We had only a few days in the Daintree and it really took us by surprise. Doing very little research on a place often allows this to happen, and our first surprise was the car ferry that crosses the Daintree River. Only $26 return we thought was pretty reasonable even though it was a 5 minute trip. Lucky with the timings, we didn’t have to wait for long but we passed a massive long queue of cars waiting to come back in the opposite direction.
There’s a narrow, windy road up to the Daintree and it was a challenging drive for Sven, given that the road was so thin in places and we were towing the van behind us. But once we arrived it was magic. There are few fancy motels here (mostly laidback backpacker lodges), and the jungle landscape provides some wonderful nature-based activities in between the tropical rain showers.
Things we did in the Daintree
> The Bloomfield Track
We decided to do a quick recky (reconnaissance) trip north past Cape Tribulation and along the Bloomfield Track, so see if it was doable in the caravan. Formerly one of the most formidable 4WD tracks in QLD, it’s now been sealed in most places and the dirt sections were in great condition. The steep sections however are very steep, and they class it as a 4WD only track. Starting off at 5pm, we decided to continue the whole way along the Bloomfield Track in the dark, which made it more exciting of course. While our off-road van was capable of doing the track, our brakes were not functioning properly (one of the caravan wheels was locking up) so we thought it would be safest to
> Horse riding along the beach
Mainly driven by Azzy’s love of horses, we booked in on the 11am ride down Myall’s Beach the morning after we arrived. It was just as good as we imagined it could be, with the ride taking in views of the mountains surrounding the horse paddocks, then a path through the Cape Tribulation jungle before hitting the beach.
A fortunate few of us were allowed to canter along the sand and it was awesome. Here we got a real sense of the saying ‘Where the rainforest meets the sea’, and while we rode along we met a Scouting family from England and planned to work together on a Global badge when we get home to Air Scouts in Canberra.
> Rainforest Boardwalks
The Daintree forest is the oldest living rainforest on the planet, even older than the Amazon, according to locals. We did three of the rainforest boardwalks, the first being the Dubuji Boardwalk, a beautiful 1.8 km walk through rainforest and mangroves that is accessed from Myall Beach. It was fascinating to walk through the mangroves and read the information boards on the intricate network of flora and fauna in this unique habitat. The Kulki Lookout walk was not as good, but the rainforest walk through Lync-Haven was probably the best of all. There were no information boards, but we were given a hand drawn mud map and the kids lead me through the forest on the property where we were staying and the habitat was just ancient and incredible.
> Locally made ice creams
There are two ice cream cafes in the Daintree, offering ice cream using local ingredients. We tried both (on different days) and found that the Daintree Ice Cream Company offered the best – four flavours including Black Sapote, Wattleseed, Jackfruit and Davidson Plum, in a cup for $6.50 which is great value. Set in beautiful surroundings, they also do orchard tours so you can see how these ingredients are grown.
Where we stayed in the Daintree
> Lync-Haven Rainforest Retreat
Lync-Haven was such an authentic Daintree experience, we feel like we fluked it, booking ahead and not knowing how great this place was (we have to thank Wikicamps for that!). Located in the suburb of Diwan, it was about 15-20mins south of Cape Tribulation, but the distance didn’t bother us as the drive back and forth was incredibly scenic and the drive was a real highlight for us.
Gorgeous, lush tropical surroundings with a terrific network of paths through their own rainforest is the best way to describe Lync-Haven, but they also had a few pet pythons which they took outside to the cafe garden each day, and a couple of exotic native birds which were also free to move around the cafe area. This was quite a thrill for the kids and we loved our time here.