The Daintree Rainforest in Australia is part of the largest continuous area of tropical forest in the country.
The Wet Tropics, of which the Daintree Rainforest is part, is the oldest surviving tropical rainforest in the world. Making it a not-to-be-missed experience on your Australian bucket list.
The ecosystem of the Daintree Rainforest is one of the most complex on the planet. With so much incredible plant life and diversity to learn about, a trip to the Daintree Rainforest is a must.
In this guide I’ve outlined everything you need to know about doing a Daintree Rainforest tour, including how to get there, the best things to see, what to expect and more.
So let’s jump in and explore the Daintree Rainforest together!
- 1 Where is the Daintree Rainforest?
- 2 How to get to the Daintree Rainforest
- 3 What to expect from a Daintree Rainforest Tour
- 4 What should you take on the trip to Daintree Rainforest?
- 5 Where to stay for a Daintree Rainforest tour
Where is the Daintree Rainforest?
The Daintree Rainforest is part of a much bigger forest, the Wet Tropics of Queensland. The Daintree portion is located on the northeast coast of Queensland and spans across Cairns, right down to the ocean.
It’s one of the most popular day trips from Cairns.
How to get to the Daintree Rainforest
There are no direct buses from Cairns to the Daintree Rainforest so you will either have to go there on an organised or with a rented car.
With an organised tour – The easiest way to visit the Daintree Rainforest, especially if you’re not a comfortable driver, is to go with an organised tour.
Besides including pick-up and drop-off directly from your hotel in Cairns, tours will usually take you to all the best spots and include a barbecue lunch, so you don’t have to worry about anything during the day.
What to expect from a Daintree Rainforest Tour
We took the one day Daintree, Cape Trib, and Bloomfield day tour with Billy Tree Safaris and had an absolutely magical experience. This tour offers varied experiences and some incredible little extras thrown in that make it worth your while
This small group setting allows you to learn a great deal from your guides as you make your way from Cairns to Cape Tribulation, allowing you to explore just about everything the area has to offer.
The Daintree Rainforest was one of the first spots we visited during our Cairns to Brisbane road trip and it was the perfect start to our Aussie road trip!
Billy Tree Safaris is one of the only tour companies that venture along the Bloomfield Track, ensuring a unique experience with this day tour.
This is one of the most scenic drives in Australia, with gorgeous coastal views and interesting stop-off points. The trip from Cairns to Daintree Rainforest is anything but boring.
The first stop during the day tour is for morning tea beside the Daintree River, before taking a leisurely yet informative cruise down the river.
The Daintree River, shrouded in rainforest, is a real sight for sore eyes, so be sure to bring your camera along to capture each and every magical moment.
As we cruised along our guide would point out specific plants and animals, we even spotted a tiny crocodile!
The next stop of the day is at Alexandra Lookout. You’ll make your way up and over the Alexandra Range in a sturdy 4WD, stopping to take in the stunning views offered at the Alexandra Lookout.
The Wet Tropics, tropical rainforest, as well as crystal clear seawater, will stretch before you as you absorb the coastal views.
Taking a guided boardwalk tour is the next stop on the journey. Make your way through the tranquil rainforest setting on an elevated boardwalk.
There’s loads of time to stop for photographs and ask your knowledgeable guide about the fauna and flora all around you.
There’s also plenty of unique wildlife to be discovered along the way, like the Southern Cassowary and so many others. During this walk we saw a gigantic spider just chilling on a tree next to the boardwalk.
Quite befitting the stereotype that everything in Australia is out to kill you! (Just kidding, it was harmless, but still scary if you don’t like spiders). Time for an Aussie fun fact; did you know there are more than 1,500 species of spiders in Australia?
Animal Refuge Centre
After a fascinating walk through the forest, you’ll start making your way to Cape Tribulation. Along the way, you’ll stop for a delicious Aussie lunch at an animal refuge centre.
The restaurant is set in a rainforest setting with beautiful scenery. If you’re vegetarian or have special dietary requirements you’ll need to notify the tour company at least a day in advance.
At the centre, you’ll be able to get up close to some of Australia’s most interesting wildlife. Wallabies, Eclectus Parrots, Pythons, and many other creatures call this refuge centre their home.
You’ll get to spend time in the company of these animals and learn about them while you’re there.
You’ll then hop back in the 4WD and drive past the mountains and through the enchanting World Heritage rainforest. Heading back onto the Bloomfield Track toward Emmagen Creek.
Often referred to as the secret jewel in the forest, this creek provides crystal clear waters that are ever so enticing.
Take a refreshing swim in the fresh waters before continuing on the journey. Do be sure to pack a swimming costume and towel so you can take part in this activity.
As you keep your eyes peeled for turtles, fish, and beautiful butterflies, you’ll be feasting on a range of exotic tropical fruit. It really is a scene out of paradise. You’ll also get the chance to taste a cup of traditional Australian Billy Tea.
Cape Tribulation Beach
You’ll then make your way to Cape Tribulation Beach after the crowds have left. Take a stroll along the beach and the boardwalk, observing the stunning scenery before getting to the photographer’s platform.
This overlooks the beach, sea, forest, and mountains, and is often thought of as the point at which the rainforest meets the reef.
Don’t be tempted to jump in the water though. The sea here is full of very poisonous jellyfish and even crocodiles, so stay stafe and stay on dry land!
Take a moment to breathe it all in before hopping in the 4WD and heading back to Cairns.
If there’s enough time…
If there’s time left over after the tour, your tour guide will take you to Daintree’s hidden secret – the Daintree Ice Creamery.
Taste some of the best homemade ice creams in the country, and sample a couple of incredibly unique flavours.
What should you take on the trip to Daintree Rainforest?
When heading into the rainforest there are a few essentials you’ll need to take with you.
Hat – A hat is absolutely essential to keep the sun off your face. The Australian sun is known for being ferocious, so it’s best to keep your face out of it.
Sunscreen – Even when your face is protected by a hat, the rest of your body needs a layer of protection too. Sunscreen is the best way to keep your skin from getting burned.
Camera – You don’t want to make beautiful memories and not have any proof. Be sure to bring along your camera with a set of extra batteries as well as a spare memory card.
Water bottle – The Australian heat can get a little overwhelming, especially in the summer months. Take a water bottle with you to ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day.
Swimming costume – If you plan on swimming with the rest of your tour group at Emmagen Creek, then be sure to pack a comfortable swimming costume, as well as a towel to dry off afterwards.
Insect repellent – There’s a reason Aussies walk around with corks swinging from their hats – the insects in Australia are forward, to say the least. But there’s no need to make any modifications to your hat if you have a good insect repellent.
Where to stay for a Daintree Rainforest tour
Many Daintree Forest day tours offer pick-up and drop-off services from Cairns. However, if you’re road-tripping across Australia, or like to stay close to the action, here’s where you should be staying in Daintree.
Daintree Ecolodge & Spa is conveniently located within Daintree National Park Rainforest. This is a great place for those of you who want to stay as close and personal with nature.
There are 15 villas that provide stunning views of the surrounding rainforest. An on-site restaurant that overlooks a freshwater lagoon makes this stay all the better.
Daintree Peaks ECO Stays is a series of small cottages with basic facilities, all featuring a pool view. Guests have access to the shared pool, lounge, and patio area which is great for socialising with other guests.
There’s also an on-site restaurant serving up delicious meals every evening. It’s a great base for those planning to stay for a couple of days as there are plenty of hikes as well as cycling routes nearby.
Daintree Wilderness Lodge is a gorgeous eco-friendly lodge nestled in amongst the trees of the Daintree forest. Boardwalks connect to the main lodge to each room, ensuring that you have complete privacy during your stay.
The resort features a bar, restaurant, and outdoor heated spa for the ultimate relaxation. If you’re looking for a luxury getaway in the heart of the forest, this accommodation option is the perfect choice.
Heritage Lodge is another great accommodation option located in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest. Each cabin has air conditioning for comfort and an outdoor balcony that provides magical views of the forest.
Heritage Lodge is located on the edge of Cooper Creek, a crystal clear freshwater lake, perfect for swimming and watching the turtles swimming through the water.
Staying in Daintree is cool, but if you have limited time in Australia or would prefer to be in a bigger city, then you will want to stay in Cairns.
The Daintree Rainforest tours usually include pick-up and drop-off from your hotel so it doesn’t matter where in Cairns you’re staying. Here are some options for every budget.
Budget – Mad Monkey Backpackers Village: The Mad Monkey hostels have a bit of a party hostel reputation. It’s the perfect place if you want to save money and make friends!
Mid-range – Queenslander Hotel & Apartments: This is a great option for those looking for a nice apartment without breaking the bank. It’s also well located close to the sea and all the action in Cairns.
Luxury – Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort: If you’re looking to treat yourself, this is a great place to do so. They have a beautiful pool where you can relax after your Daintree Rainforest tour!
Final thoughts on Daintree Rainforest Tours
Visiting Daintree Rainforest on a day tour is a magical experience. Walking through the luscious forested area not only provides some great photo opportunities but makes for some great memories too.
If you had any doubts about heading to Daintree Rainforest, I hope I’ve managed to change your mind. It’s time to start planning an adventure in the woods, an unlikely Australian experience!
After the Great Barrier Reef, there’s no doubt that the Daintree Rainforest is the most popular day trip from Cairns. I hope you find this guide useful in planning your own Daintree Rainforest tour!
Looking for more Australia travel advice? Check out these guides:
- Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk – the ultimate guide
- Everything you need to know about visiting the fairy pools of Noosa
- Fraser Island 3-day tour
- How to spend two days on the Great Ocean Road
- How to spend 3 days in Uluru
- 3 epic days in Sydney
- The 15 most Instagrammable places in Sydney
- Day trip to the Whitsunday Islands from Airlie Beach
- Day trip to Blue Mountains from Sydney
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