It is in the Wet Tropics and does not have the 'real' Cape York
rainforest like Iron Range, but the Wet
Tropics rainforests are actually lusher than the ones on the actual
They are also obviously easier
accessible with sealed road in all the way.
And they are consequently much
visited, which also means they have much more tourist
Things you can do
great rainforest walks - all kinds from boardwalks to
climbs, swimming in rainforest waterholes and four wheel driving.
Gorge Section As
you drive north from Cairns and past Port
the national park
starts at Mossman.
This is the southern section of the park, the
so-called Mossman Gorge
which is actually larger than the
northern section but seems smaller because only a small part of it -
the Mossman Gorge itself - is accessible.
northern section of Daintree National Park - the Cape
Tribulation section - starts at Daintree
River in the south and ends at Kulki - the actual headland of Cape
just north of the Cape Tribulation Village. The whole area is quite
commercialised but still lovely.
Daintree Plants There is
huge amount of different plants, with 400 species of trees only. Some
typical Daintree plants include fan palms, lianes and vines (wait a
while vine), ferns (including tree ferns) and cycads, stinging trees,
strangler figs, orchids, and some primitive plants from the ancient
There are also a lot of species of animals (even if many are nocturnal
and not easy to see).
ones are tree kangaroos, striped
possums, ringtail possums, spotted tailed quolls, dingoes, spectacled
flying foxes, tube nosed bats, white tailed rats and green tree frogs.
There are also a lot of species of birds.
Some of the
typical ones are
cassowaries, bush turkeys, orange footed scrubfowls, sunbirds, double
eyed fig parrots, metallic starlings, imperial pigeons, wompoo fruit
doves, laughing kookaburras and many species of kingfishers.
National Park Activities
The things you can do include wildlife and bird watching, camping,
walking the beaches or walking up Mount Sorrow, there are walks to
lookouts and boardwalks through rainforest and mangrove habitat.
are rainforest waterholes to swim in, even four wheel drives.
There are also different tours, such as rainforest walks, wildlife and
bird watching, four wheel driving, horse riding, fishing and
One of the
best things to do is to take a crocodile
Daintree River - where you have good chances to see the deadly
Daintree rainforest is quite
It is the largest
remaining tropical lowland rainforest in Australia.
It is one of
ecosystems in the world.
And it is old.
around Cape Tribulation is the
oldest rainforest in the
world. Daintree National
which is a great place
to discover those rainforests, has two sections
- the southern Mossman Gorge
and the northern Cape
Gorge section is larger, but only a small area
I remember the gorge from the time you could come here and have the
whole place for yourself.
Not anymore, but the beautiful walk is still here. There are some massive
buttress roots and really old
giant trees, and some great swimming in the gorge.
The northern section - Cape
Tribulation - starts
north of Daintree
In the southern end of
it you will cross
a mountain range and the road winds through
some beautiful dense rainforest. A good place to stop and
learn about it is Daintree
the northern end of the
Cape Tribulation section, the landscape becomes flatter
and you drive through
more open country with farms, accommodation, as well
are the typical Daintree animals?
The funny thing is on a brief
visit there seem to be none!
You can walk all the boardwalks in Cape
and do the
Mossman Gorge, and
by now you would
have expected to see an animal but
And that despite the fact that the
Wet Tropics rainforests are the richest on animal species in Australia. Yes,
that's how it is up here
the middle of the day it's too hot for most birds and animals
- your chances are better early in the morning, late in the afternoon,
or even night time.
and gliders (striped possum, Daintree river ringtail, green ringtail,
long tailed pygmy possum, to name a few); some interesting kangaroos
(tree kangaroo and musky rat kangaroo); other macropods (red legged
pademelon, swamp wallaby, agile wallaby); and long nosed and brown
Non-marsupial mammals (to make it simple) include echidna and platypus,
dingo, flying foxes (spectacled, black and little red), bats (tube
nosed bat, blossom bat), and native rodents (white tailed rat).
The most famous Daintree bird is the Southern
Cassowary. It is not very easy to come across but it is not
impossible - over the years I have seen a few crossing the roads while
driving through Daintree rainforests.
Other typical Daintree birds include bush
turkeys, orange footed scrub
fowls, helmeted friarbirds, sulphur crested cockatoos, black
butcherbirds, bush stone curlews,
metallic starlings, lotusbirds, wompoo doves, imperial pigeons,
double eyed fig parrots, sunbirds, victoria's riflebirds, and different
including both of the two species of kookaburras - laughing kookaburra
(which is also found in the southern parts of Australia)
and blue winged kookaburra
(which is only found in northern
The most famous Daintree reptiles are the deadly saltwater crocodiles. But
there are also many different lizards, dragons and geckoes including
forest dragon, eastern water dragon, and leaf tailed geckoes. And there
are many different
including carpet python, and amethystine
include white lipped tree frog, northern barred frog, and litter frog,
to name a few. The most typical amphibians
are many different species of green tree frogs. But the introduced cane
toad is also found here.
Insects are so
many but I could mention green tree ants, leaf and stick insects,
praying mantis, some lagre cockroaches, rhino
lots of beautiful
butterflies, including two very
large ones - Ulysses butterfly, and Cairns birdwing.
Tour on Daintree
River is a great place to take a crocodile tour.
At least that is my
It's the only time I have taken a tour, and there were no problems to see a
big fat five metre croc from close by.
The operators know where to go and they
will stop for a long while
and let you have a good look. There are many different tours
Prices, trip lengths and
vessels can vary - all the tours are listed in full detail
in the Destination Guide.
Tours from Cairns
and Port Douglas
If you are in Cairns
looking at how to get up to Daintree to see wild crocodiles,
you may want to
check out the following opportunities.
I think they are great because
they also take you to see
on the way ;-)
P. S. Before I took my crocodile tour, I thought it would be that "crocodile
jumping tour" where a piece of meat is hung off the boat,
to jump out of the water and trying to catch it.
But I learned that they don't do it in Daintree because it is a
national park. You can
see the jumping croc action at Hartleys
Crocodile Adventures near Wangetti between Cairns and Port
Daintree Rainforest Facts
page you have some Daintree rainforest facts.
* It is the world's oldest rainforest - about 120 million years old and
a remnant of the ancient Gondwana continent.
* The area was originally inhabited by Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people.
* It was named after Richard Daintree - an English geologist who spent
18 years in Australia in the 1800s.
* It belongs the Wet Tropics rainforests, which have been World
Heritage listed since 1981.
* 1981 is also the year when Daintree became a national park.
* The area covers about 1200 square kilometres - that is only about
0.1% of Australia's land surface.
* It has about 12,000 insect species.
* It has 65% of all butterfly species in Australia.
* It has 30% of all marsupial species in Australia.
* It has 18% of all bird species in Australia.
* It has 23 endemic frog species.
* It has 18 endemic reptile species.
* It has 13 endemic bird species.
* It has nine endemic reptile species.
* The rare black dingo lives in Daintree rainforest.
* Some of the oldest Daintree plants are ferns and cycads.
* Strangler fig is a tree that grows on other trees, finally killing
the host tree by the time its hanging roots touch ground so it can
* There are two different species of stinging trees in Daintree
* Up to 10 tonnes of litter per hectare can fall on its fall every year.
* Its main river - Daintree - is 140km long.
* Daintree has been lucky with tropical cyclones, but some bigger ones
did happen in 1920 and 1934.
this 50 pages
guide totally for FREE.
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all
the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact
detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks,
at least 30 guaranteed FREE
camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to
the Cape), at least 40 best
swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things -
from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception,
how to deal with the national
parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits
and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery
gear by my vehicle-recovery-guy partner).
Not to mention locals'
tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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