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Daintree River

sunset on the daintree river
Sunset on the Daintree River during a cruise on Mangrove Adventures

The Daintree River runs through Far North Queensland past Daintree Village and meets the ocean about a 100 km. north of Cairns, and separates the popular tourism destination "The Daintree" from the rest of the world. Many feel like they are on an island north of the river.
This is the main entry point to the world famous tourism destination Cape Tribulation, unless you go for a big fourwheel drive adventure all the way around Cooktown.
After crossing the Daintree River on the ferry you definitely feel like you have enterered a different world. When you have driven up the Queensland Coast and have been looking at sugarcane on the roadside for the last 1000 or so kilometres, you are in for a pleasant change here; ancient rainforest!
The Daintree River is home to prolific wildlife, birdwatchers come from far places to observe the birds, and many large crocodiles live in this area.
Many boat tours operate on this river to give tourists the opportunity to explore this beautiful place, spot some birds, crocodiles or other wildlife, or try their luck at fishing.

The Daintree River Ferry operates from 6am to midnight every day, the cost is $12.- one way or $21.- return, $42.- for a pass of five return trips, more prices and details here.

The Daintree river (and Daintree Village) are both named after Richard Daintree, who has spent several years in Queensland as the Government geologist.

During 1874 - 1880 the Daintee river saw a lot of activity when there were many men cutting cedar in the Daintree area. The red cedar logs were floated down to the Daintree river mouth where they were loaded onto ships and taken away (some as far as England). When the red cedar started running out, some retired from their timber-cutting, to select farming land along the river. They were soon joined by other pioneers from the south who settled the upper reaches of the river.

 

Crocodiles in the Daintree River

large saltwater crocodile
A large saltwater crocodile on the muddy river bank

Although there are lots of animals, and especially spectacular bird life, to be found on the Daintree river, the majority of tourists are the most fascinated by the large saltwater crocodiles that are found here.
As soon as you arrive at the Daintree river you should be croc-wise. This means do not let your children go to the water's edge while you wait for the ferry, crocodiles can swim under water without a ripple on the surface and burst out with enough speed and power to take a horse.
You may not see crocodiles but they probably see you.

Don't let the above warnings get you too worried, since National Parks has started placing crocodile warning signs at the entry points to the beach people have started believing that crocodiles will drag you off the beach in broad daylight.
This is definitely not the case, and it is not even in a crocodile's normal behaviour to attack people in the sea.
There is a very comprehensive listing of crocodile attacks in Australia, and this shows you that crocodile attacks mainly occur at night, and/or in places where no sensible person would swim (see above warnings) and often people had been drinking as well.

But there are a few basic rules to stick to:

* Never swim in rivers and creeks near the ocean, mangroves are favourite crocodile territory. Swim in the crystal clear creeks up from the road crossings.
* Never provoke, or harass crocodiles, even small ones. That's how Stupid Stefaan was bitten at Cape Tribulation.
* Keep away from any crocodile slide marks. Crocodiles may still be close by.
* Be more aware of crocodiles at night and during their breeding season, September to April.
* Never feed crocodiles - it is illegal and dangerous.
* Never prepare food, wash dishes or pursue any other activities near the water's edge or adjacent sloping banks.
* Never clean fish or discard fish scraps or bait near the water's edge or at boat ramps.

Fortunately there is a good choice of croc spotting tours available on the Daintree river so you can see these pre-historic beasts in safety, and have an expert guide spot them for you, they camouflage very well....

Daintree River Accommodation

There are a few accommodation options right by the Daintree river;

Tranquility
Right on the Daintree River

accommodation on the daintree river

Tranquility on the Daintree, your own private retreat in the heart of the Daintree. As we only accept one booking at a time, you will have exclusive use of the retreat, natural attractions and facilities.
Private huge 3 storey tree house, swing, swimming pool, pool table, table tennis, large library of DVD's, books, games, chickens to feed, pat the horse, feed the cows, swim in rainforest streams and waterfalls, fishing and much more.
Explore your own private exotic tropical fruit garden, savour the flavour’s of fruit in season and picnic and swim at your own private rainforest waterfalls Relax and unwind! Your own private rainforest waterfalls-Niau Falls and Cascading Falls
Book daintree village accommodation online

Cape House
Cape Kimberley

view from daintree cape house

A Thai inspired residence of exceptional comfort and privacy, set within manicured tropical gardens & acres of private virgin rainforest, and wide panoramas of the Coral Sea, rainforest, Daintree River, Port Douglas, Low Isles &Cairns, you'll never want to leave the property.
Cape House is furnished with Asian antiques, original artworks, Persian rugs & contemporary homewares. The master queen bedroom has a huge ensuite opening to a private rainforest verandah. Two further queen bedrooms, guest lounge & second bathroom are located at the opposite end of the residence & all feature views to the Daintree River & Port Douglas. A mezzanine loft offers flexible extra bedding.
holiday home at cape kimberley in the daintree

Daintree Views
Forest Creek

daintree views holiday home rental

A 4 star rainforest retreat secluded in the heart of the Daintree National Park in the lush tropics of Far North Qld. This 3 bedroom timber home offers spectacular views over the rainforest canopy, a private mountain swimming hole and luxurious outdoor spa, making this the perfect honeymoon escape or a chance for the whole family to discover the beauty of this natural phenomenom.
Easy access is available to activities such as Wildlife River Tours, Fishing, Bird watching, Sea Kayaking, Jungle Surfing, Horse riding, or simply relaxing on one of the worlds most inviting beaches......where the Rainforest meets the Reef.
book daintree views online
book daintree views holiday accommodation

 

Daintree River Tours

straight ahead to daintree village or right to  cape tribulation

When you are driving up along the Cook HIghway you will come to the above sign on the highway about 25km. north of Mossman. here you can either drive straight ahead to Daintree Village or turn right to the Daintree ferry crossing.
When you continue straight ahead you will start seeing crocodile tour booking offices on your right after a few kilometres, and then arrive in Daintree Village where there are more tour booking offices, they are a bit too numerous to mention here now but you will have no trouble finding a Daintree river tour there.
If you turn right at the above sign then after a few kilometres and only less than a kilometre before the ferry crossing you will arrive at a group of crocodile tour booking stalls where you can stop and hop on a boat.
There is a wide range of river tours available on the Daintree River, the most popular focussing on croc spotting, but also bird-watching, photography and fishing.

Most tours try to minimize their environmental impact and have boats with outboard motors are environmentally friendly using either 4-stroke, electric motors or high tech 2- stroke outboards.

Tours range from 1-4 hours and depart from 6 am through to 6 pm. Daintree River cruises are often included in Daintree day tours from Cairns or Port Douglas.

You can usually find yourself a crocodile tour at short notice here but bookings are required for the more specialised tours, such as the early morning Daintree birdwatching tours or Dan Irby's sunset tours.

Here are some of the Daintree river tours that you can book online to avoid disappointment on arrival;

Dan Irby's
River Tours

dan irby daintree river tour

Dan Irby's Mangrove Adventures offers Daintree River cruises which are very personal and informative for both the amateur and professional visitors all year round.
Dan personally conducts all the tours.
Dan Irby's Mangrove Adventures caters for tour groups of 2-10 people on the Daintree River.
Especially the sunset tour is an unforgettable experience.
You will need to make your own way to the Daintree river but you can be picked up from either side.

Book online for DAintree river tour with Dan Irby

Crocodile Spotting
on the Daintree River

crocodile spotting tour on the daintree river

Established in 1979, Crocodile Exress offers nature lovers the best of the Daintree with one hour cruises departing regularly from multiple locations on the river. Each passenger is offered a "Croc Pass" to travel unlimited on any of our cruises over a three day period from the saltwater mangrove and rainforest habitat in the lower Daintree River or the freshwater pasture lands and rainforest upstream from the Daintree Village. There is lots of wildlife to be seen including birds, reptiles, butterflies and crocodiles.
online bookings for crocodile express daintree river tour

Chris Dahlberg's
Birdwatching Tours

chirs dahlberg birdwatching tour on the daintree river

Chris Dahlberg pioneered small group tours with dawn departures back in 1992.
You will see an average of 50 wildlife species on the two hour tour and a list of those wildlife sightings for your particular tour is uploaded to this web site before lunch the same day.
All tours are conducted by Chris Dahlberg himself and depart from the Daintree Village jetty.

Chris Dahlberg birdwatching tour online reservations
Chris Dahlberg's early departure hour means you'll have to find some accommodation in Daintree Village to get to the jetty on time, you'll enjoy Redmill House where the owners are also keen birders.

Half Day to Daintree Village
plus Elecric Boat Cruise

half day tour from port douglas to mossman gorge

This tour from Port Douglas includes a walk in Mossman Gorge plus a 1 hour Daintree River Cruise and snacks & drinks.
Arriving at the Daintree River we board onto an electric boat which is quiet, and noiseless.
After the river cruise snacks and drinks are available at no extra charge.
Plus there is plenty of time to swim in the pristine and refreshing waters of the gorge in safety, with beautiful scenery around you.
Reservations for half day tour to Daintree Village

Solar Whisper on
the Daintree River

crocodile on daintree river

Solar Whisper is based by the Daintree river just before the ferry crossing and runs an eco friendly, electric powered boat with instant digital video replay of wildlife and action in the mangroves and rainforest along the Daintree River with their "CROC CAM" On-board digital video camera linked to a full size television screen for hard to see wildlife and action re-plays of the Daintree River.
Knowledgable trained and experienced guides with 'eagle eyes' to track down crocodiles (spotted on most trips, especially low tide), birds, snakes, frogs, etc.
book the wonga beach horse riding tour online

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADVERTISE HERE!!

ferry across the daintree river


The Daintree River Ferry

This history starts In 1954 when a steel punt was constructed, and used as a ferry, to cart timber trucks south from the timber mill located on the north side.

In 1958 the Douglas Shire Council built an outboard-driven ferry to service the people living north of the river. After several years it was replaced by a new privately-owned cable ferry.

The ferry used to operate only during daytime for many years, and it was common for locals that went shopping to buy an extra carton of beer, if you arrived at the river after closing time you had the choice of spending a night getting eaten alive by sandflies and mozzies, or tempt the ferryman out of his house and back on the ferry with a carton of beer!

Since the mid 1990's the ferry runs from 6 AM till midnight every day, and only stops on Xmas day for a break.
In 1996 no less than 1.5 metre of rain fall in the Daintree in 36 hours and the river rose many metres. The ferrycables broke and when the waters went down again the ferry was sitting high and dry on the riverbank, the cafe at the river had gone under water, and the sand on the roads was metres deep.

daintree power line
Warning sign for boats not to hit the Daintree electricity cable

The Daintree River is offcially the boundary of mains electricity, with one exception!
For years the unbelievable situation existed where Daintree residents had to survive with kerosine lamps, generators, and more recently solar power (which does not work well in a rainforest) while their Mayor Mike Berwick had a cable across the river for his electricity!
The denial of mains power for residents was not just his idea and had been Government policy for some time, everytime the provision of grid power was discussed Mike Berwick would always vote NO, denying his constituents what he himself enjoys and everyone else in the 21st century takes for granted.
Nowadays Mike has lost his job as Mayor but the situation persists where he enjoys grid power while the rest of the Daintree residents have to run generators and bear the sky high cost of this. More on this issue

 

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Daintree River Ferry fees


For any enquiries on the ferry phone (07) 4099 9444.
The prices below are current until 1 July 2011 when council will review them.

Motor Car & Utilities (private use)

one way
two way

$12.00
$21.00

Buses 6 to 10 seats

one way
two way

$13.00
$24.00

Buses 11 to 20 seats

one way
two way

$24.00
$46.00

Buses 21+ seats

one way
two way

$37.00
$72.00

Licensed Public Transport buses

one way
two way

$7.00
$13.00

School Buses

one way
two way

$6.00
$11.00

Passenger, Bicycles & Pedestrians

one way
two way

$1.00
$2.00

Motor Bikes

one way
two way

$5.00
$9.00

Trailers

one way
two way

$4.00
$8.00

Machinery Not Carrying Primary Produce

one way
two way

$8.00
$14.00

Machinery Carrying Primary Produce

one way
two way

$4.00
$8.00

Multi Day Pass (5 return car / ute trips)

 

$42.00


 

Map of the Daintree River


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