Stepping out of our rental car, we were immediately surrounded by the squeaks, ribbits and rustling of unseen animals. The humid air quickly enveloped us too, the hottest welcome hug I’ve ever had anywhere.
It was only 6.45pm but already felt so much later, helped by the thick fern canopy almost completely blocking out the sky above us. The pathway to our accommodation was signposted directly into the forest, towards Cape Tribulation beach.
This was the moment we really felt like we had arrived somewhere special. And special it was – the Cape Trib Beach House is located where two World Heritage Sites meet, specifically the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.
It is actually the only accommodation in the whole Daintree region is that is right on the beach. Needless to say, we were excited to start exploring.
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Sleeping under the Daintree rainforest canopy
The Daintree is the world’s oldest rainforest and our Cape Trib Beach House cabin felt like it was right in the middle of it all. The shared balcony outside looked straight out into a thick layer of vibrant green palms, ferns and vines. To the side, a vibrant yellow and white spider had weaved an impressive web between two of the building’s struts.
Inside, we were happy to find a super comfortable and cool (air conditioning!) double room with bright furnishings. The best part was the huge wooden blinds on the windows. They allowed all the interesting rainforest sounds in but still kept the bugs out.
Despite being just around the corner from the laid back bar/restaurant and swimming pool, the only sounds we heard at night were the local rainforest residents and the canopy moving in the wind.
One of our closest neighbours was some kind of tree frog, who gave the loudest ribbit I’ve ever heard in my life.
The second night, a huge storm rolled in and we listened to the rain pattering on the fan palms for hours. The animals were a little more subdued but still present all the same. It was a relaxation soundtrack in real life, just outside our door.
Exploring Cape Tribulation beach
The Cape Trib Beach House Resort is located just behind Cape Tribulation beach, a beautifully long sweeping stretch of sand fringed by mangrove and rainforest. Misty mountains, such as the wonderfully named Mt. Sorrow, loom beyond the palm trees and ferns.
With our cabin being only a couple of minutes walk to the beach, we were on the beach A LOT. Probably not for the reasons you’d initially guess, though, as it’s not recommended to swim here (stinger season + potential crocodiles = not ideal). But not being able to swim isn’t a problem when you have a beach like Cape Trib.
We spotted sharks from the shore, chased little crabs (they are SO fast!), sunbathed, beachcombed and watched an awesome fire poi show on our last night. Isolated and quiet, Cape Tribulation beach is a great place to relax and catch fresh sea breezes. It’s also possible to go on a half day Great Barrier Reef snorkelling trip from here.
Preferring to stay on shore this time, we joined the free evening beach tour instead. The secrets of the rainforest (tasty lemon ants, ‘Wait-a-while’ vines, orb spiders, tree snakes and more) were revealed to us by our guide as we walked to and from the Cape Tribulation viewpoint.
A perfect reef and rainforest experience
Having just spent the previous five days on a dream tropical island on the Great Barrier Reef (yes, really!), the Daintree region had a lot to live up to. And it did! Not only is it possible to stay where the reef meets the rainforest, but there is also so much to do in the surrounding area.
Alongside our adventures at the Beach House, we also managed to fit in tropical fruit tasting, a wildlife cruise on the Daintree river, swimming in a (safe) hidden waterhole, a hike on a mangrove boardwalk and lots of lovely local food.
The Beach House, by the way, also has backpacker and family accommodation (still with air conditioning!) so solo travellers, friends and groups can also experience this one-of-a-kind place. The restaurant also has some budget meal options. Pretty impressive for a place right at the end of the paved highway!
For an end-of-the-world feel combined with a fun but relaxed rainforest atmosphere, Cape Trib Beach House is the place to be in the Daintree region. If I didn’t already know that Captain Cook had damaged his boat near here, I would have thought he was trying to do a bit of reverse psychology when he named Cape Tribulation…
Disclaimer: Cape Trib Beach House kindly hosted us while in the Daintree region but all opinions about our stay remain our own!
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One half of the Canadian/British couple behind Off Track Travel, Gemma is happiest when hiking on the trail or planning the next big travel adventure. JR and Gemma are currently based in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada