3 Day Daintree Rainforest Self Drive Itinerary

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Published on: 1 June 2021
Myall Beach Cape Tribulation

Looking for the perfect Daintree Rainforest itinerary? We have you sorted. Starting and ending in Port Douglas, on this 3 day self drive Daintree Rainforest itinerary you will snorkel in fresh and salt water, be wowed by magnificent lookouts, tick off world heritage wonders, be treated by secluded rainforest retreats and discover everything there is to know about the 130 million year old Daintree Rainforest. Ready? Then read on!

Day 1

Back Country Bliss Adventures River Drift Snorkelling Tour

Start your self drive Daintree road trip by jumping straight into the Daintree, literally. Back Country Bliss Adventures provides the ultimate (and unique!) rainforest experience. Over the course of three and a half hours (with two hours spent in Mossman River) drift and snorkel through a rainforest paradise on a River Drift Snorkelling tour. Back Country Bliss Adventures can pick you up from Port Douglas or Mossman, perfect for self drive Daintree itineraries, and enables you to experience the rainforest in a unique way.

Discover more here: River Drift Snorkelling Tour.

Drifting through paradise

Bruce Belcher’s Daintree River Cruises

As there are no crocodiles in Mossman River, you’re going to have to look elsewhere to find them. A 40 minute drive north of Port Douglas (Google Maps link here), you’ll meet the Daintree River. The Daintree River (a different river from the Mossman River) is a known crocodile wildlife habitat and the best way to spot crocodiles here is on Bruce Belcher’s Daintree River Cruises.

Walu Wugirriga (Mount Alexandra Lookout)

After spotting crocodiles in their natural habitat, take the Daintree Ferry across the Daintree River. From here it is only a quick 15 minute drive (Google Maps link here) to Walu Wugirriga (Mount Alexandra Lookout). This lookout is popular with self drive Daintree travellers and for good reason, boasting scenic views across the Daintree National Park, Daintree River and Port Douglas. On a clear day you can even see Palm Cove’s Double Island!

Lookout across rainforest

Stay overnight at the Daintree Heritage Lodge

Wind down from your day of adventure at the Daintree Heritage Lodge. Located in Daintree National Park (Google Maps link here), the Heritage Lodge is comprised of 20 cabins immersed in the rainforest and is a great place to spot butterflies, birds and musky rat kangaroos.

Day 2

Explore the Great Barrier Reef with Ocean Safari

Rise early for a day of exploration. Today you’ll be exploring the world-heritage listed Great Barrier Reef with Ocean Safari. Discover two pristine snorkel locations – Mackay Reef and Undine Reef – alongside a maximum of only 25 passengers.

Relax at Cape Tribulation

After returning from the half-day exploring the Great Barrier Reef, spend your afternoon discovering Cape Tribulation. This world famous location is the only place where two world heritage sites meet – the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (the Daintree Rainforest is a part of this area). A must do location on all self drive Daintree itineraries, walk along the boardwalks and take a moment to enjoy the natural environment you find yourself in.

Myall Beach Cape Tribulation
Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Stay overnight at Daintree Wilderness Lodge

After a wondrous day on the water and at Cape Trib, spend another relaxing night at the Daintree Wilderness Lodge (25 minute drive south of Cape Tribulation – Google Maps link here). With only 7 elevated cabins dotted within giant fan palms, a night stay at this eco-lodge will truly immerse you in the Daintree Rainforest.

Day 3

Cow Bay

Head back towards Port Douglas this morning but not before stopping in at Cow Bay. Here you’ll find a quiet beach and an Instagram famous tree swing.

Daintree Discovery Centre

One final stop on your self drive Daintree itinerary is the Daintree Discovery Centre. Here you can explore the Daintree at all levels from the forest floor boardwalk, to the mid level rainforest via aerial walkways and the top of the canopy on the canopy tower.

Port Douglas

Arrive back in Port Douglas and at the end of your self drive Daintree road trip. Be sure to visit Flagstaff Hill Lookout for a quick picture of Four Mile Beach before you leave.

Ocean, beach, rainforest and mountains shot from lookout
Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland

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