The Daintree River is a magnificent river and was described by Dalrymple who lead the ‘Queensland North East Coast Expedition’ in 1873 as a fine large river.
Dalrymple said the banks were clothed in rich luxuriant foliage, he had found excellent grazing country surrounded by jungle. His botanist also noted that the land was suitable for sugar cane and there was timber for building in abundance lining the banks. ‘No river reach in Northern Australia possesses surroundings combining so much distant mountain grandeur, with local beauty and such wealth of vegetation.’
Mist and Mountains, Daintree River FNQ.
The beauty of the rainforest with its massive trees, extraordinary buttress roots, towering tree ferns, waterfalls, crystal clear streams all covered by a colossal canopy of green was simply stunning. All this lush vegetation was filled with rare tropical birds, brilliantly coloured butterflies and unusual creatures in great diversity, all this captivated the expedition members.
The mighty Daintree River today is still one of the last undammed rivers in the world, it flows from its source high in the rainforest over 127 Km through rapids and over majestic waterfalls before reaching the calm blue waters of the Coral Sea near Cape Kimberley. As the Daintree River approaches the coast it is overshadowed by the majestic and rugged Thornton Peak, which is Queensland’s fourth highest mountain. It stands ominously above the Daintree River valley below.
Cocky Apple, Daintree region.
The Osbourne family one of the earliest families to settle in the area, built a large wooden boat to service the settlers along the Daintree River, this service connected Daintree Village / Town with Port Douglas and Cairns. There was always a problem getting produce to market, there were no roads until early last century due to the rugged terrain. Barrett Creek bridge was not built until 1929 finally giving proper access to the township over the last remaining barrier. The supply boats were constantly dependant on the weather, medical emergencies presenting the most challenging obstacles sometimes taking days to reach a hospital bed in Mossman.
Green Oriolus, Daintree region.
The boats could sit for days at the quaintly named Humbug Reach, lack of wind to fill the sails made it impossible to round this difficult bend in the river.
If there was a wind it would often blow from the wrong direction making navigation of the sandbars that litter the river nearly impossible to navigate particularly in the dark. Horn blowing on the bullock Horn developed using different notes to signal others on the river. The farmers along the way could also signal that the supply boat was on its way, this isolation severely disadvantaged the early settlers and made life in Daintree Town particularly harsh.
Bibliography: Research by Tricia Fay, Daintree River Pioneers 2007, Grant from Arts Queensland & Douglas Shire Council.
Roaring Meg, Daintree region.
The Daintree Cruise Company among other local icons of the river, continue the boating traditions of the early settlers and show you in comfort why the mighty Daintree River has long been held in such reverence by the people of Far North Queensland.
Come with us for an intimate adventure and admire the spectacular views of the Daintree Rainforest.
BYO wine & beer to enjoy on the river
2 Hours approximate:
Special Book now at $ 68 per person.
Humbug Reach, Daintree River FNQ.