Your guide to Cow Bay
Daintree Rainforest, Kaba Kada, Douglas Shire
Cow Bay - Daintree Coast
The beautiful area of Cow Bay is located around half way between the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation.
Cow Bay, Kaba Kada is where you can explore a quiet tropical beach, wander along boardwalks through the ancient Daintree rainforest and base yourself to take in all the sights and sounds of this amazing region.
Explore Cow Bay
Take a drive down to the end of Buchanan Creek Road (6km) to arrive at picturesque Cow Bay Beach, where you can experience what a deserted beach feels like.
Phone reception is limited and patchy in this area, there is a hot spot along Buchanan Creek Rd opposite the farm paddocks. Be sure to park safely off the road if stopping to make a call.
Keep an eye out for Cassowaries and Orange-footed scrubfowl that often cross the road or wander the roadside forest.
Cow Bay History
The original settlement of Cow Bay was called Bailey’s Creek.
Some say Cow Bay was named after wild cattle, probably left from John Moffat’s settlement, that were seen grazing near the beach. Another possibility is that it was named after sea cows, or dugongs who may eat seagrass along the coast.
You may be surprised that much of the rainforest you see here is regrowth after a history of logging and farming.
A combination of natural rainforest regrowth and passion from local residents and conservation groups have restored the rainforest as you see it today.
In the late 19th century, Chinese settlers grew rice, maize and sugar cane in this area, but were apparently not so successful with bananas and pineapples.
Pastoral activity led to a rise in dairy farming, and the opening of a butter factory in Daintree village south of the Daintree River in 1924. (source)
A lovely small community of 220 people (2021 census) live in Cow Bay.
As with all parts of the Daintree Coast community, Cow Bay is part of Australia’s largest offgrid community. Tourism is the main industry today and sustainability is a principal goal of the local community.
If coming from Cairns, follow the stunning coastal drive along Captain Cook Hwy/State Route 44 until you see the Cape Tribulation turnoff and turn right towards the ferry crossing.
Catch the Daintree Ferry over the river and follow Cape Tribulation road until you reach your destination.