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Daintree with young children?

London
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Daintree with young children?

Hi

We are visiting Port Douglas in August with our 2 children who'll be 4 years old and 7 months old. All the tours of the Daintree that I've seen so far don't allow children that young - is it possible to visit with young children? We'd like to do a walk in the rainforest and a river cruise to spot crocodiles. Our eldest is a good walker and the youngest will be carried in a sling so no pushchair needed.

We weren't planning on hiring a car so I'm assuming we need to pick up a tour in Port Douglas, ie there's no public transport to the Daintree?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Daintree with young children?

Why are you not planning on hiring a car? It seems to me that car hire is the absolute best option for many reasons traveling with young kids - primarily, you can completely customize your day depending on how they are doing.

Unless you are not capable of hiring a car (e.g. don't have a valid license), I would absolutely choose that option. For a family of four, it should be much cheaper than bus tours anyway. The roads in the area are sealed and easy to drive; being from London you are already used to driving on the left. The hire car companies will provide appropriate child seats for a modest fee , which will be much safer for them than sitting in an adult bus seat. To me car hire is completley the obvious choice (Pick it up in Cairns airport when you arrive and drive yourself to Port Douglas too.)

Darwin, Australia
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2. Re: Daintree with young children?

I think with kids your age- far better to get a car and do self drive.

In my experience also kids that young on a small boat often dont mix too well- esp your 7month old . They cant move around for obvious reasons and if they start to cry- it really wont make it such an enjoyable experience.

It is certainly worth going as there are walks you can do which are suitable and all flat , some on boardwalks.

You may need to look at a private tour- which could be pricey. Your hotel could help as I have never used a provate tour as we have always had our own transport.

Its a long day to get to Daintree -esp if you are coming from Cairns- another reason why a tour not a great idea.

London
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3. Re: Daintree with young children?

Thanks for the input.

We weren't going to hire a car due to cost as we're on a budget. We're staying in central Port Douglas so don't need a car to access restaurants etc. We are there for 4 full days/5 nights - 2 days are for relaxation/beach time locally, 1 day on a reef trip (possibly to a pontoon) and the other day we'd thought Daintree. So really there's only one day when a car would be used.

Are there any excursions you'd recommend as more suitable for young children?

Darwin, Australia
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4. Re: Daintree with young children?

There are a few things around PD. But as you are coming all that way - it would be a terrible shame to not get into the Daintree. You can easily rent a car for a day and visit teh Daintree and return again at the days end for the price of less than a tour for all of you. I would really reconsider your decision ;]

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Daintree with young children?

If you are on a tight budget, all the more reason to hire a car for the day. I'm not sure where you got the idea that paying for bus tours (which charge per person) would be a way to save money; I cannot see any scenario where that would be correct.

As an example, Thrifty has a Port Douglas location for a random date I checked, their compact car is $61 per day plus two baby seats at $8.80 per day (not sure if the 4yo needs one?). That comes to about $80, plus budgeting fuel of $40, would be $120 for the day. A quick search of bus tours shows they start at $150 pp - that's just one person! Tours may include meals & park entry fees, but still do you understand the math now, and why car hire is so much in your favour?

How much are you paying for your airport transfers to Port Douglas? Add that in to determine if $80/day for four days for the hire car wouldn't be worth it, even if you don't use it much for some of the days.

Sydney/Melbourne
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6. Re: Daintree with young children?

I have to agree totally with Jeremy.

Last time we visited Port Douglas, we did the maths and just for two of us a hire car was cheaper. I think ours was even less than $61 a day.

It saved us the cost of shuttles to and from Cairns Airport - that was two days car rental on it's own!

Our day trip to The Daintree and Mossman Gorge was much cheaper than a tour - even taking into account the cost of river crossing, entry to The Daintree Discovery centre and petrol.

Our day trip up to Kuranda and the Atherton Tablelands was much cheaper.

But the best part,was the flexibility we got to do everything at our own pace and in our own time, something I would have thought would be very important if you are traveling with children. Your own car means you can toss all those spare clothes, baby food, toys and other stuff you need for a day out in the boot rather than having to carry it on a tour bus. And if the kids get a bit scratchy you can easily adjust your schedule to suit them.

And you don't even have to adjust to driving on the 'other' side of the road.

Daintree, Australia
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7. Re: Daintree with young children?

I agree totally with all the posters - even if you are on a budget a hire car is definitely the cheapest way to go especially as public transport, particularly to the Daintree area, is almost non-existent. Good deals from:-

http://www.vroomvroomvroom.com.au/

Even on one of your relaxation days you might decide to take your family to the nearby Wildlife Habitat where you can feed the kangaroos and wallabies and get close to beautiful birds, koalas, and so much more Australian wildlife:-

http://www.wildlifehabitat.com.au/

London
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8. Re: Daintree with young children?

Alright, I get the message... car hire it is then! ;)

Arlington, Virginia
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9. Re: Daintree with young children?

I would recommend that you don't wait to book your car until the last minute. We've been there many times and often rent a car just for the day to go to Daintree. There are a limited number of cars in PD and we've never been able to get a "next day" rental. (Not a problem for us since we stay in PD a long time and have flexibility with our plans). But with your schedule, you might want to book in advance of your visit or, at the least, as soon as you get to PD.

And, as Evamelb says, you may find that a car rental for the entire visit could be cheaper than a one day car rental + all the transfer fees to/from Cairns for your family.

pd for now
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10. Re: Daintree with young children?

Great suggestions re car rentals. With two very young children it will give you freedom to stop and rest when you please, plus the bonus of saving with the shuttles to and from the airport. If you plan on renting the car for the entire stay then I agree with Longhorn, don't wait. August is the busiest month of the year in the area and you will find that there won't be any cars available to rent. Best to pre organize a pickup at the airport. If you just want the car for a few days while in Port Douglas, then start to look at companies soon. We have just had another car rental company close their doors so this will put added pressure on people wanting to rent cars last minute.