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Cape Tribulation, Queensland facts for kids

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Cape Tribulation
Cape Tribulation from the South Beach 1.jpg
Cape Tribulation
Cape Tribulation is located in Queensland
Cape Tribulation
Cape Tribulation
Location in Queensland
Population 118 (2016 census)
 • Density 0.939/km2 (2.43/sq mi)
Postcode(s) 4873
Area 125.6 km2 (48.5 sq mi)
LGA(s) Shire of Douglas
State electorate(s) Cook
Federal Division(s) Leichhardt
Suburbs around Cape Tribulation:
Degarra Bloomfield Coral Sea
Bloomfield Cape Tribulation Coral Sea
Noah Thornton Beach Coral Sea

Cape Tribulation is a headland and coastal locality in the Shire of Douglas in northern Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Cape Tribulation had a population of 118 people.


Cape Tribulation was named by British navigator Lieutenant James Cook on 10 June 1770 (log date) after his ship scraped a reef north east of the cape, whilst passing over it, at 6pm. Cook steered away from the coast into deeper water but at 10.30pm the ship ran aground, on what is now named Endeavour Reef. The ship stuck fast and was badly damaged, desperate measures being needed to prevent it foundering until it was refloated the next day. Cook recorded "...the north point [was named] Cape Tribulation because here begun all our troubles".

In the 1930s some European settlers started arriving in Cape Tribulation, but they found the rainforest environment a difficult place to get established. Various ventures such as fruit and vegetable farming, fishing, cattle, and timber cutting were started and abandoned over the years, and having weekly barges as the only transport in and out was another handicap. In the 1960s a rough track was bulldozed and the first vehicle access created, although the road remained a four-wheel drive track until the early 1990s. In 2002, the road was finally sealed all the way to Cape Tribulation and in early 2011 the last bridge was built creating year round all weather access to Cape Tribulation for the first time.


In 1983, Cape Tribulation became widely known because of the blockade on the Bloomfield Track. Local government had decided to bulldoze a road through the rainforest north of Cape Tribulation to complete the coastal road to Cooktown. Protesters tried to stop the bulldozers and occupied trees to prevent their destruction. While wild scenes with a large police and media presence ensued at the southern end, the road was completed in three short weeks as the road builders approached from northern end and flanked the protestors. By now the state and federal governments had started to realise the value of this ancient rainforest and despite protests from the local council the forests surrounding Cape Tribulation were given World Heritage Listing in 1988.

Tourist destination

Cape Tribulation head, near Dubuji Boardwalk
The Dubuji Boardwalk leads to the beach.
Coconut Beach Resort 20051024
Coconut Beach Resort, 2005

From the mid-1980s the first backpackers hostels started getting built, and in the 1990s some more resorts for the more upmarket tourists. Nowadays there are also several small owner operated Bed and Breakfast eco lodges hidden away in the rainforest. Compared to a lot of famous tourist destinations along coastal Queensland, Cape Tribulation is still an off the beaten track destination.

Most people visit the area during the dry season between July and November. During the wet season marine stingers are prevalent causing locals and visitors to swim in the many creeks that are not infested with crocodiles. There are four main resorts in the area catering to backpackers and more upmarket tourists, and some unique rainforest bed and breakfasts.


Mount Sorrow, Cape Tribulation, QLD
Mount Sorrow, viewed from the main highway.

The average annual rainfall for Cape Tribulation is 3,900 mm. In 2006, the rainfall recorded was over 6.5 m (256 in) and in 2010 it reached 8 metres.


A sealed road provides access to the area from the south via the Daintree River Ferry and with the completion of the Cooper Creek bridge access is now year round all weather. North from Cape Tribulation Beach House, a four-wheel drive unsealed road, known as the Bloomfield Track, continues to the Bloomfield River, Wujal Wujal, Bloomfield Falls and Cooktown and is often closed during the wet season (February to April).


Australian Fan Palm, Dubuji Boardwalk, Cape Tribulation
Australian Fan Palm. Large circular leaves that resemble an umbrela.

The Great Barrier Reef is some 19 km (12 mi) due east; there is a boat charter that leaves from the beach at Cape Tribulation. Other activities available are 4WD tours, horse-riding, kayaking, jungle surfing and crocodile cruises.

The Daintree Entomological Museum showcasing the butterfly and beetle collection of lifelong collector Steve Lamond is located 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south of Cape Tribulation.

Walking tracks

The area has a number of walking tracks ranging from easy to difficult. The Dubuji Boardwalk is a walking trail from the main highway to the beach that has toilet and picnic facilities. It leads mainly through swampland with many mangroves. A characteristic of this walk are the tree trunks the path is built around. The Mount Sorrow ridge trail is a seven-hour walk which leads to a lookout with expansive views.

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