Review: Daintree Rainforest tour from Port Douglas immerses guests in a pristine wilderness
In a landscape like North Queensland's Daintree National Park, where every living creature is hidden, potentially harmful, or a combination of both, you need the services of a local guide who really knows their stuff. Travel with the experts on this fabulous day tour and enjoy every minute of your time in one of the world's most famous wilderness regions.
This small group Daintree Rainforest tour from Port Douglas includes a visit to ‘must-see’ Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation, a Daintree River croc-spotting cruise, and plenty of ‘rainforest time’ to soak up the natural splendour of the Wet Tropics. You’ll also enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch. Duration: 9 hours (approx.)
7:20am might seem like an early start when you’re on holiday.
However, there’s a lot of distance to cover and so much to see on this Daintree Rainforest tour from Port Douglas with Tony’s Tropical Tours that it’s a necessity. That said, I’m hoping there will be time for some catch-up shut-eye during the journey!
We’re picked up from our Port Douglas hotel right on time by our awesome guide Rob. He’s been guiding this tour for more than 12 years, and having ticked the box that says ‘you need to live somewhere for more than 25 year to consider yourself a local’, Rob knows more about the wildlife up in Far North Queensland than anyone else I’ve encountered on our trip — plus more corny jokes than you can poke a stick at!
Our first stop is the tranquil Mossman Gorge, located in the southern part of the Daintree National Park. The best thing about this place is that it’s continually changing, so exploring it on a bright and sunny day is a completely different experience to visiting during the wet season.
As Rob mentions early on, ‘every visit to this place is different, which is what makes my job so unique’. He points out some interesting facts about various plants of the forest, including the more dangerous specimens we should probably avoid. The wait-a-while plant in particular is like nature’s barbwire, and the stinging tree cuts the skin like shards of glass, leaving a painful sting that literally lasts for months. Understandably, we’re quite happy to follow Rob’s advice.
We also meet some of the gorge’s inhabitants, such as the tree-clinging dragon (which requires some serious ‘Where’s Wally’ style searching), giant blue-winged butterflies, turtles and even a usually extremely shy platypus.
Next on the agenda is a cruise on the Daintree River. We’re introduced to our driver/guide Bruce as we board his boat. Rob departs in the bus to meet us on the other side.
Bruce reminds me of Mick Dundee, as he calmly points out some of the monster saltwater crocs that live in the waterway. He really impresses everyone by somehow spotting a 10-inch baby croc from the other side of the river, which most of us couldn’t even see within a few metres!
Once we’re all safely back on the bus, Rob takes us along a spectacular stretch of winding road to Noah Valley — the largest private world heritage rainforest reserve in North Queensland. Tony’s Tropical Tours is one of the few commercial groups allowed to walk the trails in this area, which offer access to a largely undisturbed part of the Wet Tropics rainforest.
Lunchtime soon rolls around, and we’re served a BBQ of steak and sausages, fresh fruit and home-made damper; an iconic meal that only adds to this great Australian experience. If conditions permit, tour-goers are able to enjoy a refreshing swim in the crystal clear rainforest stream, so don’t forget your bathers!
After lunch we hit the road again for Cape Tribulation — the only place on the planet where two UNESCO World Heritage-listed regions meet; the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. The views are stunning. It’s one of the absolute highlights of this Daintree Rainforest tour from Port Douglas.
On the way home, Rob makes a stop at the Daintree Ice Cream Company. The ice cream is made from natural ingredients, and the ice creamery produces flavours based on whatever is in season at the time. We get to sample four flavours: mango, banana, macadamia and black sapote (more commonly known as ‘chocolate pudding fruit’).
It’s a sweet end to our day in one of Australia’s most stunning natural landscapes.
Chris Bright is a freelance writer based in Melbourne with a passion for travel, food, music and film. He’s travelled to South-East Asia, India, Japan, parts of Europe and most of North America — the most memorable of which was hiring a 7-foot RV and driving from Miami to LA with a bunch of close mates. Chris is willing to try anything once, whether it’s leaping from great heights or eating things that don’t look the least bit appetising. When it comes to travel, he loves nothing more than meeting new people and sharing a laugh over their local drink of choice.