Adventure

7 Reasons Why You Need To Escape To The Daintree This Winter

Sun: check. Swimming: check. Mobile phone reception… think again.

Queensland‘s tropical coast is home to a mind-boggling array of natural wonders, but nowhere are they more abundant than in the Daintree Rainforest. Located approximately 100km north of Cairns, the Daintree is the largest unbroken section of rainforest left in Australia, and one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet.

It’s managed to escape the overdevelopment that has marred some other sections of the coast and with two UNESCO World Heritage Listed sites side by side (that’d be the Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef), it’s easy to see why it’s David Attenborough’s favourite place in the world.

You Can Totally Unplug From The World

Image: Coopers Creek / Daintree Rainforest

Once you cross the Daintree River, you’ll be leaving the modern world behind because there’s no mobile phone reception in the Daintree. Most accommodation has wi-fi but even that’s limited, so it’s the perfect place to forget about work and let the world pass you by. Besides, with over 1200 square kilometres of rainforest, there’s plenty to keep you busy.

 

The Rainforest Meets The Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most iconic tourist attractions. It’s why two million people visit every year, but you can escape the crowds by heading to Cape Tribulation (the bustling hub of the Daintree region, with a permanent population of just 118).

Sailaway operates a catamaran that departs every day as long as the weather is calm enough, sailing out from an absurdly picturesque bay surrounded by rainforest-clad slopes. With small groups, a number of exclusive moorings and a marine biologist onboard it’s a far more personal way to experience the reef.

The Daintree Is Warm All Year Long

The Daintree doesn’t have a winter; instead the period from May to October is the dry season. This is still a rainforest so it never completely dries out, but in July the region has about half the average rainfall of Adelaide, the driest of Australia’s capital cities.

More importantly, it never gets cold. The average low stays above 20 degrees all year round while the highs are below 30 degrees, meaning that it’s a comfortable temperature all day long.

There’s A Touch Of Luxury

Stunning places to stay are scattered throughout the region, and there’s something for all budgets. For a back to nature experience, there’s a jungle treehouse standing alone in the middle of the rainforest with an outdoor shower and a pure stream with a small swimming hole less than a hundred metres away.

For something a little more indulgent, there are a number of luxury ecolodges with onsite spas and restaurants using locally sourced ingredients that are designed to blend into the surrounding landscape.

See Big Birds In The Wild

At up to two metres tall and weighing over 50 kilograms, you’d think cassowaries would be easy to spot, especially when you add in the bright blue head markings and distinctive red wattle. But these surprisingly elusive birds often live in dense patches of rainforest far away from humans (and their dogs).

daintree

Image: Travis Simon / Flickr

Fortunately the Daintree is one of the best places to spot them – the road has frequent warning signs – and seeing one in the wild is a special experience. Just remember not to get too close as they can become aggressive and cause serious injuries if they feel threatened.

Experience A Wide Variety Of Flora And Fauna

Daintree

Image: Flora / Daintree Rainforest

It’s not just cassowaries lurking among the trees. The Daintree is home to about a third of the mammal species found in Australia, along with a wild variety of reptiles, birds and insects. The rainforest is over 100 million years old, and houses a number of relict species and evolutionary oddities among the 3000 plant species, and there are plenty of ways to explore it.

The Daintree National Park maintains several boardwalks and trails in the Cape Tribulation area as well as further south, while Night Walks are a great way to spot some of the shyer jungle residents.

Enjoy Fruits Of The Forest

Daintree

Image: Fruit tasting at Cape Trib Farm / Cape Trib Farm

Among those thousands of plants in the rainforest, very few are safe to eat and you’ll probably have trouble identifying them. Fortunately local farmers decided to bring in some tropical fruits from other parts of the world, and with names like chocolate pudding fruit and miracle fruit, it’s easy to see why.

Cape Trib Farm does tastings of some of the 30+ tropical fruits they cultivate, while Daintree Ice Cream Co. turns its produce into ice cream, which is made fresh onsite every day.

How To Get There

  • Fly Qantas to Cairns, Australia (CNS)
  • Drive 124km (2 hours, 19 minutes)
  • Daintree Rainforest

 

(Lead image: Silky Oaks Lodge)