Tropical North Queensland Holidays

Australia’s tropical far north is unlike anywhere else on the planet. This is a place blessed with the most tantalising collection of natural wonders.

Tropical North Queensland is one of the world’s best natural playgrounds; see coral-dotted coastlines, head deep into a prehistoric rainforest, and experience life on the fringe of one of the seven natural wonders of the world: the Great Barrier Reef. This giant coral reef system includes a mind-boggling chain of nearly 3000 reefs and 900 rainforest-clad islands – its showstopping swirls are even visible from space. From reef sharks and whales to potato cods and manta rays, it’s thriving with marine life.

The raw and wild Daintree Rainforest is a serious disconnection from the tech-obsessed modern world. Part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Daintree is a real-life Jurassic Park, where crocodile sightings are the norm and phone receptions are a no-go. Spectacular ecosystems include an ancient rainforest and mangrove fringed rivers, plus empty reef lined beaches and boulder-strewn ancient valleys.

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Quicksilver Outer Barrier Reef Fly/Cruise

Board Quicksilver’s 45-metre high-speed catamaran on a full-day cruise to Agincourt Reef on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Explore the reef from a semi-submersible, an underwater observatory or snorkel and dive. In the afternoon, enjoy a scenic 35-minute helicopter flight back to Port Douglas. This cruise is ideal for those keen to do lots of activities and the helicopter option (also possible on the way out) adds a wonderful airborne perspective. Departs from Port Douglas.

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Reef Magic Outer Reef Full Day Cruise

Travel on board this fast stable motor catamaran for 1½ hours to reach Marine World on the Outer Barrier Reef. You’ll spend around 5 hours at this private reef platform, which provides the ideal base for activities including snorkelling, glass bottom boat tours, underwater observatory viewing and relaxing on the spacious sundeck. Other activities – such as scenic helicopter flights and diving – are available at extra cost.
Departs from: Cairns. Maximum passengers: 190.

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Reef Sleep Experience

Reef Sleep is a unique adventure, offering the chance to sleep under the stars on the Great Barrier Reef! By day, Cruise Whitsundays’ ‘Reefworld’ pontoon at Hardy Reef is used by day trippers as a base to explore the marine-rich waters. After 3pm, it’s an exclusive spot for a small number of guests. Enjoy quiet snorkelling time, sip Champagne at sunset,  and watch as the reef comes alive. Then let the waves lull you to sleep in your cosy swag, set up out in the open-air on the top deck of the pontoon.

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Sailaway Sunset Sail

Board your Sailaway vessel at Port Douglas Marina and set off on a sunset sail cruise along the Port Douglas coastline on board the luxury 'Lagoon' catamaran. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a tropical sunset over the Coral Sea with spectacular mountain views, and enjoy a complimentary glass of Champagne, wine or beer, alongside a selection of canapés.
Departs from: Port Douglas. Maximum passengers: 40.

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Walkabout Cultural Experience

From Port Douglas, head off on this personalised and engaging small group tour to spend the day with a local Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal guide. Visit a number of culturally significant areas and learn about the amazing relationships that the Kuku Yalanji have with their land. Walk through the rainforest and coastal habitats to learn about the flora and fauna, stop at a freshwater creek to enjoy lunch, try traditional Aboriginal hunting practices and cool off in a freshwater stream.

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Wavedancer Low Isles Sailing Cruise

Quicksilver’s 30-metre luxury sailing catamaran, Wavedancer, offers the excitement of big ship sailing combined with a more sedate and luxurious small group experience. Depart Port Douglas on an hour’s cruise to Low Isles – a jewel in a Great Barrier Reef lagoon with a wide sandy beach and clear, calm waters. Arrive mid-morning and spend your day snorkelling, scuba diving, exploring on guided beach walks or simply relaxing on the beach. Departs from Port Douglas.

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Calypso Outer Barrier Reef

Travel in comfort on board Calypso – a custom-designed motorised catamaran, complete with day bed-style seating and spacious decks, to 3 different Outer Barrier Reef sites that showcase the reef’s colourful marine life just a few metres below the surface. There’ll be the opportunity to listen to interpretive reef talks and enjoy guided snorkel tours. Departs from Port Douglas. Maximum passengers: 75.

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Cape Tribulation & Daintree

Explore Cape Tribulation’s rainforest before crossing the mighty Daintree River. Enjoy morning tea and a tour at the Daintree Discovery Centre. Move on to Cape Tribulation Beach and its boardwalk for lunch in a stunning rainforest setting before re-crossing the river and cruising along its tranquil mangrove-lined waters. Visit the stunning Mossman Gorge before returning to Cairns.

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Ocean Freedom Barrier Reef Cruise

Thanks to its high speed, this 20-metre catamaran takes just over an hour to reach the Great Barrier Reef. Your first stop will be Upolu Cay – a naturally formed coral cay with protected clear shallow waters. Take a glass-bottom boat ride, swim, snorkel or dive (extra cost). Then cruise on to the Outer Edge Upolu Reef where there’s the chance for guided snorkelling. Departs from Cairns. Maximum passengers: 75.

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Get to know Tropical North Queensland and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.


GMT +10 hours; Queensland does not observe daylight saving time so is 9 hours ahead of the UK during British Summer Time


Australian Dollar


Brisbane: 21 hours (not including stopover time)


Majority Christian


Australia has no official language but the majority of people speak English as their first language. Approximately 250 indigenous Australia languages are spoken.

Where are the Tropical North Queensland?
Between the Great Barrier Reef and the Gulf of Carpenteria in Australia’s northeast is where you will find Tropical North Queensland. The main town, Cairns has an international airport and regular connections to the rest of Australia.

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Gateway to Tropical North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is a vibrant tropical metropolis offering a range of accommodation, restaurants and bars, and an attractive esplanade along the foreshore with a man-made lagoon. Cruises to the Great Barrier Reef depart daily from the city’s marina. Options include day trips for diving and snorkelling, liveaboard dive boats or an extended cruise of the Coral Sea. The other great attraction of the region is the rainforest.

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Port Douglas and Palm Cove
Sophisticated Port Douglas is around an hour north of Cairns and its most popular alternative. A key difference is Four Mile Beach, with its palm-fringed, pristine white sands. The centre of Port Douglas is compact and renowned for its array of restaurants. Between the steep, verdant slopes of the Great Dividing Range and the shores of the Coral Sea lies laid-back Palm Cove. Wherever you stay, you’ll never be more than a few steps from the town’s lovely beach. Kewarra Beach can be found at the southern end of the same sandy bay as Palm Cove and is a soothingly quiet and secluded place to stay.

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The Great Barrier Reef
A breathtaking chain of nearly 3000 reefs and 900 rainforest-clad islands, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living structure. It is also Earth’s largest protected marine area, hosting a staggering amount of species including 2000 types of fish, reef sharks, turtles, dugongs and whales. Tranquil Lizard Island is the most northern of the Great Barrier Reef resorts and a true island escape, home to just one indulgent yet understated resort, 24 powdery soft beaches, a lagoon and over 1000 hectares of national park. The island is reached by a one-hour flight from Cairns and is exclusively for guests – there are no day trippers here

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Daintree & Cape Tribulation
Part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Site, Daintree National Park contains one of the oldest living rainforests on Earth with diverse landscape featuring cascading waterfalls, deep gorges, mangrove forests, dramatic rivers and glorious coastal views. A historic spot that forms part of Daintree National Park, Cape Tribulation was first encountered and named by Captain Cook in 1770. It is at Cape Tribulation where the rainforest meets the reef, with the Great Barrier Reef just offshore and the rainforest creeping right onto the beach. Highlights include pristine, secluded beaches and abundant wildlife.

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May - Oct