How to get to the Daintree Rainforest

The Daintree Village, a major hub in the rainforest region, is situated on the southern bank of the Daintree River about 20 kilometres north of Port Douglas and 60 kilometres north of Cairns. It is approximately 1,800 kilometres (1,120 miles) north of Brisbane and 2,520 kilometres (1565 miles) north of Sydney.

The Daintree region covers an area of about 1,200 square kilometres, it is best explored on land in self-drive vehicles or guided people-movers and coaches. There is a variety of boat tours that reach otherwise inaccessible areas along waterways and through mangroves.

The various locations in the area are a relatively short drive from each other, with the most flexible and cost-effective approach being to drive yourself.

If hiring a car, a normal sedan vehicle is enough to motor around the area and cover all points between Wonga Beach and as far as Cape Tribulation. All major roads and most minor roads are sealed and driveable in all weather.

Exploring the Area

The journey to Daintree Village from Port Douglas, via Mossman, takes you on roads through rich, green pastures and farmlands which are then dwarfed by rising rainforest ranges.

The Daintree Ferry turnoff looms just before the Daintree Village and will take you to one of the highlights of your visit. Following a five-minute ferry ride, you will cross the river into the heart of the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation. You are then immersed in a world of dense rainforest, lush, green pastures, tea plantations, pulsing creeks and awesome beaches. The ferry operates from 6 am to midnight every day.

If you plan to go further north beyond Cape Tribulation, following the scenic Bloomfield Track, a high clearance 4WD vehicle is recommended. In addition, you will need to monitor conditions and track advice, with the track becoming impassable with little notice. A truly scenic and memorable drive, filled with steep inclines and natural creek crossings as you wind your way through lush tropical rainforest.

A number of guided tour operators travel the roads between Cairns to Cooktown and beyond daily. A guided tour is an ideal way to experience the hidden gems of the region, having someone else do the work for you!

How to get to the Daintree Car Drive Times

Cairns to Port Douglas: 68 km, 1 hour

Port Douglas to Mossman: 21km, 21 mins

Port Douglas to Daintree Ferry: 49 km, 44 mins

Port Douglas to Daintree Village: 55.5 km, 50 mins

Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation: 85 km, 1 hr 52 mins

How to get to the Daintree on Public Transport

Trans North runs a direct bus service from Cairns to Cape Tribulation on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, returning to Cairns on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It picks up in Cairns around 7:30 am and in Port Douglas around 8:30 am.

The trip, which does not stop at Daintree Village, is dependent on conditions on the Bloomfield Track to Cooktown so travellers should check schedules in the wet season.

Daintree Discovery Tours visits Daintree Village every day and does pickups from Port Douglas. Jungle Tours makes daily visits to both Daintree Village and Cape Tribulation and a number of other services make less regular trips.

Getting to Cairns

By Air:

Domestic: Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar, Tigerair, Air North, Alliance Airlines, Regional Express and Skytrans.

International: Air New Zealand, Air Niugini, Cathay Pacific, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and SilkAir.

By Rail:

Travelling between Brisbane and Cairns five times a week, the Spirit of Queensland gives you access to spectacular holiday destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays, Townsville, Cairns and everywhere in between.

By Bus:

Greyhound Australia is Australia’s only national coach service providing comfortable, hassle-free, and affordable coach services to people of all ages, travelling across Australia every day.

By Campervan:

This option offers great flexibility to get you around and allow you to discover the Tropical North Queensland region at your own pace.