By Daphne Titus-Rees
Tiny funky little Daintree Village was originally a settlement created in the 1870's by timber-cutters and is now an unspoilt oasis in the midst of some of the loveliest and most varied scenery in the far north of Queensland. Today low-impact tourism and sustainable cattle- and tropical fruit-farming in the beautiful valleys beyond the Village form the lifeblood of this laid-back little township with all it's charm of yesteryear.
Daintree Village was the base for timber-cutters who came to log the red cedar which once flourished in the area. Today the timber industry is long-gone but there is an interesting timber gallery, featuring beautiful work by a local craftsman.
The Village hosts a number of restaurants, artists' studios, locally-created souvenirs and picnic areas complete with free electric barbeque and picnic table. There are guided walks, river cruises and an exciting 8wd Argo tour.
The mighty Daintree River flows past the Village and is home to many estuarine crocodiles which are frequently spotted from the safety of one of a number of wildlife-watching cruise-boats which leave from the Village jetty. Birds and butterflies abound - the Daintree Village region is a world-renowned birdwatcher's paradise and there are several specialist guides.
Accommodation choices in the Village and it's surrounding valleys range from a famous spa resort, traditional B&Bs, retreats, farm-stays to budget cabins.
Beyond the Village are scenic drives which take the visitor along winding valley trails which follow the courses of the upper reaches of the Daintree and into the valleys of Stewart Creek, Douglas Creek and Upper Daintree through a delightful mix of rolling green cattle country and areas of lush tropical rainforest.
The cattle are tropical breeds now bred for their beef whereas in earlier days there was a thriving dairy industry. The butter factory in Daintree finally closed down in 1962 when it was no longer profitable to produce butter there. Descendants of the original settlers still live here, some operating thriving beef-cattle properties.
The Daintree River was only discovered by Europeans in 1873 when Scottish geologist and explorer George Elphinstone Dalrymple named the river and the first settlement, Daintree Village, after Queensland's Agent-General in London, Richard Daintree. Before the road to Mossman was completed in 1933 Daintree Village was an inland port with the only access being by river.
The Village gave it's name to the famous World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park which stretches in sections between Mossman Gorge in the south to the Bloomfield River in the north.
So, if you are seeking a quiet, relaxing base from which to explore all that the tropical north has to offer, the Daintree Village region has everything you could wish for.
By Daphne Titus-Rees