Two hours north of Cairns lies the largest continuous area of tropical forest in Australia, the Daintree Rainforest. The forest covers around 1,200 square km, stretching from the Mossman Gorge all the way up to the Bloomfield River in the North. The rainforest is extremely dense and is home to the most extensive range of plants and animals in the world. Over 12,000 species of insects, 65% of Australia’s bat and butterfly species, and 18% of all bird species live within this area. In addition, it’s the oldest rainforest in the world- estimated to be 180 million years old!
From the moment you step out of the car you can hear the sound of the birds (and fruit bats) in the canopy above and the insects on the forest floor. It’s a beautiful place to visit and a welcome change from the endless stretch of coastline to the South.
How to get to Daintree Rainforest
The quickest and easiest way to get to Daintree Rainforest is by car. If you don’t have a vehicle, there are numerous rental companies in Cairns where you can rent a car for a few days. Once you’ve got a vehicle sorted, head north on Cook Highway along the coast towards Port Douglas. You’ll need to cross the Daintree river on the little ferry into the rainforest, and might be lucky enough to spot a croc lurking in the murky waters.
Once you’re over the river and into the forest, the roads become much narrower. Flanked on either side by lush, green foliage it feels like you’re driving through a living tunnel.
What to do in the Daintree Rainforest
First of all you must decide how long to spend in the area. There are numerous organised tours and excursions to choose from in the Daintree rainforest. Ranging from guided walks, to boat trips along the Daintree there is something for everyone.
Undoubtedly, the most popular destination in the Rainforest is Cape Tribulation. Because of its beautiful beaches and clear blue waters, tourists arrive here in droves!
However, for the independent traveller, there are lots short walks through the forest over board walks and bridges. Seeing the mangroves sprawling into the sea is a truly unique sight- it is the only place on earth where the rainforest meets the sea.
Spending a day wandering through the rainforest is enough to get a flavour for this uniquely diverse eco-system. But to truly explore the Daintree rainforest would take a lifetime.