Kayaking in Paradise – Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest

At 110 million years old the ancient Daintree Rainforest is the oldest existing rainforest in the world.

I’m about to hit the big FOUR ZERO this year and feeling a little tattered, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to visit Tropical North Queensland.

When you’re talking about not just one, but two World Heritage Listed sites smack bang against each other, well that’s a nature lovers paradise.

The Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulationa headland located within Daintree National Park – look anything but tattered and old.

As a I sat quietly in my kayak a few hundred metres off-shore gazing back at the only place in the world where two World Heritage areas meet, all I could think of was beauty, serenity and being privileged. Privileged to be at the very spot where

World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest meets the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef.

I knew I was going to enjoy this day. The drive from the nearby town of Port Douglas in to the Daintree Rainfrest was breathtaking as we passed overlooks and wound our way through the stunning rainforest.

A large green landscape with a body of water

The other thing that got me excited was meeting Pete, my guide for the kayaking trip. Pete has called Tropical North Queensland home for the past 15 years since relocating from his birthplace in New Zealand – yeah another one – and his enthusiasm for this place was infectious!

Previous to starting his Kayaking adventure company, Pete was a chef, dive instructor and jungle surfing instructor, all within the Tropical North Queensland region. He’s an outdoor lover and his passion comes across naturally.

First things first was putting on our “stinger suits” for protection against the box jelly fish who make these pristine waters home.

I then grabbed my single kayak whilst Pete and Chelsea, my guide from Port Douglas Tourism, chose the double and we made our way to the waters edge.

people standing next to kayaks

With Pete leading the way, our initial goal was spotting turtles that inhabited the reefs close to shore. We spotted them but you had to be quick with your camera, which I wasn’t, as the cheeky buggers broke the surface then swam away out of site.

We paddled slowly further off-shore, stopping numerous times to just float around and take in the beauty and peacefulness of the place. I was snapping a ton of photos but every so often reminded myself to put the camera down and just take it all in.

man kayaking
man kayaking

Pete being the hospitable guy that he is, even had chocolate cake onboard his kayak for morning tea, and I never say no to cake.

people kayaking
a man kayaking

The stroke rate of our paddles increased again as we headed towards the point of the headland in search of the resident dugong who apparently likes this coastal habitat and is dependent upon seagrasses that exist in the Cape.

a man kayaking
a man kayaking

Under instructions from Pete, we then floated quietly in an area he had spotted them previously. We waited patiently for the not-so-attractive dugong to poke its head above water for air. Unfortunately, I didn’t see one, but Pete was adamant one surfaced a little way off in the distance, again you have to be quick with the camera.

Upon reaching the point, we paddled alongside the rocks and up close to the mangroves before rounding the bend and heading towards Cape Tribulation Beach.

people kayaking
mountains next to water
a man kayaking

At this point, all I wanted to do was jump in and have a swim. The beach was empty well, almost, and the water incredibly clear and inviting.

Compared to a lot of famous tourist destinations along coastal Queensland, Cape Tribulation is still an off the beaten track destination.

a beach
kayaks on a beach

But the risks of swimming at this time of year are too great so we settled for standing up in knee deep water protected by our “stinger suits”.

On the way back we paddled over another reef section and it was here we got a visit from a few stingrays. I know what you’re thinking, where are the pics, unfortunately, I missed out again but have the memory forever etched in my mind.

people kayaking

Throughout our three hour morning paddle, Pete enthusiastically shared his future plans for his 20km kayak adventure tour, his 5 day epic kayaking tour supported by both boat and car on land, as well as his kayak and fishing combo tours.

I didn’t want this tour to end, and I couldn’t think of a better way to experience this amazing tropical environment and the ancient Daintree Rainforest.

Sea kayaking allows you to take in the natural beauty from a completely different perspective, seeing the amazing marine life, fringing coral reefs and World Heritage Daintree National Park.

To learn more about Pete’s kayaking adventure tours including his morning, sunset and fishing tours, visit his website CapeTribPaddleTrek.com.au and follow him on Facebook.

Popular Daintree Rainforest tours

Discover the only place on earth with 2 natural World Heritage listed sites side by side. Explore the Daintree River and Rainforest, Cape Tribulation, Mossman Gorge. Tours offer mobile tickets and cancellations up to 24 hours in advance.

Plan Your Trip to Australia

We’ve been traveling consistently for 17 years and have come to rely on a few trusted websites that save us money and time when booking accommodation, flights and car rental. Below are our preferred partners:


  • Booking.com has 700,000+ hotels, apartments and hostels worldwide. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.


  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).

Car Rental

  • RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.[

More Australia Content

You may also like

You may also like

About The Author

28 thoughts on “Kayaking in Paradise – Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest”

  1. This place looks beautiful. As much as I love the outdoors, I’ve never been kayaking. I think I would like it though – beautiful scenery, quiet, just me and nature. I just don’t want to tip over 🙂

  2. That looked amazing! I never realized the beauty of North Queensland. I want to visit your country so bad. Funny but my uncle (retired Air Force colonel) who will be 90 May 4th, is currently on vacation in Australia. Actually he is on his way to New Zealand. I’m so happy for him but would have loved to be there too!

    I honestly love all your blog posts from both you and Caz. I always look forward to your next adventure.

    Well done and thanks for sharing.


    1. Hi Debi,

      Wow, my sisters birthday is May 4th. That’s SO awesome your uncle is downunder at 90. Just goes to show you can still get out there and see the world at any age. And I really really hope you get to Oz sometime soon. Keep the dream alive. And thanks for your support.

      Have a great Easter in the USofA!

  3. I love this part of the world. Just stunning! We honeymooned in Port Douglas and I adored it. We didn’t go sea kayaking but I’m now wishing we did! My hubby is 40 this year so we’re hoping to head back up there to celebrate his birthday. Our favourite thing to do last time was go river snorkelling with Back Country Bliss. It was so tranquil and like nothing else. Fi xx

    1. Hey My Mummy Daze, we fell in love with Port Douglas, and Tropical North Queensland actually. It could be a region we see ourselves living in one day. Great lifestyle. Hope you get back for you husbands 40th.

  4. What amazing pictures! I couldn’t resist pinning a few of them.
    We’ve just recently bought a kayak and i’m loving paddling around the harbour. I can’t wait until we finally head north and see these beautiful places for ourselves. Cape Tribulation is definitely on the list!

  5. That looks awesome! I first fell in love with kayaking on the Central Coast…now back in Canada, I am dying to get back for more! The Daintree looks amazing. Love the colour of the water and the mangroves! Gorgeous. So lucky.

    1. Hey Anita,

      Isn’t kayaking just such a great way to explore a coastal region, we love it. And the Daintree and Cape Trib was perfect for it.

  6. Looks hot and gorgeous. I’m a tad jealous looking at the photos.
    One book I enjoyed about Australian kayaking is called – Keep Australia on Your Left by Eric Stiller. His trip is not one I would do but it did put Australia on the kayaking map for me.

  7. Kia ora – looks amazing. I’m doing some research for my own visit up to North Queensland in July. Your photos and experience reminds me of kayaking in The Abel Tasman in New Zealand.

  8. Well that looks awesome, and is bookmarked for the FNQ we must and shall do as a family. By the way, I turned 50 in jan and went kayaking on my birthday, down a river in Tassie rather than in the ocean, and on the way stopped at a HUGE rope swing, took turns swinging out into the river, massive splashes… great way to mark a change in decade. Wouldn’t be dead for quids.

  9. Andrew Michaels

    That looks incredible! Of all the tours in Cape Tribulation (www.capetribbeach.com.au/daintree-rainforest-tours) that seems like such a fun and unique way to experience such a beautiful part of Australia. The water looks so calm – no need to worry about capsizing or difficult paddling!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

4 Powerful Ways to Travel More & Create Better Memories
Want to know how we've made a lifetime of travel for 24 years? Insider tips and updates! 
This is what gives us incredible memories to share around the campfire. Join our community for insider tips and updates!
Scroll to Top