Cooktown and North Queensland 2024

Credit: Michael Waterhouse Photography 

Join us on a journey of discovery to the Northern Tropics. Visit Cairns, Kuranda, Port Douglas, the Daintree, Cooktown and the Atherton Tablelands. Heading south we visit Townsville, Magnetic Island and the beautiful Whitsundays including Hamilton Island and famous Whitehaven Beach.

13 Day Tour

Monday 3 June - Saturday 15 June 2024

Tour Cost (GST inclusive):
$6,350 per person twin share
$1,550 single supplement


  • Luxury Coach Travel in our Business Class Coach
  • Dinner at Dundee’s Restaurant
  • Journey on the Kuranda Scenic Railway Heritage Class
  • Entry, breakfast with the birds experience and guided tour at Wildlife Habitat
  • Entry, eco shuttle pass and lunch at Voyages Mossman Gorge Centre
  • Cruise with Bruce Belchers Daintree River Cruises
  • Lunch at Lion’s Den Historic Hotel
  • Guided tour of Cooktown including Grassy Hill Lookout with Cooktown Tours
  • Entry to James Cook Historical Museum
  • Lunch at Cooktown Botanical Gardens
  • Lunch and cruise at Lake Barrine Rainforest Cruises & Teahouse Cafe
  • Entry and guided tour at Museum of Tropical Queensland
  • Magnetic Island Tour including ferry and lunch
  • Talk and lunch at Whitsunday Gold Coffee Plantation
  • Hamilton Island and Whitehaven Beach Tour with Cruise Whitsundays including lunch
  • Picnic lunch at Sky Window, Eungella National Park
  • Entry to Greenmount Homestead
  • Tour of Cathedral Cave at Capricorn Caves
  • Airfares from Brisbane to Cairns
  • Coach Transfers from Redlands to Brisbane Airport
  • 12 nights motel accommodation
  • 12 cooked breakfasts, 12 two course dinners, 10 lunches

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: (D)

Brisbane to Cairns

Mon 3 Jun 24

Welcome to our fantastic tour to North Queensland. On our tour we’ll travel through Cairns, Port Douglas, Cooktown, Mareeba and Townsville. We meet our wonderful crew and fellow travellers as we arrive at Brisbane Airport for our flight to Cairns, the bustling heart of Tropical North Queensland. On arrival we have time at leisure before our welcome dinner at Dundees Restaurant on the Waterfront with views of the Trinity Inlet and surrounding mountainside.

Day 2: (BD)

Cairns to Port Douglas

Tue 4 Jun 24

We board the Kuranda Scenic Rail for an amazing train journey with stunning views. The track winds past stunning Barron Falls and Stoney Creek Falls and crosses steep ravines on its way to the unique rainforest village of Kuranda. We have time to explore the pretty village before continuing to Port Douglas via Palm Cove. On arrival to Port Douglas, we have some free time to enjoy the resort facilities or maybe take a walk along Four Mile Beach.

Day 3: (BLD)

Mossman Gorge & Daintree

Wed 5 Jun 24

An early start sees us indulge in the ultimate “Breakfast with the Birds” at Wildlife Habitat. Immersed within the wetland environment, enjoy an array of sounds and colours from wildlife as they wander freely amongst us while we are treated to a fantastic tropical breakfast. Next, we visit Mossman Gorge, where we learn the fascinating secrets of the Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests. Feel the serenity while watching the river as it tumbles its way over and around the huge granite boulders. We then head to the Daintree River where we embark on a cruise on one of the most densely populated mangrove estuaries in the world. There is nothing quite like watching wildlife while cruising along the beautiful Daintree River. After a fantastic day we return to Port Douglas.

Day 4: (BLD)

Port Douglas to Cooktown

Thu 6 Jun 24

Leaving Port Douglas behind, our journey takes us over the mountain range to Mount Molloy where we have our morning break and then follow the inland highway to our unique lunch venue – The Lions Den Hotel. Established in 1875, The Lions Den is a landmark hotel made of timber and iron, famous for its quirky decorations and walls adorned with visitors’ signatures. We stop at mysterious Black Mountain which is an eerie sight that stands in stark contrast to the brush and eucalyptus trees around it. From a distance, the mountain looks like a solid monolith of black but on closer inspection it is a jumble of enormous granite boulders. We arrive in the historical township of Cooktown to relax and unpack before dinner.

Day 5: (BLD)

Discover Cooktown

Fri 7 Jun 24

Cooktown is one of Australia’s hidden gems. The beautiful, unspoilt coastal town is one of Australia’s most historically significant townships. This is where Captain Cook settled in 1770 when his ship, the Endeavour, was beached. It’s also where the first recorded reconciliation between Europeans and the Guugu Yimithirr people took place. It was a significant town during the gold rush era and became an important base during WWII. With a local expert, we step back in time to enjoy the heritage buildings and monuments around town paying homage to an era of great hardship and triumph. During our town tour, we’ll also stop at Grassy Lookout for stunning views of the town. We visit James Cook Museum, located in a stunning nineteenth century building. Many of its interesting artefacts include a fascinating insight into the seven weeks Captain Cook and his crew spent in Cooktown, the local indigenous culture and displays dedicated to the rich Chinese heritage of the region. After lunch at the Botanic Gardens we have time at leisure.

Day 6: (BLD)

Cooktown to Atherton Tablelands

Sat 8 Jun 24

This morning we make our way through the region known as the Atherton Tablelands. The region is rather a unique place in Australia and what makes it so special is the combination of its geographic location in the Tropics (between 400 and 1100 metres), its pleasant climate and the volcanic activities that have shaped large parts of its landscape. One of the most dramatic examples of this is Lake Barrine – a beautiful volcanic crater lake. It’s here we enjoy lunch in the Lake Tearooms overlooking the stunning lake, followed by a relaxing cruise. Next, we see the tangled roots of the Curtain Fig Tree. This large fig tree is unique because the extensive aerial roots, that drop 15 metres to the forest, have formed a ‘curtain’. Starting from a seed dropped high in the canopy, this strangler fig grew vertical roots which gradually became thicker and interwoven. After an interesting day, we arrive at our motel before dinner at Mareeba Leagues Club.

Day 7: (BLD)

Atherton Tablelands to Townsville

Sun 9 Jun 24

Leaving the Atherton Tablelands, we make a stop to see Millaa Millaa Falls before making our way through Tully, known as the wettest place in Australia. Keep an eye out for the Golden Gumboot, a monument constructed to represent the record rainfall for the area. Historic photographs of floods in the district are also displayed on the walls inside the boot. We continue to Townsville, where we spend our afternoon at the Museum of Tropical Queensland. Showcasing the history and heritage of North Queensland, it includes the story behind HMS Pandora, the warship dispatched to the South Pacific in pursuit of the infamous Bounty mutineers. You will hear about its epic adventures before it became one of Queensland’s most notorious shipwrecks.

Day 8: (BLD)

Magnetic Island

Mon 10 Jun 24

We’re off the explore Magnetic Island today. The island was first discovered by Captain Cook who called it Magnetical Island because he believed that ore on the island affected his compass. Cook’s concerns seem to have been unjustified as subsequent tests have shown no magnetising qualities in the island’s predominately granite boulders. The island is two thirds protected National Park, situated in the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park so it has an abundance of wildlife and nature. We take a bus tour of the island and stop for lunch before the return ferry service takes us back to Townsville. Our dinner venue, the C Bar, offers stunning waterfront views.

Day 9: (BLD)

Townsville to Airlie Beach

Tue 11 Jun 24

After breakfast we depart Townsville and travel via Ayr and Home Hill to Bowen where we stop to see the many murals within the central business district. Bowen has 19 mural sites, many of which depict the town’s early history. Continuing on to Proserpine, we’ll break for lunch at the Whitsunday Gold Coffee Plantation. Prepare to be entertained and educated as we explore the complex journey of the coffee bean from tree to cup. We’ll be intrigued by the interesting history behind coffee as we wander through the rows of lush foliage of Arabica Coffee Trees through the wet to dry processing plants and onto the final aromatic stage of roasting. Leaving here we head to Airlie Beach for our next two nights.

Day 10: (BLD)

Whitehaven Beach & Hamilton Island

Wed 12 Jun 24

With an early start, we board our full day cruise through the beautiful Whitsundays. During the morning we’ll visit Whitehaven Beach on uninhabited Whitsunday Island. With 7 kilometres of glistening pure silica sand, Whitehaven Beach is nature as its most unspoilt and spectacular best. Take a stroll or maybe a swim in the crystal clear water. We also visit Hamilton Island with time for a delicious lunch and a look around. Later this afternoon we return to the mainland.

Day 11: (BLD)

Airlie Beach to Mackay

Thu 13 Jun 24

This morning we head through Finch Hatton and make our way up through breathtaking rainforest to explore Eungella National Park. It is one of Queensland’s most popular National Parks. High above the surrounding plains, Eungella’s mist shrouded and forest clad mountains provide a home for a fascinating variety of unusual plants and animals, including the Eungella dayfrog, Mackay tulip oak and Eungella honeyeater. We stop at Sky Window for our picnic lunch. We then drive through to the lovely township of Mirani to our final stop, the historic Greenmount Homestead. This is one of Mackay’s most valued heritage attractions and home to one of the town’s first pioneer settlers. Built in 1915, the grounds contain several buildings including a Queenslander style homestead and houses over 20,000 artefacts. We arrive in Mackay for time to freshen up before dinner in our motel restaurant.

Day 12: (BLD)

Mackay to Gladstone

Fri 14 Jun 24

Departing Mackay, we travel to Capricorn Caves for a geological treat! Feel the excitement as we venture into an ancient coral cave. Be guided through the easily accessible Cathedral Cave, which will leave lasting memories of the ancient geological past, early explorers, the wonders of wildlife and special cave acoustics. We continue to Gladstone for our final night on tour together.

Day 13: (B)

Gladstone to Brisbane

Sat 15 Jun 24

Our fantastic tour discovering North Queensland is coming to an end. With our bags packed, we have a day on the coach stopping for convenience breaks and to purchase lunch. We arrive home with new friends and wonderful memories from an amazing tour.