As a treasured World Heritage Site, it’s not hard to see why the Daintree Rainforest is considered one of the most popular things to do in Cairns, for both tourists and residents.
Located 2 hours North of Cairns, the Daintree is an amazing experience that one must experience to truly appreciate. Not only as the largest rainforest in Australia, but also due to the fact it is over 135 million years old, the Daintree holds up as a superior choice for things to do in Cairns and as a top destination in Australia. The Daintree township is on the Cairns side of the Daintree River but the Daintree National Park stretches from Mossman in the south to the Bloomfield River in the north past Cape Tribulation.
Personally we recommend the tours if you are on holidays, yet if you are one of the more adventurous type, hire a car and explore it at your own leisure. Either way, you are going to experience the beauty and magic of an ancient ecosystem, home to a vast range of colourful and exotic flora and fauna. Don’t forget to drop into the Daintree Tea House for a sample brew of the locally grown “Daintree Tea”. Yes there’s a Tea plantation up there, along with Daintree Vanilla & Spice farm, and Daintree Chocolate. We personally think the Tea is second to none. The chocolate is always a favourite and is exceptional quality but is a tad on the expensive side.
To get to the northern side of the Daintree River, you will need to take the Daintree River Ferry. You would have passed the turn off to the ferry approx 10km before the town – there’s a big sign to Cape Tribulation. Tickets can be purchased at the River. On the other side of the river is the amazing Cow Bay, Thornton Beach and onwards to Cape Tribulation.
Driving through the rainforest you can stop off at multiple board walks, tracks, water features and beaches. The road is fairly slow and eventually you will find yourself losing count of the traffic speed humps you will drive over. The humps are there for a reason – the road passes through Cassowary country and, since you’re going slow, you may strike lucky to see one. The last thing you want to do is hit one – they are endangered. And if you do see one – STAY IN YOUR CAR!!! They are dangerous particularly during breeding season.
You definitely want to see this truly breathtaking scenery, inclusive of huge canopies, mangroves, fresh water creeks, white sandy unspoiled beaches and some of the most beautiful birds and butterflies you will ever see, not to mention the strange and wonderful insects, frogs and marsupials.
Seriously, the majestic beauty of the Daintree Rainforest never ceases to amaze. It’s like walking into a time machine, as you can let your imagination run wild to see what a lot of the world would have looked like many years ago. Very spiritual, very humbling. With all this discovering though, you’re probably going to get hungry. If that’s the case, you won’t go hungry.
There’s a few cafes and shops scattered around the Daintree coast, so if you’re feeling a bit hungry, you will be sure to find a good meal to keep you going. A cafe that we recommend is the Cafe on Sea at Thornton Beach. Great food, great location and right on the beach. It’s a perfect stop off onto your way to Cape Tribulation.
Cape Tribulation is the end of the sealed road for your Daintree forest adventure. The dirt road continues up to Cooktown along the Bloomfield track and is 4WD country only. We will write an article dedicated to Cape Tribulation very soon. Once you get out onto the beach where the rainforest meets the ocean, you are exposed to a stunning landscape, as you overlook the looming, rainforest blanketed mountains that kiss the oceans shores.
Yes, the Daintree Rainforest is truly a memorable experience and to make it an unforgettable one with no hiccups, we have a few tips for you, to ensure that your visit to the Daintree Rainforest is one that you enjoy and remember forever.
Tips and Tricks
Keep on the tracks. You don’t want to go bush bashing in the Daintree. Seriously, it’s wild land.
There is no mobile reception once your in the Daintree, so forget those Facebook updates until later.
Crocodiles and snakes are everywhere. Use your head, or you may just lose it!
There is no better time to be in a rainforest than during the rain. It’s amazing.
If you’re heading in with your own car, make sure you go in early in case you have car problems.
The Daintree is home to over 500 residents. Be respectful and courteous to their home.
Don’t harass or confront the wildlife. Some are not as friendly as they seem