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About Cape Tribulation

Getting there and getting around

Mount Alexandra lookout offers views of the Daintree River mouth. Photo: Queensland Government.

Mount Alexandra lookout offers views of the Daintree River mouth. Photo: Queensland Government.

Vehicle access

Travel 104km north of Cairns on the Captain Cook Highway to the Daintree River crossing. The ferry operates 6.00am–midnight every day with a reduced service on Christmas Day and occasional breaks in service for mechanical repairs or during flooding.

Beyond the ferry, conventional two-wheel-drive vehicle access is possible as far as Cape Tribulation, although high clearance is useful and caravans are not recommended. The road through this section of the park is narrow and winding. Drivers should keep left and watch for wildlife, particularly cassowaries.

The unsealed road north from Cape Tribulation to Bloomfield is suitable only for four-wheel-drive vehicles due to steep grades and creek crossings. It may be closed after heavy rain. Contact the Department of Transport and Main Roads to enquire about local road conditions.

Air and sea access

There is a private, ultralight-aircraft airstrip near Cow Bay Village. For details contact Daintree Airstrip, Cow Bay, 4873. Ph: (07) 4098 9202.

Although boats can moor at various locations off the coast between the Daintree River and Bloomfield River, it is not advisable due to poor anchorage.

Wheelchair accessibility

Three of the four short boardwalks (Marrja, Dubuji and Kulki) are wheelchair accessible. At the fourth boardwalk (Jindalba) wheelchair access to the creek is available from the exit end only, near the disabled access parking bays.

Park features

Where the Wet Tropics meets the Barrier Reef, Queensland. Courtesy of Tourism Queensland.

Where the Wet Tropics meets the Barrier Reef, Queensland. Courtesy of Tourism Queensland.

Daintree National Park features long sandy beaches, rocky headlands and steep mountain ranges intersected by numerous creeks and rivers. One of Australia's last extensive stands of lowland rainforest is found here. Impenetrable ranges, rising steeply from the coast, are blanketed with dense upland rainforests supporting many ancient plants and animals. This unique landscape is the traditional country of the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people.

The Cape Tribulation section of Daintree National Park (about 17,000ha) stretches in a narrow, intermittent strip from the Daintree River in the south to the Bloomfield River in the north. The McDowall Range, rising steeply from the coast, forms the western boundary.

A visit to this area gives you a rare chance to experience two of Australia's most significant World Heritage sites—the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics world heritage areas. Both are valued for their exceptional biological diversity.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Map: Noah Beach camping area map

Noah Beach camping area is 8km south of Cape Tribulation and has 15 camp sites. Camping permits are required and fees apply—sites must be booked and paid for before travelling to the camping area.

Other accommodation

There is a range of holiday accommodation—private camping areas, hostels, resorts and holiday units—throughout the Daintree area. For more information see the tourism information links.

Things to do

The Jindalba boardwalk explores tropical lowland rainforest. Photo: Queensland Government.

The Jindalba boardwalk explores tropical lowland rainforest. Photo: Queensland Government.

A short walk from the Kulki car park takes you to beautiful Myall Beach. Photo: Queensland Government.

A short walk from the Kulki car park takes you to beautiful Myall Beach. Photo: Queensland Government.

Fishing is not permitted in Cooper Creek. Photo: Queensland Government.

Fishing is not permitted in Cooper Creek. Photo: Queensland Government.

Most of the world's 19 primitive plant families are found in Daintree National Park and the surrounding area, Queensland. Courtesy of Tourism Queensland.

Most of the world's 19 primitive plant families are found in Daintree National Park and the surrounding area, Queensland. Courtesy of Tourism Queensland.

Look for migrating humpback whales. Photo: Queensland Government.

Look for migrating humpback whales. Photo: Queensland Government.

Walking

There are a variety of walks at Cape Tribulation.

Jindalba boardwalk—650m return (45mins) Grade: easy

The Jindalba (meaning ‘foot of the mountain’) boardwalk explores tropical lowland rainforest. Quiet walkers may be lucky enough to see a tree-kangaroo or cassowary. There is a large picnic area with toilets and tables. Wheelchair access to the creek is from the exit end only, near the disability access parking bays.

Jindalba circuit track—3km return (1.5hrs) Grade: moderate

Near the entrance of the Jindalba boardwalk is the start of the Jindalba circuit track. This forest walk is well marked but is stony in places and crosses rainforest creeks. A reasonable level of fitness is required.

Marrja boardwalk—1.2km loop (45mins) Grade: easy

The Marrja (meaning ‘rainforest’ or ‘jungle’) boardwalk allows visitors to experience both rainforest and mangrove communities, without getting muddy. Along the walk learn about the plants found in each of these environments. There are no toilets or picnic areas at this site.

Dubuji boardwalk—1.2km loop (45mins) Grade: easy

The Dubuji (meaning ‘place of spirits’) boardwalk travels through lowland rainforest swamps and mangroves. Signs explain the survival strategies used by rainforest plants and animals. The site is close to Myall Beach and has large grassed areas with picnic shelters and toilets.

Kulki—600m return (10mins) Grade: easy

Kulki day-use area has a boardwalk leading from the picnic area to a viewing platform overlooking the ocean and beach. A short walk from the Kulki car park takes you to beautiful Myall Beach. Toilets and picnic tables are provided.

Mount Sorrow ridge trail—7km return (6-7hrs) Grade: difficult

This is a steep and difficult trail and walkers need to be fit, self-reliant and well-prepared. The trail climbs from the coastal lowlands of Cape Tribulation, up the rainforest-clad ridge of Mount Sorrow to a lookout offering views of the beautiful Daintree coastline, Snapper Island and beyond.

For important orientation and safety information, go to Mount Sorrow ridge trail.

Guided tours and talks

Guided tours throughout Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park are provided by commercial tour operators. For more information see the tourism information links.

Picnic and day use areas

There are picnic areas at Jindalba, Dubuji and Kulki. All three sites have toilets and picnic tables.

Boating and fishing

Marine waters adjacent to Daintree National Park are internationally significant and are protected in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Zones in the two marine parks—the Great Barrier Reef Coast and Great Barrier Reef—provide a balanced approach to protecting the marine and intertidal environments while allowing recreational and commercial use. Check zoning information and maps before entering or conducting any activities in the marine parks.

Fishing is permitted in all tidal creeks in Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park except Cooper Creek, where fishing is prohibited Fisheries regulations apply—information on bag and size limits, restricted species and seasonal closures is available from Fisheries Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Dangerous stinging jellyfish (‘stingers’) may be present in the coastal waters at any time, but occur more frequently in the warmer months. If you do enter the water, a full-body lycra suit or equivalent may provide a good measure of protection against stinging jellyfish and sunburn. Remember to be croc wise in croc country. Visit marine stingers for the latest safety and first aid information.

Viewing wildlife

Most of the world's 19 primitive plant families are found in Daintree National Park and the surrounding area. A number of very rare plants can be seen in Cape Tribulation.

The park is also home to many near threatened and endangered animals including, Bennett's tree-kangaroos, Daintree River ringtail possums and southern cassowaries. Some birds migrate to the area from New Guinea in summer to breed. These include buff-breasted paradise-kingfishers, with their very long tails, and pied imperial-pigeons, which arrive in large flocks.

During the winter months, migrating humpback whales are often seen from the beaches.

  • See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about Cape Tribulation's diverse wildlife.

Other things to do

A stop at Walu Wugirriga (Mount Alexandra lookout), about 5km north of the Daintree River, provides breathtaking views of the coast including the Daintree River mouth, Snapper Island and Low Isles.

To find out more about Eastern Kuku Yalanji culture, contact Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime (Mossman) on (07) 4098 2595, Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours (Cooya Beach) on (07) 4098 3437, or Walker Family Tours (Wujal Wujal) on (07) 4060 8069.

Things to know before you go

Essentials to bring

To ensure you have a safe and enjoyable visit make sure you bring:

  • a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses
  • insect repellent
  • fuel or gas stove for cooking—fires are not permitted
  • rubbish bags—bins are not provided.

Opening hours

Daintree National Park is open 24hrs a day but ferry hours are limited to 6.00am-midnight daily, with a reduced service on Christmas Day and occasional breaks in service for mechanical repairs or during flooding.

Noah Beach camping area is closed throughout the wet season every year from the first Sunday after New Years Day, reopening Good Friday. These dates may vary depending on weather and road conditions, and the camping area may also be closed after heavy rain. Observe road closures and restrictions, as penalties can apply. Check park alerts and with Department of Transport and Main Roads for local road conditions. The Bureau of Meteorology provides updated weather reports.

Permits and fees

Camping permits

Camping permits are required and must be booked in advance. Fees apply. Your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

Other permits

Permits are required for commercial and some organised group activities. See park permits and policies for more information.

Pets

Domestic animals, including birds, are not permitted in Daintree National Park.

Climate and weather

The Daintree region has one of the wettest climates in Australia. During the wet season, from December to April, there are heavy and frequent downpours. Some areas receive more than 6 m of rainfall annually. Maximum temperatures through the wet season range from 27–33°C, with humidity often exceeding 80 per cent.

The cooler, drier months from May to September are the best time to visit. The weather is pleasantly warm with reduced humidity. Maximum temperatures average 26°C.

For more information see the tourism information links.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available at the Rainforest Village, 14km from the Daintree River ferry. For more information, please refer to tourism information links.

Staying safe

Be aware of dangerous stinging jellyfish (stingers). Courtesy of Jamie Seymour, James Cook Univeristy.

Be aware of dangerous stinging jellyfish (stingers). Courtesy of Jamie Seymour, James Cook Univeristy.

Cassowaries at Kulki day-use area. Stay well away and never feed cassowaries. Photo: Queensland Government.

Cassowaries at Kulki day-use area. Stay well away and never feed cassowaries. Photo: Queensland Government.

Crocodiles are potentially dangerous. Photo: Queensland Government.

Crocodiles are potentially dangerous. Photo: Queensland Government.

Please be safe when visiting this park.

  • Dangerous stinging jellyfish ('stingers') may be present in coastal waters at any time, but occur more frequently in the warmer months. If you do enter the water, a full-body lycra suit or equivalent may provide a good measure of protection against stinging jellyfish and sunburn. Remember to be croc wise in croc country. Visit marine stingers for the latest safety and first aid information.
  • Take care around cassowaries.  These large birds can cause serious injury or death. Stay well away and never feed cassowaries.
  • Do not touch stinging trees. They grow up to 4m high, have large, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges and often occur along rainforest edges. Touching any part of the plant leaf results in a very painful sting. If you are stung, and symptoms are severe, seek medical advice.
  • On extended walks ensure you have enough drinking water and protect yourself from the sun. Wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing. Be prepared for weather changes, particularly if walking the Mount Sorrow ridge trail.

Be croc wise

Crocodiles are potentially dangerous. Never take unnecessary risks in crocodile habitat. You are responsible for your own safety, so please follow these guidelines and be croc wise in croc country.

  • Obey crocodile warning signs—they are there for your safety and protection.
  • Never swim in water where crocodiles may live even if there is no warning sign present.
  • When fishing, always stand a few metres back from the water's edge and never stand on logs or branches overhanging the water.
  • Never clean fish or discard fish scraps or bait near the water's edge, around campsites or at boat ramps.
  • Stay well back from any crocodile slide marks. Crocodiles may be close by and may approach people and boats.
  • Never dangle your arms or legs over the side of a boat. If you fall out of a boat, get out of the water as quickly as possible.
  • Never provoke, harass or interfere with crocodiles, even small ones.
  • Never feed crocodiles—it is illegal and dangerous.
  • Camp at least 2m above the high water mark and at least 50m from the water's edge. Avoid places where native animals and domestic stock drink.
  • Never leave food scraps, fish scraps or bait at your camp site. Always check that previous campers have not left these behind.
  • Never prepare food, wash dishes or pursue any other activities near the water's edge or adjacent sloping banks.
  • Be more aware of crocodiles at night and during the breeding season, September to April.

Remember to be be croc wise.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

Cape Tribulation is a part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Queensland. Courtesy of Tourism Queensland.

Cape Tribulation is a part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Queensland. Courtesy of Tourism Queensland.

As part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Daintree National Park contains outstanding examples of major stages in the earth's evolutionary history, its continuing biological evolution and its exceptional beauty. It also provides habitat for many rare and threatened species.

  • Please slow down when driving through cassowary habitat and watch out for cassowaries and their chicks at the roadside.
  • Take your rubbish—including food scraps—with you when you leave.
  • Do not use shampoo or soap in or near waterways.
  • When boating, go slowly over sea grass beds—dugongs feed here.
  • Stay on walking tracks at all times—this reduces the risk of injury, prevents disturbance to native vegetation and reduces erosion.
  • Obey signs and regulations—they are in place to protect this area for conservation and nature-based recreation.
  • Please do not dispose of foreign material or waste from chemical disposal units in the bio-cycle toilet systems.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park, is managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, in collaboration with the Wet Tropics Management Authority, for the purposes of nature conservation and nature-based recreation. It is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and is adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

In 1981 Cape Tribulation National Park was declared, protecting 17,000ha of the Daintree area's remaining rainforest. It was amalgamated into Daintree National Park in 1995. With the combination of Cape Tribulation and Mossman sections, Daintree National Park now encompasses 73,500ha.

In March 2007 the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people signed a series of Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) with the Queensland Government and other bodies. The ILUAs recognise Eastern Kuku Yalanji's rights to be custodians and managers of their traditional country. Under one of these ILUAs, Eastern Kuku Yalanji people will be more involved in managing Daintree National Park.

Tourism information links

Cairns and Tropical North Visitor Information Centre
www.cairnsgreatbarrierreef.org.au
51 The Esplanade, Cairns, QLD 4870
phone: (07) 4051 3588
email

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
24 October 2016