The Daintree is the oldest rainforest in the world. Until my friend Ryley informed me of this I was convinced that the Taman Negara rainforest in Malaysia held this title. Why? Well, I went to Malaysia and everywhere it says that this is the oldest rainforest in the world 😀 Fake news galore, a quick google proved that it’s total bullshit, the Daintree beats Taman Negara by 5 to 50 million years.
We went to the Daintree kind of by accident… it wouldn’t have been on our to-do list for Australia – had our friends not traveled there anyways. We tagged along and discovered this awesome area thanks to them.
The Daintree weekend was intense and beautiful! Here are a bunch of things you shouldn’t miss and that you have to look out for in the Daintree rainforest in Queensland.
Beware Of The Crocs!
We’ve seen the warning signs everywhere and were aware of the crocodiles living all around the Daintree. The warning signs were definitely enough to keep us out of the water but to top it up the locals did their best to permanently scar us. Turns out a woman was eaten by a crocodile a year ago – she staid in exactly the same Airbnb as we did. Everyone we met told us more and more details of this tragedy… in the end, I couldn’t even sleep anymore.
…So, How About A Croc Tour?
Haha, sorry this is a bit of a morbid listing 😀 But the croc tour is the only way to see something of the Mangrove forests around the Daintree and to actually get close to the water without getting eaten. You need to be aware that during the really warm times the crocodiles won’t show up – they prefer lower temperatures. You book the tickets at Js cafe – and the lady there will tell you if the chances of actually spotting a crocodile are low.
Take Some BoardWalk Strolls
Boardwalks are a big thing in the Daintree. My first impression was that they are a bit of a lazy way of hiking: You don’t need good shoes, you don’t have to watch your step… basically, you just take a leisurely stroll through the rainforest. I felt like it takes all the adventure out of being in nature. BUT that was before I learned about the very real threat of crocs all around and before I knew about crazy poisonous spiders that make your flesh rot. Do I have to say more? So, boardwalks are a pretty awesome way to see the beautiful rainforest in a safe way. We had sun and we had rain – the dense forest was beautiful and fascinating in every setting. There are plenty of boardwalks all through the Daintree. Just drive along the one road that goes through and look out for the signs.
(How To Do A Safe) Beach Walk
If you are not careless (or suicidal) you will not be in any actual danger of getting attacked by a croc. The Daintree has continuous beaches all along its outskirts that are immensely beautiful. A big part of this is probably due to the fact that they are not crawling with tourists, swimmers, and sunbathers. There are more relaxed places in Australia to do that. If you take a few safety precautions there is no reason why you shouldn’t go strolling along these beautiful beaches.
1. Don’t go to the beach at dawn or dusk
2. Don’t go to the beach at night
3. Under no circumstances should you go into the water
4. Stay away from shallow and still waters. Those seem the most harmless but it is much more likely to encounter a croc there than in the open water
5. Take dogs only on a leach with you, it’s difficult to keep them from jumping into the water. The most casualties from croc attacks are actually our 4 legged friends.
Ideally, you already bring your groceries from the mainland and cook in your accommodation. That’ll save you quite a bit of driving and money. If you need to get groceries you can check out the one shop we saw in all of Daintree 😉 For eating out we can definitely recommend you the Whet cafe. The name is a bit weird but the food was great and the location is super nice. The Whet cafe can be found towards the end of the long Daintree road.
Artesian Ice Cream In The Rainforest
The artesian ice cream place is something we would’ve probably skipped but got a recommendation so we stopped by one afternoon. For 7 Dollars you get a cup of Ice Cream filled with the three flavors of the day. I didn’t like this offer very much – I would’ve preferred to just pick one. But they were all really interesting and nice. The place itself is nice and especially if you are a foodie (or travel with kids) you should stop by. All sorts they offer are made from things that are local to the Daintree area and you will most likely never eat those anywhere else in the world.
Take A Dip In A Swim Hole
Something I never encounter in this form is swim holes. Apparently, they are really common in Australia – our friends told us how they would go to that kind of places all the time. For us Europeans, it was super cool and foreign. You go through the rainforest and suddenly encounter a waterhole in the middle of nowhere. It is super clean and clear water, vines are hanging into it from the trees etc. They are really quite magical. Sometimes they are tiny, sometimes they are huge. But you can always be sure that they are safe – the one in Daintree, for example, is maintained by a close-by cafe.
Swings At Cow Beach
The most beautiful beach, in my opinion, was Cow beach. You’ll see a small sign on the main road and have to go perpendicular to it direction of the ocean. Cow beach was not only beautiful but we also had a tremendous amount of fun there because of the cool beach swings. We have no idea who put them up, but there are two swings and we couldn’t get enough of playing around. The locals are regulars and have a bunch of cool tricks 🙂
Watch Out For Cassowaries
one last thing: You will most likely explore the Daintree by car. There is really no other way to do this. Therefore you will see the Cassowary warning signs all along the main road. They really are endangered by drivers but they also endanger you 😀 The birds are huge and sometimes just stand in the middle of the road. So drive safely and drive slowly. If you are lucky you will see one on the side of the road. Take a picture but don’t be an idiot about it 🙂
And Most Of All:
Just don’t miss out on this. Just don’t 😀 I didn’t think a rainforest could be this cool but it really is. In the next blog post, we’ll run you through how we organised our road trip from Cairns up the Daintree and back. Because if you just head straight to the rainforest you’ll miss a lot of cool stuff along the way.
Also published on Medium.