Visiting the World's Oldest Rainforest
From Microcosm Aquarium Explorer
One of the Last Unspoiled Places on Earth
Over 135 million years old, Daintree Rainforest is home to the largest range of plants and animals on earth. Located in Queensland, at 1200 square kilometers it is the largest chunk of rainforest in Australia. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1988 for its vast array of rare, threatened and endangered species, including long-tailed tree kangaroos, dragon lizards, tiny white-lipped tree frogs, and enormous Ulysses butterflies. Watch out for salt-water crocodiles (the largest and most dangerous living reptile) and cassowaries (the world’s most dangerous bird as well as the largest land creature in Australia, it is known to attack humans).
The closest city, Cairns, has an International airport. Buses and shuttles run to Daintree daily. There is no taxi service in Daintree.
The indigenous owners of the Daintree are the Kuku Yalariji tribe, an Aboriginal group who have lived in the rainforest for more than 9000 years. Their culture is uniquely adapted to life in the Daintree Rainforest, and they believe that the forest has human traits. European settlers tried to push out the Kuku Yalariji groups in the late 1800’s, forcing them to resettle. Recent laws have improved the human rights and living conditions of the Kuku Yaloriji
Non-stop Outdoor Adventure
Paddle down the Daintree River in an outrigger canoe. Take a zipline canopy tour through the rainforest. Strap on a snorkel and head to the river water holes and reefs to look for some of the 200 species of endemic freshwater fish—including Barramundi, Rainbowfish, Long Tom, Jungle Perch, Archerfish and Mouth Almighty. Dive in coral canyons off the coast.
If jungle exploration tires you out, Daintree is also home to some of the best—and least crowded—beaches in the world. Many tour companies offer package trips including bird watching, fishing, horseback riding, or safari. Aboriginal companies offer walking tours.
Logging, mining, excess tourism, and development projects all threaten the Daintree Rainforest’s ecosystem. Many conservation organizations such as Rainforest Rescue are working to preserve it.
If You Go
Daintree National Park is divided into three main areas: Mossman Gorge (Daintree National Park) Popular section around a steep-sided valley on the Mossman River. Includes lush Tropical rainforest and Creek scenery. Good bird watching and wildlife viewing. Aboriginal heritage sites in the region and Aboriginal guided walks from the Kuku Yalanji Mossman Gorge Community. No camping.