The Daintree Rainforest is a magical place. Apart from containing the largest contiguous tract of tropical rainforest in Australia, it houses more species than Kakadu National Park, and contains one of the most complex ecosystems on earth. At 135-million-years-old, it’s also the oldest rainforest in the world.
Located just north of Port Douglas, the Daintree was listed as part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage site in 1988, in recognition of its unique floral and faunal inhabitants.
The rainforest area, which was named after pioneer geologist and photographer Richard Daintree, is roughly contained within the area from Mossman Gorge to the Bloomfield River (1200 square kilometres). Here lies approximately 30% of Australia’s reptile, frog and marsupial species, and 65% of its butterfly and bat species.
Furthermore, 18% of the country’s entire bird population lies within the park (around 430 species), as does 12,000 different species of insects (something that will delight you, I’m sure). All this within an area that comprises less than 1% of the total landmass of Australia.
Some of the unique inhabitants contained within the park include the Idiot Fruit, discovered in 1970, which is one of the rarest and most primitive flowering plants in the world. The Daintree is also home to rare and threatened species such as the Southern Cassowary, the Bennett’s-Tree Kangaroo, and the Ulysses Butterfly.
Inside the park, the topography consist of mountain ranges, deep gorges, fast flowing streams, waterfalls and dense rainforest. For the visitor there are hiking options, swimming holes, lookouts and pristine beaches, where the rainforest meets the Coral Sea in rare earthly fashion.