Cairns Road Trip


Cairns is a great place to start a road trip. The contemporary city is located in tropical north Queensland and is home to a wide range of activities to make your holiday one to remember. We recently took out car hire Cairns with Drivenow and were pleasantly surprised with what the vibrant city had to offer. Below is a list of our favourite locations.

Cairns Centre

The city centre is full of shops, bars and restaurants. There is so much to keep you entertained. We visited Cairns Esplanade, a fantastic spot to soak in the beautiful sea views whilst the kids enjoy some fun in the pool. There’s also much fun to be had in Cairns’ famous wildlife dome. When the sun sets the night markets open offering everything from souvenirs to handmade soaps and candles.

There is truly something to suit everyone when it comes to booking activities and guided tours. With a whole host of different companies situated in the city centre,it’s a good idea to shop around to get the best deal available. There are also many places that offer short stay accommodation if needed making Cairns a very traveller friendly destination.


Palm Cove

Drive around 30 minutes north from Cairns City Centre along the scenic coastal road and you will arrive at Palm Cove. A stunning holiday destination that offers relaxing sandy beaches and coconut palms.

Palm Cove is an excellent choice for food lovers; it hosts a wide range of restaurants offering fine dining, local tropical produce and fish and chips. There are also many day spas if you’re looking to truly relax.

Activities available in Palm Cove include Cairns Night Zoo, Hot Air Ballooning, Pandanus Aboriginal Art Gallery and Sea kayaking.

Port Douglas

Take an hour’s drive along a road sandwiched in-between the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef and you will reach Port Douglas. The popular town is well known for its laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals.

Port Douglas has great access to the Reef, as it is the closest mainland port. The area is an ideal place to go fishing or enjoy a game of golf.

While the port is known for its luxurious, high-end vibe it is also a great place to take your family including children of all ages.

Photo via Flicker



The Daintree

If wildlife is your thing then a drive to the Daintree is a must. Drive 2 hours north along Captain Cook highway to see the world’s oldest surviving rainforest. The area provides breath-taking views of the natural habitats of local wildlife. If you’re lucky enough, you may even encounter one of the region’s famous local birds. the Cassowary.


Take a trip down the Daintree River, home to crocodiles and many species of fish and birds. There are many guide walks available as well as off-road driving and mountain biking.


The village itself is host to a number of souvenir shops, art studios and quirky accommodation.

Atherton Tablelands

Atherton is approximately an hour and thirty minutes’ drive southwest of Cairns City Centre. The area is famous for its farmland, rock formations and volcanic craters that are now freshwater lakes.


If visiting the Tableland, Atherton makes for a great base. There are many different types of accommodation to consider including caravan parks, country-style hotels and modern homes.


The highlight of Atherton has to be the local produce; most cafes and eateries incorporate the local bounty into their menus. You can also purchase fresh product at one of the many roadside stalls.


We find that hiring a car is a cost effective way of exploring any destination and making the most out of the time you have on vacation. We found Car hire Cairns with DriveNow to be a great choice for our trip as the company offered a range of vehicles to suit our budget.