Visiting Daintree safely
Getting there and getting around
Daintree National Park (CYPAL) is between 80km and 150km north of Cairns. The national park (CYPAL) has two sections, Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation.
- From Cairns drive 80km north along the Captain Cook Highway then just before Mossman town centre, turn left into Johnston Road and continue for 2km to the Mossman Gorge Centre near the entrance to the Mossman Gorge section of the park.
- Shuttle buses operate daily from the visitor centre (every 15min from 8am–5.45pm) transporting visitors on a 2km journey into the park (Fees apply). Visitors can also access the national park (CYPAL) by foot or bicycle free of charge at any time of day.
- From Mossman drive 30km north to the entrance to the Cape Tribulation section of the park at the Daintree River crossing.
- The Daintree ferry operates 5.00am–midnight every day with a reduced service on Christmas Day and occasional breaks in service for mechanical repairs or during flooding.
- From the Daintree River ferry crossing to Cape Tribulation, conventional two-wheel-drive vehicle access is possible, 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.
North of Cape Tribulation
- Beyond Cape Tribulation, the Cape Tribulation–Bloomfield road continues (mostly unsealed) to the park's northern boundary and onto Bloomfield. This road is suitable for four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicles only due to steep grades and creek crossings.
- Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.
- Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.
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.
Mossman Gorge section
- The Mossman Gorge Visitor Centre and shuttle bus are wheelchair accessible, as is the Mossman Gorge day-use area, toilets and the elevated boardwalk (Baral Marrjanga track) through the rainforest to the Mossman River lookout.
- There is no wheelchair access to the Lower river track, the beach area or Rex Creek bridge track.
Cape Tribulation section
- Three of the four short boardwalks, Madja boardwalk, Dubuji boardwalk and Kulki boardwalk, are wheelchair accessible. Dubuji boardwalk includes a wheelchair accessible section that provides a view of the beach. At the fourth boardwalk, Jindalba boardwalk, wheelchair access to the creek is available from the exit end only, near the disabled access parking bays.
Please be safe when visiting this park.
- Take care around cassowaries. Please slow down when driving through their habitat and watch out for cassowaries and their chicks at the roadside. These large birds can cause serious injury or death. Stay well away and never feed cassowaries. Be cassoWARY
- 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.
- Wear suitable footwear for walking in Daintree National Park (CYPAL) as track surfaces can be uneven.
- Swimming at Mossman Gorge at any time can be dangerous. People have died here and others have been seriously injured.
- Water conditions are unpredictable.
- Water levels can rise rapidly and without warning.
- Strong currents, deep water and submerged boulders make this river dangerous to enter.
- Do not jump or dive into the river.
- To stay safe, do not enter the water.
- Read water safety for important information about staying safe in and near water and caring for parks.
- Depending on your mobile provider, there may be mobile phone reception within about 5km of Cape Tribulation village, but limited reception elsewhere in this section of the national park (CYPAL).
- Check weather reports before heading to the national park (CYPAL).
- Road conditions can deteriorate quickly to become slippery. Take vehicle spares in case of flat tyres or breakdowns.
- 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.
- On extended walks, ensure you have enough drinking water and protect yourself from the sun. Wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing.
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 Crocwise 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.
For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.
See traffic and travel information for road and travel conditions.
Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.
There are two remote walks in Daintree National Park (CYPAL), the Manjal Jimalji (Devils Thumb) trail and the Mount Sorrow ridge trail. Both trails are classified Grade 4. Conditions such as weather can change quickly and unpredictably while on these remote walks. You need a high level of fitness, sound navigation skills and self-reliance; you are responsible for your own safety. Consider your ability and the trail conditions carefully before setting out.
- These trails should only be attempted in daylight hours. Start early in the morning to beat the heat and allow enough time to safely return before nightfall.
- Tell a responsible person where you are going and when you expect to return. Remember to contact them on your safe return. Have a contingency plan in place if you fail to contact them by the agreed time. If you change your plans, inform them.
- Walking these trails is not recommended in very hot and humid conditions or wet, cloudy weather when the trails become slippery.
- Always keep to the marked trail as walkers have been lost in these areas.
- These are very steep and difficult trails. Walkers need to be fit, self-reliant and well prepared.
- Never walk alone. Small groups of four are ideal.
- Do not pull yourself up steep sections of the trails using vegetation, as plants may be damaged, and it can be dangerous if the vine/vegetation pulls free and you fall or pull vegetation or dead branches down on yourself.
- There is no water available along these trails. Walkers should carry 3–4 litres of water per person and remember to drink regularly to avoid heat stress.
- Venomous snakes live in the park. Detour around snakes. Never provoke them.
- Leeches are usually present in leaf litter and wet vegetation. For protection against leeches wear enclosed footwear, long pants and insect repellent.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and a long-sleeved shirt, even on cloudy days.
- Be aware that lawyer vine is found alongside these trails. This plant has hooks that can catch on clothing and skin.
- Read be wildlife aware for important information about dangerous animals and plants.
- In the event of an emergency, communication equipment is vital. Carry at least one form of communication equipment. Satellite phones and emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRBs) are the most effective. Mobile phone coverage is extremely limited and should not be relied upon as the only form of emergency communication. In case of an emergency, where coverage is available, dial Triple Zero (000). .
For more information, please read the guidelines on walk with care.
Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.
Before you visit
Refer to the before you visit information for all parks.
Essentials to bring
Bring sturdy shoes for walking. It is also advisable to bring insect repellent and sunscreen, a hat and clothes for protection from the sun.
Daintree National Park (CYPAL) is open 24 hours a day. However:
- For the Cape Tribulation section, the Daintree ferry hours are limited to 5.00am-midnight daily, with a reduced service on Christmas Day and occasional breaks in service for mechanical repairs or during flooding.
- Noah Beach camping area, Cape Tribulation section, is closed throughout the wet season every year from the first Sunday after New Year's 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 Queensland Traffic for local road conditions. The Bureau of Meteorology provides updated weather reports.
Permits and fees
A fee may apply for the shuttle bus that provides access into the Mossman Gorge section from 8am to 5.45pm daily. See Mossman Gorge Centre for details.
Commercial operators charge fees for guided tours and walks. See tourism information links.
Noah Beach camping area, Cape Tribulation section, is the only camping available in Daintree National Park (CYPAL). Camping permits are required and must be booked in advance. Fees apply. Your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.
- Find out more about camping at Noah Beach camping area.
Permits are required for commercial or organised group activities. Contact us for further information.
Domestic animals are not permitted in Daintree National Park (CYPAL).
Climate and weather
The Daintree region has one of the wettest climates in Australia. During the wetter months, from December to April, there are heavy, frequent downpours. Some areas receive more than 6m of rain annually. Maximum temperatures through the wetter months range from 27°C to 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.
Fuel and supplies
Fuel and supplies are available at various locations in Cairns, Port Douglas, Mossman and at Cape Tribulation, the Rainforest Village, 34km from the Daintree River ferry.