Prehistoric and peaceful, the Daintree is a cathedral of green, from its magnificent dappled ceiling - like stained glass - to the altar of its palms, ferns, wrapped in the roots of other trees or encased in vines, and its ancient mangroves, like struts just outside. Springy, velvety moss seems to coat everything but the leaves and the smell of growth seems to sweat from everything in the humidity.
This magical place is like nowhere else on earth, home to an incredible array of plants and animals and edging right up to the white coral sands of the beaches which fringe the Great Barrier Reef. So it's no wonder that Daintree appears in a prominent position on many people's Australian to-do lists. And of course the best places to stay in the Daintree are the hotels close to the Daintree Rainforest - or even better, within the Daintree Rainforest.
A number of our Guru's recommendations for hotels close to the Daintree Rainforest are eco lodges, which are fantastic options if you want to see as much of the Daintree's wildlife as possible. 30% of Australia's frog, reptile and marsupial species live here, as well as 65% of the species of bats and butterflies, but many of these animals are at their most active in the cool of the evening, or the very early morning when the rain forest rings with a cacophony of birdsong.
If you like your creature comforts as well as your creatures then you might be better off staying in Port Douglas or Cairns. Both are only a short drive from the national park, and there are several hotels close to the Daintree Rainforest, while still withing striking distance of the amenities of town.
ROMANTIC HOTELS CLOSE TO THE DAINTREE RAINFOREST
Silky Oaks Lodge is a luxurious eco lodge right on the banks of the Mossman River, set in 88 acres of its own rain forest on the edge of the Daintree. Accommodation comprises a collection of tree houses and suites in a larger house right on the river, and the decor is sumptuous and elegant. There's also a great restaurant and a pampering spa - so you can't find many more romantic hotels close to the Daintree Rainforest.
If you prefer to stay in town, the Shangri-La Hotel, Cairns is a five star luxury resort with all the trappings. You're right on the edge of the marina, with views over the water, the lush, topical hotel gardens or Cairns itself. As well as the peaceful location, there are excellent facilities, including a fitness center, and of course, waterfront dining.
RELAXING HOTELS CLOSE TO THE DAINTREE RAINFOREST
If your idea of relaxation includes having access to all the mod. cons. then QT Port Douglas, just back from the beach, and out of town, might be more your style. Peacefully located among tropical gardens, the QT's decor is chic and retro, and the well lit rooms look out onto either the hotel lagoon pool or the gardens. They also have apartments with one or two bedrooms. So it's also one of the best hotels close to the Daintree Rainforest for families.
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THE DAINTREE RAINFOREST
Once you've found your favorite hotel close to the Daintree Rainforest now it's time to follow some of its trails into the wilderness. You can easily get lost in here, the air rings with bird calls and the leaf covered floor often moves with the lizards, snakes and frogs underneath, but there are plenty of tracks and trails through this 135 million year old landscape. And if you do lose your way you'll find the rocky hills which catch the rainfall for the forest in one direction, and the thin band of mangroves bordering the beach in the other.