| From$ 65Dawn Cruise
Live availability, instant booking
| From$ 65Late Afternoon Cruise
Live availability, instant booking
About Daintree Boatman Nature Tours
Specialised Daintree River Cruises
Premium Small-group Birdwatching & Wildlife Cruises
Daintree Boatman Nature Tours is a small tour business, owned and operated by professional nature guide Murray Hunt, offering premium small-group wildlife cruises on the Daintree River.
Cruises are a special experience, with highly sought-after birds, crocodiles and snakes seen on most cruises. Cruises are professionally conducted in a small open comfortable vessel which enables a quiet intimate exploration of the river with close views of wildlife. Cruises explore the narrow shallow tributaries of the Daintree, where the big boats can’t go.
Two-hour cruises are conducted at dawn and late afternoon when the river is at its most picturesque, sunlight is at its best for photography, and birds are at their most active.
Private cruises are available for those with a special interest such as wildlife photography or simply wish to experience the best of the river in a smaller group. Private Photography cruises, 2.5 hours in duration, conducted at dawn and dusk, are perfect for keen photographers. For families or small groups of friends, hoping to avoid the crowds, the boat is available for charter on a hourly basis throughout the day for quick private ‘Daintree Highlights’ cruises.
- Boat has a collapsible roof for shelter when needed.
- Maximum of just 10 passengers.
- Discount for repeat cruises.
Dawn cruises provide the best conditions for those wishing to see the river at its most stunning, as well as the greatest chance to see some of the most sought-after birds of the river. Referred to in many ‘birding’ reference books, this famous cruise has been in operation for more than 20 years. Key target species include Great-billed Heron, Papuan Frogmouth, Little Kingfisher, Azure Kingfisher, Black Bittern, Saltwater Crocodile, Green Tree Snake, Water Dragon and butterflies.
Great experience to cap the day.
Floating on the water, enjoying the late afternoon light, watching wildlife foraging before sunset, there are few better places to be than out on the Daintree River. Late afternoon cruises give an opportunity to see the river in lovely light, sometimes with the setting sun colouring the sky, often with a multitude of egrets flying home to roost for the night. Crocodiles, snakes, and birds such as kingfishers, flycatchers, and herons are commonly seen.
Wildlife - Gems of the Daintree
- Azure Kingfisher
The Azure Kingfisher is the most commonly seen & photographed kingfisher on the Daintree River. It is common along creeks and rivers in northern and eastern Australia. It is seen on 99% of cruises, sometimes within metres.
- Little Kingfisher
The Little Kingfisher, at just 13cms, is the second smallest kingfisher in the world. It inhabits waterways through northern Australia and PNG. It is most easily observed on lower tides during the cooler winter Dry Season.
- Great-billed Heron
The Great-billed Heron is the most sought-after bird on the river. This secretive bird is a resident of rivers in northern Australia and South-east Asia. Lower tides offer the best chance of observation. It is seen on about 90% of cruises.
- Saltwater Crocodile
The Saltwater Crocodile, aka Estuarine Crocodile, is the world’s largest crocodile and world’s heaviest reptile. In good conditions, 3 or 4 crocs should be seen on a river cruise. Best conditions are a low tide on a warm winter’s day.
- Papuan Frogmouth
Papuan Frogmouth perch motionless during the day relying on their mottled grey plumage to look like a branch and avoid detection. They are found on most cruises particularly during the second half of the year.
- Shining Flycatcher
The Shining Flycatcher is sexually dimorphic. The female is cinnamon brown and white whilst the male is black turning shiny blue in direct sunlight. They are seen on 99% of cruises. Leaden Flycatcher are also present on the river.
- Green Tree Snake
The Green Tree-snake, aka Common Tree-snake, is a non-venomous colubrid commonly found on cruises, particularly on warm winter mornings. Common prey items include frogs. Amethystine Python are also found less frequently.
- Water Dragon
The Eastern Water Dragon, superficially similar to an iguana, is a common insectivorous reptile regularly found on Daintree cruises. They are common on the east coast of Australia. Males are larger and more colourful.
- Black Bittern
The Black Bittern is a highly sought-after migrant arriving from South-east Asia in October to nest over the summer in riverine Water Gums. Striated Herons, also present, are similar but smaller with a dark cap.
- Wompoo Fruit Dove
The Wompoo Fruit-dove is quite commonly seen sitting on tiny untidy nests. Particularly in winter they can be seen raiding fruiting trees such as Blue Quandong, often in association with Pied Imperial Pigeons and Topknot Pigeons.
- Spectacled Fruit Bat
Spectacled Fruit Bats play a vital role in maintaining the health of the rainforest. Sometimes they are seen at roost during the day, more often they are seen emerging at sundown for a busy night foraging for rainforest fruit.
- Amethystine Python
Amethystine Python are occasionally seen on cruises. They are commonly 2 to 3 metres in length, sometimes more. They are often found lurking near the roosts of their favourite prey items, Cattle Egrets and Flying Fox.
Daintree Boatman Nature Tours Reviews