Daintree Wildlife
Something really special from the world of
Ian "Sauce" Worcester
where exciting and interesting Daintree wildlife is seen and very often photographed.


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About us (plural)
Although I run my Daintree River tours and cruises by myself there have been other people that have influenced the way that these wildlife trips are run.
The earliest small boat tours started in the late 1980's almost 10 years after the Crocodile Express started in 1979. David Patterson took to the water in a 4 metre long dinghy with a powerful outboard motor and zipped around the Daintree River and it's tributaries. He received little support from the industry and the visitors didn't know that there was an alternative to the bigger boats. This is despite David's family owning the iconic Daintree River Train at the time.
Things started to change when Dick Eussen arrived from Kakadu. Dick had made a name for himself as a fishing guide and launched books about fishing in the Top End. He used a green dinghy and wore a hat the same as the Bush Tucker Man and was often called exactly that, the "Bush Tucker Man". Dick became mates with Dale Young and using Dale to drive the boat, Dick started Deluxe Tours with an old Landcruiser. It started to look like something out of Crocodile Dundee but it at least provided passengers for the little boat which was following the tried and proven big boat, big bus formula.
These proceedings were being closely watched by Chris Dahlberg and his partner Denise Collins who were working for a big tour company. That a better wildlife tour could be done with a small boats was not in question, the obstacle was where do you get the passengers from?
The best time to do a tour is at daybreak. In 1992 when Chris and Denise started there was only one close overnight accommodation establishment in the Daintree south of the river, the Daintree Riverview Caravan Park. The owner of the park went away and Denise was asked to take over the running of the park which she duly did. The pieces in the puzzle began to fit and it was that event that changed Daintree wildlife viewing and accommodation in Daintree Village forever. The passengers came from the park initially but after a few months passengers came to stay in the park to do the dawn trip. Chris had been plying his trade for three months when a semi-retired American came to stay in the park, his name was Dan Irby. Dan was looking for something to do and bought a house and a 5 seater boat in 1993 just before the Daintree Ecotourism Lodge opened. By then the Dahlberg's had renovated an old house and became the first Bed & Breakfast in the Douglas Shire. The idea of small boats had really caught on and by 1994 there were 3 specialist wildlife viewing boats on the drawing board with Cairns boat builders. The first electric boat arrived about then but proved unsuitable for wildlife viewing. Dan teamed up with the Eco Lodge and started dusk trips and did them up until 2014. Some of his passengers included Brooke Shields and Jane Fonda.
The B&B flourished and became Bed, Boat & Breakfast. Not going un-noticed the Habitat in Port Douglas started "Breakfast with the Birds" which also proved very popular.
It became so good for the birdwatchers that two movies were made, TV doco's, magazine articles followed, sound recordists came, tour groups made it at dawn and the reputation for seeing wildlife soared. Specialist birdwatching tours and accommodation establishments from around the world were keen to link up on the newly discovered World Wide Web. The first ever blogs came out of Daintree listing the daily wildlife checklists and replacing the hand written lists put up at the store and jetty. Daintree was going digital.
Locals and new arrivals invested in overnight accommodation and all of a sudden one basic caravan park was joined by nine other accommodation options for the Daintree Village.
Before any of the dawn boat tours started Daintree Village was just a whistle stop for day trippers and there was divided opinion about just where Daintree was. Was it the rainforest north of the river or was it the little village at the end of the road? Opinion may still be divided about where Daintree is and sadly accommodation options have reduced but you can still do a dawn trip on the Daintree River to see wildlife.
Daintree accommodation options can be found at Booking.com >