WELCOME TO THE DAINTREE NATIONAL PARK
The 140 km. long Great Barrier Reef Drive takes you from the city to the jungle. After you cross the cable ferry on the Daintree river you enter a different Jurassic Park like world. Make sure you don't get carried away exploring the attractions between Cairns and Port Douglas because you will need a few days to see everything in the amazing Daintree National Park.
Although the offical boundary of this park is at Mossman Gorge, the rain forest north of the river is the oldest and most fascinating part. Easiest ways to access this ancient eco-system is at several of the National Park board walks; Jindalba, Marrdja and Dubuji. Moderately fit people can do the hike up Mount Sorrow, the mountain that towers over Cape Tribulation, this is a return trip of about five hours and should not be undertaken in wet weather as the steep hillsides get slippery.
About the Daintree Rainforest and National Park
About 188 million years ago the super continent Gondwana started breaking up in to the continents we know nowadays, and this is why the flightless cassowary that roams the Daintree today has relatives in Africa and South America, testimony to how ancient the plants and animals in the Daintree rainforest are.
In 1981 the Queensland Government realized the value of this ancient rainforest and declared the Daintree National Park. This was followed by the park being given World Heritage status in 1988. People were already living in this area so the National Park was fitted around them, and basic infrastructure is denied to the area to discourage people living here..
What's So Special?
A lot of plants and animals that live in the Daintree rainforest are not found anywhere else. Trees have been found here that were thought to be extinct for millions of years. New species of insects are still being discovered here. The eco system of this area has not changed for millions of years, and this rainforest is considered to be a hundred million years older than the more famous Amazon in South America.
Sleep In the Rain Forest
The rain forests can be a busy place at night with the nocturnal animals waking up, and often the air is filled with mysterioius sounds.Spend a couple of nights sleeping in the world's oldest rain forest to experience this, and come face to face with some of the amazing animals of this ancient jungle.
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Animals Of The Rainforest
The Daintree rain forest is filled with amazing animals, such as the cassowary, the Boyd's forest dragon, the lace monitor or goanna, snakes, tree kangaroos, echidnas, bandicoots, foot long earthworms, and an amazing variety of shapes and sizes of insects.
The Best Way To See It?
There are boardwalks to access the National Park in several locations: Jindalba, Marrdja, Dubuji (see Daintree rainforest) and a short one at Cape Tribulation to a platform over looking the beach and the bay. On the north side of Cape Tribulation there is also the Mount Sorrow hiking trail which requires moderate fitness.
At Fanpalm Cafe there is a privately owned board walk through the amazing fan palm forest. In Cape Tribulation there are guided rain forest night walks every night run by Jungle Adventures.
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WHAT WILL YOU SEE ON THE GREAT BARRIER REEF DRIVE?
THE GREAT BARRIER REEF!
This drive takes you along the edge of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, but make sure you hop on a boat from Port Douglas or Cape Tribulation too so you can immerse yourself in this amazing world of wild coloured coral and tropical fish.
THE DAINTREE RAIN FOREST!
While you can see some rain forest in various places along the drive you definitely have to cross the Daintree river to see the real ancient Daintree rain forest, do some of the National Park board walks, swim in the pristine creeks, or book a guided tour in Cape Tribulation to learn more about it.
You can see cassowaries in zoos around the world but meeting a cassowary in the wild is an experience not to be forgotten. This ancient flightless bird has been walking the planet ever since all continents were still joined together as one and dinosaurs roamed the earth. The cassowary is listed as endangered but has been making a good comeback, and there is a fair chance you will see one in the Daintree if you spend a few days there.
LOTS OF BEACHES!
If you love the beach then you will love the Great Barrier Reef Drive, there are dozens of stunning beaches to explore along the way, just in the Daintree there's ten of them already, and even in the busy season there is a good chance you will find one all to yourself.
LOTS OF OTHER STUFF!
What ever you can imagine, you will find it along the Great Barrier Reef Drive. Exotic fruit wines, hang gliding, home made icecream, crocodiles, rainforest sculpture trail, tea, insect museum, cassowaries crossing the road, massage, jungle surfing, Aboriginal culture tours, helicopter rides, More info added soon on the multitude of attractions and sights to see.