This challenging river hike will reward you with multiple wild swims and a waterfall, as well as the chance to get literally immersed in the Daintree National Park.


  • Full-on water river hike
  • Getting your swims in
  • Unfettered private waterfall experience

The Lowdown

To begin your river-walk adventure in the rainforest of the Daintree National Park, begin at theHeritage Lodge. After logging your route at reception, follow a well established trail to the left of the reception area and that takes you down to the river.
Now you can kiss the trail goodbye and follow the river by wading upstream, “left” and “north” and staying on the right past three large and different intersections of other tributaries. You will have around three or more swims to do en route and a lot of river rock-hopping. Some of the rocks are really slippery, so take care!

Heritage Lodge River Hike // Daintree (QLD) Duncan Murray, river, water, sun, trees

Arrive at the falls and the small pool. Eat a snack or a picnic lunch and swim into and under the falls. Hike out remembering to keep an eye out for the lodge on the right.
The river hike takes approximately three to five hours, so start no later then 12.00pm.


  • Appropriate shoes, if you can’t walk out not much else matters. No sandals (includes rafting sandals), no thongs, full foot wrapped shoes only. Runners, hiking boots, anything that can get soaked and fully wraps your feet.
  • Wetsuits are recommended but not required. Quick-dry pants, shirt, jumpers. Cotton isn’t ideal because it will sag inhibiting your agility and restricting your warmth, this includes jeans.
  • Dry bag if you want to bring lunch, etc. Wallets, and non-photographic electronic equipment should be left hidden in your vehicle.
  • At least 2L of water, or a bottle with an attached filter in the lid.
  • First aid kit
  • Headtorch. The river area gets darker sooner than the outside world because of the dense forest.

How To Get There


Heritage Lodge is located in the Daintree Rainforest, located almost at the end of Turpentine Rd. You can locate it with Google Maps by entering -16.166506, 145.412527 as the trail starts at Heritage Lodge. You can park any vehicle on Turpentine Rd and walk to the reception/restaurant area.

Check-in at the reception area by providing your name, group size, and emergency contact number along with your route. Mobile phones do not work in this dense environment. This is a good time to ask about the water level if you haven’t already phoned in for that information. High water levels make this river hike virtually impossible.

Skill Level

Intermediate – Expert. River hiking is not like trail hiking. It’s consistently wet, slippery, and dangerous.


Approximately 7km. Again this is a river hike (wading), and not a brisk walk on a well maintained trail.

Elevation gain: unknown. This is not a steep route by any means. Up to the falls and down to get out, but by no means does the elevation play a role in the difficulty.


  • Stinging Tree (“Stinging Needles”)
  • Wait-A-While vines. These are in the thin variety here and are hard to see. They will literally take your hat off. The only way off them is reversing your movements. Either back up or pinch them and pull down and away from what is grabbed.

Heritage Lodge River Hike // Daintree (QLD) Duncan Murray, bush, hat, trees

  • Spiders: a few webs will no doubt be encountered but hey, that means no-one’s been there in a while and you’re on a real adventure!
  • Snakes: Not a sunny area and this diminishes your chance of an encounter in the day.
  • There is not a crocodile threat on this route, however you are in the forest, always be mindful of any danger.
  • Do not, I repeat, do not leave the river more then 3m away. You are in the rainforest and it would be too easy to get lost, never to be found.


There are plenty of on/off the main road sites to use along your travels through the Daintree. You can stay at Heritage Lodge, or any other retreat in the vicinity. I recommend Lync-Haven Accommodations. Their cafe is well priced and serves a mean burger and an array of other good food until 7pm (veggie options too). They have camping, and rooms. Camping is also available behind the only gas station in the area for a small fee and all the way up to Cape Tribulation, with most places requiring reservations in peak times.


More waterfalls for ya…

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Alligator Creek Waterfall // Bowling Green Bay National Park (QLD)

Ebor Falls and Waterfall Way // Dorrigo National Park (NSW)

Milford Sound // A Waterfall Worth Hiking For (NZ)