» » Cape Tribulation – Ancient Daintree Rainforest

Cape Tribulation – Ancient Daintree Rainforest

Feature Image_Cape Tribulation_Ancient Daintree Rainforest_Eco Van Life

Exploring the Rainforest

Our first visit to Cape Tribulation was 3 years ago and we loved it!

We returned to this magical place before our adventure began down the Easten Coast of Australia.

It is the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest on the Australian continent and the oldest living rainforest on earth. (It’s even older then the Amazon Rainforest!)

Follow our journey through this ancient world and get inspired to visit this magical place!

Cape Tribulation_Ancient Daintree Rainforest_Wild Wings and Swampy Things_Tina and Dave_Eco Van Life

Wild Wings and Swampy Things

This was our first stop, a nature reserve in the heart of the Ancient Daintree Rainforest.

We had been invited into the private nature haven by our friend Dave Wallace. Dave is in his seventies and still loves camping, hiking and sharing stories of his life in the mountains of California.

His timber frame house was a dream. Open windows with simple mosquito netting, that leaves an open invitation for the sounds of the forest to join us inside.

Cape Tribulation_Ancient Daintree Rainforest_Wild Wings and Swampy Things_Eco Van Life

The Nature Reserve

We walked the whole reserve and witnessed how former cattle land could be regenerated into an abundant forest. 

As a result, this once barron land now flourishes with wildlife, a bird watchers dream. We became ‘twitchers’ at sunrise sitting in a hide with elevated views over the incredibe creek abundant with wildlife.

We spotted a Red Bellied Black Snake at Wild Wings and Swampy Things
Red Bellied Black Snake

Watch out!

Shortly after enjoying the views from the bird hide we discovered a Red Bellied Black Snake, one of the few venomous snakes in the rainforest. Thankfully we scared him more than he scared us!

The Ancient Daintree Forest's ancient predator - The Saltwater Crocodile

Croc Spotting on the Daintree River

Through the heart of the ancient Daintree Rainforest runs the magnificent Daintree River and a cruise is a must!

The highlight of any cruise is spotting it’s prehistoric residents, saltwater crocodiles.

With 150 species of fish, over 100 crustaceans and half of the world’s 72 mangrove species, the crocs have got it good!

Consequently, we got lucky and spotted 4 crocodiles. We almost met the large dominant male ‘Scarface’. An incredible 5 meters long male. Unfortunately we were a minute too late as he snook up a small creek chasing a female…  it’s breeding season!

Our River Guide, Bill Smith

Our Crocodile Guide

Our charismatic Daintree River Cruise Centre river guide was full of information and always get’s a chuckle out of his excited passengers. 

We learnt about life on the river and at the end of the tour we had a personal chat too. His name Bill Smith must be fake, he certainly is no regular guy!

Only one way into the National Park, the Daintree Car Ferry. (The Ancient Daintree Forest)

Crossing the River on the Daintree Cable Ferry

Our most northern destination was Cape Tribulation and therefore needed to cross the Daintree River. There is only one way without swimming with crocs and that is the Daintree cable ferry.

It is a super quick 5 minute journey from one bank to the other and the start of a stunning drive.

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The Daintree Discovery Centre

What a surprise! The Discovery centre highlights why the ancient Daintree rainforest is so important. With aerial walkways, forest trails and a 23 metre canopy tower.

An astounding fact we learnt was 12 of the 19 primitive flowering plant families on Earth are found right here. Furthermore the rainforest itself is estimated to be 180 million years old!

Tina met one of the Daintree’s menacing birdlife, the ‘Demon Duck of Doom’. What a name! This bad boy roamed the forest 50,000 years ago which overlapped the arrival of Aboriginal people.

Our Campsite in the Ancient Daintree Rainforest at Cape Tribulation Safari Lodge
Cape Tribulation Safari Lodge

Camping in the Jungle

The Safari Lodge is a top spot to stay in Cape Tribulation, the end of the line if your not a four wheel drive.

Super clean facilities, hot showers and a well stocked camp kitchen. There is powered and un-powered sites as-well as safari huts too.

It is also part of the Turlte Rock Cafe and Ocean Safari.

Turtle Rock Cafe and Ocean Safari HQ in the heart of the ancient Daintree Rainforest
Turtle Rock Cafe and Ocean Safari HQ in the heart of the ancient Daintree Rainforest

The Great Barrier Reef with Ocean Safari

The small village of Cape Tribulation is “where the rainforest meets the reef.”

Therefore, the ideal place to embark on an exciting half day snorkel and Ocean Safari is the family owned company who can take you there.

Mackay and Undine Reefs are known to be some of the best you can visit and we certainly got our monies worth!

Green Sea Turtles

It really is turtle central, we spotted 7 Green Sea Turtles, Tina was in heaven! 

Another fascinating sight are the colonies of giant clams, reaching up to 1 metre in size. I just could not get over it! 

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Snorkelling with a Guitar Shark

We even found a moray eel tucked up in a swaying mass of soft coral. But most astounding was a two and a half meter guitar shark, neither of us had never seen one, it was epic!

The adventure concluded with a thrilling jet boat ride back to shore. What an adventure! The ancient Daintree rainforest greeted us just like a scene off Jurassic Park. 

This is a large male Boyds Rainforest Dragon
Tina got this great shot of the Boyds Rainforest Dragon

Nightwalks, Snakes and Dragons

We obviously hadn’t had enough action on our Ocean Safari reef trip. Tonight it was two hours of searching for nocturnal critters in the jungle!

At 7:30pm our Jungle Adventures ngiht walk began. Our guide was the lovely Susan. She was very calm and got the group moving slow and quiet, perfect if you want to spot nocturnal wildlife.

It wasn’t long before we spotted a long-nosed bandicootspectacled flying foxes, an array of insects, the magnificent Boyd’s rainforest Dragon and furthermore a three metre Amethystine Python!

That is certainly good going for a two hour walk.

Fun in the Ancient Daintree Rainforest with Team Jungle Surfing!
Zip Lining the ancient Daintree rainforest canopy

Let's Go Jungle Surfing!

We were back with the Jungle Adventures team and this time zipping from tree to tree with our trusty Jungle Surfing guides!

Our first zip line takes us deep into the rainforest. We see native wildlife amongst the stunning views and The Great Barrier Reef in the distance!

All of the platforms are tree friendly too, meaning there are no screws or bolts involved and tree hugging is allowed!

Tina also dropped her GoPro while flying upside down between trees. Luckily it survived and even recorded the rescue by the Jungle Adventures search party.

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Follow John Paul:
Travelling is life, life is travel! Seeing is believing so follow my antics as I pursue the wonders of the world and delve into Mother Natures very secret offerings. Oh, and I help people organise wonderful trips to Australia! Find me at www.treehuggertravel.com.au for the best in eco-tourism Down Under

2 Responses

  1. […] perfect place for us to unwind after our epic road trip of rainforest, waterfalls and Tablelands […]

  2. […] Next on our list, for top Daintree Must Do’s is Jungle Surfing.  […]

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