Daintree National Park consists of two separate sections, the southern part being Mossman Gorge Section, accessible via Mossman, and the northern part being Cape Tribulation Section, reached only by crossing the Daintree River by ferry. The Daintree stretches 160km north of Cairns and is the oldest surviving tropical rainforest in the world. It is estimated to be over 110 million years old and the only place on earth where two World-Heritage entities, being the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, meet.
The magnificent Mossman Gorge is the attraction in the southern section of Daintree National Park and is situated 4km from Mossman via Johnstone Road. The gorge is easily accessible and a 400 metre walk leads to the Rex Swinging Bridge and gorge lookout where you can marvel at the Mossman River tumbling over the granite boulders towards the crystal clear plunge pool at the base of the gorge. This popular swimming hole is an oasis amongst the rainforest. There is a 2km self guided rainforest walk here or alternatively the Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime visitor centre offers guided rainforest walks with traditional Daintree National Park custodians. The Aboriginal cultural walks depart Mon-Fri at 9am, 11am, 1pm & 3pm and Sat-Sun 9am & 11am.
The northern section of Daintree National Park features magnificent tropical rainforest, superb coastline and access to the Bloomfield four-wheel drive track north of Cape Tribulation. The Daintree River Ferry Crossing is about 30km north of Mossman and is the access point to the enchanting rainforest beyond. The vehicle ferry operates daily between 6am and midnight and costs vary according to vehicle size. A standard car or utility costs $12 one way or $21 return, extra fees apply to towing vehicles. Passengers must remain in their vehicle on the short 5 minute trip across the river.
Daintree National Park – Cape Tribulation Section is suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles and consists of bitumen road for 38km between the ferry crossing and Cape Tribulation. Please note that the road is windy with gradients and Cassowaries inhabit the area so drive with care. Travelling north to Cape Tribulation is a beautiful drive offering lookout points, rainforest walks and coastal access points.
Waluwurrigga Alexandra Range Lookout is the first point of interest about 8km from the ferry. The road winds through the ranges and offers views of the Daintree River mouth, Snapper Island and across to Port Douglas on a fine day.
The Daintree Discovery Centre
is a few km further on and offers elevated access to the various levels
of the rainforest. A 23 metre tower takes you from the forest floor to
the upper canopy where you can marvel at the magic of the Daintree and
look out for native fauna, including the Cassowary. An interpretive
display centre offers educational visual presentations and self guided
audio tours are available. Entry fees of $28 per adult apply and this
allows re-entry for 7 days.
Continue along Cape Tribulation Road and turn onto Buchanan Road to Cowe Bay. This lovely scenic beach, permitting dogs on lead, is covered with smooth pebbles and is a beautiful place to take a walk and appreciate the stunning rainforest meeting the ocean. Other attractions in the Cowe Bay community include horse rides, scenic flights, Icecream Factory and Hotel. Markets are held at the Cowe Bay Hotel on the last Sunday of each month.
A further 10km along the main road is Thornton Beach,
another piece of Daintree paradise to enjoy. A beachfront bar and café
is located here as well as picnic tables in the rainforest.
Just north of Thornton Beach is the Marrdja Boardwalk and botanical walk. An easy 1.2km circuit through tropical rainforest leads to a creek bed and mangrove forest. The walk is very scenic, however, use insect repellant when near the mangroves as mosquitoes are common here.
Myall Beach is about 12km further along Cape
Tribulation Road and has a delightful day use area with free barbeques
and picnic tables in the rainforest, a 1.2km Dubuji Boardwalk and a
A few km along reaches the end of the bitumen road and finds Cape Tribulation, the spectacular beach iconic to the Daintree. This scenic beauty is fringed with lush green rainforest and towering palm trees and offers views back to the ranges. Anyone visiting Daintree National Park will agree this beach is one of the highlights and most picturesque where the rainforest meets the reef.
The Daintree National Park offers something for everyone. It may be in the wilderness however there is plenty of accommodation to suit all budgets (including camp grounds), cafes, restaurants and a supermarket, pharmacy and bottle shop at Cape Tribulation. Note if you are continuing north along the Bloomfield Track towards Cooktown the last available fuel stop in the Daintree is at Rainforest Village between Cowe Bay and Thornton Beach. Tourists returning to the ferry have a 38km drive back along Cape Tribulation Road through this breathtaking World-Heritage rainforest.
Four-wheel drive enthusiasts attempting the Bloomfield Track have 31km of shallow creek crossings, windy roads, pot holes and steep gradients. This track is not suitable for caravans and anyone towing a camper trailer should proceed with extreme caution due to the exceptionally steep gradients. Experienced four-wheel drivers recommended using low-range four-wheel drive on steep inclines and declines.
Towards the end of the track are some scenic views of the Bloomfield River from high in the ranges, before descending to the Wajul Wajul aboriginal community and Bloomfield River crossing.
After the crossing turn left towards Bloomfield Falls. A 200m walk over rocks reaches these powerful falls gushing over the rock face. The falls are very picturesque and worth the short easy walk.
A further 45km past Wujal Wujal, via Historic Bloomfield and Ayton, is Helenvale where the Lions Den Hotel
is located. This charming pub in remote rainforest country offers cold
beer, hot meals, fuel, ice and rainforest camping and safari tents. The
Lions Den is a relaxing stopover after completing the Bloomfield track.
Just a few km from here is the Mulligan Highway and you’re back on the bitumen all the way to Cooktown. Call in at the Black Mountain scenic lookout along the way and discover a disintegrating mountain of massive granite boulders. The intriguing pile of rubble was caused by jolting below the surface which broke up the granite, becoming exposed over time as erosion cleared away the surroundings. The unstable rock pile is dangerous and should not be accessed. Local stories tell of humans and animals disappearing into the cavities below, never to be seen again.
Cooktown is just 22km from Black Mountain along the highway. The historical port town, named after Captain James Cook, offers plenty of history, magnificent views and is the gateway to Cape York Peninsula.