Celebrating the Daintree rainforest

By | Category: Travel destinations

Woobbadda Creek

Today, the Daintree rainforest in Australia’s state of Queensland celebrates the fact that for the last 25 years it has been a World Heritage Site.

This two million acre rainforest – the oldest in the world – is unusual amongst world heritage sites in that it buts another yet completely different world heritage site – the Great Barrier Reef. Both make Queensland one of the places most often appearing in those books listing places you have to see before you shuffle off to meet your maker.

The Daintree is more than 300 miles long and contains about a third of all the mammal species in Australia, half of the birds and a third of all freshwater fish species. Home to the Kuku Yulanji people for how many years no-one can be quite sure, the rainforest has mountainous peaks, deep gorges and aeas that probably no white man has yet to explore properly. Supposedly, it was also the inspiration for the film Avatar.

Most visitors venture there via Cairns as did I. Although UK and Irish visitors have no direct flights to Cairns, Japan Airlines does connect via Osaka or Tokyo. We have to change planes in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. There are conducted tours from Cairns; we took a coach there leaving the one hundred degree heat of the city for the rainforests where the temperature was half as much.

Cooper Creek

Before setting off into the rainforest, we took the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway which takes you above the rainforest canopy and deep into the forest giving you a preview of what was to come. These pods/gondalos/cars number over 100 so they go every other minute or so. As one fills with its six or so people another comes. And they are big enough for a wheelchair.

The Skyrail experience, spanning 7.5kms over pristine rainforest, takes about 90 minutes or twice as much if you return to the starting point on it. We chose to return to Cairns on the Kuranda Scenic Railway which gives you an altogether different view of the rainforest. But be aware: there are only two trains in each direction per day and it takes about 90 minutes for the journey back to Cairns.

You can stay overnight in the rainforest, you can enjoy zip-lining, you can just trek and you can cruise the Daintree River. What you shouldn’t do is go in on your own without telling anyone the precise route you plan to take. It can be rather hard to find a human in 2 million acres! But visit it you should definately do. For once, I agree with the guidebooks.

Images © Daintree Rainforest Pty Ltd

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