EFFINCUEenvironmentfar north Queenslandtropical weather & climate

DAINTREE RAINFOREST STILL A WORLD-BEATING ATTRACTION – BUT IS THE PRICE OF THE CAR FERRY PUTTING PEOPLE OFF?

DAINTREE - THE WORLD'S OLDEST RAINFOREST (pic courtesy Daintree Discovery Centre
DAINTREE – THE WORLD’S OLDEST RAINFOREST (pic courtesy Daintree Discovery Centre)

It takes just 90 minutes to drive from Cairns city to the heart of the world’s oldest rainforest. It’s Australia’s largest area of continuous rainforest, running right down to the sea between Mossman Gorge and the Bloomfield River.

It’s the Daintree, long and still one of the main reasons people visit far north Queensland. But when you do the drive from Cairns, the first road sign you’ll see with the word “Daintree” on it is just before you get there – as you approach the Daintree River car ferry.

It’s a wonderful journey and the rainforest is breath-taking. But visitor numbers have dropped and some local businesses have closed since the global financial crisis. The people who run tourism related concerns in the Daintree are a determined lot, who have long lived with the waxing and waning visitor arrival numbers. That may be a fact of life in the industry, but there are concerns the Daintree has lost some of its lustre, that it needs to be much better promoted as a destination, and that barriers to tourism should be reduced.

One of the pioneers of tourism in the region believes the price of the short ferry trip across the river is a significant barrier. It’s the only way in from the south by road – it will cost you $23 for a return trip, and while you might spend some time waiting to get aboard, the crossing lasts barely two minutes.

Ron Birkett is the director of the Daintree Discovery Centre – and he’s offered to pay the ferry fare for visitors to his Centre during the usually quiet FNQ wet season. Ron has made the offer to drum up some business, but also to make a point about a fee he believes deters visitors and adds to the already significant cost of living and running a business in the Daintree, where people have to generate their own power and provide their own water and sewerage systems.

LISTEN to my interview with Ron Birkett

Ron first came to the Daintree in the 1980s, having seen TV news coverage of the blockades staged there by people opposed to the Queensland Government push to build a road through the rainforest. More about the blockades here

And you can take an online audio-visual tour of the Daintree Discovery Centre here

  • DAINTREE - THE WORLD'S OLDEST RAINFOREST (pic courtesy Daintree Discovery Centre
    DAINTREE - THE WORLD'S OLDEST RAINFOREST (pic courtesy Daintree Discovery Centre
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One thought on “DAINTREE RAINFOREST STILL A WORLD-BEATING ATTRACTION – BUT IS THE PRICE OF THE CAR FERRY PUTTING PEOPLE OFF?

  1. Oh, yes, it is so expensiv,e its ridiculous! I once had to wait almost an hour to get on!
    I am a residnet of Cairns so I’m a bit more fortuante till the end of this month to have a “Free Ferry Pass” brought on my the Cairns Regional Council. I best make the most of it now . . .
    I do adore the Daintree, it holds a very special place in my heart. The forest there is so untouched, it feels dreamy and fresh and so full of energy

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