Camperman: Campervan Hire Australia

Cairns to Airlie Beach Drive

© Vincent Lee

Cairns to Airlie Beach Drive

625 km | 8 hr drive | 6 days

Between Cairns (gateway to the Great Barrier Reef) and Airlie Beach (gateway to the Whitsunday Islands) lies a tropical paradise of lush rainforests, magical swimming holes, unspoiled islands and white sand beaches. Scroll down for the Airlie Beach to Cairns itinerary.

Itinerary Cairns to Airlie Beach Drive

Spend a week exploring Cairns, the Atherton Tablelands, the Daintree, the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas and Undara Lava Tubes before embarking on this 6 day Cairns to Airlie Beach drive. Click each heading to get the full article with highlights, camping and a map.

Day 1: Walsh's Pyramid, rainforest swimming holes, Wooroonooran National Park
125 km | 1 h 50 m drive
(optional extra day in Wooroonooran)

Day 2: Paronella Park, Mission Beach
88 km | 1 h 15 m drive
(optional extra day in Mission Beach)

etty bay
Cassowary at Etty Bay. Photo: ecologis.shayes via Instagram

Day 3: Hinchinbrook Island (World Heritage Listed)
70 km | 1 hr drive
Book Hinchinbrook Island Cruises to island $150 per person (departs 8.30 am)
(Optional Thorsborne Trail - 4 days. Must pre-book.)

Day 4: Cardwell Spa Pool and Paluma Range National Park
140 km | 2 h

 cardwell spa pools
Cardwell Spa Pools. Photo: caravaningqueensland via Instagram

Day 5: Townsville and Magnetic Island
85 km | 1 h 20  m
Ferries depart and return every hour (adult round trip $30 - $35)
(optional extra day exploring Townsville or Charters Towers)

Day 6: Bowen, Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays
275 km | 3 h 15 m

Spend a few days exploring the Whitsundays and Whitehaven Beach.

Horseshoe Bay in Bowen. Photo: Horseshoe Bay Resort

Itinerary Airlie Beach to Cairns Drive

Spend a few days exploring the Whitsunday Islands and Whitehaven Beach before embarking on this 6 day Airlie Beach to Cairns drive.

Day 1: Airlie Beach to Townsville
275 km | 3 h 15 m 

Day 2: Magnetic Island
No driving
Ferries depart and return every hour
(optional extra day exploring Charters Towers)

magneticisland pablointrona
Magnetic Island

Day 3: Paluma Range National Park and Cardwell Spa Pool
225 km | 3.5 hr

Day 4: Hinchinbrook Island (world heritage listed)
70 km | 1 hr
Book boat to island $150 round trip (departs 8.30 am)
(Optional Thorsborne Trail - 4 days. Must pre-book.)

Day 5: Mission Beach and  Paronella Park
45 km | 45 min
(optional extra day in Mission Beach)

Day 6: Wooroonooran National Park, Babinda Boulders, Walshs Pyramid, Cairns
175 km | 2.5 hr
(optional extra day)

hinchinbrook island zoe falls
Zoe Falls on Hinchinbrook Island. Photo: reubennutt  via Instagram


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Cairns Map

Cairns Campervans

Camperman Australia Cairns
Cairns Campervan Hire and Rental location is conveniently located only a few minutes from the International and Domestic Airport.
440 Sheridan Street
Cairns, QLD
Phone: 07 4081 3100
Toll Free: 1800 216 223



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Campervan Hire Depots

Airlie Beach

Heart of Reef Shuttles, 48-50 Carlo Drive, Cannonvale, Queensland 4802 Phone: 1800 216 223


20 Noble Avenue, North Gate, Queensland 4013
Phone: 1800 216 223


440 Sheridan Street, Cairns,
Queensland 4870 Phone: 1800 216 223


273 Elizabeth Street, Coburg,
Victoria 3058 Phone: 1800 216 223


23-25 Erskine Rd, Caringbah,
Sydney, NSW 2229 Phone: 1800 216 223


Do you have any questions or need additional information?

Toll Free Numbers
Australia (Free): 1800 216 223
Europe (Free): 0800 888 222 88 (land line only)
Int: +61 7 4081 3100
Main Office in Cairns
Mon - Fri: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sat: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (Open for Pickups)
Cairns Local Time: