The Daintree Rainforest is located on the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia, north of Mossman and Cairns.
The Wet Tropics of Queensland Rainforest, which covers the Cairns Region, is the oldest continuously existing tropical rainforest in the world, and the Daintree is a part of it.
The Daintree Rainforest is the biggest rainforest in Australia. It covers an area of over 1,200 square kilometres and is the largest is home to numerous animal and plant species that are unique to this planet. It is the oldest rainforest in the world, having existed for more than 135 million years.
1. Some Interesting Facts About Daintree Rainforest
The Daintree Rainforest once stretched across the enormous continent of Australia. It is a rare surviving example of 120 million years of climate change, which has reduced the Daintree to a small part of the continent.
The Daintree rainforest is named after Richard Daintree (1832–1878), an Australian geologist and photographer.
The Daintree region comprises the Daintree National Park, some parts of the State Forest, and some privately owned lands, which also include a residential community.
The Wet Tropics of Queensland, which includes a large portion of the Daintree Rainforest, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1988 in recognition of the rainforest’s unique ability to showcase unified natural values.
Significant and essential habitats for the preservation of biodiversity can be found in the Daintree rainforest. There are about 430 different bird species that inhabit the trees. The Daintree is also home to the primitive plant species Austrobaileya scandens and Idiospermum australiense. The southern cassowary and Bennett’s tree-kangaroo are two examples of the endangered and rare species that inhabit the Daintree Region.
90% of Australia’s bat and butterfly species as well as 30% of the country’s frog, reptile, and marsupial species can be found in the Daintree Rainforest. In this region, there are 7% of all bird species in the entire nation.
1.1. Daintree Village
The Daintree Village which began as a timber-cutting community in the 1870s is now a pristine oasis amidst some of the most breathtaking and diverse landscapes in Queensland’s far north.
Europeans first discovered the Daintree River in 1873. The Daintree river and village were first named by the Scottish geologist and adventurer George Elphinstone Dalrymple, after Richard Daintree. Prior to the completion of the road to Mossman in 1933, Daintree Village was an inland port with only river access.
1.2. Daintree River
The great Daintree River divides the Daintree rainforest from the world around it. As you travel across the river and enter the lovely tropical forest, it gives the impression that you are entering an unusual and historic location.
A spectacular variety of tropical life can be found in the Daintree River. Both freshwater and saltwater aquatic life, including the feared saltwater crocodile, is embraced by it. It’s crucial to avoid walking too close to the riverbank and to never take a dip in it because there have been multiple accounts of crocodile breaches that resulted in fatalities in the Daintree River.
The Daintree River’s mouth opens onto a massive sandbar that moves with the tidal wave. There has always been difficulty entering the Daintree River because of the sandbar’s constantly shifting deep centre. The river’s water stays extremely salty when it flows through dense mangrove forests. The water becomes fresh as it passes through the rainforest. An abundance of wildlife, primarily fish, congregate at this point of intersection.
2. Why Should you Visit the Daintree Rainforest?
The Daintree Rainforest is the world’s oldest tropical rainforest by an astounding 10 million years. It’s no surprise that tourists experience the spirit of ancient cultures with every step.
A day trip to Daintree Rainforest is an interesting travel destination from Cairns and Port Douglas. The experiences you can have here can be just as unique as the wilderness itself. You can enjoy a croc cruise on the Daintree River, a ferry ride across the river, and a trip to Cape Tribulation. You can even relish a luxurious spa’s therapeutic benefits, float leisurely down the river on a raft, and learn from the Kuku Yalanji, the region’s longtime guardians, who will impart their centuries-old wisdom.
3. How to Reach the Daintree Rainforest?
Many visitors to North Queensland are familiar with the renowned Daintree Rainforest. The rainforest has a good hiking path that begins at Mossman Gorge which is only one hour and thirty minutes by car from Cairns and twenty-five minutes from Port Douglas.
You could also travel a bit more and stop at the Daintree Village. There are a few Daintree River ferries here, as well as a few tiny cafes.
Or, if you’re feeling particularly energetic, you might decide to head straight for Cape Tribulation. After Mossman, you must stick to the directions to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree River Ferry. A drive from Cairns to Cape Tribulation might take about 2 hours and 30 minutes and about an hour from Port Douglas.
Car rental services give tourists who arrive at Cairns Airport or the cruise ship terminal the flexibility to travel and explore at their own pace and the chance to see and do more than they could on pre-planned tours.
4. 6 Best Things to do in the Daintree Rainforest
4.1. Enjoy the Daintree River Ferry
The only way to travel across the river is via the Daintree River Ferry, located 50 kilometres north of Port Douglas. It uses a cable system to move a maximum of sixteen vehicles across the river simultaneously. About 5 minutes are required to travel from the river’s south bank to its north bank. In a World Heritage site, this is the only cable ferry in operation.
The Daintree Ferry doesn’t cease to operate until midnight after making its first crossing of the day at 6 AM. For 7 days a week, this sequence is repeated.
Visitors are informed to expect delays because there is only one way to cross the river—the Daintree Ferry. This is a significant undertaking for the operators because more than 400,000 visitors use this ferry each year to visit the World Heritage Area.
4.2. Take a Cruise on the Daintree River
You can get a close-up encounter with the biological diversity of this World Heritage-listed rainforest by taking a cruise on the Daintree River, which is situated north of Port Douglas.
Daintree River Cruise lines are run by eco-certified low-fuel consumption river ships that yield no wash. Additionally, the number of officially approved river cruise companies is restricted.
The main attraction of the Daintree river cruise is unquestionably spotting a saltwater crocodile close to the riverbanks or mangrove swamps. You might experience encounters with numerous tropical bird species, including the wonderful heron and kingfishers, tree kangaroos, possums, cassowaries, and goannas. You just need to rest and enjoy the picturesque ride on the Daintree River, cruises are operated by knowledgeable tourist guides prepared to answer any questions.
4.3. Visit Mossman Gorge
An ecotourism centre with top honors, the Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre is conveniently situated at the entrance to the Daintree Rainforest. Anyone visiting the spectacular far North Queensland area must visit the Mossman Gorge.
Take a leisurely walk along the elevated boardwalk while admiring the breathtaking views of the riverbed and rainforest. As you witness the butterflies flutter, see if you can notice Boyd’s forest dragons hiding in the tree trunks. If you’re feeling adventurous, cross the Rex Creek suspension bridge to experience the breathtaking scenery from a wider viewpoint.
4.4. Visit the Daintree Discovery Centre
While preserving the delicate ecosystem of the Daintree Rainforest, the Daintree Discovery Centre gives visitors the chance to discover and explore one of Far North Queensland’s last breathtaking pockets of tropical rainforests. The Daintree Discovery Centre is a versatile location that provides access to the rainforest at all altitudes ranging, from the forest surface to the rainforest canopy.
The Center includes the only Rainforest Freshwater Aquarium in Australia as well as an informational exhibit on Creek Ecology. It provides a close-up look at some of the fascinating marine life that dwells in the Daintree River and nearby creeks, including species like Archerfish, Barramundi, and Jungle Perch as well as smaller species like Rainbow fish and aquatic prawns.
The Discovery Centre equips tourists with the information and abilities they need to further discover the Daintree Rainforest’s 1200 square kilometres. At the Centre, you can enjoy learning while admiring the live bugs, freshwater aquarium, reptile exhibits, and more. The staff are friendly and always eager to impart their knowledge of the rainforest with enthusiasm.
4.5. Go on a Trek
The Daintree Rainforest offers one of the most exotic and difficult wilderness experiences in the world for hiking trails. Bring plenty of drinking water when hiking in this region to overcome the harsh tropical humidity.
From Myall Beach to Cape Tribulation Beach
It is an hour and a half round trip. You can trek for a kilometre towards the cape from Myall Beach until you reach a tiny creek. Because the water can be quite deep and will drench your boots at the very beginning of the trek, it is advisable to pass this creek at low tide. After travelling 200 meters past the creek there is a placard pointing to Cape Tribulation beach. The Cape Tribulation beach parking lot serves as the trail’s endpoint. returning to myall beach is quite easy you just need to follow the same route through the forest or walk back using the road until you stop at Cape Tribulation Village.
Try Boardwalk in Dubiji
It is 1 hour round journey. There is a sign at Cape Tribulation directing the way to the Dubuji parking space. After that, the 1.8-kilometre Dubiji boardwalk spirals through the mangrove area and rainforest, with instructive signboards along the way describing narratives about the local flora and fauna. Since the boardwalk is circular, you will eventually arrive at the parking space.
Botanical Walk in Mardja
It is a half-hour trek. A route south of Cape Tribulation winds through the rainforest, with helpful signs posted along the way. The boardwalk leads to Oliver Creek, where crocs, birds, and other tropical wild creatures can be found. It is best to take this trek early in the day or the late afternoon to avoid the crowds of visitors who arrive in buses and frequently overcrowd this boardwalk.
Ridge of Mount Sorrow
It is six hours round trip. This is the difficult trek in the Daintree region. The Mount Sorrow Ridge trek ascends steeply into the mountainous regions behind Cape Tribulation and gives stunning panoramas of the surroundings. The hike starts at Cape Tribulation’s National Park Office. The office will have thorough maps of the region that illustrate the route of the hike. Please be aware that this is a strenuous hike and not for the chicken-hearted.
4.6. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
Take a thrilling trip to Cape Tribulation, off Daintree Beach, where you can snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.
The only reef voyage offered from the Daintree Rainforest is the Ocean Safari. Ocean Safari offers half-day leisure trips to the Great Barrier Reef in the morning and the afternoon. The distance between the reef and the Daintree Rainforest is only 25 minutes. After a quick 25-minute ride, you are ready to scuba dive into the two fantastic locations of Mackay and Undine Reefs. Visitors will have two hours to deep-sea dive into the two different reefs.
The Great Barrier Reef is home to a plethora of sea turtles, which can be seen swimming over reefs covered in vibrant coral, as well as a wide variety of tropical fish, eagle rays, giant clams, and starfish, which can all be seen while diving the reef.
It is impossible to fully discover the Daintree Rainforest and its proximity in one day. Luckily, there are many different Daintree lodging choices available to make your trip truly delightful. The Daintree region provides accommodation to suit every visitor’s preferences and budget.
You can enjoy your stay at luxury four-star hotels, boutique cabins, opulent rainforest resorts, self-contained vacation homes, backpacker hostels, as well as camping areas.