits you've probably never even heard of!

Cape tribulation exotic fruit tasting tour

Where to Say at Cape Tribulation

Below I've included some tips on the best places to stay on your trip to Cape Tribulation. If you'd like more suggestions with photos, read my comprehensive accommodation guide to Cape Tribulation.

Wildwood cape tribulation accommodation

1. Wildwood Rainforest Cottages Luxury

Wildwood offers luxury rainforest cottages set on a rare exotic fruit orchard. Freely explore the 800+ trees on the property, picking & sampling any of the fruits in season

Daintree crocodylus cape tribulation accommodation

2. Daintree Crocodylus Hostel Budget

Located in Cow Bay, this hostel offers safari-tent style rooms that are built from wood and canvas, with high ceilings, fans and mosquito net.

Cape trib holiday house accommodation

3. Cape Tribulation Holiday House Family

The highest-rated holiday house in Cape Tribulation set on 5 acres of rainforest & includes a huge balcony, 2 bedrooms and a fully equipped kitchen!

My Tour Selection Process

  • Tour Criteria: I comb through hundreds of tours offerings online, selecting the best based on the reputation and experience of the guides and tours with high safety & sustainability standards. When choosing tours, I look for variety, locations, price, reviews, & accessibility.
  • My Experience: After traveling extensively in Cairns & Cape Tribulation & going on many Daintree and Rainforest tours and working closely with operators and the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Board, I've handpicked options that visit my favorite locations, including popular sites & hidden gems.
  • Top Reviews: All tours on this list have earned a high traveller rating of at least 4/5 stars on booking sites like Viator & GetYourGuide. I have included links to book the best price for each tour.
  • Local Insights: I've met many locals, tour guides, & travelers during my time in Cairns and many of these picks come straight from word-of-mouth recommendations.

Read more about how I review & select tours & experiences.

Years Traveling
Olly gaspar

I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. Each tour in this guide is handpicked by me. Read my travel review ethics statement.

More FNQ Travel Blogs

That wraps up this travel guide to the best Cape Tribulation tours and activities! I hope it's been a useful summary for you.

Remember, Cape Tribulation can be a busy place and booking online will secure your spot. I also get a small commission if you click through my links, which is at no extra cost to you and helps me run this blog and provide you with the best travel and adventure tips!

If you didn't find a tour or activity that tickled your fancy, check out some of the free options found in the dedicated posts below!

More: Cape Trib Story

7 best cape tribulation tours
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.