Cairns on a Budget 4 Day Reef to Rainforest

Spend a wonderful day on one of the natural wonders of the world Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a day in the oldest living Rainforeston, the Daintree Rainforest, Cooling off in the Atherton Tablelands and Whitewater Rafting through the World Heritage Rainforest on the Barron River.

Design the Cairns on a budget package to suit your itinerary best decide on which dates to do the tour, also have a days break in between if you wish.

Day 1 – Daintree Rainforest

A tropical wonderland is stretching from Mossman to the Bloomfield River and only 2 and a half hours north of Cairns.

Travelling from Cairns to Cape Tribulation. (The headland of the Daintree National Park) along one of the most scenic coastal roads in Australia the “Captain Cook Highway”.

First stop, the Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat, see the endangered cassowary and other wildlife.

Have your photo taken holding a Koala, Snake or Crocodile (extra cost).

Heading further north, you will cross the mighty Daintree River on a cable ferry, and this is where it all begins to change. You will feel like you have entered a different world with Rainforest towering over narrow winding roads. You have now entered the “Daintree Rainforest”.

Daintree Rainforest Itinerary

7.00am     Commence pickups from Cairns accommodation.

7.45am      Depart Cairns. Travel to Port Douglas via the Captain Cook Highway

8.05am     Commence pickups from Port Douglas accommodation.

8.45am      Arrive at The Wildlife Habitat. Join a guided tour with the opportunity to have your photo taken holding a koala, snake or crocodile (extra cost).

10.15am     Depart The Wildlife Habitat.

11.00am    Cross the Daintree River ferry.

12.15pm     Arrive at Cape Trib Beach House for a Tropical Lunch, free time for a swim or a walk along the spectacular Cape Tribulation Beach.

1.50pm       Depart Cape Trib Beach House and visit Cape Tribulation Beach and Boardwalk for a guided rainforest walk

2.35pm       Depart Cape Tribulation for the return journey, with some comfort, stops along the way.

3.35pm       Stop at Alexandra Lookout for magnificent views.

4.00pm       Daintree River Cruise. Spot crocodiles, birds and other wildlife

5.00pm       Arrive south-side of the river to board the bus

6.00pm       Arrive at Port Douglas accommodation.

7.00opm      Arrive at Cairns accommodation.

PLEASE NOTE: All times are approximate and subject to change.

Daintree Rainforest Inclusions

  • Air-conditioned 21 seater coaster bus
  • Pickup and return Bus transfers from your Accommodation
  • Scenic Coastal Drive
  • Entry to the Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas
  • Tropical Picnic lunch
  • All National Park and Ferry fees
  • Daintree River Ferry Crossing
  • Daintree River Wildlife Cruise
  • Guided Rainforest walks
  • Cape Tribulation Beach
  • Rex Look Out
  • Alexander Look Out

What to Bring

  • Money for drinks and snacks
  • Camera
  • Water Resistant 50+ sunscreen
  • Comfortable Walking shoes
  • Swimmers and Towel (optional)
  • Your booking Ticket
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect Repellent
  • Bottle of Water

Day 2 – Tablelands and Waterfalls Adventure

Today is about getting back to nature and exploring the beautiful Atherton Tablelands with its Waterfalls, Volcanic Crater Lakes and Rainforest.

The Atherton Tablelands is an hours drive west of Cairns at an altitude of 1100 metres above sea level along with a slightly cooler climate is a treasure trove of natural wonders.

This value-packed day tour will have you exploring the Cathedral and Curtain Fig Trees, walks through the rainforest, hiking to Dinner Falls and world heritage National Parks.  Enjoy a swim in the cool waters of the famous Milla Milla falls, Dinner Falls and Lake Eacham.

As your day comes to an end, you can relax at the Lodge in Yungaburra with a cup of Tea or Coffee before heading back to Cairns.

Rainforest and Waterfalls Itinerary

8:00 am – 8:15 am Pickup from your Cairns City Accommodation.

This fully guided day tour begins with a scenic drive up the Gillies Range

  • Stopping for rainforest walks in search of native wildlife
  • Cathedral Fig Tree Volcanic Crater “Lake Barrine”
  • A refreshing swim at Lake Eacham.

After Lunch

The afternoon is spent travelling through the picturesque countryside for the day’s highlights

  • swimming at several pristine waterfalls
  • the famous Millaa Millaa Falls
  • a jungle trek to view the raging Dinner Falls
  • the Crater in Mt Hypipamee National Park.
  • Last stop, award-winning On the Wallaby Lodge for tea/coffee and tropical fruit to round off your day before heading back to Cairns.
  • Arriving back in Cairns at approximately 7:00pm

Waterfalls Adventure Inclusions

  • Cairns pick up & drop off from your Cairns City Accommodation
  • Informative Tour Guide
  • Lake Eacham
  • Lake Barrine
  • Famous Milla Milla Falls
  • Dinner Falls
  • Cathedral Fig Tree
  • Rainforest Walks
  • Mt Hypipamee
  • Lunch
  • Tea & Coffee
  • Tropical Fruits & Biscuits
  • All National Park Fees

What to Bring

  • A small backpack
  • Secure walking shoes
  • Swimming gear
  • Towel Change of clothes

Day 3 – Barron River White Water Rafting

($25  pay onboard Levy for this Tour for Rafting Levy)

The Barron River is North Queensland’s most exciting half-day tour. Feel the rush of white water rafting within the awesome wilderness of Australia’s tropical rainforests. A fun afternoon with a few thrills and spills.

Minimum age: 13 years (Under 18 years must travel with a guardian or parent)

Whitewater Rafting Itinerary

2.00pm Pickup From Your Cairns City Accommodation

2 Hours rafting grade 2 and three rapids

6:00pm return to accommodation

Included in your Half Day Rafting

  • 2 and a half hours whitewater Rafting grade 2 rapids through World Heritage Rainforest
  • Return air-conditioned coach transfers to and from your Cairns City Accommodation
  • All Safety equipment – life jacket and helmet and Instruction
  • Digital photos available for purchase
  • Departs Daily From Cairns at 2.00pm  Returns Cairns at 6.00pm

What to Bring

  • Ticket or voucher
  • Swimming costume (you will get wet)
  • Lace-up shoes or sandals that won’t fall off and you can get wet
  • Towel dry clothes
  • Sunscreen but don’t apply to the back of your legs
  • Money for photos & rafting levy
  • Digital photos available for purchase
  • Shoe hire is available

Important Information

  • Minimum age: 13 years(Under 18 years must travel with a guardian or parent) 
  • Every participant must sign a Liability Release Form before commencing rafting and some packages.
  • Medical Conditions: some medical conditions, disabilities and impairments may exclude participants from rafting for safety reasons, e.g. pregnancy and vision impairments. Passengers should disclose any medical condition, limitations and impairments at time of booking

Day 4 – Outer Great Barrier Reef Cruise

If you are looking for value for money and a memorable day on the Great Barrier Reef, then this Great Barrier Reef Budget Cruise has it all!

Compass will have you escaping for an unforgettable, unrushed day enjoying a relaxed, leisurely cruise to the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel amongst beautiful corals and a colourful variety of tropical marine life at one of the natural wonders of the world. Relax on the huge sundeck, or take the “Wild Ride” on the famous Compass Boomnet.

Unlimited snorkelling while at the Great Barrier Reef, while Scuba Diving is available for all levels of experience (at an additional cost).

Compass cruises travel to 2 fantastic Outer Great Barrier Reef Sites between Hastings Reef  – Spectacular coral gardens and exotic marine life – and Breaking Patches –  A paradise of shallow lagoons and frequented by turtles.

Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

07:30 – Check indirect to Compass at Marlin Wharf Berth 18

08:00 – Depart Marlin Marina Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef

10:30 – Arrive at your first Great Barrier Reef Location

12:30 – BBQ Lunch with fresh salads

13:00 – Cruise to 2nd Reef Location

15:00 – Depart the Great Barrier Reef

17:30 – Approximately Arrival time at Cairns Marina

What's Included

  • Two spectacular outer barrier reef locations (weather permitting)
  • Up to 4 hours snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Snorkel equipment hire & tuition (excluding wetsuits and stinger suits)
  • Floatation devices if required
  • Fresh fruit platters when boarding
  • Delicious BBQ lunch with an assortment of fresh salads (dietary requirement catered for)
  • Boomnetting the ”Wild Ride” (weather permitting)
  • A glass of wine, cheese & crackers on the return journey
  • Complimentary tea & coffee all day (while the vessel is stationary)
  • Experienced & helpful crew
  • All Reef Taxes and Levies
  • Friendly crew assistance for non-confident swimmers

Optional Extras

  • Certified Dives
  • Resort Scuba Diving  (see Medical Conditions)
  • Dive Guide for Certified Divers
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tours available (weather permitting)
  • Return Bus transfers from your Cairns City Accommodation  (please advise when booking where you are staying to enable us to process your reservation efficiently)
  • Wetsuit hire (During stinger season, stinger suits included with your equipment. These are not the same as wetsuits, which provide flotation and warmth)
  • Prescription masks
  • Underwater Camera Hire
  • Fully licensed bar

What to Bring

  • hat & towel
  • swimming clothes
  • Proof of certification if you are a certified scuba diver
  • Cash/Creditcard for extra purchases
  • Suncream
  • Please advise of any dietary requirements upon booking
  • Children’s prices are from 4 – 14 years

Important Information for Scuba Diving

We have a passion for showing off the Great Barrier Reef. Please make sure you understand the scuba diving laws.

Queensland, Australia has some of the strictest scuba diving rules in the world but also the safest scuba diving record.   The Queensland Government Code of Practice regulates us and comply with all regulations, including medical as is the law.

We strongly recommend that all of our passengers complete our dive medical questionnaire.

Some medical conditions, age and medications may prevent you from scuba diving.   It is always our mission to provide our passengers with the very best Great Barrier Reef experience.

Compass Cruises Medical Questionnaire

We are delighted to help you with any questions you may have.   Please contact our office on 07 4037 2700 or email us at [email protected],

Or you may like to consult your Doctor for a Dive Medical using the Australian Standard Forms ‘AS.4005.1

Flying after Scuba Diving

For a single no decompression scuba dive, you should not fly or go to altitude for at least 18 hours after a scuba dive.  For multiple dives, you should not fly for 24 hours after your last dive. If Skydiving or Hot Air Ballooning you must wait 24 hours after your dive. We recommend waiting a minimum of 24 hours whenever possible
  • Please read the relevant information, terms and conditions before booking your trip. Some medical conditions and medications may prevent from participation in scuba diving activities. Children’s prices are for ages 4-14 years.
  • This Cairns on a Budget 4 day package does not include Accommodation
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