Cairns five day campervan itinerary for travellers will get you ready for an adventure through the tropical paradise of Northern Queensland. Grab your car keys, pack your bags, and get ready to explore Cape Tribulation, Kuranda, and the Atherton Tablelands over a 4-day campervan adventure itinerary.

Day 1 2 & 3 Cairns four day campervan itinerary

First the drive from Cairns to Port Douglas is spectacular, The distance from Cairns to Port Douglas is approximately 67 km and it takes around 1 hour to drive.  There are several must-visit places that you can stop along the way. One iconic stop is the Rex Lookout, which offers a panoramic view of the Coral Sea and the coastline.

Another option is Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures located on the The Great Barrier Reef Drive and is surrounded by the UNESCO listed Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.  Hartley’s is 40 km (40 minutes) north of Cairns, 15 minutes north of Palm Cove and 25 km south of Port Douglas.

Port Douglas, there are several great places to visit and activities you can do. One place that you must visit is the beautiful Four Mile Beach, which is just a short walk from the main town.

If you’re looking to explore the unique culture, you can visit the Sunday Markets in Anzac Park, which offer a wide range of local handicrafts, souvenirs and delicious food.

Explore the Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas

From Port Douglas you explore the Great Barrier Reef . It is one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world. There are plenty of tours you can join to explore the reef, including snorkelling, diving, and glass-bottom boat tours.

Mossman Gorge: Just 20 minutes away from Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. You can take a guided walk through the rainforest, swim in the crystal-clear waters of the gorge, or learn about the local Aboriginal culture.

Overall, the Port Douglas area is an excellent location for backpackers to enjoy its beautiful scenery, and coastal culture.

Cape Tribulation is the perfect destination for nature lovers and adrenaline junkies alike. 1.5 hour drive north of Mossman Gorge. Once you arrive, head straight into the Daintree Rainforest, the oldest tropical rainforest in the world.

Explore the lush jungle by going on a self-guided tour or joining an organized trek. Keep an eye out for rare wildlife such as cassowaries, tree kangaroos, and colourful birds. If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, why not try zip-lining through the forest canopy or take a crocodile spotting tour along the Daintree River?

Daintree river aerial view

Also, you have the option of a half day, morning or afternoon Reef adventure with Ocean Safari you will get to go snorkelling in amazing Mackay Reef with a small group of up to only 25 passengers. And a great chance of seeing turtles. And for the horse lovers out there how about a picture-perfect horse ride along Myall beach the tour goes for 90 minutes and runs twice per day.

We recommend staying at Safari Lodge if you have a campervan as they have powered and unpowered sites. Always book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Day 4 Cairns four day Campervan itinerary

Next up, Kuranda around 2 .30 hours drive south of Cape tribulation – a picturesque village nestled in the lush rainforest just a short drive from Cairns. A great way to explore the local flora and fauna is to take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway from Smithfield. So, you can leave your campervan or car there for free.


Glide above the treetops and take in the stunning views of the Barron Gorge National Park.

You can also take a scenic railway tour or go for a hike through the jungle. Kuranda is home to two great markets. The Kuranda Heritage Market and the Original Kuranda Rainforest Market. Here you can find unique souvenirs, locally made arts and crafts, and delicious food.  Why not visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary? And for the perfect film footage (put your phone in slow motion speed, you will get some great footage).

Day 5 Cairns four day campervan itinerary

Last but not least, the Atherton Tablelands around 1 to 1.5 hours from Kuranda. A region known for its rolling hills, fertile farmland, and abundance of waterfalls, lakes, and natural wonders. Start by driving up the Gillies Range, a winding road with impressive views of the surrounding scenery. Make a pitstop at the small towns of Yungaburra and Atherton, where you can find charming cafés, vintage stores, and quaint markets.

Millaa Millaa & Josephine Falls

If you are a nature lover, visit Lake Barrine or Lake Eacham for a swim or a canoe ride. Both lakes are surrounded by lush rainforest and offer stunning views. The Atherton Tablelands are also famous for their waterfalls – don’t miss Millaa Millaa Falls and Josephine Falls, two of the most picturesque waterfalls in the region. For a unique experience, visit the Curtain Fig Tree ( Just outside Yungabarra)- a massive tree with vines that form a curtain-like structure.

Then its time to head back to Cairns to end your 5 day adventure.

Helpful Hints

A few tips for backpackers travelling through these regions. Some roads can be steep and winding, so be extra cautious when driving. If you are on a budget, look for budget-friendly accommodation options such as hostels or camping sites. Don’t forget to bring insect repellent and sunscreen as the tropical climate can be unforgiving. Finally, respect the local environment and culture by staying on designated trails, not littering, and learning about the Indigenous heritage of the area.

In conclusion, Cape Tribulation, Kuranda, and the Atherton Tablelands offer a unique and unforgettable experience for backpackers travelling through north Queensland. From the lush rainforest to the stunning waterfalls, there is something for everyone. So, hop in your car, roll down the windows, and let the adventure begin!