A Guide to Visiting Australia's Daintree Rainforest

Daintree National Park
Daintree National Park | © dronepicr / WikiCommons
Photo of Paris Donnatella Callan
28 November 2017

Drawing crowds of up to 400,000 each year, Daintree Rainforest is quickly becoming one of Australia’s key natural sights. With hikes and tours, retreats and conservation all in arm’s reach, wayward wanderers come from near and far to relish in the sublime beauty of Daintree Rainforest – the oldest continuously surviving tropical rainforest in the world.


Located in Cape Tribulation on the North East Coast of Queensland, Australia is Daintree Rainforest, an approximately 1,200 square kilometre tropical rainforest which holds a UNESCO World Heritage status. In fact, this is the only place in the world where two UNESCO sites exist side-by-side – the other being the Great Barrier Reef.

Daintree Rainforest, Queensland | © Robert Linsdell/Flickr https://flic.kr/p/fofCkt

Over 125 million years old, Daintree Rainforest boasts an extraordinarily complex ecosystem. The national park is home to a plethora of primitive plant species including the incredibly rare “Idiot Fruit” (Idiospermum Austrialense) – an ancient flowering plant that flourished when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. It is also home to a wealth of exotic birds (40% of Australia’s bird species, to be exact), native wildlife and over 1,200 types of insects.

Daintree Rainforest | © Kimberly Vardeman/Flickr https://flic.kr/p/rmqmwj

Things to do

Splash about

Hugging the coastline, Daintree Rainforest provides the luxury of both forest and sand side-by-side. Take a splash at one of the many beaches, creeks or waterholes. Cape Tribulation beaches are perfect for spotting sea life such as dolphins, reef sharks and giant turtles with crystal waters and white sand aplenty.

Dubuji-Myall Beach at Cape Tribulation, Daintree Rainforest |  © Brian/Flickr https://flic.kr/p/791Tbd

Hiker’s delight

Treks and trails are in abundance in this tropical rainforest. From beach walks to mountain climbs, every level of adventurer can be catered for.

View across the Daintree Rainforest | © denisbin/Flickr https://flic.kr/p/fQ2aSi

A relaxing 20-minute stroll to Tranquility Falls allows visitors to enjoy the nature of Daintree Forest at leisure, ending at a stunning waterfall with swimming opportunities en route.

Try out the Dubuji Boardwalk – a one hour, 1.8 kilometre round-trip boardwalk trail through mangroves and lush forest – for a great all-round park experience.

White-lipped Tree Frog, Dubuji Boardwalk, Daintree Rainforest |  © Bernard DUPONT/Flickr https://flic.kr/p/fSg2kL

The Mount Sorrow Ridge Walk (six hour round trip) is not for the faint of heart. Only highly experienced hiker’s need pursue this extremely challenging track. Promising spectacular views from the top, this is certainly a must-do for those in the know.

Adventure ahead

There are endless activities to pursue in Daintree Rainforest ranging from wilderness cruises, nature tours, kayaking and biking to zip-lining the tree top canopy, snorkelling, diving and more.

Daintree Rainforest, Queensland | © David Holt/Flickr https://flic.kr/p/4foHZm

Top tours

A wealth of tours are on offer in Daintree Rainforest, from two-hour relaxed forest trails to more challenging encounters, visitors will struggle to be anything but amused.

Top tours include a conservation tour hosted by environmental charity Earth Watch Institute; on this jungle mission (seven – 15 days duration) visitors will help discover and document the impact of climate change on Daintree Rainforest.

Daintree Rainforest, Queensland |  Diliff/WikiCommons

Spend some time in the treetops getting familiar with the forest’s exotic wildlife on this fun and adventure-filled day or overnight zipline tour. Perfect for all the family, the tour is jam-packed with activities and fun; it even includes both food and transfers.

Experience the inextricably interconnected relationship between Australia’s Kuku Yalanji indigenous people and Daintree Rainforest on this one-day cultural tour. Including lunch and hotel transfers, this experience offers insight into the aboriginal people in an educational and accessible way, with swimming and fishing opportunities, stunning scenery and an impressive local guide.

Kuku Yulanji Tribe Huts, Daintree Rainforest | © Frances76/WikiCommons 

Getting there

Although Daintree Rainforest is wildly untouched, getting to and from the tropical paradise is relatively easy. The nearest airport is situated 125 kilometres from the site in the city of Cairns (approximately two and a half hours drive time).

Daintree Rainforest, Queensland | © Cory Doctorow/Flickr https://flic.kr/p/cfZWc

Both rental cars and tour buses are readily available from Cairns. Daintree Rainforest is also a major point of interest for road trippers who generally access the forest via the scenic Captain Cook Highway.

Staying there

There is endless accommodation options to suit every sort of budget in Daintree Rainforest. From luxury treehouse resorts and eco lodges, to a wildlife bed and breakfast, backpacker hostels and even free accommodation for research volunteers.

Pure escapism 🌴in the heart of the rainforest 📷: @caravanningqueensland

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