The Daintree Rainforest is the oldest rainforest in the world, making it over 180 million years old, and that’s one of many reasons why it’s important.

Daintree Rainforest

The World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest is located north of Cairns in the tropical land of Queensland. On average, around 400,000 people come to Australia to visit the ancient rainforest, making it one of the country’s most visited sites.

So, what exactly makes this tropical rainforest so unique and important?

• Its size

The Daintree Rainforest stretches across approximately 1,200 square kilometres of land. That can fit the country Singapore in 16 times, so it’s huge! The Daintree is the world’s third-largest tropical rainforest and is the largest within Australia.

With the size of the Daintree, you could spend up to a week exploring the ancient rainforest. But not everyone can do that, so if you can do around two to four days, you’ll truly get to experience this beautiful tropical part of Australia.

• The only place where UNESCO World Heritage Listed sites meet

Located in the Daintree Rainforest is Cape Tribulation, known for where two World Heritage sites meet. Cape Tribulation is where the rainforest meets the reef. The Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest live together peacefully and the wildlife flourishes between the two.

If you plan to visit the Daintree, we highly recommend coming by Cape Tribulation. You have to see for yourself this breathtaking area where you can stand between the two World Heritage sites.

• The Daintree is ancient

Dating back 180 million years, the Daintree Rainforest is one of the oldest vegetation in the world and is the world’s oldest rainforest. In fact, it is even older than the even the famous Amazon Rainforest by about 10 million years!

The Daintree is so old that even the dinosaurs once walked had called the rainforest home.

• The range of wildlife

Daintree Rainforest Cassowary

The Daintree is one of the best biologically diverse rainforests in the world. It is home to a huge percentage of Australia’s animal population. This includes 30 percent of Australia’s frog population, 65 percent of butterflies and bats and around 12,000 different insect species.

As well as being diverse, the animals are unique. Some of the wildlife that we see here aren’t found anywhere else on the planet! This includes the Ulysses butterfly, Boyd’s forest dragon, and the southern cassowary. Though these particular animals can be hard to find, you may still get lucky enough to spot one as you make your way through the rainforest.

Aside from the wildlife, the plants are just as interesting with over 3000 types of plant species existing in the rainforest. The diversity, complexity, and age of the ecosystem’s plant species are some of the greatest in the entire world! Out of the 19 primate plant families remaining here on Earth, 12 are found in the Daintree Rainforest.

The most ancient plant that lies here in the rainforest is the idiot fruit. This plant has been around for 120 million years, even when dinosaurs wandered the earth.

You may notice there are extremely tall trees that tower over the area. Some of these trees can grow as tall as 50 metres, which is just a bit taller than the Statue of Liberty! However, the most common trees you’ll see here are the red cedar, the cluster fig, and the tree called the dead horse tree – don’t ask.

• A perfect getaway spot

Cape Tribulation

In the Daintree Rainforest lies one of the most perfect tropical getaway spots, Cape Tribulation. This tropical area lies against the coast with crystal blue waters overlooking the Great Barrier Reef.

This part of the Daintree is bursting with unspoiled beaches and untouched by urban development. Cape Tribulation is further up north of the Daintree, and you will need to pass through most of the rainforest to reach this tropical part.

Speaking of getaways, looking to book one for yourself? You can spend a week in Cairns to come down to the Daintree Rainforest for two days on a tour! See for yourself this lush ancient rainforest.

Explore Our Daintree Rainforest & Cape Tribulation Tours

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward began with a passion for travel and turned it into a thriving tourism business. He co-founded Sightseeing Tours Australia after starting out as a tour guide in Melbourne. Cameron delights in helping visitors get the most from their trip to Australia. Whether he's leading tours or writing about his favourite places, Cameron loves sharing his local insight with fellow travellers.

Previous article: