The Daintree Forest is a rainforest in Far North Queensland, Australia. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. The Daintree is a popular holiday spot due to its accessibility by air, road and ferry.
The Daintree is known for its ‘wet tropics’ climate and its lush ecology on both the land and beneath the surface of what was once a vast sea. The Riversleigh Fossil Centre has displays that document the evolution of life in Australia from prehistoric times to today.
There are many great camping spots in the Daintree and most are car-accessible campgrounds with showers and toilets. There are also some campsites that require a boat or a hike to get to.
The best places to camp in the Daintree Forest are:
1. Boodjidup National Park
This is the most popular national park in the Daintree with 600 camping sites.
This place is a must do and I would absolutely camp there again and again. The place is relatively close (only 25-30 minutes drive) to Port Douglas and Cairns . If you go with friends, you have all chance to meet up at one spot and enjoy your time together. Two of my friends did it, they had great time!!! You can be sure to meet lots of other backpackers.
The place is very popular. You should book your campsite in advance, especially during weekends.
2. Rainbow Beach National Park
This is a camping spot right next door to Boodjidup National Park. During the low season (May-Nov), there are no water restrictions and all park entrances are open 24hrs a day. At Rainbow beach, there are plenty of camping sites with bungalows or cabins (with basic toilet facilities). During the high season (Dec-April) water is available but subject to a ban between 6am-8.30am and 5pm-7pm. The Rainbow Beach National Park also has walks, canoeing, swimming, surfing and fishing opportunities.
Another place that is not that popular, but very beautiful and worth to visit. Because there are not as many people as in the national park next door, this place is perfect for campers who love “to be alone” for a while. There are some cabins you can stay in, but it is not cheap. You need to book the sites in advance, because there are not many places available during the low season (May-Nov).
3. The Four Mile Beach
This place is about 40 minutes south of Daintree River Roadhouse. The beach can be accessed by walking along a boardwalk over a creek (Auananoo Creek) and down the beach. The beach itself is a great place for campers, as it is private and accessible by car or boat. There is an information centre open daily with limited supplies, such as brochures about the area and information about the Daintree National Park.
4. Cape Tribulation
Cape Tribulation is an oceanic headland within the Daintree National Park, located at the northern tip of the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia. It is a popular tourist destination noted for its natural environment and proximity to Cairns, Port Douglas and Cape York. The area is part of both the Daintree National Park and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The Cape Tribulation Valley is one of the small valleys in the Daintree National Park and it is located at the northern tip of Cape York Peninsula. There are very few campsites in the valley but there is a campground on top of Cape Tribulation (the Hilltop Campground). The camping spots are not all car accessible and you need to book your spot in advance. You can also stay in a cabin – with basic toilet facilities. They are pretty cheap.
5. Bakers Creek
At the end of the Daintree river road, just before the national park entry/exit turn off. It is a nice spot, but is not usually camped out, as it does have lots of mosquitoes and does not have water (although there are some springs on the side of the creek).
6. Sargoods Park, Daintree River Roadhouse to Ballumbarra Roadhouse
A beautiful spot with very clean toilet facilities and plenty of camping space for backpackers. The site is in a pine forest with plenty of shade and an array of wildlife.
The best things to see and do in the daintree forest
The Daintree is a magical place with many tours to suit all types of people, from the backpacker to the luxurious!
The Daintree Rainforest is one of the oldest tropical rainforests on the planet – dating back some 80 million years. While it may not be as big as other famous rainforests in places such as Brazil or Panama, it’s just as impressive in its own way, and has been proclaimed the most biologically diverse place on earth.
Here are a list of things you should visit:
- Daintree National Park
Daintree National Park is the largest national park in Australia and covers an area of about 830,000 hectares. It contains a wide variety of wildlife species including mammals, reptiles, birds and spiders. It is also home to the many eucalypts that grow in the area. You can take a one hour drive from Cairns to see some of the most spectacular sights and have a wonderful time exploring the Daintree Rainforest.
- Daintree River Cruises
This is a cruise company that offers river cruises to all who are interested in seeing the Daintree Rainforest. It is a modern vessel which gives you ample room to stretch out and relax. You can also sit at the open decks and enjoy the sea breeze as you cruise along the meandering river.
- Butterfly Daintree Village
This is a beautiful luxury resort located at the heart of one of Australia’s oldest rainforests. You can spend a night or two here and experience some of the best things to do in Australia. This is a great place to stay when you plan your day trips in Daintree Forest as well as other parts of Queensland such as Port Douglas.
- Mossman Gorge National Park
Mossman Gorge National Park is located about 70 kilometers from Cairns, and covers an area of about 1,301 hectares. It’s surrounded by rainforest, mountains and waterfalls.The main attraction of this area are the waterfalls which are quite spectacular. You can also enjoy many scenic hiking trails that will lead you to the top of the gorge.
- Port Douglas
Port Douglas is located on Queensland’s stunning Coral Coast, home to over 3,000 islands of various shapes and sizes. It’s known as Australia’s ‘Surf Capital’ with some of the best beaches in the world for surfing and natural swimming pools formed from a unique coral limestone ancient structure in which have been measuring over 40 meters deep.
Port Douglas is a great place to spend the day cruising around its many islands, coves and beaches. You can also spend some time looking for native wildlife such as elusive Dingos, Koalas, or see why Port Douglas is the place where Australia’s first night clubs were set up!
- Cairns Rock and Cave Gallery
This place of historical interest was featured in the “Outback Truckers” tv show in Australia. The park consists of a total of 62 large limestone boulders that bear carvings and inscriptions dating back to the time when the area was inhabited by an aboriginal tribe. These inscriptions are thought to date from 1500 B.C. and they can date the history of the Rock Art from 2800 years ago.
- Frizelle’s Falls
Frizelle’s Falls is a massive waterfall along the Daintree River that flows down into the Pacific Ocean. The waterfall was named after John Frizelle who once owned the land and he started hunting in this area. He fell in love with the place and decided to settle there, but there was one thing about it that he did not like – the floods which came on the river every year. This turned out to be one of his greatest hurdles in life. He had a big dream of living in pure mountain air unlike the polluted city life which he was used to. At this point, he decided to sacrifice his land and build himself an enclosure on top of the waterfall which would protect him from floods. This turned out to be one of his greatest success stories in life.
Frizelle’s Falls is located approximately 70 kilometers from Cairns, and covers an area of nearly 1,500 hectares.
- Bellenden Ker National Park
This national park is in the heart of the Daintree and covers an area of about 6,000 hectares. It has a very diverse ecosystem which includes rainforests, wetlands and areas that are subject to tropical storms. There are many large trees in this area which are quite popular with climbers from all over the world including the climbing species of wallabies and white-bellied fig parrots.
- Cape Tribulation
Cape Tribulation is located not far from Cooktown. There is a National Park, which covers an area of about 300,000 hectares and is where some of the best short walks are available for those who want to experience true, unspoiled Australian rainforest. You can also try your luck at snorkeling or scuba diving in the park.
Frequently asked questions about the Daintree Rainforest
- Is it really a forest?
No, sadly not. It is a National Park that is full of eucalyptus and native bush. The rainforest to the south and west of the Daintree National Park holds some of the most well-preserved rainforests in Australia.
- Is it possible to camp on private land before going through the national park?
It is, but you need to know who owns the land you want to camp on before you go there. The national park covers a lot of the Cape Tribulation area.
- What is the weather like in the Daintree rainforest?
The rainy season is from November to March, so these months are best avoided if you prefer dry weather. However, even though it rains every day most of the time it usually only rains for a few hours a day with an average rainfall of over three metres (10 feet) per year.
- What is the best time of year to go to the Daintree?
The fall (autumn) and spring seasons are especially beautiful. You will find the weather at its hottest and most humid during the summer season.
- Are there crocodiles in the Daintree?
Yes, there are crocodiles in the Daintree. They are most likely to be found in the rivers and near estuaries where they most probably will be sunning themselves. Crocodiles usually remain submerged or partly submerged but spend a lot of time on the surface to absorb heat and therefore their presence is often obvious from large puddles on the banks of the river you are navigating.
- What is the wildlife like around the area?
The Daintree contains a great variety of wildlife including many species of birds found nowhere else in Australia. The most commonly seen birds are cockatoos, cockatiels, honeyeaters, bowerbirds and lorikeets. There are also platypus living in Daintree waterways near Tully.