Australia's Cape Tribulation and Daintree Coast - Rainforest, Reefs, Beaches, Wilderness

The Daintree and Cape Tribulation coastline is a unique and special place on the Tropical North Coast of Queensland, Australia. The Tropical World Heritage rainforest plunges down steep hillsides to the blue sparkling waters of the world famous Great Barrier Reef - two World Heritage areas side by side - the Wet Tropics of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. Cape Tribulation is a truly magnificent area that attracts visitors from all over the world. The splendour and diversity is truly amazing and is ideal for eco tourism:

  • diverse tropical rainforests,
  • transparent clean freshwater creeks and waterfalls,
  • long sandy beaches lined with palm trees
  • coral reefs
  • unique wildlife
  • diverse tropical flora
  • mangrove communities
  • crocodiles
  • fish and fishing

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Beautiful Rainforest Wilderness

Cape Tribulation can be accessed by taking a sealed road from the Daintree River Ferry crossing. Further north an unsealed 4-wheel drive track, known as the Bloomfield Track, leads to the Bloomfield Falls, Bloomfield River, Wujal Wujal, and eventually futher north all the way to the secluded historic town of Cooktown. Drivers intending to drive along the Bloomfield Track, should check the weather beforehand, as there are several creek and river crossings can be treacherous after heavy rain. Travellers also need to take care crossing the Cowie and Donovan Ranges as there are very steep grades. Many travellers also go beyond Cooktown and take the challenging 4WD track to the very tip of Cape York Peninsula.

The main features of the Cape Tribulation and the Daintree area are:

Tropical Rainforests

The Daintree Cape Tribulation section of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area contains some of the the oldest continuously surviving rainforest on earth - this forest is a living museum illustrating how higher flowering land plants evolved from conifers, ancient ferns and cycads. The Daintree rainforest also has a fascinating range of animals including the rare southern cassowary and the musky rat-kangaroo. The area is famous for its scenic panoramas of mountain rivers that have carved tracks through rugged gorges to plunge into freshwater pools in rainforest-clad valleys, giant trees, ancient ferns and stunning scenery. You can learn all about the Daintree and Cape Tribulation rainforest at the famous Daintree Rainforest Environment Centre which has a fantastic collection of rainforest information, displays of fascinating local rainforest insects and fruits, a boardwalk through the forest with self-guided tour, a terrific library and a 5-storey tree-top tower. The staff are very friendly and helpful.

Great Barrier Reef

The world renowned Great Barrier Reef was one of the first of Australia's World Heritage Areas to be recognised and it is the world's biggest World Heritage Area. The Barrier Reef is the most extensive coral reef system in the world and has a fabulous plethora of biological diversity. It contains over 1,500 species of fish, 400 types of coral and 4,000 types of shellfish. It also important habitat for the threatened dugong and the large green turtle. You can join a variety of tours to the reef neat Cape Tribulation and nearby islands, and to the pristine outer Great Barrier Reef from both various operators departing from Cairns and Port Douglas. The vessels range from small 20-tourist sailing yachts and catamarans, small motor ferries and up to the fast, comfortable, stable and large fast wave-piercing Catamarans of the Quicksilver ferry fleet. One of the best local tours is the famous Rum Runner reef tour which leaves every day from Cape Tribulation. The tour includes scenic boat tours, snorkeling and scuba diving spending more than five hours on the reef, and includes a delightful buffet lunch and morning and afternoon tea and coffee refreshments.

Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation features Beaches, Beach Walking and Coastal Landscapes - including a fabulous long beach walk between Cape Tribulation Beach and Myall Beach, which ascends over the neck of the cape. You can experience the magic of white sands stretching as far as the eye can see, and which are virtually deserted. Other beaches in the Cape Tribulation Area include: Cape Kimberley Beach, Cow Bay Beach, Thornton Beach, Coconut Beach, Myall Beach, Cape Tribulation Beach, Emmagen Beach, Cowie Beach. Cape Kimberley beach is the gateway to uninhabited Snapper Island with its coral ringed shores and sheltered secluded beaches. Just 2 km offshore, it is easily accessible by kayak or small boat. Away from the tourist hub, the Island is a peaceful place to reflect ancient times and take in spectacular views of the Daintree Coast and mysterious cloud veiled rainforest peaks and beyond, to the Great Barrier Reef.

Mangroves

The wonderfully diverse mangrove communities of the Daintree Coast mark the interface between the two connected World Heritage areas. These rich communities support a wonderful biodiversity of life. Mangroves are also nursery grounds for many marine and estuarine fish, and crustacean species.

Places to Stay

The Daintree / Cape Tribulation coast with its diverse and unique environments is a very special and exciting place to visit or to enjoy an extended holiday. Cape Tribulation is the name of both the headland and town situated within the Daintree National Park. The small town has several tourism resorts and a number of backpacker hostels, and other accommodation. There are also many tour operators and tourism facilities. Cape Tribulation has a range of different types of accommodation to suit every visitor, all in superb natural settings — four star, three star and budget resorts, backpacker hostels, bed and breakfasts, holiday houses and camping grounds.

Ocean Resorts and Hotels offer superb accommodation to suit all budgets and desires, from the high quality Ecotourism at Cape Tribulation Resort and Spa, to the affordable tropical getaway for eco-explorers at Ferntree Rainforest Lodge. There is quality budget accommodation at the Ferntree Hostel and camping at Jungle Lodge. There are also a number of holiday houses in the area and many other option.

Australia has fabulous beaches, amongst the best in the world in the world and there is always a wide range of fun adventures and tourist activities visitors to enjoy.

The main features of the Cape Tribulation and the Daintree area are:

Tropical Rainforests

The Daintree Cape Tribulation section of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area contains some of the the oldest continuously surviving rainforest on earth - this forest is a living museum illustrating how higher flowering land plants evolved from conifers, ancient ferns and cycads. The Daintree rainforest also has a fascinating range of animals including the rare southern cassowary and the musky rat-kangaroo. The area is famous for its scenic panoramas of mountain rivers that have carved tracks through rugged gorges to plunge into freshwater pools in rainforest-clad valleys, giant trees, ancient ferns and stunning scenery. You can learn all about the Daintree and Cape Tribulation rainforest at the famous Daintree Rainforest Environment Centre which has a fantastic collection of rainforest information, displays of fascinating local rainforest insects and fruits, a boardwalk through the forest with self-guided tour, a terrific library and a 5-storey tree-top tower. The staff are very friendly and helpful.

Great Barrier Reef

The world renowned Great Barrier Reef was one of the first of Australia's World Heritage Areas to be recognised and it is the world's biggest World Heritage Area. The Barrier Reef is the most extensive coral reef system in the world and has a fabulous plethora of biological diversity. It contains over 1,500 species of fish, 400 types of coral and 4,000 types of shellfish. It also important habitat for the threatened dugong and the large green turtle. You can join a variety of tours to the reef neat Cape Tribulation and nearby islands, and to the pristine outer Great Barrier Reef from both various operators departing from Cairns and Port Douglas. The vessels range from small 20-tourist sailing yachts and catamarans, small motor ferries and up to the fast, comfortable, stable and large fast wave-piercing Catamarans of the Quicksilver ferry fleet. One of the best local tours is the famous Rum Runner reef tour which leaves every day from Cape Tribulation. The tour includes scenic boat tours, snorkeling and scuba diving spending more than five hours on the reef, and includes a delightful buffet lunch and morning and afternoon tea and coffee refreshments.

Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation features Beaches, Beach Walking and Coastal Landscapes - including a fabulous long beach walk between Cape Tribulation Beach and Myall Beach, which ascends over the neck of the cape. You can experience the magic of white sands stretching as far as the eye can see, and which are virtually deserted. Other beaches in the Cape Tribulation Area include: Cape Kimberley Beach, Cow Bay Beach, Thornton Beach, Coconut Beach, Myall Beach, Cape Tribulation Beach, Emmagen Beach, Cowie Beach. Cape Kimberley beach is the gateway to uninhabited Snapper Island with its coral ringed shores and sheltered secluded beaches. Just 2 km offshore, it is easily accessible by kayak or small boat. Away from the tourist hub, the Island is a peaceful place to reflect ancient times and take in spectacular views of the Daintree Coast and mysterious cloud veiled rainforest peaks and beyond, to the Great Barrier Reef.

Mangroves

The wonderfully diverse mangrove communities of the Daintree Coast mark the interface between the two connected World Heritage areas. These rich communities support an extraordinary biodiversity of life. Mangroves are the nursery ground for many marine and estuarine fish and crustacean species.

Places to Stay

The Daintree / Cape Tribulation coast with its diverse and unique environments is a very special and exciting place to visit or to enjoy an extended holiday. Cape Tribulation is the name of both the headland and town situated within the Daintree National Park. The small town has several tourism resorts and a number of backpacker hostels, and other accommodation. There are also many tour operators and tourism facilities. Cape Tribulation has a range of different types of accommodation to suit every visitor, all in superb natural settings — four star, three star and budget resorts, backpacker hostels, bed and breakfasts, holiday houses and camping grounds.

Ocean Resorts and Hotels offer superb accommodation to suit all budgets and desires, from the high quality Ecotourism at Cape Tribulation Resort and Spa, to the affordable tropical getaway for eco-explorers at Ferntree Rainforest Lodge. There is quality budget accommodation at the Ferntree Hostel and camping at Jungle Lodge. There are also a number of holiday houses in the area and many other option.


What to See and Do

There is a large variety of things to do and see in the area that are summarized in the following table:

Activities
Activities
4WD Bloomfield Track Tour
Insect Museum
4WD Safari Trips
Joy Flights
4WD Tours
Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours
Aboriginal culture
Leisurely Sightseeing
Bat House
Marrdja Botanical Walk, Noah Creek
Beach Fishing
Mossman Gorge Day Tour
Beaches, Beach Combing
Night Walks
Bicycle Hire
Photography
Bird Watching
Rainforest Walks - Day, Evening
Boardwalks - wetlands
Reef Fishing
Boating - power boats, hire
Reef Trips
Bushwalking
Restaurants and Cafes
Butterfly House, Tours
Relaxing
Canoeing and Kayaking
River Cruising
Cape Tribulation Tours - short, extended
River Fishing
Crocodile Spotting
Rock Climbing
Cruises - River and Ocean
Sailing
Daintree Discovery Centre
Scenic Cruises
Daintree Jungle Surfing Tour
Scenic Drives
Daintree River Cruise
Scenic Flights
Day Tours
Sea Kayaking
Diving
Snorkelling
Ecotours
Snorkelling
Environment Centre
Swimming
Game Fishing
Swimming in freshwater pools
Great Barrier Reef Cruises/Diving
Tree Top Tower
Horse Riding
Tropical Fruit Tasting
Horse Riding Trails, Beach Rides
Wilderness Adventures

Fishing - A variety of river, estuary and reef fishing tours depart from the Cape Tribulation and Daintree River, targeting a wide variety of estuarine and tropical reef fish including Mangrove Jack, Coral Trout, Barramundi, Mackerel, Queen fish and a host of others species. Fishing from  rocks and the beaches or from the headlands of several river mouths along the coast is also very popular.

Day Tours and Beyond - There are a number of places of interest within a few hours drive of Daintree and Cape Tribulation including Bloomfield Falls, Mossman Gorge, Emmagen Creek, Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary, the Palmer River goldfields and Laura aboriginal rock art. Further away is Cooktown with its range of accommodation options and lots of activities. Further south you can tour of The Atherton Tablelands with its historic towns, crater lakes and spectacular waterfalls. West of Cairns you can travel on the delightful Kuranda Skyrail cableway over the rainforest and return via the famous steam-train.

© 2010 Dr. John Anderson

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