The Daintree Rainforest is a world away from civilisation but a snap to get to, says guest blogger Matt Isabella. And the drive north from Cairns is a highlight in itself. 

***Created in partnership with our sponsor Cape Tribulation Beach House***

The Daintree Rainforest is barely touched and completely isolated, but getting there is actually extremely easy. The closest airport is located in the tropical city of Cairns, approximately 130km north.

People often say to me that the trip to this magical place is one of their highlights, with incredible coastal views and scenery unmatched anywhere else in Australia.

At Cairns airport you have two options; either hire a car or get on board one of the many bus companies that conduct daily tours to the region.

Drive yourself

Most of the journey is along the Captain Cook highway, which runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean; the views and scenery are incredible.

Driving to the Daintree yourself is simple: head north along the Captain Cook highway and turn right at Cape Tribulation exit, 25 minutes past the sleepy town of Mossman.

If you have spare time, stop off in the seaside village of Port Douglas. With plenty of trendy restaurants and a lot of highlights, it is a must-see icon of the Far North.

It takes less than three hours (with no stops), an easy journey for anyone looking to get away.

Take a tour

One of the best bus journey options (for the young at heart) is with Active Tropics Explorer, a day tour (and an overnight option) that takes you to Cape Tribulation.

Along the way you have a chance to explore the spectacular Mossman Gorge and take part in traditional Indigenous ceremonies.

Upon crossing the Daintree Ferry, just two hours after leaving Cairns, you will enter the oldest living rainforest in the world.

With no mobile phone service and one of the highest concentrations of plants and animals anywhere on earth, the call to adventure beckons loudly.

Do not forget the essentials – a torch and plenty of time up your sleeve – because exploring the beaches and the rainforest at night, especially around Cape Tribulation, increases your chances to see some of the most amazing wildlife on earth. For example ghost crabs (they are translucent so you see right through them) are best spotted scurrying around at night.

Got some spare time?

In the morning, relax on the beach and watch sea turtles, dolphins and, during September to November, whales breaching the water.

Cape Tribulation beach has a rock reef running parallel to it, an excellent place to encounter these animals.

Protected by a maritime green zone, all fishing is prohibited here, which means there is plenty of activity all year round.

Speaking of water, we also have one of the only beach horse riding tours in all of Australia, with daily rides along Myall Beach. Slow galloping along this pristine environment is a rare experience, only possible at a handful of Australian beaches. Morning and afternoon tours can be booked at Cape Tribulation Beach House.

Lastly, if you want to try an accommodation experience like no other, consider a night or two at Rainforest Hideaway.

With only three rooms, this delightful bed and breakfast is nestled in the middle of the rainforest – and features the only rainforest mini golf course in Australia. Owner Rob is a knowledgeable local identity of note.


Matthew Isabella is the General Manager of Cape Tribulation Beach House