There’s nothing like a place that hasn’t changed in 130 million years. And why should it? The Daintree Rainforest is pretty much perfect as it is.
Described as the ‘land that time forgot’, the primeval World Heritage-listed Daintree forests are the world’s oldest at 135 million years as well as the largest continuous area of rainforest on the Australian mainland.
A lush tropical paradise that hosts more than 3000 plant species (many still being discovered); one-fifth of Australia’s known bird species, including the endangered Southern Cassowary (who number less in the wild than Giant Pandas) and around 60 percent of Australia’s butterfly species – all this diversity can be found an area that takes up just a tiny bit of the whole continent.
No less than 13 different rainforest types have been identified here, many of which may well hold the secret to unanswered questions about the origins of flowering plants – plants on which we humans depend for life.
One in particular, commonly known as the Idiot Fruit (Idiospermum australiense) and thought extinct, was arguably Australia’s most significant botanical find. Then there’s the ‘Wait-A-While’ plant (Calamus Muelleri) (for obvious reasons also known as the Lawyer Plant) whose thorn-covered tendrils reach out to trap unsuspecting passers-by.
Cruise along the mysterious waterways of the crocodile-infested Daintree River, trek through a pure ecosystem or fly through the trees on flying fox zip lines for a bird’s-eye view.
If you’re game, arm yourself with a flashlight and talk a night walk through the jungle. That’s when the animals stir and the forest really comes to life.
So if you’ve ever wondered what the world looked like way back when, head to the Daintree Rainforest. You’d be an ‘Idiot’ to ‘Wait a While’ longer. It’s an Australian icon.