Cape Tribulation & Daintree National Park, with some 4×4 CREB Track Fun
We first came here with mum and dad back in 2014. It’s a lovely mix of tourist attractions, cleverly nestled in the National Park so it still feels like a wilderness. It was therefore a must visit again on our big lap of Australia and as you will see, we had a few things we needed to conquer that defeated us last time. To access Cape Tribulation you need to take a ferry across the Daintree River. We bought a return ticket with the camper trailer and there are also multi-passes available. The cute little Daintree Village is located on the south side before the ferry turn off.
Camping at Cape Tribulation
On our first trip we stayed at the national park campsite which was nice, but not near any of the small bars and restaurants tucked away in the rainforest. If you’re looking for a little more remote tranquility then the National Park is the place to stay. The second time we booked a reef and camping package with Ocean Safari staying at the Safari Lodge campsite. Their Turtle Rock cafe serves amazing food for just being a small cafe. If we were to come back our favourite campsite we explored was Cape Tribulation Camping, it is right next to the beach, has grassy sites and a cool small bar with a family feel. If you want a treat the Whet bar and restaurant is very good, we had drinks here one night and if you’re after night life then the camp and play at PJ’s (we didn’t go here, just popped our head in). There is a small supermarket in the area which is handy, but they were pretty unfriendly when I popped in (this is next to PJ’s).
The Great Barrier Reef
Hiking in Daintree National Park
The 7km return Sorrow ridge is the must do hike in this area. It’s a steep hike to the ridge and great fun scrambling up and down the ropes. The views from the top are great and we were lucky the mist cleared as we arrive to be able to see Mt Sorrow and the coastline. We did a section of this hike back in 2014, but the ropes put off the parents, so it was great to come back this year and summit it. The track was much busier than we expected meeting around 10 different groups of people, mainly young female backpackers. It took us 4 hours to complete which included about 20 minutes at the top and the total elevation was 730m.
There are lots of short walks in the area. We did the Dubuji Boardwalk through the topical lowland forest as it was right opposite our campsite.
Every beach is beautiful, especially at low tide for walking along (just no swimming due to the Estuarine Crocs). The crabs make stunning patterns in the sand and this area is special as the rainforest meets the beach. We were so excited to see our first Cassowary in the wild walking the length of the beach with us (Sadly I had come out for an evening stroll without my camera) Also checkout the lookout at Mount Alexandra
The CREB track – A 4×4 Adventure
The 60km CREB track is the iconic trip to do in this area and just like the ridge walk, it had defeated us last time due to the track being closed. We were joined by our friend Tofty and his son Callum for a couple of days and it was great not to be doing this solo. From Cape Tribulation we headed up the Bloomfield gravel road to Wujal Wujal an aboriginal community with a brilliant art and cultural centre if its open. There is also a short walk to a waterfall which we did when we passed through with Mum and Dad. There was no time for stopping this time, just a quick re-fuel in the village before heading back out onto the road signposted to Cook Town. It was then just a few km’s before we saw the sign for the CREB and to our dismay found the road closed, Local traffic only. Just by chance they were grading the road into the remote communities and they allowed us to to do it. The first few KM’s were very easy going past Roaring Meg Waterfall and to the last house in this area. You can access this waterfall, but as we were not sure what challenges were ahead of us and I had read mixed reports on if you did or didn’t need permission to visit we decided to keep driving. The real challenge starts when you go through the gate after this last small settlement. The conditions were good, there had only been a little drizzle over the last few days, but the red clay is pretty slippy and there are steep sections to navigate up and down. The boys enjoyed getting their Silky Saws out on the track, where a small tree was down.
There were several water crossings on the track which caused no issue for us and then it was just the final Daintree crossing to do. We met a group who had just come through so it was good to know it was passable as it was deep and with a croc risk there was no way I was walking it first which is usually my job!
The track comes out at Daintree village where we stopped for coffee, before boarding the ferry and headed back to Cape Tribulation.
The whole trip took just under 6 hours, with the main CREB track taking 4hrs. We took it pretty easy and without incident, but make sure you take all your recovery gear and they also recommend provisions incase the weather comes in and you get stuck on that slippy red clay. The scenery on the track is beautiful. We saw a tree kangaroo, lots of butterflies and the views are stunning.
Checkout the route here and make sure you check the track is open first as there are on the spot heavy fines ($2000) for entering a closed track. There is a Facebook Group that has details of openings and conditions. We were also told to check with the local police station about openings. Checkout our highlights video below…
The Bloomfield Track and Beyond
Heading North from Cape Tribulation takes you on the Bloomfield track up to Cook Town and from there with Mum and Dad we headed into Lakefield National Park. It’s very different from most National parks in Australia and that’s why it should be on your list. It’s a wetland paradise with so many birds. We had a picnic at the side of one of the lakes and sat just watching them all. The campsite is lovely next to the river and that’s where we got to see a crocodile in the wild. You can head off and explore the 4×4 tracks in the area, with a few cheeky river crossings. I’m kind of sad we didn’t go back this time.
This is a grat way to see the rainforest from so many different angles. We did the self-guided tour with mum and dad with the highlight climbing the 23m high Canopy Tower where we had amazing views over the rainforest. There is also a 125m long Aerial Walkway Rainforest Skywalk and you receive a guidebook too to help you identify everything.
Daintree Icecream was superb. They have beautiful unusual flavours and you get to stroll around the orchid too, with all the trees fuit trees.
Daintree River Cruises From Daintree Village with Mum and Dad we took a 1hr Croc tour to get up close to these magnificent creatures. We saw both Estuarine (Salties) and Freshwater crocodiles and a few birds too. We were lucky enough to spot one in the wild later on in our trip with mum and dad while camping in Lakefield National Park. TOP TIP: Take your binoculars.
For more information on this area, head to this website