Daintree Rainforest Tours & Attractions

Christine Retschlag on January 11th, 2018

Boasting the world’s oldest rainforest framed by the planet’s largest living reef, it is little wonder the Daintree carries with it a certain mystique. We unravel the mystery, and marvel at the wonders that exist within this living legend, as well as explore some of the best ways to discover the magic.

Day Trip to the Daintree

Billy Tea Safaris to Daintree Cape Tribulation

There are many guided day tours departing from Cairns and surrounding areas daily to see the wonderful Daintree rainforest and today we are going to feature one of those called Billy Tea Bush Safaris; their guides are highly knowledgeable and passionate about their region and the number of guests on the day is limited so you are guaranteed personalised service.

Your day with Billy Tea Safaris will start early as the drive from Cairns to the Daintree takes around 2.5 hours but is well worth it.

Day trip inclusions:

  • Return transfers from your accommodation in a custom built air conditioned vehicle
  • Scenic coastal drive on the Great Barrier Reef Drive
  • Guided Daintree River Cruise where you will learn about the local flora & fauna, including the mighty estuarine crocodiles
  • Alexandra lookout – great photo opportunity there with the Coral Sea as background
  • Interpretative National Park Boardwalk – learn about Aboriginal Culture and Bush Tucker. You might even spot a Cassowary
  • Delicious barbecue lunch
  • 4WD on the Bloomfield Track – 7kms along an un-sealed 4WD track to get to Emmagen Creek. This is where, if you wish, you can enjoy a refreshing swim in pristine rainforest water, spot turtles and fish in the creek as well as butterflies and exotic birds nearby
  • Hand feed wallabies
  • Fruit tasting and a cup of traditional Billy Tea – relax and enjoy, you will feel miles away from everything
  • Cape Tribulation Beach – enjoy the beach or take a walk and see where “the Rainforest meets the Reef”… literally
  • Cable ferry river crossing

Book your Billy Tea Safaris day trip here as early as possible as this tour will sell out. Please see all of our other wonderful Daintree rainforest tours here to find the perfect day trip for you. If you have a special interest group please speak to us about your private charter Daintree rainforest tour options.

Self Drive Option Recommendations

If you would rather self drive, make sure you allow plenty of time and keep in mind it takes at least 2.5 hours to drive from Cairns to Cape Tribulation ans it is good to know the Daintree Ferry crossing operates from 6:00am to Midnight daily.
We have listed below some stops you should consider when planning your day or overnight trip to the Daintree.

If you are planning on staying overnight, click here for some accommodation options.
Notes: we like to recommend an overnight stay in Cape Tribulation to truly appreciate this very unique part of the world.

If you are a bit of an adventurer we highly recommend this 3 day 2 night Daintree rainforest and Cooktown explorer tour here 

Daintree Discovery Centre

The Daintree Discovery Centre is designed as the first port-of-call for visitors to the rainforest. For an entry fee, visitors are given a 68-page guide book and audio guide in eight different languages, including an Indigenous cultural viewpoint, and access to five different walking tours including the aerial walkway; a canopy tower; cassowary circuit; bush tucker circuit; and Jurassic forest walk. More than 1 million visitors have been through the centre since it opened 28 years ago.

Centre General Manager Peter Aldrid says the Daintree, aged between 150 to 180 million years old, is older than Australia’s dinosaur fossils dating back 115 million years.

Other cool facts include:

  • It is the forest with the highest concentration of primitive flowering plants in the world with hundreds of species
  • Within a 15 minute walk in a direct line you can encounter more major species of trees than all of Europe, Great Britain, Ireland and North America combined
  • It’s the only place on the planet where two World Heritage Listed sites – the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest – meet
  • It is actually increasing in size due to rejuvenation and rehabilitation.

Best Instagram spots at the Daintree Discovery Centre: On top of the canopy tower at 23 metres high; along the aerial walkway at 15 metres high; or of the cassowaries along the cassowary circuit.

Jungle Adventures Cape Tribulation

Set in the Daintree, Jungle Surfing is a series of eco-friendly platforms and flying fox zipline cables through the ancient rainforest.  Visitors glide through different levels of the canopy with bird’s eye views over and amongst the tress, down to cascading streams and beyond to the Great Barrier Reef. The platforms, which range from 3.5m to 19.5m high, offer an up close and personal experience with nature with abseiling and scientist guides sharing their rainforest wit and wisdom with interpretive talks on each platform.

This tour operator also offers a Daintree Rainforest Night Walk tour where visitors can meet some of the Daintree’s nocturnal animals in a large, natural open-air exhibit. Walks follow natural trails on the same private property as Jungle Surfing.

Jungle Surfing Sales and Marketing Manager Georgie Sadler says the rainforest is considered so mysterious because many visitors are exploring a unique ecosystem they have only seen in the movies or on documentaries.

“We always say you need to get under the water to explore the Great Barrier Reef and you need to get off the ground to explore the Daintree,” Ms Sadler says.

Other cool facts include:

  • Jungle Surfing is home to the rare Bennett’s tree kangaroos which are Australia’s biggest tree kangaroos reaching up to 14kg
  • This kangaroo can jump 20 metres from the canopy to the ground and Jungle Surfing is the only tourist attraction where they are regularly seen
  • The Wool Jumper spider’s vision is so good it shares the same visual acuity of vision as an eagle

This is a very popular attraction so you must prebook well in advance.

Best Instagram spots at the Jungle Adventures Cape Tribulation: Make sure you pose for a picture on Platform 3 with great views out to the Great Barrier Reef. If you’re brave enough to go upside down on Platform 5, grab a shot there.

Great Barrier Reef Trip from Cape Tribulation

Ocean Safari has a very unique way to see the Great Barrier Reef. Only you and 24 other guests will enjoy a super fast cruise, only 25 minutes, and visit 2 reef locations (Mackay & Undine Reefs)… all that in half a day.

Your snorkel gear is included and you get 2 hours on the reef. If you are staying in Cape Tribulation you also get accommodation return transfers.

During peak season you can choose a morning or an afternoon trip whereas in low season only the morning one runs.

  • Morning Tour: check in – 08:00am, departure – 09:00am, return – 12:30pm
  • Afternoon Tour (Peak Season Only): check in – 12:00noon, departure – 13:00pm, return – 4:30pm

For more info click here and read Helen’s (Tour Consultant) adventure on Ocean Safari.

You must prebook – click here.

Luxury Catamaran

Another great trip from Cape Tribulation to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef is on a newly built luxury catamaran that takes guests out to Mackay or Undine reefs.

Here guests can ride around on a glass bottom boat tour and see giant clam gardens, sea turtles and premium unspoilt coral reefs.

Bruce Belcher Daintree River Cruise

A Daintree river cruise is a “MUST” and Bruce Belcher is one we are very comfortable recommending. This is a local family ran business offering an excellent Daintree River cruise, they have been operating for well over 20 years and they know the river inside out.

Cruise the Daintree River where your guide will help you spot wildlife such as crocodiles, tree snakes, frogs, spiders, izards and birds in their natural habitat. You can never be guaranteed you will see a corocodile however they have a pretty good success rate of  98%. Great adventure for all ages.

You can choose from 6 departure times: 9:30am, 11:00am, 12:00pm, 2:30pm and 4:00pm

Again you must prebook your cruise – click here

We hope the above recommendations help you plan your Daintree day or overnight trip. If you have been there and/or would like to share some tips please feel free.

Christine Retschlag

Christine Retschlag

Christine Retschlag is an award-winning Australian journalist who has worked in newspapers, magazines and online for the past 25 years in Australia, Hong Kong, London and Singapore. In 2006, she won the Australian Travel Writer of the Year award for Best Trade Story as well as the Jack Butters Memorial Award for Travel Writing Excellence. In 2007 she won Best Australian Story over 1000 words and in 2014 won Best Food Travel Story. She is also the author and architect of the successful travel blog: The Global Goddess.

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