© Cairns Backpackers Guide 2013
Day trips to Cape Tribulation
If you have the time it is much better to do an overnight trip to Cape Trib. The only extra cost is your accommodation ($25-$30), and it gives you much more time in Cape Trib itself. Typically the overnight tours include everything the day trips include except your lunch. On the way up you might do your croc cruise and Mossman Gorge. They will then drop you off at your backpackers at lunchtime and pick you up after lunch the following day, giving you a whole day to enjoy the beaches, do some rainforest walks by yourself and so on. On the way back to Cairns you do the remaining included tour activities.  
Cairns Backpackers Guide
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If   you   come   to   Cairns   you   absolutely   must   go   to   see   the   rainforest   (that   is   unless   you   only   have   1   day in   which   case   you   should   go   to   the   reef!).   There   are   3   easily   accessible   rainforest   areas   near   Cairns   for a   backpacker.   The   most   popular   is   Cape   Tribulation.   The   2nd   is   the   Atherton   Tableands   and   the   3rd one   is   the   Mt   Whitfield   range/botanic   gardens   area   in   Cairns   City.   So   which   one   is   best   for   you?   Cape Trib.   is   the   most   jungle-like   and   is   the   most   pristine,   but   in   the   wet   season   it   is   VERY   wet   and   you cannot   swim   in   the   ocean   due   to   the   jelly   fish.   During   this   season   the   Atherton   Tablelands   may   be   a better   choice   as   there   are   lakes   and   waterfalls   to   swim   in   and   it   is   not   as   wet.   If   you   have   time   do both.   The   Mt   Whitfield   area   is   good   if   you   only   have   half   a   day   but   the   rainforest   is   not   as   lush   as   Cape Trib nor are there any swimming areas like the Tablelands.
Cape   Tribulation   is   the   lushest   rainforest   in   Australia,   and   the   most ancient   in   the   world.   It   has   more   plant   and   animal   species   than anywhere   in   Australia.   It   has   fantastic   beaches   and   boardwalks   that make   it   easy   to   experience   the   rainforest.   Once   you   cross   over   the Daintree   River   you   drive   for   about   an   hour   through   the   rainforest which   just   seems   to   go   on   forever   just   to   get   to   Cape   Trib.   You arrive   and   then   there   is   nothing   but   rainforest,   amazing   beaches and   a   few   accommodations   and   backpacker   hostels.   You   can   either do   a   day   trip   there   or   an   overnight   tour   where   you   stay   at   a Backpackers.   The   overnight   tours   are   the   best   if   you   have   the   time because   the   only   extra   cost   is   your   accommodation,   and   you   get more time to really appreciate the rainforest setting.
A green tree frog in the Cape Tribulation rainforest
This is what is typically included in a day trip to Cape Trib: Croc spotting boat tour Guided rainforest walk Free time at Mossman Gorge Time at Cape Trib Beach Your lunch A day trip costs between $99 and $160  
Atherton Tablelands
The Curtain Fig Tree on the Atherton Tablelands will be every backpackers favourite photo object
The   A therton   Tablelands   is   about   an   hour   drive   west   of   Cairns   and   is   a great   place   to   not   just   see   some   rainforest,   but   also   cool   off   in   the lakes   or   waterfalls,   something   not   easily   accessible   in   Cape   Trib.   In fact,   it   makes   sense   to   do   the   Tablelands   rather   than   Cape   Trib   if   you are   here   during   the   wet   season   not   just   so   that   you   can   take   a   dip, but   also   because   Cape   Trib   gets   so   much   rain   in   the   wet   season   it’s not   funny.      On   the   tablelands   there   are   lakes,   waterfalls,   giant   trees, enchanted   castles   and   lots   of   wildlife.   You   can   drive   there   or   there   are cheap tours as well.  
Mt Whitfield Ranges
The Red Arrow walk near the Cairns Botanic Gardens.
Mt   Whitfield   is   a   rainforest   clad   hill   in   the   suburbs   of   Cairns,   just   a 10   minute   bus   trip   away.   In   this   single   area   there   are   2   rainforest walks   you   can   do;   the   Red   Arrow   walk   or   the   Centenary   Lakes Boardwalk.   The   Red   Arrow   Walk   is   a   steep   hour   loop   walk   through rainforest   next   to   the   Botanic   Gardens,   or   you   can   add   on   the Blue   Arrow   section   and   turn   it   into   a   3   hour   walk.   The   Centenary Lakes   Boardwalk   is   an   easy   30   minute   stroll   through   swampy palm   rainforest   that   leads   to   the   Botanic   Gardens.   The   Botanic Gardens   themsevles   are   free   and   are   worth   seeing   and   there   is   a cafe   here   as   well.   Many   people   do   the   Red   Arrow   followed   by   a visit   to   the   Botanic   Gardens.   To   get   here   catch   any   bus   heading north   along   Sheridan   Street,   ask   the   drive   to   let   you   off   on   the corner   of   Collins   Avenue,   then   it’s   a   10   minute   walk   along   Collins Avenue to the Gardens/Red Arrow.
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