#4 Wet Tropics Rainforest
5 ways to explore Australia's Wet Tropics Rainforest
Daintree National Park, Cape Tribulation & surroundings of Cairns
What are the best ways to discover the magic of one of Australia’s most significant World Heritage Sites, listed since 1988 ?
Used to “my” giant fir trees’ forests back home, I’m very curious to step into another world, the tropical rainforest and its amazing ecosystem. This is indeed an area valued for its exceptional biological diversity (second most diverse just after the Great Barrier Reef)! And did you know that this site inspired the director of Avatar?
What’s so special about this rainforest?
Its antiquity sets it apart: it is the oldest tropical rainforest in the world! Thought to be 150 - 200 million years old! By comparison, the Amazon is relatively young at about 7 million years old.
So how to explore this magical area?!?
Obviously it depends on the time you’ve got. But everything is well organized in Australia and you can be sure, you will find the good solution for you.
If you are in a hurry and spend just a few days in Cairns and its region:
So the Skyrail is for you!
Voted Australia’s best touristic attraction for 3 years in a row, this is a good and quick way to experience the beautiful rainforest. Inspired from the ski cableway, Skyrail is a 7.5 km journey seated in a comfortable gondola.
The perfect place to discover the rainforest from above. With 2 stops along the trip, you are free to get off and enjoy a guided ranger tour at Red Peak, the first station. Then, on the second station, you can just be impressed by the beauty and the spectacular views of the Barron Gorge and Falls from the lookouts.
I recommend the Aboriginal guided walk, from which you
can learn more about their traditions, how they use
the assets of the rainforest in their daily life (medicine for
example). This is a great insight and I was impressed! I
definitely would like to be able to survive if lost in
this forest…but believe me this is not that easy
when you are not an Aborigine…
May need to book again this tour!
Skyrail is just 15 minutes away from Cairns city centre!
Open from 9am to 5pm.
In less than 3 hours you can be back to Cairns.
Perfect family activity.
More info about Skyrail: www.skyrail.com.au
If you have more time, enjoy the ride back with the
Kuranda Scenic Railway.
Like this, live 2 experiences in the same day
Look here for more info: www.skyrail.com.au/skyrail-kuranda-rail
If you are lucky to spend more days in the beautiful region of Cairns:
So then, let’s go discover Daintree National Park, 2 hour drive from Cairns. Cape Tribulation, Daintree forest and river! This is a really nice drive north of Cairns and it definitely worth it. Here you have plenty of options.
An easy way to explore the forest is by following the self-guided walks set up by the Queensland Parks Wildlife and Service Rangers (QPWS).
Marrja jungle walk (45 minutes return/ 1.2 km) offers visitors a “mud-free” opportunity to observe the mangrove and spot the quirky animal that live there.
Quiet walkers may be lucky enough to see a tree kangaroo or a cassowary in Jindalba walk (45 minutes return / 650 m).
Kulki walk (10 minutes / 600 m), traditional name for Cape Tribulation, leads to a viewing platform overlooking the ocean and beach. This is a famous place in Australia because this is where the forest meets the reef, just stunning!
More info about the National Park:
Cape Tribulation ©maximecoquard
To learn more about the rainforest, I strongly recommend you to visit the Daintree Discovery Centre, which is a great facility to understand at his own pace the tropical rainforest.
Audio guides available in 6 languages, even in French, which is welcome! The Canopy Tower is great to access every level of the forest (23 metres high and with 5 viewing platforms): smart! You can easily spend a few hours there, between the aerial walkaway, the cassowary circuit, the Canopy tower, the Bush Tucker Trail and so much more!
The staff is super friendly and I like their Coffee shop which serves local Daintree tea and good cappuccinos.
And why not letting the Tarzan out by “Junglesurfing” the rainforest?!
This is the ultimate experience! For all ages, this is indeed a nice moment to share in family or with friends. You are scared of heights? Me too and this was not a problem. Safety is very important to the company and you are in good hands during all the tour.
Fly between trees and don’t forget to keep your eyes wide open, we were lucky enough to see a tree kangaroo!!
Cafe On Sea:
a breathtaking lunch view!
AT Thornton Beach 90 Cape Tribulation Road, Cape Tribulation, Queensland 4873, Australia
The Daintree Icecream company:
Exotical, unique flavours and home made ice creams: a must stop place for the visitors.
14 kms north of the Daintree River Ferry
Last but not least, you can also discover the place by Cruising the Daintree river.
Let’s go for a Croc Cruise! Daintree River is Croc habitat, go and enjoy a 1- hour trip on the vessel, listen to the interesting facts about the crocs and take really good shots (Crocs can stay for hours without moving, so you are sure to take the right angle!).
Nature important facts:
what is the mangrove !?!
Alongside Park Rangers, I enjoy being in
the middle of the rainforest, this is such
a relaxing place. We can just be marveled
by this powerful nature. They teach me
some important facts about the mangrove,
which is really impressive.
Did you know?
Mangroves live with one foot on land and one in the sea. These botanical amphibians occupy a zone of heat, mud, and salt levels that would kill any ordinary plant within hours. Yet the forests mangroves form are among the most productive and biologically complex ecosystems on Earth. Birds roost in the canopy, shellfish attach themselves to the roots, and snakes and crocodiles come to hunt. Mangroves provide also nursery grounds for fish; tree-climbing crabs, kangaroos; and a nectar source for bats and honeybees.
They can't be defined too closely. Indeed, there are about 70 species. Mangroves circle the globe, but wherever they live, they share one thing in common: They are able to adapt themselves. Each mangrove has an ultrafiltration system to keep much of the salt out and a complex root system that allows it to survive in the intertidal zone. Amazing!