A guide to Cape Tribulation & the Daintree Rainforest
The Daintree Rainforest is estimated to be over 125 million years old which makes it the oldest tropical lowland rainforest in the world? It is even older than the Amazon by over tens of millions of years.
What makes this spot so special is that it is the only place in the WORLD where two UNESCO World Heritage Listed sites meet. It, of course, meets the Great Barrier Reef which is the world’s largest living organism. How special is that?
If after reading that you’re interested in planning a trip to Tropical North Queensland (who wouldn’t be!), then keep reading for some of our recommendations.
Here is a short highlights video. Remember to adjust the quality to 1080p 🙂
Packing for Tropical North Queensland
You definitely need to be prepared for your trip to FNQ (Far North Queensland). There are a few essentials in my mind, one of which is, of course, mosquito repellent! Click here for a printable packing guide for your trip.
I would recommend hiring a car and driving yourself rather than jumping on tour buses. The drive is beautiful and the flexibility of having your own is absolutely worth it as it allows you to go at your own pace, stop where you want and take as many photos your memory card can hold!.
We stayed in Port Douglas and the drive up to the Daintree is around 1 hour and then another 45 minutes after the Daintree Ferry to Cape Tribulation.
Tip: The road is quite windy through the Daintree so if you’re someone who gets car sick, I’d recommend you drive!
You will need to cross the Daintree Ferry, the gateway to the beautiful Daintree Rainforest which only takes 5 minutes and operates between 6 am and midnight daily. If you’re planning to cross before 8 am or after 4.30 pm then you will need to pay cash, otherwise, Eftpos is available between 8 am and 4.30 pm.
Click here for more information on the Daintree Ferry.
If you’re planning on going up for two days or more, I would recommend buying a 5-day return pass as it is a similar cost to buying two separate return passes. This worked for us as we unexpectedly visited for a 3rd day!
You will also need to be cautious of the Cassowaries. They are native to Tropical North Queensland and you may see them crossing the road. These birds are extremely dangerous so it’s important not to approach them.
We were lucky enough to see some crossing the road! They really are beautiful!
Daintree & Cape Tribulation activities
There are a number of activities you can do while you’re in the Daintree and Cape Tribulation. In addition to the free walks and lookouts, we enjoyed two half-day tours, Jungle Surfing as well as an Ocean Safari.
What a fun way to spend a morning. If you want to see the Rainforest and really be engrossed in the different layers, this certainly provided a different perspective. Click here to find out more.
Probably one of the best ways to spend an afternoon! Being able to snorkel over The Great Barrier Reef and swim with turtles really was an incredible experience. This is absolutely how you should spend your day! Click here to find out more about Ocean Safari.
Daintree Rainforest Walks
As you drive up the main road, one of the first walks you can do is Jindalba. We did the 700m boardwalk walk, but there is also a 3km walk if you are feeling adventurous.
Further up towards Cape Trib you will come across Marrdja Boardwalk. This is a 1.2km boardwalk and also our favourite of the few walks we did. It’s nice walking over the mangroves and seeing the little fish swim about.
Another 1.2km boardwalk, this one is up towards Cape Trib and is a very similar walk to that of Jindalba. There is supposed to be mangrove boardwalks but it was a very dry wet season so it was all pretty much dry when we were there.
All three walks are lovely, but if you’re short on time, I’d recommend walking the Marrdja boardwalk.
Daintree Rainforest Lookouts
Waluwurrigga Alexandra Range Lookout
This was our first stop after getting off the ferry. The views are beautiful and worth a few minutes to check it out. It’s also worth noting that this is the last spot in the Daintree that we had any sort of mobile reception so if you need to do anything or make any calls – this is the spot to do so!
Stunning views over Cape Tribulation and absolutely worth the walk up. If you’re there on a sunny day, you will be able to enjoy the spectacular views of the ocean.
Mount Sorrow Lookout
We didn’t have time to do this hike, nor did we want to do it in the middle of summer. The walk is around 6 hours and very steep. If you are planning on doing this walk, you need to make sure you leave early in the morning and prepared to carry a few litres of water with you to keep hydrated. We have been told the views are amazing on a clear day and certainly still on our list for our next visit.
Daintree Rainforest Beaches
The first beach we stopped in at was Cow Bay. I don’t think you can really go wrong with any beaches along here, they are all beautiful. We do have a favourite though, but you’ll have to keep reading to find out which one!
South Noah Beach
South Noah Beach is also home to CJ’s Bar and Grill where you can pick up some drinks, coffee, breakfast or lunch. The service was great and you have a view of a beautiful beach!
This was it – our favourite beach! The sand, the colour of the water, the trees – everything about Noah Beah was beautiful. Well, nearly everything. The fact that you can’t swim makes it so difficult in summer!
You probably guessed it, plenty of coconuts here! Another gorgeous beach worth stopping in to take a quick look.
Cape Tribulation Beach
Such a beautiful spot in the north of the Daintree Rainforest. This is where our Ocean Safari tour departed from!
After a short walk (uphill and then back down again!) you will find yourself at Myall Beach. It is a nice walk and what we loved about this beach were the hundreds of tiny crabs running around everywhere!
Where to eat
We ate at Turtle Rock Cafe for lunch one day prior to our Ocean Safari afternoon tour. The food came out quickly and was really tasty. The service is friendly as well.
You absolutely must stop in at Daintree Ice Cream Co. They have their signature cup which has their daily sorbet specials. When we visited the flavours were Coconut, Mango, Soursop & Wattleseed. Soursop tasted like a lemonade icy pole and the Wattleseed was a Mocha flavour! We hadn’t heard of a Wattleseed before – see the picture below!
Tip: Eat quickly because it melts super fast!
We stopped in at CJ’s Bar & Grill for some coffee one morning. It is a lovely relaxed spot on the beach if you’re looking for some breakfast or lunch.
Some of the tourists we met said that Whet Cafe Bar Restaurant is really lovely with great food so might be worth checking out if you’re staying in the Daintree.
We stayed in Port Douglas and can recommend the Pullman Sea Temple hotel restaurant. The food was delicious and very fresh.
Where to stay
If you’re wanting to stay in Port Douglas, we can recommend the Pullman Sea Temple which is around 2 hours south of Cape Tribulation. Watch this space for our hotel review.
Do you have travel insurance?
Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.
If you’re looking for alternative accommodation to either save some money or share with friends or family, click here for information on Air B&B ($50 discount on your first booking), hotel price comparison websites etc.
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson