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Summer in the Daintree

By Tanya Snelling
Jan 1, 2023. Last updated Jan 11, 2023

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Summer is a special time to visit the Daintree. Many of the trees in the world’s oldest tropical rainforest are dressed in their blossom best, including the gorgeous Flame Tree, providing a smorgasbord of sensuous scents and colourful blooms, attracting butterflies and the myriad bird species for which the Daintree Rainforest is renowned.

The options for finding the best summer experience are wide open when you are self driving, from stopping at roadside stalls brimming with mangoes and other seasonal tropical fruits or a boutique farm ice-creamery, finding an ideal camping spot or wheeling in to a top of the line luxury accommodation. You’ll find it all, and more than you have imagined, when you experience summer in the Daintree.

PLAY

The beauty of summer in the Daintree is that you can do as much or as little as you want. Relax in a hammock under a rainforest tree, walk on the beach or take advantage of the specialist wildlife, adventure or insightful experiences provided by multi-award winning tourism operators throughout the region, from Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation.

Your first stop north of the Daintree River has to be the Daintree Discovery Centre where people of all ages can have a true Daintree experience viewing the rainforest from every perspective. The award-winning centre at Cow Bay features a 23-metre rainforest Canopy Tower, spectacular Aerial Walkway and various boardwalks, informative audio guides in eight languages, rainforest reptiles and native fish displays, children’s audio guides and displays, a mini theatre, Interpretive Centre with touch screens, all ability access and gorgeous views from the coffee shop, overlooking McLean’s Creek.

Explore the rainforest canopy at Cape Tribulation and experience a bird’s eye view of the ancient Daintree Rainforest up to 15 metres above ground on a gentle, fully guided two-hour zipline tour. As you glide along, keep your eyes peeled for the Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo that live high in the tree top, the gentle flowing creeks below, and the turquoise blue of the Great Barrier Reef in the distance. This tour is suited to travellers of all ages and abilities. The tour offers three ziplines spanning between 15 and 130m, leading to an 8m high enclosed 360-degree viewing platform. A spectacular dual zipline completes the tour.

Ocean Safari offers an exhilarating ride to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef off the Daintree Coast at Cape Tribulation. The half-day tour visits two different snorkel destinations, each with an extraordinary array of marine life and coral species. After a fast 25-minute ride, snorkel fabulous locations at Mackay Reef, home to turtles, tropical fish, eagle rays, giant clams and starfish. The experienced skipper and eco host ensure the trip is filled with fun and appreciation of the Great Barrier Reef and the coastal rainforest of the Daintree. Tours take a maximum of 25 guests. Ocean Safari is closed in February.

Daintree River Cruises

No trip to the ancient Daintree Rainforest is complete without a Daintree River cruise. This wide meandering river, which serves as the gateway to the Daintree Rainforest (north) is a haven of biodiversity. It’s not just the prehistoric-looking Saltwater Crocodile, and official king Scarface, that call this river system home, there is incredible birdlife, varying mangrove species, crustaceans and more. Crocodile Express offers upper and lower Daintree River cruises departing from Daintree Village and the Daintree Ferry, Solar Whisper provides an educational eco experience and the Daintree River Cruise Centre offers frequent departures throughout the day for its 60 and 90 minute tours. Travellers should call ahead to find the best cruise to suit their interests and schedules.

This award-winning and advanced eco-certified wildlife sanctuary allows guests to interact with Australian animals in their recreated natural environments – wetlands, rainforest, savannah, nocturnal and woodland. All the family can enjoy hand-feeding Australian wallabies and kangaroos, have a photo taken with a koala, catcha glimpse of the legendary Southern Cassowary or Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo. How about immersing yourself with a crocodile? Enjoy all of these experiences and more at this Port Douglas attraction.

STAY

The choice of accommodation in the Daintree provides a range to suit all budgets and tastes, from back to nature, sand between your toes camping to pamper perfect romantic escapes within the cool rainforest. Here’s a sample of some of our favourites.

Just 20 minutes drive north of the Daintree River, Lync Haven Rainforest Retreat offers a unique caravan and camping location. It has freshly presented rainforest motel / cabin style rooms for couples and families, self-guided rainforest walks and board walk, a bar, playground, restaurant and a unique wildlife experience. If you’re looking for a digital detox this is the place for you. There is no wifi and limited mobile reception.

Experience the freedom of beachfront camping where the rainforest meets the reef at Cape Tribulation. Cape Trib Camping has camping options for families, couples and groups with powered or unpowered sites available for caravans, camper-trailers, tents, hammocks and motor homes. It is located within minutes of the Bloomfield Track to Cooktown (weather dependent road) and just a short boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef. Communal fire pits or permitted beach fires give the place a true wilderness camping vibe.

Ferntree Rainforest Lodge at Cape Tribulation is an affordable tropical getaway set amid the Daintree rainforest with space to delight, inspire and refresh you. It offers a range of activities, tours, and services and a restaurant menu showcasing dishes sourced from local produce and suppliers to support local businesses. Accommodation includes luxury garden lofts, garden lofts, family cabins, private cabins and standard rooms.

With only seven cabins that put guests right in the heart of the rainforest, exclusivity and luxury go hand in hand at Daintree Wilderness Lodge. This hideaway more than delivers on its promise to connect with nature – giant fan palms line the property’s elevated boardwalks, its restaurant Cycad, delivers on taste with a focus on local seasonal produce, and its location – just a five-minute drive to the secluded Cow Bay Beach, as well as self-guided walks on-site and nearby boardwalks – offer plenty to do.

TASTE

Be prepared for sensational food during summer in the Daintree based on local, seasonal produce and ultra tropical fruit. Here’s a taster:

Daintree Fan Palm Farm

This beautiful setting positively oozes good for you vitality with the Grand Fan Palm Gallery Boardwalk, an organic wholefoods store, and Café featuring pies (gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian options) and organic icecream with produce sourced from its own tropical fruit orchard. It’s located just 20 minutes north of the Daintree ferry.

Mason's Cafe at Cape Tribulation offers lunches between 11am and 3pm in a beautiful setting with lawns and a swimming hole right in the heart of the Daintree rainforest. It specialises in local products, including tea, coffee, fruit and fish, along with Kangaroo, Crocodile and Emu meat, depending upon availability. Other unusual goodness to try includes local Jackfruit in smoothies or as a vegetarian burger (seasonal). Other seasonal smoothies include exotic locally grown fruits like Abiu, Durian, Yellow Sapote and Soursop, and seasonal juices like Brazilian Cherry and Carambola.

Enjoy a unique tour around the world of tropical and exotic fruits grown at Cape Trib Farm orchards, with insights into their origins, uses, legends and myths. Dare to take a taste adventure, from the rich chocolate pudding fruit and the creamy mamey sapote to crunchy breadfruit chips and zingy carambola, to the rare pangium edule (football fruit) and savoury durians. Take a stroll around the orchard on the farm tour and gain an insight into regenerative farming in this idyllic setting in the foothills of the Daintree Rainforest. Bookings are essential.

As a Douglas Card holder you’re eligible for unlimited free Daintree ferry travel from now to the end of February 2022, as well as free entry into Mossman Gorge. Pack your road trip snacks get the play list ready and head off to explore the timeless Daintree Rainforest. Check out our Deals Page for more great offers.

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