The Daintree National Park offers some spectacular
scenery combining ancient rainforest and unspoilt beaches
The Daintree National Park in tropical north Queensland is
one of the most visually spectacular areas in Australia, and you simply
MUST visit this amazing place on your Australian travels !
Thousands of hectares of the oldest rainforest in the world (100 million
years older than the more famous Amazon) which run all the way from
the mountains down to the pristine beaches of the Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park, two World Heritage listed National Parks side by side for
you to explore on a good variety of Daintree tours that are available,
and you can sleep right inside this ancient jungle too as there is some
accommodation hidden away in this ancient rain forest.
Because people have lived here since well before the Daintree
National Park was declared their land was surrounded by the park
in 1981 and now there are privately owned properties and accommodation
places in the Daintree rainforest which can give you a magical
experience of sleeping right inside an environment unchanged for
120 million years.
World famous nature lover David Attenborough has seen a lot of
amazing places around the world, but the Daintree is on top of
his favourites list, as he tells below:
The word Daintree can have several different meanings,
read below and click the links for more detailed information.
It all started with the river being discovered in the 1880's and
being named after Queensland geologist Richard Daintree.
National Park consists of several sections with
the southern part of it easily reached at Mossman Gorge.
You can go for a walk here, have a swim in the river, or book
on a tour with the local Aborigines.
Most of the other accessible Daintree rainforest is located
north of the Daintree river where there are boardwalks in
the National Park, a hiking trail up Mount Sorrow, pristine
unspoilt beaches, guided tours to take you in to this rainforest
and learn about it, and some great accommodation places to
sleep right inside the Daintree rainforest.
If you really want to see The Daintree, then you need to cross
the Daintree river, or you have missed most of it.
River - the river that separates the northern
section of the Daintree National Park from the rest of the
There are numerous tour operators that can take you out to
see crocodiles, birds and all the other wildlife that the
area has to offer. There is a cable ferry that runs from 06:00
till midnight every day to take you and your car across.
Village is a small town on the Daintree river
a few kilometres upstream from the ferry.
Not the village in the rainforest as many believe as timber
cutters cleared the area a long time ago, but it is a scenic
area with some nice accommodation and a wide range of crocodile
spotting tours and some birdwatching tours available.
Daintree Rainforest - this means
both the Daintree National Park and the rainforest on privately
When the Daintree National Park was declared in 1981 there were
already quite a few privately owned properties in the area, and
the park was fitted in around them. The government has placed lots
of restrictions on this privately owned rainforest to protect it,
so owners are limited in what they can do with it. One bonus for
the travellers is that it is now possible to stay in small eco-lodges
right inside this magical rainforest environment, a much better
experience than just zipping through on a daytour as too many people
do. When we stay in the Daintree we always stay at Rainforest Hideaway,
our favourite Daintree
So, what's so special about the Daintree?
The dense jungle of the ancient World Heritage
listed Daintree rainforest
The Daintree contains large areas of untouched wilderness
that has, according to scientists, not changed for at least 120
milion years, so visiting here is like stepping into a time machine
and although the Amazon might be more famous this jungle is six
In this ancient jungle live many plants and animals that are rare
or endangered and not found anywhere else, including some species
that had been considered extinct for millennia until they were discovered
to be living here.
Guided tours are available where experienced guides share their
expertise of this amazing eco system with you.
And even when you're not looking at it from a scientific point of
view the area is simply stunning in its beauty, untouched ancient
rainforest, pristine beaches and colourful coral and tropical fish,
a photographer's dream come true !
Accommodation in the Daintree
Rainforest Hideaway offers B&B accommodation
in Cape Tribulation deep inside the Daintree rainforest
The Daintree offers a good choice of accommodation
options from camping to backpackers hostels to holiday homes and
resorts. But to make the most of your holidays in the Daintree consider
staying with the locals in a small B&B to learn what it is like
to live inside a rainforest with solar power and wildlife such as
cassowaries and goannas around you.
Hideaway B&B in Cape Tribulation
Rainforest Hideaway is
probably the most unique
Accommodation in the Daintree !
Owner-built, tropical design jungle house with handcrafted
furniture from local timbers, frequent wildlife sightings
including cassowaries, deep inside the oldest rainforest
in the world but surprisingly, the nights are mosquito-free!
Whenever the owner is not looking after the guests (maximum
of four guests only) he is busy creating more sculptures,
and there is a very interesting rainforest sculpture trail
for guests to explore.
Rainforest Hideaway B&B is very well situated within
walking distance of Cape Tribulation "town"centre,
breathtaking beaches, National Park boardwalk, restaurant,
bar and shop.
Cape Tribulation is the place where the ancient Daintree
rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef and there is a good
choice of tours available, such as; snorkeling / scuba-diving,
horse riding, guided rainforest walks, 4WD safaris, seakayaking,
jungle surfing, fruit tasting, crocodile cruises and fishing.
The guide on Jungle Adventures nightwalk in Cape Tribulation
showing a python in a tree
There is an excellent variety of tours available in the
Daintree that cover all areas of this spectacular region.
The Daintree rainforest is covered by guided day and nightwalks, jungle
surfing and fourwheeldrive tours, while the Great Barrier Reef Marine
Park has tours available such as snorkeling half day trips and sea kayaking
And in between those are tours such as the exotic fruit tasting tours
at Cape Tribulation, horse riding and crocodile spotting on the Daintree
river and Cooper Creek.
Although there are boardwalks in the National Park and a
hiking track up Mount Sorrow where you can go on your own and take some
nice photos it still adds another dimension to your experience to go in
to the rainforest with a guided tour.
The tourguides are all locals who have a deep knowledge of the Daintree
rainforest and can tell you all about how everything you see fits together
in this ancient eco-system, and another bonus is that they are trained
at spotting camouflaged animals that you would walk past, and they know
where they live.
These guided tours are also run on privately owned rainforest so you get
to see places that otherwise you would not see.
And as far as the snorkeling tours to the Great Barrier
Reef go; you simply can not come to north Queensland and not see the reef,
travelling Australia and bypassing the reef would be like going in to
Baskin Robbins and ordering vanilla!
Although there are quite a few places along the Queensland coast where
Great Barrier Reef tours are offered we recommend to do it from Cape Tribulation.
The reef here is closer to the coast than further south, and with Cape
Tribulation being a small place at the end of the beaten track there are
smaller numbers of tourists going out here so less disturbance to the
reef and spectacular coral and fish!
Researching and booking tours can be a hassle in some places
but in the Daintree it is easy, via the website Daintree-holidays.com.au
you can see in a few clicks what the availability of all the Daintree
Tours is and book them online with instant confirmation !
Transport to the Daintree
Hirecar on the way from Cairns to the Daintree along
the spectacular scenic coastline
Despite lots of outdated travel information on the web and
guide books rest assured that access to the Daintree is no problem.
The road has been sealed all the way to Cape Tribulation for ten years
now, and bridges were completed over creeks that used to rise in the wet
season so there is now all weather year round access for any type of normal
car all the way to Cape Tribulation. Only if you want to go further north
on the Bloomfield Track then you will need a four wheel drive vehicle.
The first section of the Daintree National Park is only
an hours drive from Cairns at Mossman Gorge. After that it is another
half hour to either Daintree Village or de Daintree River ferry.
Cape Tribulation is located 145 km. or 2.5 hours from Cairns, and 80km.
or 1.5 hours from Port Douglas.
The Daintree river ferry operates continuously from 6 am till midnight
and costs $21.- return but there are multiple use passes available for
$40.- if you stay in the Daintree area for a few days.
Rental cars are the most convenient way to travel up to
the Daintree, north of Cairns the Cook Highway joins the coast and between
here and Port Douglas it is a spectacular drive on a nice sunny day.
WIth your own hire car you can stop where you want and explore the Daintree
area much better.
is the best place to start your search for a cheap hire car to the Daintree.
Ofcourse you can search all the major car hire companies one after the
other but you'll find it saves you a lot of time to simply type in your
car hire location and dates, and get presented with an overview where
you see all available cars next to their prices to compare on one page.
Can it get any easier?
Example of how easy Vroomvroomvroom makes choosing a car and comparing
There are buses that do package deals with a few interesting
stops along the way such as crocodile spotting on the Daintree river,
boardwalks in the National Park etc. Downside is that their accommodation
options are a bit limited and usually only at backpackers hostels.
Companies such as Cape
Trib Connections, Tropics
Explorer, and Jungle
Tours do package deals where you get your return transfer
and one or two nights in a backpackers hostel all in one deal. Tropical
Horizons does the same thing but less targeted at backpackers
and with more choice of accommodation.
There are also public transport buses that will take you
door to door from Cairns, airport, Port Douglas and all in between all
the way up to Cape Tribulation. Country
Roads Coach Lines does a run all the way from Cairns to Cooktown,
so is a good option if you plan to head further north after your Cape
Tribulation stay. They depart Cairns at 07:00 in the morning, arriving
in Cape Trib about 10:10 but not every day, only on Monday, Wednesday,
and Friday, at the time of writing this page the one way fare Cairns to
Cape Tribulation was $46.-
The return journey leaves Cape Trib at 10:10 on Tuesday, Thursday and
Saturday and arrives in Cairns around 13:30.
If your time is limited you might want to do just a day
tour, in Cairns and Port Douglas there are several tour operators that
daytours to the Daintree and Cape Tribulation , such as
This is only a good option if you really have run out of time, if at all
possible you should try to stay a few nights in some accommodation
in Cape Tribulation to experience sleeping and waking up in the middle
of this amazing rainforest.
Cairns is the nearest major airport to the Daintree with
many domestic and international flights landing here.
Try Zuji for an overview of all the best deals on flight Cairns.
Other info on the Daintree
The cassowary is an icon of the Daintree rainforest
The Daintree is one of the very few places on this planet
where you can come face to face with a cassowary.
This prehistoric bird still roams the forests, but unfortunately its brain
is not big enough to cope with 21 st century traffic, and they need to
cross the road sometimes.
So please when you drive off the ferry on the north side of the river
observe the speed limits and keep an eye out for these birds. And when
you do see them on the road don't stop (you might get hit from behind
by another car coming around the bend) and even more important don't feed
them, as otherwise they'll keep coming back to the road for a feed and
get runover sooner or later. Do not approach them for that extra good
close up photo, their powerful legs can kick and disembowel you, especially
when they have chicks with them that they want to protect.
In north Queensland the box jellyfish stop swimming in the
ocean in Australia's summer months from November till May, and during
this time you should cool down in other places such as the beautiful freshwater
creeks in the rainforest, or the swimming pool at your accommodation.
Box jellyfish are only found close to shore, if you go out to the reef
on a snorkeling tour you won't encounter them there.
The only churches in the whole Daintree region are located
in Mossman, nothing north of the river.
As soon as you arrive at the Daintree river you should
be croc-wise. This means you or especially your children should not stand
on the water's edge while you wait for the ferry, crocodiles can swim
under water without a ripple on the surface and burst out with enough
speed and power to take a horse or a cow. You may not see crocodiles but
they probably see you.
Don't let the above warnings get you too worried,
since National Parks has started placing crocodile warning signs
at the entry points to the beach people have started believing that
crocodiles will drag you off the beach in broad daylight.
This is definitely not the case, and it is not even in a crocodile's
normal behaviour to attack people in the sea.
There is a very comprehensive listing of crocodile
attacks in Australia, and this shows you that crocodile attacks
mainly occur at night, and/or in places where no sensible person
would swim in muddy magrove creeks and often people had been drinking
alcohol as well ignoring signs such as the one on the right.
Fortunately there is a good choice of croc spotting tours
available on the Daintree river so you can see these pre-historic creatures
in safety, and have an expert guide spot them for you, because they camouflage
Three of the four short boardwalks (Marrja, Dubuji and Kulki)
are wheelchair accessible.
At the fourth boardwalk (Jindalba) wheelchair access to the creek is available
from the exit end only, near the parking bays for people with disabilities.
Cape Trib Farmstay has a wheel chair accesible cabin at Cape Tribulation.
Nice and Easy Cruises that does crocodile tours on the Daintree river
has a boat that can take wheelchairs.
Fuel is available at the only petrol station north of the
river; Rainforest Village, 14 kilometres north of the ferry. If you're
fourwheel driving then you wil find more fuel north of the Bloomfield
There are a number of easy and even wheelchair accessible
boardwalks in the Daintree National Park on the north side of the Daintree
river, but the only walk that will satisfy the more serious energetic
bushwalker is the Mount Sorrow
Trail at Cape Tribulation, there is not much in between these two
There are no internet cables north of the Daintree river
and the only two choices for residents and businesses are dialup (too
slow) or satellite dish (expensive). While a satellite dish may give some
better speeds than dialup it is still slower than your cable back home,
and also gets charged according to usage, both download and upload are
counted. It is therefore risky to give people free access to your internet
connection as a few hours of watching movies or doing big dowloads can
quickly add up to big bills.
There are computeres and/or wifi available at the Cape Tribulation Shop,
PK's, Ferntree and the Beachhouse.
In the wilderness of the Daintree north of the river 21st
century services are few and far between.
If you can not live without mobile phone reception, you will have to stay
at Cape Kimberley in one of the holiday homes available there.
Further north of here there is virtually no mobile phone reception, but
some spots where it will work half the time are on Thornton Beach, on
the rocky headland on the southern side of Cape Tribulation, on the tower
in the Discovery Centre, and on Alexandra Range lookout. If you go out
to the reef then your phone will often work out at sea too, just remember
to take it out of your pocket before you jump in to go snorkeling.
There are quite a few different habitats around the Daintree
region so the mosquito varies from place to place.
If you are worried about mosquitoes don't let this stop you from exploring
the Daintree, in Port Douglas which is lowland with swamp country you
will find more mosquitoes than at Rainforest Hideaway in Cape Tribulation,
which surprisingly enough does not get any mosquitoes at night despite
being deep inside the rainforest!
If you need to do some shopping then your last chance is
at Mossman which has a Woolworth's supermarket and all the other shops
you might need on your travels. Further north it gets a bit more limited,
at Wonga Beach there is a pharmacy and some groceries at the petrol station
and Daintree Village has a small grocery shop.
There are three small grocery shops north of the Daintree river; Rainforest
Village, 14 kilometres north of the river, and Mason's Cape Trib Shop
and Friendly Grocer at Cape Tribulation.
Still need to find something that is not listed
on this page?
More comprehensive tourist information on the Daintree can be found on
which has more information than above here, and also a wide range of Daintree
accommodation and Daintree tours to book online. And when you still can't
find it there email their online support.
This Google map shows you the Daintree region, go to satellite
view to get an idea of how much rainforest there is.