Do not swim in rivers or the ocean is something you hear often when mentioning that you are traveling to Queensland. This is because they are home to salties aka Salt Water Crocodiles. These enormous and fascinating monsters can be found in most rivers and oceans in Queensland.
It speaks for itself that I avoided these like the plague! I did not want to encounter one in the flesh….But I did want to spot some from the safety of a tour and ended up doing the Daintree River Cruise with the Daintree River Cruise Centre in the hopes of spotting a croc and see the rainforest from a different angle.
To find out if this is worth the troubles, I’ve written this extensive guide to give you some guidance.
ABOUT DAINTREE NATIONAL PARK
Apart from knowing the Ins and Outs of the river cruise, I thought it would be handy to give you some more information about the Daintree National Park and what else there is to see and do. If you wish to know some more information about one of these topics, just press the link to my more in-depth posts on some of these incredible things to do.
Daintree National Park
The Daintree rainforest (National Park) can be found in Far North Queensland, Australia. It is located about a 100-kilometer drive from Cairns.
The best and probably easiest way to get there is by Car, Motorhome, etc. The road up there is pretty smooth (No unpaved roads) and can easily be done on your own accord. Especially if you first take the Great Barrier Reef Drive from Cairns, a world heritage listed route! By traveling it on your own accord, you can stop and enjoy the scenery when you wish.
The Daintree Rainforest is exceptional in many ways, for example, it is one of the oldest continuous living tropical rainforests in the world, with it being over a hundred million years old. Incredible!
Added to the World Heritage List in 1988, this forest is home to the largest range of plant and animal species that are rare, or threatened, anywhere in the world.
Some of the incredible animals that you can encounter are the Cassowary, Crocodiles, snakes and lots of birds.
Part of the rainforest is in Cape Tribulation.
This remote area in the rainforest can be found about 35 kilometers from the river ferry. Here you can explore the Great Barrier Reef with Ocean Safaries (half a day trip), do walks on guided trails or ride horseback on the beach.
It also has a large sheltered beach – Kulki (Cape Tribulation) Beach which offers some stunning sunsets! Since it is so remote, make sure you have groceries to spare, as there is no Coles or Woolies to be found in the area.
If you wish to explore the Great Barrier Reef, then you can do a half a day trip with Ocean Safaries. They offer a tour that stops at two different snorkel spots at the reef. They are ECO-friendly and operate in small groups.
When I did the tour, the weather was very questionable, with the tour being threatened of being canceled a couple of times. It still went ahead and had the opportunity to snorkel at two more spots in the reef. Make sure to read my extensive guide on the ocean safari.
Daintree Discovery Center
The Daintree Discovery Centre is the #1 Attraction in the Daintree Rainforest. Here you can do a canopy walk, which reaches up to 23 meter high! You get to see spectacular views, gorgeous orchids and unprecedented access to the mid-level rainforest. You may see a Cassowary with a clutch of chicks wandering along the creek below.
Daintree River Ferry
The river ferry has to be crossed if you wish to continue with your travel to Cape Tribulation Area. It is located literally meters after the cruise.
It operates between 6 am to midnight each day (Some public holidays excluded)
After crossing the Daintree Ferry you travel through lowland and tropical rainforest passing road junctions for Cape Kimberley and Cow Bay.
Payment and prices
EFTPOS is available at the ferry between 8.30 am-5 pm seven days a week. At all other times, users of the ferry need to pay cash unless you have a concessional card.
The prices to travel on the ferry are as follows (As of 1st July 2018)
|Type of vehicle||One way||Return|
|Car (private use)||$ 16,00||$ 28,00|
|Buses (6-10 seats)||$ 17,00||$ 31,00|
|Buses (11-20 seats)||$ 30,00||$ 60,00|
|Passenger, bicycles & pedestrians||$ 1,00||$ 2,00|
|Motor Bikes||$ 6,00||$ 11,00|
Best time to visit Daintree National Park + Daintree Weather
The wet season is between December and April and the majority of the rain falls during this period. You will see lots of downpours, which can be quite intense. The cooler and drier months are between May and September, and I think these are the best time to visit. As it is not too hot that you can’t do anything and it doesn’t rain often to ‘ruin’ your plans. This also reduced the humidity… which is pleasant.
And then there is the Daintree river cruise….
DAINTREE RIVER CRUISE
The Daintree River runs through the heart of the UNESCO-listed Daintree Rainforest, one of the oldest stretches of rainforest in the world. You can find the Daintree River Cruise just before the ferry crossing. It is hard to miss, as they have a pretty impressive ‘crocodile heads’ to attract your attention.
There are two tours from this spot, the Daintree River Cruise and the Solar Whisper Wildlife and Crocodile Cruises on the Daintree river (catchy name)
We opted to go with the Daintree River Cruise as we had heard a lot of good things about it and frankly, it was the first one to depart when we arrived. They have signs at their shops to say when what boat is leaving, so it is handy to figure out what cruise to take.
There was free tea, coffee, and water whilst we waited to depart, which was a nice thought.
The boat is a reasonably small vessel with some seats in the middle and benches along the edge of the boat. Our cruise was only half booked, so there was plenty of room to move around.
The tour takes you along some stunning mangrove, crocodile nests/breeding grounds, lots and lots of bird wildlife.
The tour guide will provide you with lots of interesting information about the mangrove, what certain trees/plants are and how a cyclone had affected the area.
Because the water has been warming up, the crocs do not need to sunbathe anymore to keep their core temperature up. We were told we where the third cruise in the year that were unable to spot a croc (at least that’s what the guide told us, I believed him, but could be a bit of white lie of course. ) So we were unfortunate. However, the rest of the tour is still super enjoyable! The views are stunning, the birds cute and the mangroves are impressive.
So even though we didn’t spot a croc, the Daintree River Cruise was still lovely and I would recommend you doing when you are in the area! It is a relaxing cruise, gorgeous nature and you will have a knowledgeable guide! The hour will go by super quickly and you will not regret doing it.
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