Scenic Splendor: Guide To Cairn’s Best Road Trips

Ready for an unforgettable road trip? Cairns, with its unique blend of coastal roads and rainforest-covered mountains, offers some of the most scenic drives in Australia. From the famed Captain Cook Highway stretching along the Coral Sea to the lush pathways of the Atherton Tablelands, this guide will take you through the must-visit scenic routes in and around Cairns.

Perfect for motorhome adventurers, these drives promise spectacular views, intriguing stops, and a deep dive into the natural wonders of the region.



Captain Cook Highway, Tourism & Events Queensland


Captain Cook Highway (Hwy 1): A Coastal Journey to Remember

Our scenic road trip from Cairns starts at the Captain Cook Highway. Here you’ll find an offering of ocean blues and emerald greens that will look great in your photo album!

Taking you from Cairns to Port Douglas, this highway acts as more than just a road. It is a gateway to paradise! Imagine cruising with the Coral Sea's shimmering waters on one side and the dense rainforest's tranquil greens on the other—truly, a feast for the eyes!

But hey, it’s not just about the drive! Along this route are numerous lookout points and pristine beaches where travellers can pull over and take in the oceanic beauty. Want to cool off with a quick dip or set up your motorhome for a quick Aussie BBQ by the sea? This highway has it all.



Gilles Range, Tourism & Events Queensland


Gillies Highway (Hwy 52): A Path Through Nature's Wonderland

Shifting from coastal vibes to forested hills, the Gillies Highway is your best route to the Atherton Tablelands’ scenic centre. Picture this: winding through a landscape dotted with waterfalls, rolling hills, and wildlife spotting opportunities —it’s a hinterland dream!

Don't just zoom through; the charming towns and natural wonders along this route deserve your undivided attention. Ever heard of the Curtain Fig Tree? Or the tranquil Lake Barrine? These are not just stops but experiences that etch memories.



Palmerston Highway, Tourism & Events Queensland


Palmerston Highway (Hwy 25): Rainforest Rhythms and River Views

Palmerston Highway is a must-have on our Cairns scenic drives list. From the thick rainforests of Johnstone River Valley to the wilderness walking tracks surrounding Millaa Milla, the area is a boon for wildlife lovers and nature buffs! You’ll discover plenty of peaceful waterfalls, picnic areas, and spectacular lookouts all along your route.



Mossman Gorge Road, Tourism & Events Queensland/Andrew Watson


Mossman Gorge Road: Dive into the Heart of the Daintree

Now, let's venture north of Port Douglas to the enchanting Mossman Gorge Road. This drive is your gateway to the ancient Daintree Rainforest, where the Mossman River's crystal-clear waters offer a refreshing escape from the tropical warmth.

Surrounded by a dense rainforest canopy, this road gives you a unique view of the bright flora that makes the Daintree its home! Many species can only be found here, and if you go for a walk (which we highly recommend) you’ll also find an abundance of unique animal species as well that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.



Kuranda Range Road, Tourism & Events Queensland


Kuranda Range Road: Mountain Vistas and Rainforest Mystique

Last but definitely not least is Kuranda Range Road. This scenic Cairns road trip will take you from the city towards the quiet village of Kuranda. With unmissable steep canyon sections carving a path through the Barron Gorge and the lush rainforest surrounding it, this is one of the most unique drives in Queensland with breathtaking views.

Yes, there are steep sections and hairpin bends, but take it slow, and you'll be rewarded with vistas that are nothing short of breathtaking.


Before You Go: Tips for the Road

As tempting as it may be to dive into your Cairns road trip, some preparation is always a good idea! Make sure to check the road conditions, especially during the wet season from November to April. Moreover, since some areas have limited services, stocking your motorhome with essentials like fuel, water, and snacks is always a good idea.


Cairns Is Calling!

Be it captivating coastal landscapes in the Captain Cook Highway, or the magical illusions of rainforest worlds in the Mossman Gorge Road, each trip offers something completely different and unique. Get your seat belt latched, clutch that wheel, and keep your camera close!

Need some inspiration for your Cairns road trip itinerary? Here are 3 of our best road trips in Cairns!

So, pack your bags, bring your beach towel, and set off on a scenic escape! Call our friendly reservations team on 1300 664 485 or check out our website to see the motorhomes we have available at our Cairns branch!

Related Locations

motorhomes hire Australia

399 Sheridan St, Cairns North QLD 4870, Australia

contact motorhomes hire Australia

Phone Number : 1300 664 485

International : +61 3 6248 4789

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