The Daintree Rainforest is full of hiking trails, viewpoints, wildlife, boardwalks, swimming holes and of course plenty of Daintree beaches to enjoy. Spending a couple days exploring the Daintree and some of its highlights is a great addition to any Australia itinerary.
“Where the rainforest meets the reef” is the saying of the Daintree. Here is where two UNESCO World Heritage Sites meet – the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. It is a pretty spectacular place as you have the world’s oldest tropical rainforest side by side with the world’s largest coral reef system.
Learn more about 10 of the most beautiful Daintree beaches and how to add them to your trip to the area.
1) Daintree Rainforest Things to Know
Before listing out the Daintree beaches, there are some very important things to know about the rainforest in general:
1) There is barely any cell service in the Daintree Rainforest. To help get you from place to place, I recommend downloading offline maps to your phone before you go (either on Google Maps or through an app like maps.me).
2) To get to most Daintree attractions, you will need to cross the Daintree River. The car ferry goes back and forth constantly but do expect a wait time during peak hours. The round trip cost is $39 AUD and runs from 5AM – 12AM.
3) There are limited stores in the Daintree north of the river. If you are coming in for a few days, I recommend bringing/buying anything you would want from Cairns/Port Douglas. One of the grocery stores for essentials inside the Daintree would be the Friendly Grocer Convenience Store.
4) Beyond the Daintree River there are very limited gas options. In case you are running low on gas you can head to the Daintree Rainforest Village. I would however recommend to fill up your tank before you head out.
5) The cassowary is the one animal you will hear about most in the Daintree. It looks like some sort of prehistoric dinosaur bird with its colorful head, and is known to be dangerous if you get too close. So if you do see one, be sure to step back and keep your distance.
2) Can You Swim in the Daintree Beaches
The most frequent of questions that comes up when talking about Daintree beaches is whether or not you can swim in them. The short answer is no, it is not advised to swim at the beaches. There are a couple main reasons behind this:
→ While the beaches of the Daintree are quite stunning, the waters of the Coral Sea are not as inviting. During the summer season (November to May), there are stingers (jellyfish) that roam the waters. Getting stung by one of these will not be a good way to spend your trip, especially because you will be a bit removed from emergency care.
→ On some of the beaches you will find warnings about stingers in addition to an emergency vinegar station. Pouring vinegar on the sting can help with the pain.
→ While stingers just come out during those months, there are also sightings of salt water crocodiles in the waters too. There have been incidents over the years, so it is not recommended to take chances.
→ Although swimming is not recommended at the beaches, there are some swimming holes nearby that can work for a quick cool down. I will be mentioning these as well in this guide.
3) Map of Daintree Beaches
Below is a map that pin points each one of the 10 beaches that I will be talking through. You can see that all of the beaches are north of the Daintree River crossing besides for Wonga Beach.
In order from south to north the beaches include:
1) Wonga Beach
2) Cape Kimberly
3) Cow Bay Beach
4) Thornton Beach
5) Noah Beach
6) Coconut Beach
7) Myall Beach
8) Cape Tribulation Beach
9) Emmagen Creek Swimming Hole (& Beach)
10) Masons Swimming Hole
4) List of Daintree Beaches
Now that you have a bit of background on the Daintree Rainforest and where the Daintree beaches are located, let’s talk through some details about each one of them.
First up is Wonga Beach, located along the coast of the town of Wonga. This is essentially the last main town along the coastline, before the Daintree River crossing.
If you would like to visit the lower part of the Daintree (and not head over the river), this can be a great option for you. Not only can you spend some time at the beach, but you can also visit some other attractions in the area such as Mossman Gorge and a Daintree River Cruise.
So, just because you aren’t heading across the river, doesn’t mean you cant enjoy the lower part of the Daintree and some beach time as well.
As you cross over the Daintree River, the first part of the coastline will be Cape Kimberly. The beach itself runs for about 3 km from the mouth of the Daintree River up to the cape.
To visit the beach, simply head all the way down Cape Kimberly Road, which reaches the northern end of the beach. From there you can enjoy the long stretch of sand with views of Snapper Island out in the distance and Cape Kimberly off to the side.
Cow Bay Beach (+ Secret Beach)
Further north into the Daintree you will pass the Mount Alexandra Lookout point and the Daintree Discovery Centre. Here is where the area of Cow Bay is located, and another beautiful beach along the coastline.
At the entrance of the beach you will find a sign that mentions a bit of history: “This cultural, environmental & recreational reserve was created by a historic cooperative negotiated agreement between Cow Bay residents & traditional owners, the Kulu Yalangi. Please respect this agreement and this special place”.
Like other beaches in the region, the beach is pretty vast and you should get some gorgeous views in both directions of the greenery filled landscapes. As you walk northbound on the beach, you will come across some tree swings and a waterway spilling into the sea.
During low tide, you should be able to walk across to the other side of the beach. Not only that, but if you continue northbound on the beach, you will reach a little known pathway that takes you to the next bay.
If you are looking for absolute peace and quiet with a beautiful beach all to yourself than this is the place to go. I have pinpointed this beach on the map as well.
Next up is Thornton Beach, home to a couple great accommodation options if you are looking to stay right on the beach -> Thornton Beach Bungalows and Daintree Rainforest Beach House.
Looking southbound from the beach your views of the surrounding Daintree Rainforest just continue to get better and better. If you walk south from here, you will eventually reach another river tributary opening up into the sea.
Out in front of the beach you will have Struck Island, and northbound will just be more untouched sand to walk and relax on.
If you are looking for a nice camping area during your time in the Daintree, then look no further than Noah Beach. Here you will find a campground under the rainforest canopy and just a few minute walk to the beach itself.
This one is more of a private beach for those that staying at the Coconut Beach House – another fantastic option when it comes to accommodation in the Daintree.
One of the fan favorite beaches in the Daintree is Myall Beach. The beach is within walking distance to many of the highly rated hotels such as PK’s Jungle Village, Ferntree Rainforest Lodge, and Safari Lodge.
Not only do you have a beautiful beach here to enjoy, but it is also accessed by the Dubuji Boardwalk. Dubuji is one of the top boardwalks to take a walk on in the Daintree. Combining the boardwalk with a visit to the beach is a great way to go about your time in the area.
Cape Tribulation Beach
The last main accessible beach of the Daintree Rainforest is Cape Tribulation. I am sure you will come across plenty of itineraries, blogs, and to do lists that include Cape Tribulation on them.
During a visit to Cape Tribulation you can first walk along the Kulki Boardwalk, which takes you up to the Kulki Lookout spot. Here you get the chance to see Cape Trib from up above.
You can then head down to the beach itself to enjoy the sand and surrounding nature. I would recommend heading here for sunset as the colors of the sky can really pop depending on the day. If you are lucky, maybe you will even see the infamous cassowary strolling by too.
The last two mentions on the list will be a couple of the swimming holes around the area. While the beaches are not meant for swimming, there are some spots further inland that are.
One of these spots is Emmagen Creek, the most northern part of the Daintree that can be accessed by 2WD. Here you will find a short hiking trail that ends at a swimming hole with a rope swing.
There is also an Emmagen Beach nearby too, which is a bit lesser known.
Masons Swimming Hole
Last but not least is Masons Swimming Hole, located next to Masons Café. For just $1 entry fee, you can walk the short pathway to a picturesque swimming spot. The water is pretty shallow here making it a perfect place to just sit down and cool off at after exploring other parts of the Daintree.
5) Other Daintree Activities & Attractions
There is a ton more to do during a trip into the Daintree. I put together his Daintree Rainforest Itinerary that walks through nearly everything there is to see when visiting the region. Some of the top highlights include:
Daintree Rainforest Walks
• Dubuji Boardwalk
• Jindalba Boardwalk
• Marjdda Boardwalk
• Mossman Gorge
• Daintree Discovery Centre
• Daintree River Cruise
• Ocean Safari
• Kulki Lookout
• Mount Alexandra Lookout
I hope you enjoyed this Daintree Rainforest beaches guide. If you have any questions or comments about the beaches feel free to add them in below. Also, don’t forget to check out the other Australia itineraries and guides up on the site like this 3 Week Australia Itinerary.
Have fun out there and safe travels!