Spanning more than 894,000 hectares, from Townsville to Cooktown, the Wet Tropics of Far North Queensland is the oldest continually surviving rainforest in the world. Crowned a World Heritage-listed site in 1988, this jewel is more than 150 million years old, making it older than the Amazon and home to a diverse and complex ecosystem of flora and fauna – many of which are rare and threatened species, that you won’t see anywhere else in the world.
While it only covers one per cent of the Australian continent, it holds 35 per cent of all Australia’s mammal species, 20 per cent of the country’s reptiles, and 40 per cent of the country’s bird populations.
Things to do in the Wet Tropics
The ways you can explore this ancient, lush landscape are as diverse as its inhabitants. From mountain summit lookouts, to beaches, waterfalls, gorges, and mighty rivers, below are just a few suggestions of what you could do:
- Head as far north as Cooktown via the famous Bloomfield track in a 4WD vehicle, cruising for crocodiles on Cooper Creek along the way.
- Join a day trip with an expert tour guide. You’ll learn all there is to know about the biological importance of the area. You’ll wander on foot under the rainforest’s canopy, swim in sparkling springs with turtles, see vibrant blue Ulysses butterflies overhead, and you’ll stand on Cape Tribulation Beach – where the rainforest meets the reef.
- Discover the oldest living culture on a Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk, where you’ll learn about the significance of the land through the traditions shared and stories told by your Indigenous guide.
- Glide above the rainforest canopy on a Skyrail Rainforest Cableway gondola, hopping off along the way to explore your surroundings with a qualified Ranger. Or board the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway. Your destination for both is Kuranda, known as the Village in the Rainforest.
- Take your exploration of the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest to new heights, literally, as you zip line between six canopy platforms, surrounded by nature. Your guides will fill you in on fascinating facts along the way.
- Go whitewater rafting on the Barron or Tully River. Full of thrills and spills you won’t forget your day on the rapids surrounded by the Wet Tropics.
- Wake up to the untamed sounds of the rainforest and stay in an award-winning rainforest retreat, holiday home, or bed and breakfast. Or camp at one of the absolute beachfront or rainforest sites.
Things you can do to help conserve the environment
Remember, you’re visiting a complex ecosystem, so be mindful of the impact you leave behind. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be doing your little bit to help conserve what's left of this natural wonder.
- Stay on walking tracks otherwise you risk disturbing delicate ground-cover plants.
- Everything is protected. Don't pick, break, or remove ferns, vines, or any other plant.
- Take your rubbish with you when you leave. Don't bury it, as feral pigs will smell it and dig it up.
- Leave your pets at home. They chase, scare, and even kill the local wildlife.
- Don't be tempted to feed the wildlife. Human food can be harmful to the animals and feeding may lead to aggressive behaviour.