The Daintree Rainforest is the oldest rainforest on the planet and was inducted into the world heritage list in 1988. The tropical North Queensland region is bursting with natural wonders, including waterfalls, streams and gorges. A road trip is the perfect way to experience it in 4 days.
Depart from Cairns
Daintree is a two-and-a-half hour drive from Cairns Airport. Take the Captain Cook Highway (one of the most famous drives in the Southern Hemisphere) to get to the destination of your dreams. Enjoy the stunning views of this coastal route.
Cairns Airport (CNS)
Cairns Airport (CNS), Airport Avenue, Cairns ...
Stop 1: Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Get yourself into adventure mode, with a visit to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. After 15 minutes on the road, simply turn left onto State Route 91 then right onto Skyrail Drive and you’re there.
Here, you’ll experience a birds-eye view of the Wet Tropics Heritage Area and the Barron Gorge. Glide metres above the jungle canopy between Cairns and Kuranda, and descend to explore the rainforest up close at Red Peak and Barron Falls.
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway has raised and distributed more than $465,000 to rainforest research projects since establishing their foundation in 2005.
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, Skyrail Drive, S...
Stop 2: Kuranda Scenic Railway
Just 25 minutes away on National Route 1, you’ll find the famous Kuranda Scenic Railway. Constructed between 1882 and 1891, this railway is an engineering triumph. Hundreds of men hand-made all 15 tunnels to create this unique journey for travellers. The route, boasting views of dense rainforest, steep ravines and waterfalls, is approximately one hour and 45 minutes (from Cairns to Kuranda).
Fun fact: Kuranda Scenic Railway has received a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor every year since 2015.
Kuranda Scenic Railway
Kuranda Scenic Railway, Kuranda QLD, Australi...
Stop 3: Mossman Gorge
Once you’re back on the Captain Cook Highway, make sure to make one final stop at Mossman Gorge. Take a stroll along the elevated boardwalk, taking in the stellar views of the rainforest and riverbanks. Watch the butterflies flutter and see if you can spot Boyd's forest dragons camouflaging into the tree trunks. If you’re up for a thrill, walk across the Rex Creek suspension bridge to see the remarkable landscape from new heights.
While at Mossman Gorge, visit the Indigenous art gallery, Yalanji Arts Centre, to see the arts and crafts of Kuku Yalanji people, who have called this region home for over 50,000 years. Artists and designers transmit their knowledge of traditional lore and culture into vibrant pieces—whether in paintings, prints, fabrics, wood or paper.
Mossman Gorge QLD, Australia
Heads up: take the 15-minute shuttle bus from the Mossman Gorge Centre to the carpark where all the walking tracks begin.
Mossman Gorge Centre
Mossman Gorge Centre, Mossman Gorge Road, Mos...
Spend the night at Silky Oaks Lodge
Stay the night at Silky Oaks Lodge to rest and reset from today’s adventures, before heading to Daintree Rainforest in the morning. Choose a treehouse accommodation that best suits you and your crew, and enjoy a peaceful night in the magical rainforest setting.
Finlayvale Road, Mossman QLD 4873, Australia
Drive to Daintree
Rise and shine, dig into a breakfast full of fresh tropical produce, hop in the car, and you’ll be at Daintree in just over an hour. When you arrive, check into the Heritage Lodge and Spa, which will be your base for the next few days. The private balcony is the perfect spot to sit back and relax, while watching the beautiful cassowaries, butterflies and birds pass by.
A cruise on the Daintree River is a must-do on your visit to Daintree Rainforest. The Solar Whisper cruise is an excellent choice—it’s a family operated business practicing true ecotourism. The Solar Whisper is the only zero-emission boat that travels the beautiful length of water—meaning you can spot the crocodiles and other wildlife without noise or fumes disturbing them and their habitat. For an added bonus, indulge in the complimentary local Daintree tea, coffee and biscuits.
Daintree Discovery Centre
Nestled in the heart of the rainforest is the multi-award winning Daintree Discovery Centre. This is a must-do on your Daintree Rainforest 4 day trip, as you can experience the glorious greenery from every angle—from the forest floor to the tops of the canopy. From the 23-metre-high Canopy Tower you’ll see beautiful orchids and, if you’re lucky, a python curled up in a giant fern basket. With an aerial walkway, interactive display centre, and audio tours, there’s something to suit every style of explorer.
The Daintree Discovery Centre is a leader in ecotourism. Their Micrometeorological Weather Station, located on the top level of the Canopy Tower, is making a vital contribution to climate-change research.
Daintree Discovery Centre
Daintree Discovery Centre, Turn off, Cape Tri...
Go on an all-day tour
Pick between the Daintree Wonder Tour or Daintree Walkabout Cultural Adventures for a full day of adventure.
Immerse yourself in the culture of the Kuku Yalanji people, with Walkabout Cultural Adventures. This tour, based around the Mossman Gorge, coastal habitats and Daintree River, will teach you all about the Kuku Yalanji people—their environment, the food and medicine they derive from nature, and the traditional Aboriginal hunting practices they use. Have a go at boomerang and spear throwing, and try catching a mud crab. Plus, enjoy a guided rainforest walk through the southern part of Daintree Rainforest.
Daintree Wonder Tour is a locally owned family business offering travellers a day of memory making. On this tour you’ll visit must-see sites such as the Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation, Mossman Gorge and the Daintree River, as well as a few local secrets.
The tour guides, who receive comprehensive in-house training, have a wealth of knowledge and appreciation for the culture, history and biology of the area. They also love sharing local jokes and anecdotes with the group, so expect to have a good laugh and to hear a bunch of unique stories.
Dive into the Great Barrier Reef
Start the last morning of your Daintree Rainforest 4 day trip with a snorkel in the world’s largest coral reef system—the Great Barrier Reef. Ocean Safari takes you on a mesmerising adventure, off the Daintree Coast at Cape Tribulation. Check in at 8am and enjoy the 25-minute ride along the bright blue water, before diving into two locations at Mackay and Undine Reefs. Explore the abundance of iconic Queensland marine life, including tropical fish, giant clams, colourful coral and starfish.
Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef, Cairns QLD, Australia
The passionate skipper and eco host provide a fun-filled trip for travellers, while also shedding light on the value and importance of the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest —two world heritage areas in Cairns that sit side by side.
Ocean Safari, The Turtle Rock Cafe, Cape Trib...
Refuel with good food
Once you get back from your snorkelling adventure, take a seat at the Turtle Rock Cafe and Bar, located at the Ocean Safari office, for a delicious meal. The Turtle Rock Cafe and Bar serves up fresh, wholesome food in a casual outdoor setting. Pair your healthy sandwich or burger with locally grown Mareeba coffee or smoothies made from local exotic fruits.
This is an excellent place to experience the best of Tropical North Queensland produce, and a must-visit on your Daintree Rainforest 4 day trip.