Cape Tribulation might be a little way off the beaten track, but its remoteness makes it a paradise for eco-tourists. As well as the majestic Daintree rainforest, those who make the journey from Port Douglas can visit some of the most pristine portions of the Great Barrier Reef. This tour takes strictly limited numbers to two untouched locations at the Mackay and Undine reefs, giving you the chance to come face to face with some of the most fascinating wildlife found in these waters.
The choice of transport also reflects the rugged location. Instead of the sleek luxury tour yachts that set sail from Port Douglas and Cairns, you’ll travel aboard a rigid inflatable boat, based on working rescue boats, that gets you to your first dive site in just 25 minutes.
This is a two part tour, during which you’ll visit the beautiful Mackay and Undine reefs. You’ll board at Cape Tribulation beach before heading to your first snorkeling site of the day. This is a tour that appreciates your priorities: the rigid inflatable boat gets you to the reef in just 25 minutes, so you can spend more time in the water and less time on it. You’ll get around two hours to explore the dive sites, so you can take your time exploring.
Once on site, you’re free to explore the reefs. No worries if you haven’t ever snorkeled before: the tour is limited to 25 passengers so you can get personalised snorkeling instruction from the crew. Keeping numbers limited also means that you won’t scare the wildlife with large crowds, so you stand the best chance of seeing some of the reef’s rarest and most beautiful creatures.
The Mackay and Undine reefs are home to some fascinating species, including colourful tropical fish, exotically shaped corals, and eagle rays that seem to fly through the water. You might also run into some of the local sea turtles, who are often curious to take a look at new visitors to their underwater world. If you have any questions about anything you see at the reef, just ask the tour’s Eco Host. Your tour guides know just about everything about the reef and its inhabitants and they are always happy to share. You’ll also get reef interpretation talks during the tour so you’ll know what to look out for when you get into the ocean.
Times, Locations, and Prices
This tour leaves from Cape Tribulation twice a day, departing at 8am and 12am. Passengers meet at the Turtle Rock Cafe on Cape Tribulation Road. If you are staying at local accommodation in Cape Tribulation, you can arrange a complimentary pickup service from your hotel. Visitors from further afield will need to arrange their own transport to Cape Tribulation. The drive from Port Douglas takes around two hours, so you may appreciate the option of an afternoon trip.
Prices are identical for the morning and afternoon tours, with adults aged 15 or above traveling for $154. Children aged between 2 and 14 can book for $99 each. This price is inclusive of your essential snorkeling equipment as well as Marine Park fees, although prescription masks and wetsuits are available to hire for a small extra fee. You can also purchase cold drinks and snacks aboard.
The trip lasts for around four and a half hours in total, so you’ll get back to Cape Tribulation either shortly after midday or in the late afternoon. This gives you time to make the trip back to Port Douglas or do some more exploring around Cape Tribulation.