Dating back over more than 135 million years, the Daintree Rainforest of Tropical North Queensland is the oldest on earth – and at over 1,200 square kilometres in size, it’s also Australia’s largest.
The World Heritage protected area is a popular tourist destination, drawing a crowd of around 400,000 visitors each year. With its breath-taking beauty and unique plant and wildlife, it’s not hard to see why.
The Daintree Rainforest lies north of Cairns and Port Douglas, via the picturesque town of Mossman, from where you can visit stunning Mossman Gorge. Stroll along the banks of the creek, plunge into the chilly mountain water, spot Boyd forest dragons in the trees, or take an Indigenous Dreamtime walk and learn all about the cultural history of the land. You can discover even more about our First Peoples on a tour with Adventure North Australia, as locals share their ancient knowledge while you try your hand at spearing mud crabs and collecting bush tucker. For adventurous spirits, there is also a variety of walking trails for all levels of experience, ranging from a few hours to full day trips.
Stay and Eat
To enter the Daintree proper, continue on the road north to Cape Tribulation by crossing the Daintree River by ferry. Take a detour here for a cruise to spot gigantic estuarine crocodiles, and other wildlife hiding in the branches above the water. If you’re extremely lucky you may also spot a cassowary, as the Daintree is a sanctuary for these endangered birds, with just 500 estimated to remain. These native ground-dwelling birds are seed dispersers for more than 100 species of rainforest plants, making them vital to this ecosystem.
While you’re here, stay at the Daintree Ecolodge in the heart of the rainforest. There are 15 treehouses to choose from, immersed in the canopy, as well as a day spa and a private waterfall with a swimming hole. Nearby, you’ll also find the Julaymba Restaurant and Bar, which uses fresh produce from their own veggie garden and local suppliers, and serves a delicious seasonal menu. With views over the rainforest lagoon, it’s a great location to dine for an evening. You can also order a picnic hamper, which is packed full of local produce, and self-drive to any of the Daintree’s amazing locations, such as Four Mile Beach or Mossman Gorge, for a relaxing picnic experience.
The Daintree Rainforest offers adventures for every budget and desire. Take a horse ride along Cape Tribulation and explore the beautiful coastline, or stop over at the Daintree Discovery Centre. Considered one of the top attractions in the rainforest, the centre provides tours, presentations, and access to the 125 metres long Aerial Walkway Rainforest Skywalk, meaning you can walk amongst the canopy 11 metres off the ground. Or for those after more of an adrenaline hit, you can bungee jump off a 50 metre tower in the middle of a rainforest and even personalise your own leap, as there’s 16 variations to choose from.
The Daintree might be stunning by day, but it’s also beautiful by night. Join a night tour for a different kind of experience, and venture on foot to spot nocturnal animals such as snakes, bandicoots, and owls. Much of the local wildlife has adopted a nocturnal lifestyle, meaning you get to see the forest’s flora and fauna like never before.
Loving the look of the Daintree Rainforest but wondering how to immerse yourself in nature a little closer to home? Click here to discover more.