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Day trips from Cairns are a fantastic way to discover more of this beautiful North Queensland region. Whether you’re taking a Cairns to Daintree day trip or setting sail on the Great Barrier Reef, there are countless adventures to experience.


The next time you’re holidaying in Cairns, embark on one or more of these incredible day trips. You’ll soon realise why it’s the perfect gateway to some of Australia’s best natural spoils.

10 Day Trip Ideas From Cairns

1. Visit Cape Tribulation


Cape Tribulation is one of the best day trips from Cairns. It reveals a landscape completely otherworldly compared to the rest of Australia. Ancient rainforest meets soft golden sand on Kulki (Cape Tribulation) Beach, while the headland strikes a regal pose overlooking the Great Barrier Reef.


Explore the rainforest on the Kulki Boardwalk, keeping an eye out for rare native flora and fauna. The beaches north and south of the headland are also ideal for a peaceful picnic lunch and sunset strolls.

Daintree to Mossman Gorge

2. Go For A Guided Rainforest Walk


A Cairns to Daintree day trip is the best way to experience a guided rainforest walk. There are various companies in the region offering walks ranging from 1.5 hours to four hours long. As you explore the Daintree Rainforest, you’ll learn more about the unique insects, birds and other creatures that inhabit one of the world’s oldest ecosystems.


Guided rainforest walks also reveal more about the Indigenous people who have called the Daintree home for thousands of years. You can visit sacred areas and learn how Indigenous Australians source food from the rainforest. If you’re staying at the Daintree Ecolodge, you can easily organise a number of guided walks with the lodge, including their on-property ‘A Walk Through Time’ guided walk.

3. Billy Tea Safaris


Billy Tea Safaris offers a range of guided tours for memorable day trips from Cairns. Their one-day tours include adventures through the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation, a visit to the Atherton Tablelands and enthralling journeys into the Chillagoe Caves. Their tours include a variety of stops and attractions, including villages, local produce, rainforest walks and Indigenous culture.

4. Sunset Sail


Embark on a remarkable sailing voyage from Cairns to watch the sun set over the mountains. There are a number of sailing excursions available from the harbour. Many of these include canapés, drinks and entertainment. You can also extend your voyage to include a three-course dinner. Regardless, sailing off the coast of Cairns lets you truly appreciate the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling

5. Snorkelling & Scuba Diving On The Great Barrier Reef


Adventurous travellers shouldn’t miss snorkelling or scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef. This classic day trip from Cairns is on most people’s bucket lists. Simply because the reef is an impossibly beautiful natural wonder teeming with marine life. We recommend choosing an excursion from Cape Tribulation or Port Douglas. These take you to more pristine parts of the reef that attract even more tropical fish, turtles, rays and reef sharks.

6. Day Spa


Need some pampering on your holiday? Take a day trip to the luxurious day spa at Daintree Ecolodge. The Daintree Wellness Spa offers a range of indulgent and rejuvenating treatments. They use wild-harvested Australian botanicals and the pure, healing waters of a sacred waterfall visited for thousands of years by the Kuku Yalanji people.

daintree rainforest waterfall ecolodge

7. Visit the Mossman Gorge

If you’re searching for some cool Cairns day trip ideas, then how about a visit to nearby Mossman Gorge? This scenic location is one of the most popular day trips from Cairns because it’s easily accessible and you don’t have to travel a long distance to get there.


Once you arrive at the gorge, you can do your own thing and explore the stunning waterways, or you can embark on a guided tour of the region, where you’ll learn all about the ancient flora and fauna you’ll find in the area.


Enveloped in lush rainforest, Mossman Gorge features rivers and waterfalls set amidst a tranquil atmosphere. To truly make the most of a visit to this location, be sure to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy by the edge of the water.

Daintree Rivercruise

8. Go Fishing in the Daintree

When it comes to Daintree Rainforest day trips, one of the most fun ways to spend time in this wilderness region is to do a spot of fishing while you’re there. Just some of the fish you can hook in the area include Barramundi, Mangrove Jack and Fingermark.


You can choose from a half day or full day guided fishing tour of the Daintree. This way, you’ll be taken to all the best fishing spots whilst learning more about the Daintree Rainforest and its fish and wildlife in the process. Not only will you fish within the Daintree Rainforest itself, but  there are some great coastal fishing spots to enjoy too.


If you stay at the Daintree Ecolodge, the on-site chef will even cook up your catch for dinner.

Cape Tribulation Horse Riding

9. Ride a Horse through Cape Tribulation

Located within the Daintree National Park is the remote headland of Cape Tribulation and what better way to see the sights and take in the flora and fauna than by horseback? With its unspoilt beauty and remote tranquility, a leisurely horseback ride will ensure you don’t miss a thing.


Guided horseback tours with Cape Trib Horse Rides will have you weaving your way through the tropical rainforest as you make your way to Cape Tribulation on the coast. Enjoy the golden sand between your toes or take your horse into the water with you for a relaxing and cooling swim together.


Cape Tribulation offers amazing landscapes and natural eye candy, including the untainted beauty of Myall Beach.


This adventure is just as much about the journey as it is the destination and horseback riding will provide a very memorable experience.

10. Cruise through the Daintree River


The majestic Daintree River snakes its way through this tropical paradise and the best way to drink in the scenery is on a Daintree River Cruise.


You’ll discover that there are a variety of cruise operators. You can choose from a one hour cruise during the day, or for something even more remarkable, choose a 2 hour sunrise or sunset river cruise through the Daintree Rainforest.


By water, you’ll get to see all the local wildlife from a totally different perspective that’s unencumbered by the obstacles of travelling on land. The Daintree is a magical place and whether you go for a day cruise or a sunrise or sunset cruise, you’ll be in awe of this picturesque environment.


While you’re on your river cruise, tour guides will offer up information on the local area, as well as helping guests to spot the wildlife on the river’s shores.


If you decide to stay at the Daintree Ecolodge, the jetty is only 10 minutes away. However, a Daintree River Cruise is the perfect day trip from Cairns as well.

Start Planning Your Day Trip from Cairns


A Cairns to Daintree day trip delivers a myriad of unforgettable moments. Snorkelling, rainforest walks, Indigenous culture, wildlife and pampering spa treatments all await you just a few hours from Cairns. Want to extend your stay? Stay at the boutique Daintree Ecolodge for ease of access to all these experiences and more.