daintree-cassowary

Guest post: How to make the most of just one day in the Daintree

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If you ever make your way to Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland, there’s one part of the region that you simply can’t miss – The Daintree Rainforest.

It might seem like it’s a bit far to do a day trip from Port Douglas, but let me tell you – not only is it not too far, you can comfortably fit a whole host of awesome things into your day.

Here’s how I made the most of just one day in the Daintree with some fellow bloggers from around the world…

If you want to include a little bit of luxury in your trip, I recommend you spend the night before (and after!) your Daintree adventure at the stunning Thala Beach Lodge.

The photo above was my view – after I woke up in my king-sized bed and walked onto the deck of my private cabin. The sound of the ocean was so soothing, I could have easily drifted back to sleep… but there were rainforest adventures awaiting me.

After a delicious breakfast at Thala, it’s a comfortable one-and-a-half hour drive up to the Daintree, with a few stops on the way. We had a little break near the car ferry that takes you across the Daintree River (no bridges up here), and spent a little time with some pseudo-wildlife, like this cassowary. 

Thank goodness crocs aren’t really this big…

On your drive you might want to pull over a few times to check out some ‘local’ signs like this one, too. I won’t spoil the surprise by showing you the whole thing…

Oh, and don’t miss stopping at the stunning Walu Wugirriga (Mount Alexandra) Lookout. The views are breathtaking.

When you do finally arrive, be sure to visit Cape Tribulation beach. It’s a pristine beach where the rainforest meets the sea – something you’ll see in very few locations on the planet.

After a lazy walk around the beach to stretch your legs, it’s time for a kayak on that gorgeous water with Peter Davidson of Paddle Trek.

Pete’s a local who’s lived in the Daintree since 2002, and is a wealth of knowledge about the region. Not to mention he makes an ace chocolate cake (drinks and snacks are included in your trip).

Never kayaked before? Never fear. Pete will take it easy on you, making sure you have plenty of time to view the stunning rainforest and ocean without wearing you out. You also have the choice of a single or double kayak.

There is no better way to see the beach and mountains.

You will build up quite an appetite after all that paddling, so it’s time to cruise up the street and have lunch at Whet – a restaurant, cafe, bar AND cinema. You’ll be stuffed once you finish your plate. Oh, and make sure to have the hot chips. They are the BEST I’ve ever tasted!

You might even have time to chill out at the bar for a bit.

P.S. For those of you who are internet-addicted like me – the Daintree doesn’t have mobile reception. However, Whet has free wifi for customers. You should have seen the bloggers scramble for our phones when we found this out… hilarious.

After lunch it’s time to partake in a less strenuous (but perhaps more stressful, depending on how you feel about heights) activity – Jungle Surfing!

The guys and gals at Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours know their stuff and they’ll guide you safely through the amazing rainforest on flying fox ziplines. You’ll get the chance to be right up in the top of the jungle canopy, before the ziplines gradually take you down through all the layers until you’re back on solid ground.

They start things off slow, but by the end you’ll be doing this…

Or even this!

And you’ll learn lots of amazing facts about one of the world’s most ancient ranforests while you’re at it.

On the way home, you really MUST stop at The Daintree Ice Cream Company to try their unique ice cream, made-on site from a range of unusual tropical fruits.

We purchased our tubs of four-flavours and sat in the afternoon sunshine to try them. Everyone had a different favourite – I think mine was passionfruit.

Oh, and if you’re a tea-drinker like me, be sure to grab a bag of Daintree Tea while you’re there so you can take a little bit of the tropics home with you.

And so the end of your day in the Daintree draws to a close.

When you get back to Port Douglas, why not round out your day with a fresh seafood dinner at On the Inlet. I had the delicious scallops.

The Daintree is a part of the world I will definitely be returning to. It’s so incredibly beautiful and unique. I’m just thankful I’m a Queenslander and it’s only a few hours away via plane!

Photos by Jess Van Den and Tourism Queensland




  • Those chips at Whet were some of the best I’ve ever had!

  • Andrew Michaels

    You packed a lot into one day! Having one day is better than not visiting at all, but if you can stay in the area overnight you should because there’s lots of amazing accommodation in the Daintree (www.capetribbeach.com.au/daintree-rainforest-accommodation) that lets you be right in the heart of it all.