Heard of the world heritage listed Daintree Rainforest? If you are visiting Cairns and Port Douglas it’s no surprise if the Daintree Rainforest is sitting high on your must do list. The most famous section of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, the Daintree Rainforest dates back approximately 130 million years, making it the oldest tropical rainforest on Earth. That’s no small achievement!
Once covering the entire continent of Australia, this remarkable rainforest now sits on the North Queensland coast. A biodiversity hotspot, this area is home to 700 plant species found no where else on Earth and serves as a window back in time, a way to see how the world once was, millions of years in the past.
With all this world heritage wonder waiting for you, the only question now is what is the best way to experience the Daintree Rainforest? Read on to discover our top Daintree Rainforest experiences.
1. Hike to Devils Thumb
Calling all adventurers, the challenging Devils Thumb hike is waiting for you. Situated in Daintree National Park, this 10.6km (6.5 mile) return hike takes approximately 8 to 10 hours to complete and is a fantastic way to truly appreciate the Tropical North Queensland landscape. If you are an active hiker and have a love for all things outdoors, Back Country Bliss Adventures’ offers guided Devils Thumb Hikes between May and October each year.
Learn more: Devils Thumb Hike
2. From above via helicopter
While helicopters are a popular way to experience the Great Barrier Reef, they’re also a brilliant way to take in the sheer size of the Daintree Rainforest. Nautilus Aviation offers scenic flights over the rainforest where you can soar over the lush landscape. We recommend keeping your eyes peeled for the beautiful Mossman River!
3. Where the rainforest meets the reef at Cape Tribulation
Travellers from across the world flock to Cape Tribulation for one impressive reason: It’s the only place in the world where two world heritage sites, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest (the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area), meet. Enjoy a rainforest boardwalk stroll before arriving at the pristine beach of Cape Tribulation, a must do for anyone in the Cairns and Port Douglas region.
4. Visit Mossman Gorge
Connect with the oldest continuously surviving culture in the oldest continually surviving rainforest at Mossman Gorge. Included as a part of the Back Country Bliss Adventures’ Mossman Gorge Adventure Day, at Mossman Gorge experience a traditional Kuku Yalanji smoking ceremony and interpretive 90-minute walk through the incredible rainforest and gorge.
Experience Mossman Gorge and spend more time in the rainforest than any other Tropical North Queensland day tour.
Learn more here: Mossman Gorge Adventure Day.
5. Spot a croc on the Daintree River
The Daintree River is a great place to spot crocodiles. Watch safely from Bruce Belcher’s Daintree River croc spotting cruise and learn about the Daintree’s prehistoric locals. Please note, that while the Daintree River is a haven for crocodiles, there are NO crocodiles in the Mossman River.
6. Learn at the Daintree Discovery Centre
Experience the Daintree Rainforest from all levels at the Daintree Discovery Centre. A popular activity for children, experience the forest floor via boardwalk, mid-level rainforest via the aerial walkways and the top of the canopy on 23m tall canopy tower.
7. Drift down the Mossman River
Like we said earlier, there are no crocodiles in the Mossman River, which makes it the perfect place to explore. Float, snorkel and swim your way down the Mossman River on Back Country Bliss Adventures’ guided River Drift Snorkelling tour. A completely unique Daintree experience, expect to see turtles, fish, butterflies and the elusive platypus as you drift through the rainforest.
Learn more: River Drift Snorkelling tour.
8. Enjoy homegrown ice-cream
Homemade ice-cream in the Daintree? Yes please. Enjoy the flavours of the rainforest via ice-cream at the Daintree Ice-Cream Company Once you’ve tasted the tropical treat, explore the fruit orchard where the exotic fruit used to make the ice cream is grown on-site.
9. Stay overnight in the Daintree Rainforest
Extend your stay in paradise and spend the night in the Daintree. There are many luxury retreats, like the Daintree Eco Lodge, dotted within the Daintree National Park. Check in, switch off and allow nothing but the distant bird calls and rustling leaves of the Daintree interrupt your relaxation time.
10. Take in the view from Walu Wugirriga (Alexandra Lookout)
If you’re self-driving your way through the Daintree, we highly recommend including a visit to Alexandra Lookout (Walu Wugirriga). From here you can enjoy views across the Daintree River, Low Isles, Port Douglas and even Palm Cove’s Double Island on a clear day. We recommend getting out your camera because you’re going to want to take a few snaps!
11. Go Cassowary spotting
Keep your eyes peeled while exploring the Daintree for a Tropical North Queensland icon – the Southern Cassowary. With less than 4,000 cassowaries estimated to be left in the wild, these giant prehistoric birds frequent the Wet Tropics Rainforest, seeking out fruit trees to snack upon. More than 70 species of trees count on the cassowary for their survival, making this animal one of the most pivotal in the Daintree Rainforest.
You can learn more about the cassowary here: World Cassowary Day; Saving Far North Queensland’s Third Icon