Daintree National Park
Part of the World Heritage Listed Wet Tropics of Queensland (Wet Tropics).
The Wet Tropics rainforests contain an almost complete record of the major stages in the evolution of plant life on earth. Many species within the World Heritage area originated when Australia was still part of Gondwana.
Australian Government – Department of Environment
The Wet Tropics stretches along the northeast coast of Australia for some 450 kilometres (279.1 miles) between Townsville and Cooktown and covers an area of approximately 894,420 hectares. It is stunningly beautiful and extremely important for its rich and unique biodiversity. Australia’s greatest array of animals and plants can be found here in an area that is merely 0.26% of the entire continent.
The entire region is breathtaking, full of gorgeous scenery and magnificent landforms – towering mountain ranges, tropical rainforests, rugged coastlines, wild rivers, gushing waterfalls and spectacular gorges, as well as volcanic crater lakes.
The Daintree National Park is only one small part of the Wet Tropics, but one part we had to visit and (while there) also see Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the sea. This is the only place on earth where two World Heritage Listed areas reside side by side: The Wet Tropics and The Great Barrier Reef.
It really is something spectacular to be walking through the rainforest, with sunlight barely dappling the understory and suddenly, within a few paces, you’re pushing aside the frond of a coconut palm and walking on the sand. We were lucky and arrived when the tide was at its lowest. At high tide, the water laps the very edge of the rainforest.
It was rather hilarious when we woke in the morning and Dean said “I can’t believe it’s raining!” I replied, “We’re in a rainforest!” And we laughed as Captain Obvious dawned on Dean’s face. The rain didn’t last long and we managed to remain relatively dry for the most part of the day. There was one moment though when a rain squall caught up with us and we got soaked to the bone while running back to the car.
Upon reflection, the area of the park we chose to visit is the section that attracts the highest number of tourists. There’s not a lot you can do without putting your hand into your pocket. We did pay to visit the interpretive centre where you get to see the rainforest from three different levels – the floor and a mid-section, as well as atop a 23-metre tower (75.5 feet) that provides a panoramic view across the top of the rainforest canopy. (That’s where I took the featured image above.)
To be honest, just down the road we found a boardwalk that offered sufficient (interpretive) information and was a much better experience – and free. We visited Cow Bay, Thornton Beach, and Cape Tribulation Beach. We walked along the sand and every boardwalk we came across that took us in and out of the rainforest and above mangrove swamps, stopped for coffee and lunch, and visited a local swimming hole. It was a lovely day out, and in that time we saw everything there was to see with the exception of 4WD tracks and bushwalking up one of the mountains. With rain hanging around, we thought neither would be enjoyable and declined the temptation.
We were constantly on the lookout for wildlife, in particular the elusive Cassowary, but although we saw a lot of cautionary signage (and signs indicating recent sightings), the signs were as close as we got to one. We did get up close with a Boyd’s Forest Dragon at one of the boardwalks, and he was gorgeous hanging onto the tree and posing for anyone wanting to take a photo.
Thoughts on Location No 95
Our initial intention was to stay in Daintree Village on the south side of the Daintree River. After having a quick look around, we decided we wanted to travel a little deeper into the rainforest so we took the ferry across the river into the smaller section of the Daintree National Park that lies closer to the coastline.
We stayed at Lync-Haven Rainforest Retreat, which offers accommodation, camping and wildlife experiences. For the most part, we were the only people in their caravan park section – a little slice of heaven, and a treat for the senses surrounded by sights, sounds and smells of the rainforest. We were very pleased we chose to stay at Lync-Haven.
Daintree National Park