Tropic Encounters – Harvest Journeys Catholic Pilgrimages

Tropic Encounters

North Queensland has a unique Catholic spirituality and traditional Aboriginal culture, along with spectacular coastlines, coral reefs and lush natural beauty. From the stunning Great Barrier Reef, to the World-Heritage Listed rainforests of Daintree National Park, be awed by the wonder of creation and the blessings of this sacred land.

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Cairns (1) • Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures • Mossman Gorge • Port Douglas (3) • Great Barrier Reef exploration cruise • Daintree Rainforest National Park • Cape Tribulation • Alexandra Lookout • Palm Cove • Kuranda Village • Barron Falls • Mareeba • Atherton Tablelands (1) • Nerada Tea Plantation & Tea House • Mamu Tropical Skywalk • Mission Beach• Tully Gorge National Park • Hinchinbrook Lookout • Townsville (1) • Ayr • Bowen • Airlie Beach (2) • Whitsunday Island Cruise

  • 9 Days / 8 Nights
  • Cairns to Airlie Beach
  • Daily Mass


Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner

Day 1Begin Cairns

Theme: New Beginnings
Proposed Mass: St Monica’s Cathedral, Cairns

  • Begin our journey with Mass at the Cathedral and be awed by the world’s largest themed stained-glass windows. Meet your group leader and get to know your fellow travelers as we come together to share our first group dinner.

Cairns overnight (D)

Day 2Cairns via Mossman Gorge to Port Douglas

Theme: God’s Provision
Proposed Mass: St Augustine’s Catholic Church, Mossman

  • After Mass this morning, we embark on a local tour of Cairns. Look at buildings of significance from the early colony, including architectural styles, as well as indigenous outdoor artworks. Learn about the importance of the natural features of Cairns (reef and rain forest), the oldest living culture in the world and the pre-colonial lifestyle. Historic buildings highlighted include Cairns Museum, Cairns Art Gallery, Mulgrave Shire Office, Telegraph Office, Post Office, Chambers, Boland’s Department Store, the Adelaide Steamship Company, Central Hotel, Chinatown, and Hides Hotel.
  • After lunch head north along the Great Barrier Reef Drive to the township of Port Douglas.
  • Enjoy an unforgettable animal encounter with a visit to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. Brave a face-to-face meeting with menacing crocodiles or have the opportunity to hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies, then get up-close to other Aussie creatures like cassowaries, wombats and snakes.
  • Board the Mossman Gorge shuttle into the rainforest with your guide. Enjoy the spectacular scenery of the dense tropical rainforest and crystal-clear water flowing over giant boulders of the Mossman River.

Port Douglas overnight (BD)

Day 3Great Barrier Reef Exploration (Low Isles)

Theme: Awe & Gratitude
Proposed Mass: St Mary’s Church, Port Douglas

  • Explore the fascinating underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef on a full-day sailing catamaran cruise to Low Isles. View coral gardens and tropical marine life on a glass-bottom boat tour, explore the tropical on a guided nature walk and relax on the pristine, sandy beaches. The sun-filled day at sea includes a buffet lunch, morning and afternoon tea.

Port Douglas overnight (BLD)

Day 4Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation

Theme: Grace through trials
Proposed Mass: outdoor Mass

  • Visit one of the oldest rainforests in the world – the Daintree Rainforest. Spot crocodiles and other wildlife on a mangrove forest cruise, hike along boardwalks through the trees, and learn all about the biodiversity of this UNESCO-listed area.
  • Head north and pass the sugar cane fields of North Queensland, stop at the Daintree Tea House where you might like to have a break for lunch.
  • Continue on to Cape Tribulation where two World Heritage areas meet – the Rainforest of the Daintree National Park and the Great Barrier Reef. Continue along winding and picturesque roads where along the way you’ll see even more wonders of the World Heritage-listed National Park.
  • Stop at the Alexandra Lookout for an opportunity to look back over the coastal road and take in the breathtaking views over the Daintree River mouth, Snapper Island and Low Isles.
  • Venture south back toward The Daintree River, stopping along the way at one of the Daintree Ice Cream Shops for afternoon tea where you can sample locally made ice-cream featuring seasonal fruits of the tropics.

Port Douglas overnight (BD)

Day 5Port Douglas via Palm Cove and Kuranda to Atherton Tablelands

Theme: Springs in dry places
Proposed Mass: St Thomas of Villanova Church, Mareeba

  • Head south along the Captain Cook Highway passing through the beach suburb of Palm Cove. Hear about the rich history of Double and Haycock Islands and be amazed at the huge Melaleuca Trees that are hundreds of years old.
  • Then head to the Barron Gorge National Park for a 1.2 km return (40 minute) boardwalk suspended high above the forest floor through lush, rainforest canopy to the Barron Falls lookouts and Barron Falls railway platform. Enjoy views over the gorge and spectacular Barron Falls.
  • Continue to Kuranda village – where you can browse the famous Kuranda markets and shops, which offer a range of local goods and souvenirs.
  • Our journey continues through the Atherton Tablelands, where lush rainforest, waterfalls and lakes abound.

Atherton overnight (BD)

Day 6Atherton via Nerada, Mamu Tropical Skywalk, Mission Beach & Tully Gorge National Park to Townsville

Theme: Identity & Purpose
Proposed Mass: Church of the Holy Spirit, Mission Beach

  • Departing Atherton we journey to the Nerada Tea Plantation. Nested among Queensland’s highest mountain range, in the picturesque setting of Malanda, this 360-hectare tea estate is Australia’s largest tea plantation. Visit the Tea Room where you can sit back, take in the stunning views across the tea estate and enjoy their famous Devonshire tea and scones or a seasonal light lunch. Then go behind the scenes with a farm tour or tea blending experience.
  • Continue on to Wooroonoon National Park to take a walk in the clouds on the Mamu Tropical Skywalk. Elevated walkways, a cantilever, and observation tower offer the exhilarating experience of being high in the rainforest canopy, along with providing spectacular panoramic views of World Heritage rainforest landscapes.
  • We stop for a lunch break at Mission Beach – with its coconut lined 14km stretch of golden sand interlinking three beaches and four villages. We encounter and learn something of the local Indigenous story and the tragic events that took place following the wreck of the ship Maria in 1872.
  • Continue on to the Tully Gorge National Park, part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Watch as the Tully River plunges into the deep gorge from the Tully Gorge lookout, and follow the River walk to the river above the falls (and below the dam wall).
  • On our way to Townsville we stop at the Hinchinbrook Lookout (Panjoo Lookout) which provides visitors uninterrupted views of the Hinchinbrook Channel and Hinchinbrook Island. The name ‘Panjoo’ means ‘beautiful place’ in Banjin – the traditional owners of Hinchinbrook Island.

Townsville overnight (BD)

Day 7Townsville via Ayr & Bowen to Airlie Beach

Theme: Healing & Restoration
Proposed Mass: Sacred Heart Cathedral, Townsville

  • Today we travel through the verdant patchwork of sugar cane fields and snaking rivers of the Burdekin region well-known for its barramundi, mudcrabs, estuary species and off-coast reef fishing. Our first stop along the way is at the rural town of Ayr, devoted to sugar cane, melon, and mango farming. Here we visit the Ayr Nature Display – Australia’s unique, preserved collection of butterflies, moths, beetles, crustaceans, seashells, reptiles, rocks, timber, aboriginal stone implements and fossils, especially ammonites, all under one roof.
  • Then onto Bowen – Australia’s mango capital. This coastal rural town is characteristic of wide streets, wooden Queenslander homes, a slow pace, and friendly locals. Here we view the town’s 24 murals depicting historical events.
  • Drive to the top of Bowen Hill Lookout and take in the 360-degree views.

Airlie Beach overnight (BD)

Day 8Whitsunday Islands Cruise

Theme: Wonder of Creation
Proposed Mass: Mass on board the vessel

  • The Whitsunday Islands and their fringing coral reefs form part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area the first ever declared in Queensland. Today we explore and enjoy a curise around the Whitsunday Island group. Marvel at the picturesque shifting sand and aqua waters of this spectacular location, stroll the pure white silica sands of Southern Whitehaven Beach, relax and cool off in the clear waters. Visit a beautiful fringing coral reef for snorkeling or join a glass bottom boat tour and then a guided walk to the Hill Inlet lookout at Tongue Bay.

Airlie Beach overnight (BLD)

Day 9Finish Proserpine

Theme: Hope & Inspiration
Proposed Mass: Whitsunday Parish, Proserpine

  • Transfer to Proserpine Airport after breakfast for our homebound flights or maybe stay on at Hamilton Island

* All tour inclusions and order of daily arrangements remain subject to change due to any unforeseen circumstances, which may arise, or at the discretion of the tour leadership.

Pre & Post Tour Extensions

Top End Encounters

  • August Pre-Tour Extension20 - 28 August 2022
  • Darwin to Darwin
  • 8 Nights
Graces of NSW
  • September Post-Tour Extension07 - 13 September 2022
  • Sydney to Sydney
  • 6 Nights

Dates & Prices

Tour Cost
28 Aug - 05 Sep 2022
Fr Steve Fletcher MGL
More info
28 Aug - 05 Sep 2022
More info


28 Aug - 05 Sep 2022


Fr Steve Fletcher MGL

Tour Cost


Tour Code


Single Room

AU990 Supplement

Air & Tour



Cairns/Airlie Beach

Prepaid Tips


* Prices are indicative and remain subject to possible changes in the unlikely event of significant exchange rate variations, airfare increases or minimum group size contingencies.


  • Accommodation at superior standard 3 – 4 star hotels with breakfast and dinner daily
  • Lunches as per the itinerary
  • Deluxe Air-Conditioned Touring Coach • Professional Driver / Guide throughout the program
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer (as applicable)
  • Accompanied by a Harvest Tour Director
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees as listed
  • Quality Harvest pilgrim pack including Harvest backpack, Pilgrim Journal and Travel Wallet.

Not included

  • Airfares
  • Other meals not listed
  • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc.
  • Travel insurance - ask Harvest about its preferred Travel Insurance


Fr Steve Fletcher MGL
August Departure

With Fr Steve Fletcher MGL


Or Call us
AU: 1800 819 156
NZ: 0800 819 156

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