Lush tropical rainforests and coral reefs meet in the scenic and popular coastal section of the ‘Daintree’ (the part of the Wet Tropics located between the Daintree and Bloomfield Rivers). Away from the coast, the land rises steeply to a cloud-swept coastal range dominated by Thornton Peak.
The Daintree is renowned for its rich diversity of plants and wildlife with lowland and upland rainforests, mangroves and wetland swamps. Rare and unusual species include locally endemic and primitive flowering plants, the southern cassowary and Bennett’s tree-kangaroo.
The Kuku Yalanji people who have lived in this area for thousands of years call Cape Tribulation, “Kulki”. The Cape was named by Captain Cook as the place his troubles began when his ship the Endeavour was holed after colliding with a coral reef during his historic 1770 voyage of discovery.
It is just one part of the 894,420 hectares of Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The term ‘Greater Daintree’ covers the area from the Annan River, south of the Mossman River and Carbine Tablelands and west to the Mt Windsor Tablelands. The Daintree area is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world and contains the oldest intact tropical lowland rainforest in the world. Some of the trees found here are thought to be more than 3,000 years old. Vegetation is primarily tropical rainforest, but also includes open eucalypt forest, wetlands and mangrove forests.
Daintree National Park stretches from Mossman Gorge to Bloomfield River. About 17,000ha of land between Daintree River and Cape Tribulation is protected as Daintree National Park. It is bordered on the western side by an extensive timber reserve which stretches over Thornton Range and beyond. In 1988 the national park, timber reserve and other public lands and some privately owned land was declared part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. A sizeable portion of the lowlands along the Daintree Coast is privately owned freehold land.
Daily temperatures range from a maximum of 35°C to a minimum of 16°C. Average humidity during summer months is 78 percent with many days reaching the high 90s. The area receives 75 to 90 percent of its rainfall during the wet season from December to April, when daily falls of 250mm are often recorded.
Daintree Village is about 12km upstream from the ferry crossing on the southern bank of the Daintree River. In 1873 explorer George Elphinstone Dalrymple named the river in honour of his old boss Richard Daintree who was once government geologist for north Queensland.
The Daintree River is 120km long. Distance from the ferry crossing to the river mouth is 7km as the crow flies or 9.5km as the crocodile swims. Distance from Cairns to the ferry is 104km by road.
Kuilki visitor area at Cape Tribulation offers a boardwalk leading from the picnic area to the viewing platform overlooking the ocean and beach. A short walk from Kuilki car park takes you to Myall beach.
The Dubuji Boardwalk is on the Daintree Cape Tribulation Road and abuts Myall beach. The forest here is extremely rare as it's uncommon to find rainforest on sand and also intermittent with mangroves where there is no obvious borderline between the forest types.
The Marrdja Boardwalk is a well designed loop that begins and ends at Oliver Creek. Every stage in the evolution of plants over the last 400 million years in represented in the very small area at Marrdja. The 100 metre walk loops through rainforests and mangroves and out to a viewing platform over Noah Creek.
Jindalba Boardwalk offers an extensive walking experience featuring a natural walking track and a boardwalk. It is close to the Daintree Discovery Centre and is a great place to explore rainforest plants an animals. A site called Valley of the ferns offers a great place to view these amazing ferns. They are the world's largest with find up to four metres. Jindalba is the only visitor site north of the Daintree River with a freshwater creek.