Cape Tribulation is the only place on earth where two World Heritage-listed areas – the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree rainforest – meet. It’s home to the world’s biggest range of rare plants and animals; it’s also where 20 per cent of Australia’s bird species and 60 per cent of the country’s butterfly species reside. Ancient types of trees believed to be extinct for millions of years have even been rediscovered here. According to Sir David Attenborough, it’s a worldwide treasure that needs to be protected at all costs – and we always listen to what Sir David says.
The thousands of flora and fauna found here are reason(s) enough to come, but there are other lures, too. Visitors can expect to be wowed by remote golden beaches with crystalline waters (chances are you won’t have to share them with anyone, either), a myriad of walking and hiking trails, plenty of untouched wilderness and the chance to learn about the Daintree’s ever-changing ecological stories while you explore.
There are various ways of tackling the rainforest. You can join a range of tours, from daytrips to several-day jaunts, each with a different focus. Billy Tea Bush Safaris (www.billytea.com.au) has a one-day tour that includes a cruise up the Daintree River looking for crocs, a walk through the forest on an elevated boardwalk, four-wheel driving along the Bloomfield Track and a swim at Cape Tribulation Beach. Other tours take you into the wilderness with expert Aboriginal guides; you can also admire tree carvings, go croc-spotting on the wild Daintree River or scout for the giant Cassowary bird and the much-loved Ulysses Butterfly.
If you want to set your own pace and have your own wheels, the drive from Cairns takes around two and a half hours. You don’t need a 4WD, unless you want to drive the 4WD-only Bloomfield Track, or the CREB Track beyond Daintree Village (for experienced 4WD drivers only). Check the tracks are open first, as they close seasonally in the event of bad weather.
When to go
From April to November, Port Douglas and its environs are at their blissful best, with clear skies, great visibility on the reef, and the mercury hitting the mid- to high-20s. September to November is particularly spectacular. From December to April, there's an increased chance of rain, and temperatures hover in the 30s.
Where to sleep
Put some retro style into your tropical vacay by bedding down at QT Port Douglas, a quirky hideaway with open-plan communal areas and a contemporary style. Is that a peacock you see from your balcony? It certainly is. Float aimlessly in the lagoon pool, retreat to a booth on the bar deck or pull up a chair at open-to-the-tropics Bazaar restaurant. Adventurers, take note: it’s a 90-minute drive from here to the Daintree Rainforest.
Begin your Australian adventure in style with Singapore Airlines. Fly one-stop to Cairns from £665.