One of our last stops of our Queensland road trip was Daintree Forest; the worlds oldest rain forest. Before this, we’d already spent a whole year booking excursions, planning trips and searching for accommodation and towards the end we were still no good at it. Scrolling through booking.com became incredibly tedious quite quickly and choosing from a list of 3747383839 excursions that all offered similar things for different prices became equally as tiring.
We originally planned to experience the Daintree on a day trip excursion, but after weeks of trying to find the right tour company, we came across a self drive map that quickly became the sensible option. Up until Cape Tribulation, the roads are suitable for any car and organising the trip ourselves allowed us to do things our own way.
Where We Stayed
We scrolled through websites for weeks, until I stumbled across a chalet-type stay located in a place called Diwan, located around 30 minutes away from Cape Tribulation and 10 minutes away from Thornton Beach and Cow Bay Beach.
Coral Sea Views was an absolute gem of a find and I still can’t believe we bagged this place. A guy originally from Bradford built the chalets himself and also lives on the property. However, your rooms are in complete privacy as well as the gorgeous barbecue area a stones throw away from your room. Our en-suite bedroom with a shower and toilet was fairly basic, but stunning, clean and comfortable with a fly net being an option to use too.
It’s the breathtaking views that made this place so unforgettable and unique - we just couldn’t get enough of them. The balcony boasts two mini seating areas, a fridge, speakers, a sofa and of course, the obligatory hammocks. You are then surrounded by incredible views of the mountains and the sea, with the sound of singing birds and the wind within the leaves.
After spending a few weeks getting up here, staying from campsite to campsite and then to a few motels, endorsing on long walks, early wake ups and a little bit of stress added in there, this place was the perfect place to relax for the evening. We arrived at the chalet around 3pm and spent the rest of our afternoon chilling out on the hammocks whilst listening to the local wildlife. We then cooked burgers on the barbecue and spent the evening soaking everything in with a cider... or two. We had no phone signal whilst we were there and although WiFi was an option, we opted for an internet free night playing board games and reading.
What We Did | Day 1
Our first stop was Mossman Gorge, a short drive away from both Daintree Forest and Port Douglas. As you arrive you’re required to purchase a bus ticket ($10 per person), which takes you right up to the board walk leading you to Mossman Gorge. Although quite cloudy, we couldn’t resist swimming in the freezing cold waters surrounded by greenery and mountain views.
The next day we headed to the Daintree, the world oldest rain forest. The ferry cost $28 dollars return and took under 5 minutes to cross the crocodile infested river. Our first day mostly included exploring two pristine beaches; Thornton Beach and Cape Tribulation. Our first stop was the beautiful Thornton Beach; completely deserted and incredibly stunning. At lunch time we actually headed back to have some food on nearby benches - it was too perfect not to.
Next was Cape Tribulation, and with it being very well known we both expected it to be a lot busier - how wrong were we. Although it was busier than Thornton Beach, Cape Tribulation was still fairly quiet, peaceful and absolutely beautiful. We spent our time walking down the beach before a 5 minute walk up to the lookout. We ended the day at Dubuji Boardwalk near Cape Tribulation; a walk that takes you into the heart of the rain forest. Although very humid, it became worth it for the variety of birds, trees and plants.
What We Did | Day 2
After a wonderful nights stay at Coral Sea Views, our final stops included a brief visit to Cow Bay Beach and Jindalba Boardwalk. Cow Bay Beach was beautiful, but Thornton Beach and Cape Tribulation were hard to beat. We then took a short walk around the Jindalba Boardwalk hoping to spot a Cassowary during our wanders. Sadly we missed a sighting by an hour but the unique trees still made the walk worth it.
Our last stop was at Solar Whisper Wildlife Cruise, an hours boat trip down the river to spot wildlife and wild crocodiles. We were lucky enough to see one large female crocodile and an unbelievably cute baby croc on the river bed. In addition, we saw a snake in the trees, crabs and a variety of birds. Witnessing crocodiles isn’t always guaranteed, but you are more likely to see them first thing in the morning.
Daintree Forest became one of our favourite places to see in the whole of Australia and I would highly recommend self driving instead of booking through a tour company. It became the cheaper option, even with expensive accommodation thrown in there, we saw all of the same spots and you can make it even cheaper by doing it over the course of one day.