Exploring the Daintree and Cape Tribulation

We were headed up to Cairns in far north Queensland for a holiday, but knew we didn’t just want a resort getaway. We don’t do so well with staying put and lounging around. We prefer small scale tourism over the typical mass tourism that you get around Cairns, and Cape Tribulation feels off the beaten path. We had fond memories of our time in the Daintree rainforest from our backpacker days and were keen to explore the world’s oldest rain forest once again. Just to put it in perspective the Daintree is estimated to be 100-180 million years old, whereas the Amazon is a mere 7 million year old. We are talking really ancient! The Daintree rainforest starts just north of Port Douglas, which is an hour north of Cairns. You can do a tour from Port Douglas or Cairns, but the self drive option gives you much more flexibility. Cape Tribulation is a headland a couple of hours north where the sealed road ends. It is a small village where two UNESCO Heritage Sites exist: the “Rainforest meets the Reef”. Check out these 7 crazy facts about Queensland.

We spent 3 days/2 nights exploring the Daintree and Cape Tribulation, but could have easily spent more. You can get around in a regular rental car and do not need a 4WD unless you are going further north than Cape Trib. By having your own vehicle, you can stop where you want and don’t need to keep a schedule. Since we were travelling with kids, we love the flexibility of having our own car. There are so many great things to do on the Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation route. Instead of rushing up on a day trip, spend a few nights up at Cape Trib. Staying at Cape Trib in the rainforest was a really special experience and allowed us to explore at a slower pace.

The first few items on our things to do in Cape Tribulation and the Daintree list are on the drive up from Cairns to Cape Tribulation. Don’t rush on up there; spend a day slowly wandering your way north stopping at the beautiful beaches, walking tracks, view points and swimming holes. We did some of these things on the drive up and saved others for the drive back down south.

Cape Trib Beach House – we were surprisingly impressed with the food served at our hotel. For dinners the $16 Backpacker Menu, including a beer/wine is great value. There are lots of veggie options available and fresh seafood on the menu too. Whet – this sophisticated restaurant set in the rainforest is a great place for any meal of the day. The food is delicious and reasonably priced. We loved that they had toys to keep the kids occupied. Cape Tribulation Ice Cream Company – delicious natural ice cream made with exotic fruits from their farm.