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Daintree National Park - A Tropical Paradise

Country: Australia
State: Queensland
Gateway City: Daintree is located 104km north of the city of Cairns. Cairns is home to one of the largest regional airports in Australia. An easy drive up the Cook Highway will bring you to the Daintree Crossing. There a ferry runs scheduled trips across the river f
Climate: The climate at Daintree is what one would expect of a tropical rainforest. During the summer, the average maximum temperature is 31oC and in the winter 26oC. The Latitude of 16 degrees south of the Equator provides an environment much like that of Tahit
Number of visitors per year: Daintree National park plays host to over 400,000 visitors annually. The lush verdant beauty of the location and its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef National Park make it an attractive and desirable destination.


The Daintree Rainforest is in itself 135 million years old.  The rainforest is host to species that predate man.  The HMS Endeavour on the voyage of Captain Cook first recorded the area in European history.  The nearly impenetrable rainforest proved stronger than man and not until the dawn of the 20th century did the tools become developed to conquer the rainforest.  During the 1930’s the area was divided into 160 acre freeholds in an attempt to stimulate the economy.  A logging industry grew and the old growth rainforest provided the trees to support this.  During the 1980’s pressures exerted by conservationists led to the formation of Daintree National park and it’s nomination and acceptance as a World Heritage site.


Daintree National Park in Queensland Australia is located in the north east corner of Australia.  Daintree National Park lies adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef National Park.  These two entities are the only World Heritage Foundation sites that are adjacent to each other.  Daintree is a lush tropical paradise in one of the oldest rainforests on earth.


Daintree’s close proximity to Cairns coupled with a lush rainforest climate provides for ecotours of unimagined grandeur.  With flora and fauna that have existed for millennia in the area, opportunities exist to view rare and endangered species.


Perhaps the most noted and easily spotted resident of Daintree is the Estuarine Crocodile.  Common in the rivers and the ocean, the crocodile can be and is a threat to the unwary visitor.  Swimming in the Daintree River is strictly prohibited due to the prodigious number of crocodiles residing there.  The Cassowary is a large flightless bird that makes Daintree its home.  On the endangered species list fewer than 1000 cassowaries remain in the wild.  Standing almost 2 meters tall, the bird will attack with sharp claws when it feels threatened.  Daintree, being a tropic rainforest is home to millions of insects. Insect repellant is strongly recommended to visitors.  Azure kingfishers will allow visitors to approach within 2 – 3 meters.  The Ulysses Butterfly can be seen at a great distance due to its metallic blue wings.  Goannas, a large lizard are abundant and commonly roam the campgrounds of Daintree in search of food.  Campers are provided with goanna sticks upon which their food is suspended off of the ground.  Sugar Gliders, Musky Rat Kangaroos and Giant Tree Frogs are commonly seen.  Nocturnal residents include Rufous Owls, Bandicoots and Spotted Cuscus. 


Daintree provides a lush unspoiled environment for hiking, camping and pristine beaches that border the Coral Sea.  The only instructions that are provided to the visitor by the Wet Tropics Management Authority are “Leave your pets at home; take any rubbish out with you; don't feed the wildlife and don't pollute the water. Enjoy yourself and leave nothing but footsteps and take nothing but photographs!”  Clearly marked hiking trails and boardwalks provide the naturalist unlimited opportunities for the observation of nature.  The beaches of golden sand and clear blue water are usually deserted.

Conservation projects

The largest and most visible conservation plan is the ‘buy back’ plan of the Queensland Labor Government.  The government is in the process of buying back the 160 acre freeholds and returning them to National Park status.  This plan has gained more emphasis in recent years.  One land holder bulldozed a plot of land in which a species of red cedar tree grew.  Unfortunately this was the only place where that tree grew and was rendered extinct.

Submitted by Bird_Watcher on Jul 27, 2009