Cape York Tours

There are a few different kinds of Cape York tours.

But is it a good idea to take one?

A Cape York trip is so much more fun when you can do the four wheel driving yourself.

You can stop and stay where you want and go in on your own pace.

Even planning your own Cape York trip adds to the fun.

But if you still decide for a tour, I am sure you have your reasons.

oz tours

motorbike tours

cape york helicopters


sunset photography

bus tours

boat tours

Firstly, there are two main kinds of tours

* the ones that start in Cairns (or elsewhere outside the peninsula), and take you there, and do the whole Cape York trip for you; and

* the ones that start in places like, Daintree, Cooktown, Weipa, Tip of Cape York or Thursday Island, and take you around in the local area.

Then there are different ways to do the tour:

* You can take a bus tour, which takes you from Cairns all the way to the
Tip, and the bus is 4WD so you get to be driven through creeks on some exciting four wheel drive tracks.

* You can take a bus tour in different places like Cape Tribulation, Cooktown, Weipa, Tip of Cape York. Most are four wheel drive buses, but in some places, for example Cooktown, you can also get a two wheel drive tour of the town.

These are the most common kinds of tours.

Then there are:

* Motorbike tours - they mostly start in Cairns and take you all the way to the

* Light plane and helicopter flights - there are both kinds - the ones that start from Cairns and fly you all the way to the Tip and Torres Strait Islands; and the ones that you can jump on in places like Seisia, Punsand Bay and Loyalty Beach.

* Boat tours - all local ones, and start in many different places including Cooktown, Weipa, Aurukun, the Tip of Cape York and Torres Strait Islands. Some are wildlife watching tours, most are fishing (coastal/river fishing trips include wildlife and croc watch anyway).

* Ships/cruises - these start in Cairns and take you to places like the Tip of Cape York and Torres Strait Islands.

All the above tours of course are the kind where you just jump in their vehicle / bus / motorbike, helicopter etc.

cape york tours

On the Land - Bus and Tagalong Tours

Below are some Cape York tours, but mostly in southern Cape York and Cairns.

cairns tours

Tours from Cairns
Most tours from Cairns go to the Great Barrier Reef, Fitzroy and Green Island, sailing, scuba diving and  white water rafting. There are also adventure sports, scenic flights, and 4WD
tours to Cape York.

port douglas tours

Tours from Port Douglas
Much like Cairns, most Port Douglas tours are about water activities such as Low Isles, outer reef, sailing and fishing. There are also flights and other adventures, as well as trips to Daintree rainforests. 

cape tribulation tour

Cape Tribulation Tours
Cape Tribulation has a lot of different tours, mainly to the world famous Daintree rainforests. There are 4WD tours, guided walking tours, horse riding, white water rafting etc.

tours cooktown

Cooktown Tours
Cooktown has guided town tours, as well as 4WD tours to national parks, the outback and the rainforests outside the town; and some boat tours - mainly fishing and croc watching.

great barrier reef tours

Great Barrier Reef Trips
The best places to take a trip to the Great Barrier Reef are Cairns and Port Douglas, although a reef charter can also be organised in Cooktown

Tagalong Tours

But there is one more kind - the tagalong tours.

These are for people who want to do the four wheel drives themselves in their own vehicle, but don't like to go alone.

tagalong tours

These mostly start in Cairns, and do the whole trip with you (all are listed and updated in the Destination Guide).

Overland Safari Tours

The northern ones - the overland safari tours to the Tip (and all the ones mentioned above), are in the Destination Guide along with fully detailed information with prices and contact details of each company.

overland safari tours

In the Air - Cape York Air Tours

light plane

scenic helicopter flight

Helicopter and light airplane flights are a great way to discover places.

Up here they are particularly popular around Cairns, Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation, where you can fly over massive areas of World Heritage rainforests and world's largest coral reef - the Great Barrier Reef.

But there are also air tours further north, and there is a lot of natural beauty to watch from the air: tropical rainforest, bays and beaches, rocky headlands, red bauxite cliffs, black granite boulders
, white sand dunes, and so on.

And and there are also the tours that take you to the Tip of Cape York and the northernmost point of Australia.

On the Water - Cape York Cruises

Well the most popular cruises to the area are those that come to Cairns from down south; and also the ones that take you out to the Great Barrier Reef (the more real Cape York cruises are further down on the page).

Great Barrier Reef and Cairns Cruises

great barrier reef cruises

cape york cruise
Other than that, most of the cruises in this part of Australia go to the Great Barrier Reef.

You get to snorkel, see corals, fish and other coral reef animals, and may also spot some other marine animals like dugongs, large turtles, and a few different types of whales and dolphins.

And there are cruiser ships that come from down south to Cairns, they stop at Yorkeys Knob - one of the Cairns Northern Beaches.

And there are cruiser ships that come from down south to Port Douglas.

Even though all those are not real Cape York cruises, they are cruises to the area.

Real Cape York Cruises

But is there also such a thing as a Cape York cruise?

Well actually there is, and I cannot wait to do it one day, and put it all up here.

A proper
cruise to Cape York is done with Coral Princess, a Cairns based cruise company that has relatively small cruiser ships.

They do a few different cruises in the area, such as Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Great Barrier Reef, Cape York, Arnhem Land and the Kimberley.

cairns cruise ship

Their Cape York cruise is combined with Arnhemland and Darwin. Their two vessels that do this route have slightly different routes.

The smaller one - Coral Princess - stops at places like Lizard Island (apart from the beaches there is some interesting history), Stanley Island (Aboriginal rock art) and Davey Reef (swimming and snorkelling), Forbes Island (
swimming and snorkelling) and Magra Island (beach combing and bird watching), Tip of Cape York, Thursday Island and Horn Island (overnight stay at the resort). After that you fly across the Gulf of Carpentaria to Nhulunbuy (Gove) in Arnhemland (art centres, stay over night). Back on the boat, the cruise continues along the coast of Arnhemland and stops at Elcho Island (local artists), Liverpool River (river tour) and Maningrida (art centre, museum); Cobourg Peninsula (Port Essington, Black Point), Tiwi Islands (meet Tiwi people), and Darwin.

cairns cruise liner terminal

The other vessel, the Oceanic Discoverer, does the same Cape York cruise except that you miss Horn Island but cruise across the Gulf of Carpentaria (so there is no flight).

Once in Darwin this
Cape York cruise ends and doesn't return to Cairns - you can fly back, or rent a van and make it a fun trip through the Gulf Savannah!

Cargo Ship Cruises from Cairns to the Tip

There are also some cargo ship cruises, one is (UPDATE 2015 used to be) Malu Titan to Torres Strait Islands.

cape york cruises

And the other, the Cape York cargo ship cruise is the Trinity Bay cruise from Cairns to the Tip, which is quite popular, since it is a cargo ship so you can bring your vehicle and drive one way, cruise the other. All the details in the Destination Guide.

cape york travel

Plan Your Trip... the FREE Cape York Travel Pocket Guide

Get this 50 pages guide totally for FREE. It contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip. You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you should take, how to get there and get around, where to stay (general info), what will it cost.. and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.

Plan and Bring to the Trip... the full Destination Cape York Travel Guide

visit cape york

This complete 300 pages travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my vehicle-recovery-guy partner). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)

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