Jewel of the Reef, Rainforest & Outback

Cooktown, Lizard Island,
Mungumby Lodge, Quinkan Galleries
Aboriginal Rock Art

4 days – Cairns, returns Cairns

Day 1 (Cairns | Mungumby Lodge | 305km)
(2 course dinner)

Driving north from Cairns via Mareeba takes you past Kuranda out into the dry country with expansive views of the Cairns Hinterland. Driving via the coast past Trinity, Palm Cove, Ellis Beach and Port Douglas & Mossman offers stunning views of the coast and Coral Sea. Both of these routes eventually travel up hill (West) into the hinterland either at Smithfield or Mossman, then the Mulligan Highway. Mt Carbine, a small mining village where they mine a steel hardener called Wolfram. From here the country opens out to the true Aussie outback. The roads are straight and offer expansive views of the surrounding region.

The road is undulating across the Mitchel watershed until the Byerstown Range where it drops down to the Lakeland volcanic basin. Driving into Lakeland there are public toilets, a road house, a general store and the pub. Lakeland has benefited from the sealing of the roads as it now boasts one of the country’s biggest Banana production regions. It has become the Renewable energy hub of Cape York and has 60,000 solar panel farm. At the general store located behind the pub on the left (traveling north), they offer excellent meals & locally grown Laura coffee, which is roasted on site.

From Lakeland along the Mulligan Highway, it is only 35 minutes until you reach the cool of the rainforest. It is recommended if travelling late afternoon that you watch as there are many of Wallabies (morning and evening) roaming cattle and prolific bird life. This is due to the large tracts of water that travel through this part of the country in the wet, so at certain times of the year the birds are everywhere. To see these however you will need to slow down open the windows and keep your eyes peeled.

At the Little Annan River causeway crossing you will see a sign for Mungumby Lodge. The next turn right is Shiptons Flat Road, where there will be directional signs to Mungumby Lodge & Rossville, Bloomfield the Lion’s Den Hotel. Turn right into Shiptons Flat Road (sealed) drive until Sandy Creek and onward. At Sandy Creek you will be able to see ahead a large sign with flags and the Mungumby Road turn off. Turn left into Mungumby Road. Mungumby road is 4kms of unsealed road and the lodge is at the very end of the road.

Drive time from- Cairns 3.5 hours | Mossman 2.5 hours | Mareeba 3 hours


Day 2 (Cooktown airport | Lizard Island | Mungumby Lodge | 87km)
(Breakfast, lunch & 2 course dinner)

An early start (06.30) requires you to have a self-help breakfast before leaving for Cooktown airport @ 07.15. Flight departure is 08.00 – 08.30 (weather dependent) you will fly out to the Great Barrier Reef where the plane will track north to fly along the outer edge seeing South and North Direction Islands, Rocky Islets, Palfrey Island and onto to Lizard Island. Once landed at Lizard you walk for 15 minutes through the bush. At certain times of the year we see Azure King Fishers, blue- winged kookaburra, the forest King Fisher, Orange footed Scrub fowls, to name just a few of many birds on the Island.

We emerge from the bush and are confronted with one of the most beautiful beaches and Ocean views in the world. The colours of the water, the sand and the sky after walking through the greens and browns of the bush are really surprising and very beautiful. The walk along the beach to where we make camp is 5 minutes, it is not unusual to see thousands of birds diving into the ocean to feed on small fish along the beach. We often see Rays, Turtles, Small Sharks and Schools of small fish as we walk to the place where we make camp for the day. By the time we arrive at our camp spot most people have already dived into the beautiful ocean. It’s difficult not to jump in as soon as you see it. We spend the next 5 hours snorkelling, swimming, exploring, and hiking. We have a gourmet picnic lunch under the trees complete with good Australian wine.

The quality of the reef is second to none, you will see Stag Horn, Brain and Fan Corals, Blue Star Fish, Giant Clams and an abundance of varied marine life. The longer you spend in the water the more marine life you will see. You are also welcome to walk to any of the 23 beaches on the Island, take a hike up Cooks Look (the mountain in the middle of the Island 1178 feet high). There is Chainman’s Ridge to walk up for amazing photo opportunities or the Blue Lagoon voted the most beautiful remote beach in the world by Details Magazine from New York

All in all, the Lizard Island day is about the best day you can have on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Lizard Island is situated 53 kilometres north of Cooktown. The island is 26 kilometres from the mainland and is 1013 hectares. There are twenty three beaches. The island is surrounded by reefs which are teeming with marine life, including hundreds of species of tropical fish and crustaceans, huge green turtles, manta rays, blue ring rays and at times dugong which occasionally come into Watsons Bay.

Snorkelling is world class; the reefs and the marine life are as good as or better than you will see anywhere else in Australia. The Blue Lagoon is situated on the southern side of the island and boasts a magnificent beach. The waters surrounding Lizard Island are crystal clear and are ideal for snorkelling. Many of the reefs are in shallow water making the snorkelling easy for beginners however there are many reefs in the deeper water off the beach for the more experienced swimmers as well.

 Drive time from- Mungumby to Cooktown Airport is 40mins


 Day 3 (Mungumby Lodge | Cooktown | Mungumby Lodge | 60 km)

(Breakfast & 2 course dinner)

 Woken by the birds, breakfast at Mungumby Lodge is a tranquil affair to yummy fresh fruit, boiled eggs, selection of breads, cereals and juices. Today you can take it easy and enjoy this unique region.

Shortly after leaving Mungumby Lodge a stop at Black Mountain National Park will reveal the mystic legions and Aboriginal folk lore of the 260 million year old Black Mountains. Further on towards Cooktown a visit to Keating’s lagoon offers bird watchers a full selection of migrating birds that frequent this wetland area and bird hide. On to Cooktown and Grassy Hill light house with its expansive 360 degree views over the northern section of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and to the West reaching far into the Quinkan country.  A visit to the James Cook Museum opens a history treasure chest show casing the pioneering of Cape York and its cultural origins (opening times and days vary). The Botanic Gardens and Natures Power House interpretation centre is a good spot for a cafe lunch. Browse the book store or the gallery of local artistic Vera Scarth-Johnson. The surrounding Botanic gardens is a top presentation of plant species also collected by Joseph Banks and the Endeavour Crew which offer nice shade and loads of birds. Return back to the lodge in time for a walk to the waterfalls for a cool dip in the jungle or stroll one of the lodge nature trails along the magnificent Mungumby Creek.

Drive time from- Cooktown 35 minutes each way.


 Day 4  (Mungumby–Laura 118 km | Quinkan Aboriginal guided tour 3 hrs. (May-Nov)

(Breakfast & picnic lunch)

You travel to a totally different geographical region along the secondary gold route to the Palmer Goldfields.  Here the land is frequently parched dry; the Eucalyptus trees become common; intermingled with termite mounds and sandstone escarpments into the Quinkan country. At Laura’s Quinkan Cultural Centre you will meet your guide and the centre manager. for a insight to the regions history and culture. A picnic lunch ca be taken under the Mango Trees to the sound of Gala’s and Black Cockatoos. After lunch you can head to Split Rock to view the Aboriginal rock art galleries within the sand stone escarpments.

On the return drive to Lakeland a look out for some of the migrating and endemic bird life. Red Tail Black Cockatoos, Australian Bustards, Australian Hobbies, Grey Goshawk, Red Shouldered parrots, Raj Ducks and numerous other water birds in the creek beds and surrounds. At Lakeland turn south direction Mareeba.

Drive time from- Mungumby Laura 1.15 hr. | Laura-Lakeland 45 mins.

Package End

April – Nov | 7 Days (M-S) Excluding All Public Holidays
This package prices does not include vehicle hire.

ARRIVALS:                     Cairns Airport.

COST:                               Twin/double/ share AUD$1,478.50 per person
                                             Single AUD$1,966.20
                                              Children with 2 parents AUD $1,038.00 per child
                                              Triple Share AUD$1,369 per person

EMC & Lizard Island Airstrip Service fee $50.00 pp (cash payable on board flight)

Meals included –        1 x picnic Lunch – Quinkan, 3 x tropical breakfasts, 3 x 2 Course dinner

Tours included
Aboriginal guided Quinkan Rock Galleries Tour taken at Laura (3hrs) 09.00 or 13.00. Lizard Island Day Tour with Daintree Air depart & return Cooktown Airport incl. lunch
Snorkelling equipment.


 PRICE EXCLUDES: Items of a personal nature, meals not listed. $50 pp for (EMC, Lizard Island airstrip service charge and landing fees).


PACKAGE DEPARTURES 2018/2019:  Tours included operate minimum 2 pax – 1st April until Nov 30th except public holidays. Cooktown & Mungumby Lodge are accessible 12 months of the year. In the possible event of adverse weather conditions Feb – April, Australian Pacific Lodges reserve the right to change the itinerary to ensure the safety of guests, but will be guided by Daintree Air & BOM Australia in making this decision and clients will be contracted locally by lodge staff prior to their departure. Itineraries are subject to last minute change due to weather conditions and Aboriginal Land sorry business closures.


TERMS OF TRADE: – All bookings are subject to availability and $100 non-refundable deposit, itinerary is to remain as stated within. Bookings once confirmed can be changed, but a $25 fee per change is added to the final settlement. Cancelations up until 14 days prior to travel are acceptable with loss of deposit. Full payment is due 14 days prior to date of confirmed travel. NB: In the event of Daintree Air canceling a flight due to safety, the air component will be refunded or flight offered on an alternative day from Cooktown or Cairns subject to customers’ forward itinerary.

NB:- On Sundays there are very limited options open in our region as we are remote. The Mungumby Restaurant serves breakfast 7 days, dinner is available 6 nights, but not available on Sunday nights. On Sunday dinner can be taken at the Lion’s Den Hotel 5 km away.


The following items of clothing and equipment are recommended for this trip:

 Comfortable walking boots/shoes (with a good tread/non-slip sole), Light-weight shirt (long sleeved for sun protection),  Sports or running shoes, Shorts, T-shirts, Swimwear, Cotton or synthetic athletic socks, Light-weight sweater or sweat shirt, Sunglasses, Sunscreen and sun-blocking lip balm, Light hat wide brim or peaked cap, Camera, and batteries, binoculars (optional)  Personal water bottle (optional), Waterproof jacket, light-weight Warm pullover or jacket (May-Sep)

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