When planning our trip to the East Coast of Australia, Daintree was right up there with the Great Barrier Reef on places I had to visit. Being an animal lover and conservation enthusiast, the idea of being able to visit the oldest rainforest in the world, and have the chance to see the infamous yet endangered Southern Cassowary in the wild, was an opportunity I wasn’t missing out on.
I had heard great things about Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the reef, one of the only places in the world where two world heritage listed sites meet – pretty awesome.
I didn’t know much about Mossman Gorge, and had been told it wasn’t worth the trip by a few people before I left, but when the opportunity to see all three in one trip came up I wasn’t going to say no.
We booked a day trip, with pick up and drop off at our hostel in Cairns, through https://sightseeingtoursaustralia.com.au. A full 12 hour trip, it was worth the money for the convenience of being able to get to these semi-romote locations. If we could have hired a car that would have been my preference as we would have had a choice of how long we spent at different places, and more flexibility on time and itinerary, but you can’t have it all!
The trip took us to all the key sites such as Alexandara Lookout, Daintree Rainforest itself, Cape tribulation, back to Daintree for a river cruise (my absolute favourite part of the day!), and finally to Mossman Gorge before heading home via Port Douglas.
Alexandara Lookout was ok, but I have definitely seen better viewpoints whilst in Australia, so wouldn’t break your back to get there, but worth a 5 min stop if your passing.
Daintree Rainforest was mesmerising, from the camouflaged water dragon, trying not to catch our eye, to the Southern Cassowary making her way to the watering hole – yes I did see one – day made! It was just as stunning as I had imagined.
Cape tribulation was beautiful, and the lookout point provided my favourite view point o the day (sorry Alexandara it definitely trumped you..). The beach was beautiful and we walked along the path to the lookout point and found a hidden access point below the vines which emerged onto a secluded part of the beach, only us and a wild turkey there! – so peaceful!
And finally Mossman – well after saying I had been told it wasn’t worth it, I was actually pleasantly surprised. Yes, it is a tourist trap, with a highly overpriced gift shop selling authentic aboriginal art, however it is still set in beautiful rainforest, with fresh water swimming and the chance of spotting a platypus – we didn’t but others have! If your passing take a visit, but don’t dedicate a whole day.
It was an amazing experience, but as eluded to previously, hiring a car would have been ideal, as at times I wanted to spend longer in each location than was allocated – pretty standard for any day trip really!
My absolute highlight of the trip was the Daintree Rainforest River Cruise, a 1 hour fully guided boat trip down the Daintree river in the heart of the rainforest. We were fortunate enough to see tons of wildlife, from the infamous river crocodile, to the tree python and the kingfisher, it was an amazing experience. Our guide was really knowledgeable, and knew how to best utilise our time on the river to get the most out of the experience – highly highly recommend this!
So in summary, Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation are truly beautiful examples of nature at its best and should not be missed on any Aussie itinerary – hire a car if you can, but if not just get there, the day trips are high quality and just experiencing these amazing locations make it all worth it!