In January 2023 I travelled with a friend to Australia for one month and I would like to share some insights of our trip with you - what we have done, seen, would do again and would do different. If you have got any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me :)
1st stop - Daintree Rainforest (2nd - 5th of January)
Our trip started in the Daintree Rainforest which means that we flew to Cairns, picked up our rental car and drove around 2 hours to the accommodation "Daintree Crocodylus" in the middle of the Daintree Rainforest. We can't really recommend the place as the owner was a bit scary and unfriendly and the place was suuuper basic. Not sure whether there are better options around but we wouldn't stay here again.
We rented the car with "East Coast Car Rental" and paid around 135€ for 3 days + 23€ full cover insurance and 60€ gasoline. There is a free shuttle from the airport to the rental station with a super funny driver and it takes only a few minutes to get there. We got a Suzuki Swift and were super happy with it!
On the day of our arrival it was super rainy and also the first time that we were driving on the left site but it's actually very easy and you get quickly used to it. Before heading to the Rainforest we stopped at "Woolworths" in Mossman to buy everything we need for the 3 days in the jungle. As Australia is super expensive we only bought stuff that was discounted. We ended up with some rice, noodles, pesto, vegetables, fruits, musli and some yoghurt for breakfast.
After that we continued driving further north and to get to the Daintree Rainforest you've to get on a ferry to cross the river. It drives all day long even with heavy rain and takes just a few minutes but costs 45 AUD return (around 30€). You can buy the ticket on board, so no need to book anything in advance.
The whole drive from Cairns airport to the accommodation took us around 2 hours and was easily manageable even with a small car and heavy rain. By the way - January is the Australian summer which means high temperatures and heavy rains. Seems as we didn't planned well enough beforehand as we had very heavy rains daily but we still tried to do everything we planned and to the best out of the situation. But if you're also planning to visit Australia make sure to check the wet seasons and temperatures before arrival.
On the first day after our arrival we did three easy self-guided boardwalks in the Daintree Rainforest:
- Dubuji Boardwalk - an easy 1,2km circuit track, around 45 walking time
- Madja Boardwalk - also an easy 1,2km circuit track, around 45 walking time
- Jindalba Boardwalk - 650m or 3km circuit track, you can choose after a few hundred meters which one you would like to take
All of them were super nice and really recommendable!
In the evening we did a guided night tour but unfortunately only saw some spiders and frogs but nothing too special.
On the following day we went to Cow Bay and Shipwreck Bay. Nice and empty beaches but prepared to get attacked by several mosquitos. We couldn't stay for a long time as the whole body was already full of bites after just a few minutes. We then went to the Hutchinson Creek water hole which was super nice!! Beautiful clear water, nobody around, perfect for a refreshing swim as long as no crocodile is around :)
2nd stop - Mossman Gorge and Barrier Street (5th of January)
On the way back from Daintree Rainforest to Cairns we stopped at the Mossman Gorge. You need to buy a ticket for the shuttle bus which costs 13 AUD (around 8€). The bus drives you further into the jungle from where you can walk the big circuit divided into several smaller ones which means that there are around 4-5 small hikes but all of them are connected and you can decide after each one whether you would like to continue or go back to the shuttle station but it's highly recommended to do all of them, especially as they are super short and the whole circuit is only around 2-3km, so you will be for sure able to do all of them. It's a super easy hike and no special skills are required. There are also several swimming holes in between where you can have a refreshing bath close to small waterfalls. We loved the landscape and nature in this national park!
During our way from Mossman Gorge to Cairns we did a short stop at Barrier Street in Port Douglas to see the famous flying foxes hanging around in the trees. Unfortunately we could only see them during the daylight but it's recommended to watch them flying around during sunset.
3nd stop - Fitzroy Island (6th of January)
For 51€/person we booked ferry tickets from Cairns to Fitzroy Island. Make sure to have some pills against sea sickness with you and it can be a bit shaky and the pills on board are very expensive. You also get ginger pills for free but not sure whether they really work fine. The boat ride takes 45 minutes and when you arrive on Fitzroy island you can do 3 hikes: The secret garden hike (1km return), the Nudey beach hike (around 15 minutes one way) and the big circuit to the lighthouse and summit point (around 3,2km). Due to the time and weather we only did the secret garden and Nudel beach hike. Secret garden was ok but compared to the walks in Mossman Gorge bit boring, so no need to do it if you've already seen some jungle landscapes before. Nudey beach is pretty nice especially as low tide and with sunshine. But be aware that in January it's stinger / jellyfish season and you should only go swimming / snorkelling with a proper wetsuit that you can borrow without any fee on the ferry. They can be very dangerous, so don't go into the water without the wetsuit provided! If you're lucky you can also see some yellow spotted monitor lizards.