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The Daintree Rainforest, located within Tropical North Queensland, is the oldest and one of the most vibrant tropical rainforests in the world. This ancient ecosystem is a remarkable blend of tropical life and ocean paradise, and is known to be where the rainforest meets the reef.

The Daintree extends out to a large number of stunning beaches that lie at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Here visitors are provided with the perfect opportunity to visit two of Australia’s most beloved UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Wet Tropics of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef) in one go.

Daintree National Park hosts a great variety of activities to make your experience memorable. Take a river cruise, wander the many jungle walking paths, and keep an eye out for some rare species of flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. In the afternoon, emerge from the jungle out onto one of many pristine beaches to unwind. Just keep an eye out for crocodiles as they’re known to patrol the waters.

Down below we’ll cover all the major hotspots in the Daintree National Park, in order from south to north as if you were driving through the park. We also include a time estimate for how long you should spend at each location, allowing you to better plan a day at this magnificent tropical paradise.

About Daintree National Rainforest

Estimated to be about 180 million years old, the Daintree Rainforest is about three times as old as the Amazon Rainforest!

Encompassing an area of roughly 1200 square kilometers, Daintree is also Australia’s largest rainforest. It is located in the Wet Tropics of Queensland, a larger area of wet tropical forests and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ecotourism is also highly promoted within the region, where many of the proceeds earned through tourism contribute to protecting this beautiful habitat.

Daintree National Park is divided into two sections, separated by the Daintree River. To the South you’ll find Mossman Gorge, known for its collection of large boulders and pristine pools surrounded by thick jungle. To the north, across the Daintree River, lies the more popular area of the rainforest. Here you’ll find hot spots such as Cape Tribulation, Thornton Beach, and the Discovery Centre located within the heart of the rainforest. To cross between the north and south sections, you will need to take the Daintree Ferry, accessible via car.

Dubuji Walk Australia | Daintree National Park

Dubuji Walk

Getting to and around Daintree National Park

If you’re staying in Cairns, expect a 90-minute drive to the southern edge of Daintree National Park. From Port Douglas, it’s only a short 25-minute drive.

If you’re looking to cross the Daintree River and enter the main section of the rainforest, you’ll need to cross the Daintree Ferry. This car ferry runs daily from 5 am to midnight. It’s only a 2-minute ride across the river, but allocate 15 minutes here for boarding or unexpected delays.

Once across the river, it’s about a 50-minute drive all the way up to Cape Tribulation, the furthest point north that’s easily accessible within the park (anything beyond is only accessible via 4WD). There’s only the one main road, which cuts a pretty winding, narrow one-lane path through the rainforest. Drive slowly and make sure to stop and enjoy the vistas along the way.

Map of Daintree National Park

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Things to Do in Daintree National Park

1. Mossman Gorge

At the southern entrance of the Daintree Rainforest, you’ll find Mossman Gorge. Here you can take a walk along the gorge, where you’ll find the river below full of large, white boulders amidst the lush rainforest.

Mossman Gorge | Daintree National Park

Mossman Gorge

Take either a guided Dreamtime Walk, hosted by local Indigenous people where you can learn more about the deeply rooted culture of the region, or a self-guided tour along the park’s trails.

When arriving you’ll park at the Mossman Gorge Cultural Center. Here you can learn more about the region, view an art gallery full of local Indigenous crafts and artwork, and even pick up a little something to bring home with you from the gift shop. There’s also a cafe here, so grab a bite if you’d like to fuel up for your rainforest adventure today.

The best way to reach the actual gorge is via the provided shuttle bus service from the Mossman Gorge Cultural Center. Apart from walking (2 km one way), this is the only way to reach the heart of the gorge. The shuttles depart from the cultural center every 15 minutes, and cost only AUD $14 per adult.

We recommend spending 2 hours here. This includes briefly seeing the cultural center, shuttle bus transport to and from the gorge, and walking out to the gorge itself. From Mossman Gorge, it’s a 30-minute drive north to the Daintree Ferry.

2. Mount Alexandra Lookout

After crossing the Daintree River and winding up and along the narrow park road, you’ll soon arrive at the Mount Alexandra Lookout.

From up here you can really get a good sense of scale and see just how large the Daintree Rainforest really is. Looking out across the vast landscape, you’ll see the tops of the rainforest canopies stretching out in all directions and up to Shipwreck Bay, just one of many spots where the rainforest meets the nearby reef.

Alexandra Lookout Daintree Australia | Daintree National Park

Mount Alexandra Lookout

The views here are incredible, and we highly recommend a short stop here as it’s on your way to the sites deeper within the park. Spend only 5 to 10 minutes here soaking up the view and getting a deeper grasp on the Daintree’s enormous expanse.

3. Daintree Discovery Centre

A short drive beyond the Alexandra Lookout, the Daintree Discovery Centre is a great spot to learn more about the rainforest and what you’ll expect to find on your journey. The center has a few wooden boardwalk trails that you can follow on a short jungle circuit, such as the Jindalba Boardwalk, as well as a lookout tower that reaches over the canopies of the nearby trees.

Discovery Centre Walkway

Daintree Discovery Centre Lookout | Daintree National Park

The lookout tower


Discovery Centre Platform

The viewing platform on top of the lookout tower

 Discovery Centre Lookout

The view from the lookout tower


Discovery Centre Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs along the trails at the Discovery Centre

Frankly, the view isn’t the best from the lookout tower, as you aren’t standing all that high over the treeline. For better panoramic views, be sure to visit the Alexandra Lookout. At the Discovery Centre you’ll find more action closer to the jungle floor.

Also at the Discovery Centre are smaller displays featuring snakes, jungle bugs, and an aquarium. There is also a coffee shop by the front entrance.

We recommend a quick visit to the Discovery Centre, about 1 hour at most. There are much better places to visit deeper into the rainforest, but this is a good spot to get your bearings and pick up a map of the park.

4. Thornton Beach

Less than a hundred yards from the parking lot, the rainforest ends where a wide, sandy beach begins. Thornton Beach stretches out far in either direction and walking from a rainforest onto a wide open stretch of sand is as cool as it gets.

Thornton Beach Daintree

Thornton Beach

We were the only ones here when we visited, so you may get lucky and have the entire beach to yourself. Many tourists seem to overlook this beach in preference of more popular ones like Cape Tribulation. There is also a cafe by the parking lot, but this was closed when we visited.

For Thornton Beach and all other beaches in the Daintree Rainforest, be mindful of swimming in the ocean. There is a risk of both crocodiles and jellyfish in the water, and you’ll see plenty of signs posted warning you about these dangers.

Beach Warning Sign

Spend anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes here at Thornton Beach. Pop out for a quick stroll, or if you find yourself at peace here, spend more time to really unwind. Grab a bite at Thornton’s Cafe before continuing your journey.

5. Noah Beach

Noah Beach offers one of the coolest campsites we’ve ever experienced. Here you’ll find a small collection of gravel camping plots surrounded by thick jungle brush and looming trees above. Yet only 50 meters away, not even a minute’s walk from the campsite, lies Noah Beach. When setting up your tent it’s impossible to imagine that there’s a beach so close by due to the dense foliage encircling the campsite.

We spent the night camping at Noah Beach and found the area to be one of the most beautiful spots in the entire park. Stepping out onto the beach in the early morning was like entering a whole new world. We didn’t see a single person here for the entire hour we spent walking the beach and taking in the calm ocean breeze.

Noah Beach | Daintree National Park

Noah Beach


Noah Beach

If you want to visit a secluded yet stunning beach, make sure to visit Noah Beach. We recommend anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes here. Do note that the entrance to the campsite is hard to spot, so keep your eyes peeled. If driving north, it will be on your right.

6. Dubuji Walk

Known as the “forest of vines”, this long boardwalk trail takes you deep within the jungle and mangrove forests. You’ll pass by swamps and a spectacular array of tropical flora. Of the several boardwalks in the park, we found this one to be the most unique. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for both crabs and crocs lurking within the water.

There’s also a separate boardwalk that will take you out to Myall Beach, a wide stretch of sand similar to Thornton Beach. The boardwalks are flat and wheelchair accessible. Given the diversity of what you see along the way, the Dubuji Walk is our favorite of the park’s boardwalks.

Dubuji Walk

Dubuji Walk


Myall Beach Daintree

Myall Beach

The Dubuji Walk is a 10-minute drive north from Noah Beach, and only a few minutes south of Cape Tribulation. Expect to spend a little over 1 hour here walking the trails but give yourself more time if you’d like to relax on Myall Beach.

Australia Travel Guide

7. Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation is the most northern point in Daintree that is easily accessible, with anything beyond only possible to reach via 4WD.

The beach here is similar to the others that you’ve seen in the park, and you can reach it by following the Kulki Boardwalk, a 5-minute stroll from the parking lot. You’ll find a wildly unique section of Mangrove trees growing on the eastern section of the beach, which is something unlike anything we’ve seen before.

Cape Tribulation Beach

Cape Tribulation Mangroves


Continue up the boardwalks for another couple minutes before reaching a lookout over Cape Trib. The view here is phenomenal, and it didn’t seem like many people knew about this fantastic photo spot. This was perhaps one of the best views in the entire park.

Cape Tribulation Platform

Cape Tribulation View

We recommend spending at least 30 minutes here. Walk the Kulki Boardwalk out to Cape Tribulation, stroll along the beach, and continue onwards up to the viewpoint higher up. The boardwalks here are flat and wheelchair accessible.

Tours of Daintree National Park

From river cruises to croc spotting and even ziplining, there is a wide range of activities highlighted amongst these tours below. These tours are perfect if you’re looking to see the best of Daintree under an expert’s guidance, as well as sites that aren’t standardly accessible.

Daintree River Cruise Centre: Taking a cruise along the Daintree River is one of the most popular things to do while visiting this rainforest. Your guides will point out any discoveries along your journey, as well as provide you with knowledge about this vast tropical ecosystem. As you glide down the Daintree River, keep an eye out for crocodiles! Tours are fun for all ages, and last about 60 to 90 minutes long, operating daily. You can learn more about them here.

Daintree Tours: For a full-day journey through the best sites of the rainforest, Daintree Tours offers 2 similar yet exciting ways to experience Daintree. Take a guided tour through the nearby Mossman Gorge, travel up through Daintree National Park, and take a crocodile cruise on Cooper Creek.

Daintree Tours also offers an ultimate zipline tour, perfect for those that seek some extra adventure. Zip under the canopy alongside the rainforest’s native birds. Afterwards, tour the park, explore Cape Tribulation, and swim at the nearby Heritage Lodge. If this interests you, you can learn more here.

Day trip from Cairns: On this full day tour from Cairns, visit Cape Tribulation, Mount Alexandra Lookout, and Mossman Gorge with an experienced guide. Your transportation is included.

Day Trip from Port Douglas: This full day tour from Port Douglas also visits Cape Tribulation and Mossman Gorge. It’s slightly shorter than the above day trip option from Cairns.



Where to Stay in and around Daintree National Park

For most travelers, Daintree is only visited as a day-trip destination. Many that travel here for the day will return to their lodging in either Port Douglas or Cairns. However, the Daintree does have a campsite at Noah Beach, within the Cape Tribulation area of the park, that is a great way to deepen your experience if you’re up for an adventure.

When we visited Daintree National Park, we spent the night at Noah Beach. The location was absolutely breathtaking. Not only do you get the joy of spending the night under the thick canopies of the rainforest, but there’s also a path that takes you out to Noah Beach only 50 meters away! When we woke up the next morning, we took a stroll down the beach and had the entire place to ourselves, making it a fantastic spot to enrich your Daintree experience.

If you want to book a campsite for your journey, visit their site here.

As you plan your trip and just before your visit, check the official park website for updates on conditions and possible closures.

If you have any questions about how to visit or things to do in Daintree National Park, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Australia

QUEENSLAND: Get started with our article Best Things to Do in Cairns and our Cairns Itinerary. Visit the Great Barrier Reef, either on a multi-day liveaboard tour or on a cruise out to Lady Musgrave Island. And don’t miss our guide about visiting two of Australia’s best zoos.

AUSTRALIAN ZOOS: In our article A Tale of Two Zoos, we compare two of our favorite zoos in Australia, Snakes Down Under Reptile Park and the Australia Zoo.

ULURU: In our Guide to Uluru and Kata-Tjuta, learn how to get here, what to do, and how to plan your time. We also have information on a great hike in Kings Canyon and a recap of our experience in the Red Centre of Australia.

SYDNEY: Get started with our Sydney Bucket List, which contains 40 of the best things to do in Sydney. We also have a guide to 20 great restaurants and bars in Sydney, the best beaches in Sydney, the Sydney Bridge Climb, the Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk, and where to stay in Sydney.

Read all of our articles about Australia in our Australia Travel Guide.

Daintree National Park Queensland Australia


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Comments 2

  1. Avatar for Shmulik

    Just wanted to say THANKS for the blog. Reveals new places but especially thanks for the personal impression you provide, definitely makes you want to come (Now on the agenda – North Queensland) .

    Shmulik, Israel.

    1. Avatar for Julie

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