Destination Daintree: Things to do in the World’s Oldest Rainforest
One of the world’s natural wonders, this Heritage-listed rainforest is a bucket list experience. Find the best things to do in the Daintree right here in our travel guide.
Tropical North Queensland is renowned for its natural beauty, with leafy green rainforests and a coastline worth travelling for. Located just a two-hour drive from Cairns you'll find the world’s oldest rainforest - the Daintree. Heritage listed in 1988, the Daintree is an inviting landscape, imploring you to explore lush green vistas filled with natural wonder, ancient history and captivating wildlife.
The Daintree Rainforest is so spectacular, that Sir David Attenborough himself once called it “the most extraordinary place on Earth”, a claim we’ll happily accept. The towering canopy of the Daintree has been growing for over 180 million years, a number that seems utterly inconceivable. Visiting this ancient rainforest is an incredible opportunity to learn from the traditional custodians of the land, the Kuku Yalanji, and discover the Dreamtime stories that connect them to Country.
Whether you camp in a quiet pocket or opt for luxury accommodation, any visit to this bucket list destination will be packed with awe and adventure, so don’t forget to slow down and soak in the experience. Read on for the best things to do when visiting the Daintree.
Marrdja Botanical Walk
One of the best things to do in the Daintree is to take the time to savour the ancient history of this revered rainforest with a stroll along the Marrdja Botanical Walk. Explore the natural history of Australia with sightings of plants representing all stages of the evolution of land plants over the last 180 million years. Stroll along the boardwalk and concrete path, and if you follow signs to Oliver Creek you can pull up a stump to sit and watch for crocodiles. We recommend taking your time to explore the various trails and boardwalks that branch off from this looped walk around Olivers Creek.
Lot 10 Cape Tribulation Road, Cape Tribulation
If you fancy meeting a croc or two, hop on board the Solar Whisper; the only zero-emission boat on the Daintree River. The electric solar boats allow the operators to smoothly and quietly immerse you in nature, without impacting the environment or disturbing the wildlife. This means you can safely side-eye some crocodiles close up! You also might be lucky enough to spot tree frogs, owls, snakes, lizards and more.
Cape Tribulation Road, Lower Daintree
With a conservation-first approach, Wildlife Habitat was first opened to the public in 1989 as a bird and butterfly sanctuary. Since then, the Habitat has expanded its conservation and public education efforts to include animals such as crocodiles, koalas, gliders, possums, tree kangaroos and much more. You can easily spend an entire day here exploring the five different habitats, catered to each animal type, as well as having your very own wildlife experience with ‘Feature Creature’ photos or the Crocarena saltwater croc swims! The Wildlife Habitat is definitely one of the best things to do in the Daintree if you’re keen to learn more about (and meet!) some of the incredible native wildlife of our tropical region.
Port Douglas Road, Port Douglas QLD
Cape Trib Farm
Combining regenerative farming principles with sustainability and state-of-the-art technology, Cape Trib Farm maintains a light footprint on the Earth whilst celebrating the fruits of the area. This one is a must-do for foodies, with over 70 rare and exotic fruits available for tasting, grown right here in their orchards. You can also enjoy a stroll through the orchard to learn more about each plant and its origins, uses and legends. Cottages are available for accommodation so that you can stay a little longer to drink in the expansive mountain views - we can’t imagine anything better!
3939 Cape Tribulation Road, Cape Tribulation
Daintree Tea Company
If you love a cuppa, this is one of the best things to do in the Daintree on your next tropical escape. Established in 1978, the Daintree Tea Company is proudly 100% Australian-owned, grown and operated and you can see it for yourself by visiting the Cubbagudta Plantation. It only takes a mere 24 hours for a tea leaf to be plucked, processed and packaged, ensuring one of the freshest tea products available on the Australian market. A visit to the plantation allows you to explore old tea machinery, shop at the roadside store and experience a little bit of homegrown history.
Lot 12 Cape Tribulation Road, Diwan
Daintree Discovery Centre
No trip to the Daintree is complete without visiting the Discovery Centre. Learn the history of one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world through audio-visual theatres, self-guided walks, an aquarium and an interpretative display centre equipped with colourful infographics chock-full of information. The incredible aerial and canopy walkways will leave you awestruck; you'll be elevated above the forest floor not only allowing a better view but also protecting the rainforest from damaging foot traffic. The Discovery Centre makes a great first stop for your trip so that you can get an overview all off of the best things to do in the Daintree before you head out to explore.
Corner Cape Tribulation Road & Tulip Oak Road, Cow Bay
For those who have escaped to Tropical North Queensland for some well-deserved R&R, look no further than the Wellness Spa, located in the Daintree Ecolodge. Inspired by the Indigenous wisdom of the traditional land owners, the Kuku Yalanji people, the healing properties of Australian botanical ingredients come to the forefront here. We recommend indulging in a Vichy (rain shower) treatment for the ultimate, full-body relaxation experience.
3189 Mossman-Daintree Road, Daintree
Be mesmerised by the beauty of Mossman Gorge, located in the southern part of the Daintree. Take a guided walk through the rainforest, swim in the crystal-clear waters and learn about the history of the area from a local Indigenous guide. Unbelievably clear, sparkling water trickles over smooth boulders in the gorge and the nearby Mossman Gorge Centre is the place to hit for Indigenous walks, an art gallery and advice for exploring on your own. If you’re looking for bucket list or Instagram-worthy experiences, a visit to Mossman Gorge is one of the best things to do in the Daintree.
Gorge tours and guided Dreamtime walks from $90 per person
Walk With An Aboriginal Custodian
The First Nations guides at Walkabout Cultural Adventures hold an abundance of knowledge about the history of their Country and how people interacted with the Daintree over the years. On an all-day tour, you’ll learn about this special environment from a Kuku Yalanji perspective, opening your eyes to an ancient way of seeing the world. Choose from a morning or an afternoon half-day tour, or a full-day Ngana Julymba Dungay (‘we all going Daintree’) tour visiting a number of culturally significant sites and local attractions to really solidify your knowledge of the Daintree and its ancient history and magic. You’ll get to taste bush tucker, learn about the environment, native plant use and even plant medicine, all while you’re experiencing the best of the Daintree.
From $190 per person
Mossman, Port Douglas
Float Under The Canopy
Float your way through the Daintree! A Back Country Bliss tour combines the leisure of drifting beneath the green canopy and the excitement of spying below the surface with a snorkel. Bobbing along on an inflatable river sled, you’ll have the chance to swim, snorkel and explore as you make your way down the river. Through the clear waters, you’ll spot fish, turtles, water dragons and maybe even an elusive platypus as you make your way through the Daintree.
From $139 per person
So there you have it, the best things to do in the Daintree from water adventures to on-foot expeditions! Whilst you’re in the tropical Northern region of Queensland, don’t forget to add some of Cairns' best food, wine and entertainment to your itinerary. If you’re killing time until your next big getaway, explore our favourite dreamy day trips from Brisbane for any time of year.