Rainforest and Wildlife

The Wet Tropics are the oldest rainforests in the world. They are thought to be 6 to 10 times older than those found in the protected areas of the Amazon. How special that we can still walk amongst the same ecosystem that stood 150 million years ago! 

Fast-flowing rivers, deep gorges, numerous waterfalls, mountain summits with rainforest views are just a taste of the magic that the Wet Tropics has to offer. This World Heritage area is full of so many out-of-this-world experiences, and is full of rare flora and fauna you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Local Wildlife

Go bird watching and spot colourful birds scattered throughout the wet tropics area. You can also get up close and personal with a kanagaroo or koala at a wildlife park or cruise down a river and spot large saltwater crocodiles.

Drive to Etty Bay, Cape Tribulation, Mission Beach or Kuranda for your chance to see the elusive cassowary in the wild. These dinosaur descendants can be hard to spot, but here’s where you can find cassowaries in the wild.

Start Exploring

Things to do

See the iconic Curtain Fig Tree in the Atherton Tablelands or head out on a safari and spot local saltwater crocodiles in their natural habitat. You can even jungle surf your way through the rainforest canopy at Cape Tribulation, float over the rainforest and the Barron Falls on a cableway or take a scenic train ride that weaves through the rainforest to and from Kuranda

Try one of the extensive bushwalking options including the Wet Tropics Great Walk, one of Queensland’s world-class long distance walking tracks or, learn about the Aboriginal hunter-gather history, dreamtime stories and tales of the earliest human occupation of Australia 40,000 years ago. 

Discover the Daintree River Valley where the rainforest grows right down to the fringing World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, the only place in the world where you can experience two World Heritage listed areas meeting.

Plan your holiday

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Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Smithfield, Cairns Area
From AU$53 - 215
Embark on a fascinating journey of discovery over and through the oldest continually surviving tropical rainforest on earth. Enjoy a truly unique perspective of Australia’s World Heritage listed tropical rainforest, gliding just metres above the pristine canopy before descending to explore the forest floor at the Red Peak and Barron Falls Rainforest Stations.

Lawn Hill

Lawn Hill, Burke Area
Every year, thousands of visitors are drawn to Lawn Hill National Park to experience the true Outback. Encompassing the spectacular Lawn Hill Gorge with its imposing sandstone cliffs, and cool pristine waterways, the area is most famous for the World Heritage-listed Riversleigh fossil fields.

Jorgey's Patch Dive Site

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
Accessible on a day trip from Cairns, Jorgey’s Patch features a variety of terrains for divers to explore, including bommies, ridges, gutters and ledges. In depths between 10 and 25 metres divers will find an abundance of reef fish on this reef, including fusiliers, angelfish, wrasses, anemonefish and rock cods.

Josephine Falls, Wooroonooran National Park

Bartle Frere, Cairns Area
Free Entry
Josephine Creek starts as a gentle trickle high on the south-east side of the summit of Queensland's highest mountain, Bartle Frere. By the time it has travelled the 7.5 kilometres to the smooth granite boulders of Josephine Falls, it is a thundering torrent that will take your breath away.

Northern Great Barrier Reef

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
Cairns and Tropical North Queensland is the closest point in Australia to experience the Great Barrier Reef. When travellers visualise themselves on the Great Barrier Reef - they think of Tropical North Queensland.

Great Detached Reef

Lockhart, Cook Area
Free Entry
Situated north of Cooktown, close to the Queensland cape, Great Detached Reef is a large complex of several reefs sitting on an old fossil mountain range. With roughly 46 kilometres of edge, wall diving is spectacular here, with steep cliffs dropping down to over 400 metres and small caves scattered across the reef walls.

Lake Eacham, Crater Lakes National Park

Lake Eacham, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
A serene blue lake surrounded by lush rainforest, Lake Eacham in part of Crater Lakes National Park. Take a refreshing dip and then relax in the shade, or wander along the viewing decks for uninterrupted water views.

Cobia Hole Dive Site

Lizard Island, Cook Area
Free Entry
Located just off the shore of Lizard Island north of Cairns, Cobia Hole features a jumble of rocks, no bigger than a tennis court, decorated with marine life. With a maximum depth of 18 metres, this rocky outcrop is home to hovering sweetlips, emperors, cobia, estuary cod and more.

Daintree

Daintree, Cairns Area
Stretching from Daintree Village across the river, the Daintree encompasses Cape Kimberley, Cow Bay, Thornton's Peak, Cooper Creek, Thornton Beach, Noah Valley, Cape Tribulation and the Bloomfield Track to the north.

Djiru National Park

Mission Beach, Cassowary Coast Area
Free Entry
Djiru National Park, near Mission Beach, protects some of the last remaining lowland rainforest in the Wet Tropics, including a rare patch of Licuala fan palm forest. It is also one of the few places you're likely to see the endangered southern cassowary.
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How to get there

This World Heritage Site covers an expansive area from Cooktown to Townsville with 79 per cent of the land protected by 31 National Parks, conservation parks, State forests and reserves including the popular Paluma Range National Park, Barron Gorge National Park and the Daintree National Park.

Take a tour or hire a car and self-drive to explore the wet tropics.

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