The Daintree Rainforest situated north of Cairns in tropical
North Queensland is one of the world’s oldest and most
beautiful rainforests. Approximately 1200 square kilometers
in size it supports over 3000 species of plant, over one
third of Australia’s mammalian species including 13 of which
are found nowhere else in the world. It is also home to a
quarter of Australia’s frogs, a third of the country’s
freshwater fish and nearly half of Australia’s birds.
The wildlife of the Daintree is magnificent and second to
none. It is home to mammals found nowhere else in the world
including species of tree kangaroo, rat kangaroo,
ring-tailed possum, melomys and ant echinus.
The birdlife is
even more remarkable with the crown going to the ‘relic’,
the Cassowary. Related to the emus, rheas, kiwis and ostrich
the Cassowary is now endangered. However it is found in the
rainforest at Cooper Creek. Many other birds flourish
including riflebirds, golden bowerbirds, wampoo pigeons,
chowchillas and paradise kingfishers.
Of over 1050 species of reptile and frog in the world, 131
occur specifically in the wet tropics. Of interest are the
beautiful pythons and tree snakes that inhabit the area (not
harmful to humans), The Boyd’s Forest Dragon (with its
dinosaur like appearance), the cute freshwater turtles, 54
species of frog and the most spectacular and iridescent of
butterflies including the bright blue ‘Ulysses’.
However the estuaries of this coastline are home to one of
Australia’s more dangerous reptiles. The saltwater
crocodile. There are plenty of tours in the area to see this
large carnivore and learn about its lifestyle and behavior.
Due to the high rainfall and diversity of terrain, the
Daintree is a botanist’s delight. Over 3000 plant species
from 210 families are found here, with 395 rare or
threatened plant species protected in the World Heritage
Complex mesophyll vine forests rest on the wet lowlands
while notophyll vine forests sit up on the wet highlands. On
mountain ridges simple microphyll fern forests dominate. One
could spend hours studying the range of ferns, conifers,
cyads, palms, flowering plants, mangroves and carnivorous