The Daintree Rainforest, which is estimated to be 65 million years older than the Amazon, is a living museum rich in volcanic lakes, rushing waterfalls, ancient pines and many rare or endangered species. Although it takes up only .1 percent of Australia’s landmass, it is believed to be one of the most complex ecosystems in the world. Home to 65 percent of Australia’s bat and butterfly species, 30 percent of its marsupial species, 30 percent of its reptile and amphibian species and 20 percent of its bird species, the Daintree Rainforest is considered the oldest rainforest in the world and is the largest single rainforest in Australia. The Daintree Rainforest stretches across 1,200 acres and is protected as a World Heritage Site.
Although the Australian continent today is quite diverse and includes vast stretches of desert and bushlands, it was once covered by lush rainforests. As the climate became more arid, the rainforests began to die, but the Daintree Cape Tribulation region was warm and humid, which was the ideal climate for supporting a rainforest. The Daintree combines golden beaches, massive granite outcrops, remote wilderness, steep gorges and dense forest. The vegetation is diverse and includes primitive and exotic plants, ferns and mangroves along the plentiful rivers and creeks. The animals of the Daintree Rainforest are just as diverse and include cassowaries, saltwater crocodiles and more.
One of the first stops for many visitors to Daintree is the Daintree Discovery Centre. This nature park focuses on the lower rainforest lands located in Northern Queensland and includes tracks through an enclosed environment, a 23-metre tall observation tower, an aquarium and various exhibits. Another popular stop is the Jindalba Boardwalk, which is a 30-minute stroll through the rainforest that offers an up-close look at ferns, fig trees, palms and flowers. The Marrdja Botanical Walk is a slightly longer walk at 800 metres. Built over mangroves and a still pond, the Marrdja Botanical Walk is an educational experience that provides information about the evolution of the rainforest environment.
Daintree visitors can also enjoy a cruise down the river through thick forests. River cruises can be a fun activity for those who want to learn more about the wildlife, villages along the river or who just want to see the rainforest from a different perspective. Travellers who want to stop and stay a while can make the Daintree Rainforest their home away from home by enjoying one of its eco lodges or resorts and immersing themselves in local culture. Private cabins and boutique resorts offer all the luxuries you could want in a rich tropical environment.
Images via https://daintreerainforest.net.au/galleries/