Visiting the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation in Far North Queensland has been high on my travel bucket list for ages. When the opportunity arose to experience the region I jumped at the chance.
I was staying in Palm Cove at ‘la palma’ a brand new 3-bedroom villa with a pool and within walking distance to the village and the departure point for the tour. (This will change depending on where tour members are staying). ‘la palma’ is the perfect tropical paradise resort that I will return to on a regular basis.
You can book through this link for ‘la palma’
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Daintree Rainforest Map
After doing quite a bit of research I decided on Billy Tea Safari’s “Explore The Daintree Rainforest & Cape Tribulation plus 4WD The Bloomfield Track” Tour.
Daniel was our driver and guide. He was very knowledgeable about all things Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation.
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Why did I choose this particular tour?
- I wanted an easy departure point in Palm Cove due to the early 7 am start
- A small group tour
- Rainforest Boardwalk Tour
- 4WD The Bloomfield Track and swim at Emmagen Creek
- Lunch included
- Cape Tribulation Beach Walk
- Daintree Ice Creamery
- Daintree River Cruise
- Alexandra Range Lookout
- Bonus – tea, coffee and biscuits
Good to know: Ensure that you bring sunscreen, insect repellant for the Daintree Rainforest Boardwalk, water, a hat, dry clothes and a towel for the swim, a credit card for the yummiest ice cream at the Daintree Ice Creamery
It is such a scenic drive from Palm Cove up the coast through Port Douglas to the Daintree River Ferry for the crossing into the Daintree Forest National Park. Along the way on the Captain Cook Highway Daniel shared with us the history of the region and general information on Far North Queensland.
Did you know that the Cairns Port Douglas drive has been voted as the #6 scenic drive in Australia?
Our 4WD vehicle was driven onto the ferry for the short crossing. There is a toilet stop on the other side before we headed off to the Daintree Discovery Tour.
The itinerary of this tour can change, depending on how many travellers they have booked. The day I travelled they had 4 x4WD vehicles and changing the order meant that we would have a staggered arrival at the Beach House for lunch at Cape Tribulation.
Guided Rainforest Boardwalk Tour
Daniel explained to us that the Daintree National Park covered 1200 sq km. There are trees that are growing in the park that were thought to be extinct. It. is the oldest rainforest in the world and contains some prehistoric plants. It was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Listing in 1987.
The walkway is mostly a boardwalk but at times the pathway is a dirt pathway with irregular stepping stones and stairs.
You will need mosquito repellant during your walk and take some water too. The walk does not take that long. Daniel explains about the trees and plants as we wander. I did this tour in the wet season which meant that the rivers and streams were at their highest which made the tour more picturesque. I would not hesitate to recommend this in the wet season which runs from December through to April.
There are several Daintree Walks to experience if you are visiting without a tour.
Daintree River Animals
You may be lucky to see the unique Southern Daintree Cassowary. The Cassowary is a flightless bird that can weigh up to 70 kg. It can only be found in the Far North Queensland region and Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, we did not see one.
The Daintree Forest is home to the musky rat-kangaroo, Boyds Forest Dragon, Bennets and Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo, Buff Breasted Paradise Kingfisher and the Daintree River Ringtail Possum.
Daintree River Plants
Some of the unique plants that can be found in the Daintree Rainforest are the Bull Kauri Tree (some are around 1100 years old and grows up to 45m), the ancient Idiot Fruit Tree which is only found in the rainforests of North Queensland, blue fruit known as the Blue Quondong and the wait-a-while vine which can entangle you as you walk past.
4WD Bloomfield Track & Swim At Emmagen Creek
At the end of the Daintree Discovery Walk, those who were going to swim at Emmagen Creek could change in the toilets located there.
You definitely need a 4WD on the Bloomfield Track. By this stage, it was raining and the road was quite bumpy. On arrival at Emmagen Creek, it was still raining and the bravest on the tour ventured out for the swim. Comments from them all ‘they were so glad they did it’. Of course, as we drove off for our lunch stop the sun came out!
Lunch at The Cape Trib Beach House
We were all ravenous by the time we arrived at the Cape Trib Beach House. Our lunch orders had been taken earlier during the day on the bus as we were travelling. The bar was open so drinks could be purchased. The menu had options for vegetarians.
After lunch, we headed down to the Cape Tribulation Beach walk where the ‘rainforest meets the reef’. Such a scenic spot. Unfortunately, the waters here are crocodile infested and it is highly recommended not to swim at any time during the year.
Cape Tribulation Fact: Cape Tribulation was named by Captain James Cook. He stated ‘this is where all their troubles began’. The Endeavour had struck a portion of the Great Barrier Reef. Cook managed to move the Endeavour out into deeper waters but ran aground. There is a reef named Endeavour Reef which was named after his ship.
The perfect stop for an after-lunch treat. There are some unusual flavours to choose from – black sapote, soursop, wattle seed, jackfruit and coconut. The fruits are grown on the property. I will definitely return just for the ice cream.
A stop for a great photo opportunity where the rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef.
Daintree River Cruise
We headed back to where we caught the Daintree River Ferry so that we could board our small boat for our one-hour cruise. Craig ‘the captain’ and look-alike Tom Cruise had us all in stitches from the minute we boarded.
We were on the lookout for ‘scarface’ a 4.7 m 700 kg crocodile who is now 70 years of age. He has 10 girlfriends and his territory runs for around 7 km. Many of the younger crocs have tried to dislodge his position of ‘boss croc’ but none have succeeded as yet.
Daintree River Facts: Crocodiles can live to around 80 years of age. They can go up to 5 months without eating. They use the sun and water to regulate their body temperatures. They can hold their breath for an hour on the river bottom. They are saltwater crocodiles in the Daintree River.
31 mangroves are in the area, there are only 45 mangroves in total in Australia.
Did we see any crocodiles?
Scarface was not to be seen anywhere. It was quite hot and steamy in the afternoon and apparently, the crocs enjoy an afternoon siesta and cool off out of the heat of the afternoon. We did see a couple of yearling crocs.
The cruise ended up at the Daintree River Cruise centre where we had afternoon tea.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Daintree Cape Tribulation tour and would recommend it to everyone. It is suitable for all age groups.
The Daintree River Climate
The Daintree has two seasons the wet and the dry. The wet season runs from December to April and the dry cooler season runs from May to November. July and August is the peak season for tourists. If you are planning to visit during these months I recommend booking your tours and accommodation well in advance.
General Travel Information
What is the closest airport to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation?
Cairns International Airport which is 25 minutes from Palm Cove. Flights into Cairns from all over Australia and new international routes are opening soon.
Can I rent a car from Cairns Airport?
Yes, you can we use Jucy Car Rentals.
Should I take out travel insurance?
We always recommend taking out travel insurance, you just don’t know when you need it.
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