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Douglas  Shire Council has released the tender for the next Daintree River Ferry Contract to market today.

Council contacted companies that made initial submissions through the Expressions of Interest (EOI) stage and will advertise the tender nation-wide this week.

The tender documents are designed to extract innovative solutions to address key issues at the Daintree River crossing.

The tender is listed on the LG Tender Box and will close at 2pm AEST on August 28, 2019.



Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said the new contract was an exciting business opportunity.

“The Daintree Ferry operates in a truly unique and special part of the world,” she said.

“We are looking to the market to help us solve some of the challenges we face and present some cutting-edge ideas for this iconic river crossing.

“Based on the early market engagement, which uncovered a real mix of potential tenderers, our officers are confident a strong list of applications will be presented.”

The Daintree Ferry is one of the last cable ferry crossing in tropical Australia.

The crossing is located about 50 km north of Port Douglas and is a renowned tourism icon that carries about 100,000 vehicles every year.

It provides the only sealed road access to the northern section of the Daintree National Park and to Cape Tribulation and north.

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The current Daintree River Ferry Services contract started in 2006 and is due to expire on June 30, 2021.

To ensure a seamless transition from the current contract to the new contract, sufficient time has to be allowed for potential service providers to submit their tender and ensure the vessel/s is ready to start operations on July 1, 2021.

Council is planning to be in a position to award a contract by no later than 31 December 2019.

That would allow time for the successful tenderer to implement all necessary arrangements to effect a seamless transition to the new contract.

Mayor Leu thanked the community for their involvement in the consultation.

“We had a fantastic response to our community engagement activities,” she said.

“It was particularly pleasing to sit down with our business owners and residents on multiple occasions to work through this really important process.”


The final community engagement report was downloaded 239 times from Council’s website. The report detailed findings from:

  • 117 survey respondents
  • 10 detailed submissions
  • 40 people who attended ferry forums
  • 370 TripAdvisor reviews

These findings were presented at two-hour public meetings in Cow Bay and Cape Tribulation in November 2018.

A final public meeting was held last month to present the findings of a GHD traffic modelling report and recap the tender process and timelines.

  • The traffic report was downloaded 84 times.



– The ferry carries a maximum of 27 vehicles and takes about five minutes to cross, however, during the peak tourist season there are often delays crossing the ferry.

– The ferry is operated by a commercial contractor on behalf of the Douglas Shire Council.

– A fee is charged for the crossing.

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