You magical Queensland, how much I missed you and your breathtakingly beautiful nature. It’s been several years since I explored the tropical north of the Sunshine State. But the brilliant white of the beaches on the Whitsundays, the intense red of the outback earth at the lava tubes of Undara and the incredible turquoise of the water on the Great Barrier Reef are still as present in my memories as if they were just yesterday. So I’m really happy that I can now explore another place in Queensland. One that I was unfortunately unable to visit at the time due to lack of time, but which now fits wonderfully into my Australia experience like a missing piece of the puzzle.
In this post, I’ll introduce you to the most unforgettable activities in and around the Daintree Rainforest, along with an amazing lodge that’s truly nestled in the lush greenery of this tropical jungle. A place where you can really enjoy and absorb the enchanting surroundings surrounded by exotic plants, animals and sounds. I wish you a lot of wanderlust while reading!
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The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland Australia
It is one of the oldest rainforests on earth. This impressive nature has existed in the tropical north of Queensland in Australia for around 180 million years. Part of the 1,200 square kilometer area is protected as Daintree National Park and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A special feature is that the original forests stretch right up to the coast. So theoretically you can step out of the shadows of the ancient giant trees and dig your toes into the warm sand of the wildly beautiful beaches with the next step, while right in front of you the gentle waves of the Coral Sea awaken the desire for a snorkeling tour on the Great Barrier Reef.
The tropically warm climate here in north Queensland makes life in the Daintree Rainforest thrive. Here Australia’s largest selection of colorful butterflies flutter beneath the emerald green canopy, the most exotic birds chirp incessantly from the branches and the moss-soft forest floor is dominated by more or less agreeable mammals and insects. With a bit of luck, you might spot one of the cassowaries, which can grow up to 2 meters tall, a flightless bird with a blue-turquoise head, or the musk rat kangaroo, which lives only here in the Daintree Rainforest.
My tip: This interaction between rainforest and reef, which is so special here in Queensland, is best seen from high up in the air, for example during a sightseeing flight in a helicopter. The tour with Nautilus Aviation lasts around an hour and will spoil your eyes with the most incredible colors and landscapes.
The part of the flight over the hidden waterfall in the middle of the rainforest is particularly beautiful and also far out on the Great Barrier Reef, where you can not only marvel at an enchantingly beautiful heart in the reef system, but even watch the majestic manta rays below you as they leisurely swim their tracks!
Discover the rainforest in Australia through the eyes of the Aborigines
“WELCOME TO KUKU YALANJI LAND” – Experience the magic of the ancient Daintree Rainforest with a guide of the Aboriginal people of the Kuku Yalanji in an absolutely authentic and very intense way. During a walk through the dense green and along wild beaches and mangrove forests, you will learn first-hand knowledge from him about the original life in and with the rainforest that is more than 4,000 years old. Because that’s how long these people have lived in the Mossman Gorge area, always in harmony with nature.
During this entertaining excursion you will learn, among other things, which plants endemic to the Daintree National Park are edible and enjoyable, which herbs are excellently suited as medicine and which poisonous plants and creepy crawlies are best avoided. Samples directly from nature are an integral part of the walk. Of course, the exciting Dreamtime stories are not missing on a tour with Walkabout Cultural Adventures , some of which your guide will certainly tell you with eyes shining with enthusiasm!
Up close to the rainforest at the beautiful Silky Oaks Lodge
I can’t imagine a better place to relax, feast and snooze in the Daintree Rainforest than the amazing Silky Oaks Lodge . As soon as you set foot over the threshold of your luxurious tree house-style retreat, you too will be hopelessly addicted to the noble, natural charm of this inspiring oasis, I can promise you that much. From your terrace you can see the seemingly endless green of the rainforest, maybe even the Mossman River, which flows lazily past the lodge, often in a fascinating jade green, depending on the weather.
The hammock and the huge bathtub on your terrace invite you to relax. Or how about a soothing massage at the lodge’s beautiful Healing Waters Spa?
The finest culinary delights are served to you in the enchanting Treehouse Restaurant. Already at breakfast it becomes clear that nothing is left to be desired and that even the biggest sweet tooth will get their money’s worth here. I’m still in heaven for the incredibly delicious coconut waffles, the freshly squeezed fruit juices made from the ripest and sweetest fruits, and the crusty, freshly-out-of-the-oven bread topped with creamy avocado.
Many of the ingredients and foods, more than 100 different ones to be precise, come directly from the large kitchen garden at Silky Oaks Lodge – so it could hardly be more regional and seasonal. You are invited to explore the garden on a walk and convince yourself of the freshness of the fruits, vegetables and herbs!
My tip: A few highly recommended hiking trails of different lengths through the rainforest start right at the Silky Oaks Lodge, which you should definitely not miss. Some of them lead you to great viewpoints, others to hidden swimming spots on the Mossman River, such as the Fig Tree Rapids Walking Trail.
Float on the Mossman River in the Daintree Rainforest
If not all experiences here in the Daintree Rainforest were unforgettable in one way or another, then I would have to say that the tour with Back Country Bliss Adventures is my absolute highlight. Even in the Silky Oaks Lodge I can hardly take my eyes off the Mossman River – the crystal-clear water shimmers in all imaginable color nuances from a soft ocher brown to a bright jade green, which is far too fascinating. It feels like each of the countless round stones can be seen through the water surface. The shy and very rare platypus lives down there, together with cuddly turtles and various types of fish.
Floating on this glittering plain, lying on a comfortable air mattress, under the evergreen canopy of the mighty jungle giants – Can it get any more unforgettable!?
Maybe you now have the same thought I had before the tour started, namely what about the crocodiles? The answer: In the Mossman River there are usually none, in contrast to the Daintree River. But while floating, you can calmly observe numerous beautiful butterflies, such as the shimmering blue Ulysses, exotic birds and, with a bit of luck, a turtle or two.
A walk through Port Douglas in Queensland
If you have time and inclination during your vacation, I can recommend a leisurely stroll through the quaint streets of Port Douglas. Unfortunately, it was raining cats and dogs during my visit, so I can’t show you any nice pictures. However, the lively little town has a spectacular location right between the shimmering turquoise ocean and the lush forests of the hinterland and is really worth seeing.
Among other things, there is the small Flagstaff Hill Lighthouse, the Four Mile Beach, which invites you to swim (from the 4 Mile Beach Lookout and the Trinity Bay Lookout you can admire the beach in its full length and beauty), as well as many small boutiques and highly recommended ones Restaurants and cafes along lively Macrossan Street. Sample the quaffable craft beers at Hemingway’s Brewery on pretty Port Douglas harbour, then tuck into seriously delicious cuisine at Zinc Restaurant .
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Every Sunday from 8am to 2pm there is a small market here in Port Douglas on Wharf Street, where you can buy a colorful selection of exclusively locally produced products directly from the producers and artists. Are you a fan of charming farmers markets? Then maybe visit the Mossman Saturday Market, which takes place every Saturday from 7am to 1pm in the small town of Mossman. As you can see, it can definitely be worth taking a look at the days of the week when planning your trip.
My tip: Sailaway ‘s sailing yacht is anchored in the harbor directly in front of Hemingway’s Brewery . Actually, I had booked the great sunset sailing tour that afternoon, but unfortunately it had to be canceled due to the bad weather. But because that would have been a really nice experience, and the sun will probably shine for you, I would like to give you this suggestion anyway!
The Atherton Tablelands: a food tour from Port Douglas to Cairns
To explore the area around the Daintree Rainforest, your starting point is most likely the city of Cairns, as that is where the nearest major airport is located. So, after your rainforest adventure, you might slowly make your way back to Cairns. And what would make more sense than using this necessary route for an entertaining and exciting food tour instead of just driving it? With the friendly Brett and his cool Outback Tasting Adventures you can experience exactly that – a trip where you get to know the culinary specialties of the region!
Near Cairns are the Atherton Tablelands, also known as the outback of Queensland. The earth here not only shines in the typical red of the Australian bush, but is also very fertile due to its volcanic origin. Bananas, sugar cane, coffee, avocados, mangoes and so many more fruits and vegetables: Numerous producers and producers have deliberately settled here in the Atherton Tablelands in order to take advantage of the earth’s wealth of nutrients for themselves. Brett specifically selects small, local companies for the stops on his food tour, which still cultivate, process and sell their products in a very traditional way and with a lot of love.
In addition to the homemade ice cream in the Emerald Creek Ice Creamery , sinfully good chocolates from Gallo Dairyland and high-quality spirits from the Mt Uncle Distillery, a big highlight of the tour is our stop at the small Australian Platypus Park , where after a delicious lunch including a wine tasting with a little luck you can observe the shy platypus in the wild!
Finally, when the tour concludes, you’ll arrive in Cairns, fed, happy, and filled to the brim with unforgettable culinary experiences. But this day is not just about food. Brett will also show you some of the special landscapes that make up the Atherton Tablelands as you drive.
By the way, I’ve stayed in the region in the past, in super cool historic railway carriages as part of the Undara Experience . Part of this experience is not only countless kangaroos and wallabies, as well as an authentic breakfast in the bush, but also an exciting visit to the extraordinary Undara Lava Tubes. These are huge, partly underground lava tunnels in the Undara Volcanic National Park. Here you can read more about it:
→ Atherton Tablelands: die Undara Lava Tubes im Undara Volcanic Nationalpark
How to get to Cairns in Queensland quickly and easily
When I researched the long-haul flights before my trip, it quickly became clear that Singapore Airlines offers by far the best flight connection to Cairns in Queensland. While two stops are the order of the day with almost all other airlines, with Singapore Airlines you cover the route with just one (comfortably short) stop in Singapore, which saves you quite a bit of time.
The food on board is also really delicious, the entertainment program is extensive and the service is one of the best I have ever enjoyed. By the way, the guy on the right picture is a quokka. These cuddly animals live on Rottnest Island near Perth in Western Australia and are just super cute!
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Very tempting and quite possible if you fly with Singapore Airlines: A stopover to explore the many exciting Singapore sights!
Well, does this post include some cool tips for your own travel planning? Are the Daintree Rainforest, Atherton Tablelands and Cairns in Queensland on your bucket list? Or do you already know all these places around the rainforest of Australia? If you too have lost your heart a little bit to Down Under and would like to share your thoughts with me, I would be very happy about your comment here on my travel blog!
*This article was created in collaboration with the Queensland Tourism Board . I was completely free in the implementation of the journalistic content and my opinion is, as always, my own. There are promotional links in the post. If you book or buy something through them, we get a pro rata commission. This does not change the total amount for you. Thank you!