Around 17,000 hectares between Daintree River and Cape Tribulation is the oldest continually surviving tropical rainforest containing the most complete record of the evolution of plant life dating back to the beginning of life on Earth. This 150 million year-old forest is home to many varieties of insects, birds, over seventy identified mammals, reptiles and amphibians, including some threatened species such as the cassowary, Boyd’s forest dragon and the musky rat-kangaroo. There are over 3,000 plant species including trees, vines, palms, ferns, epiphytes, as well as the world's largest and smallest tree ferns and cycads. Unknown plants and animal species are still being discovered
Cooper Creek Rainforest
We took a 4 hour walking tour that showed us the best of the world's oldest surviving rainforest. Cooper Creek is a genuine old-growth rainforest with spectacular grand trees including the beautiful grand fan palms. Our guide, Neil, is the inhabitant owner/curator of the forest and we learnt much from his knowledge and memories passed down from previous owners.
After lunch in a rainforest setting we took a 1-hour cruise along a mangrove river where we encountered 3 of the estuarine crocodiles.
The greatest opportunity to observe wildlife in natural habitat occurs after nightfall so we returned to Cooper Creek for a 2 hour night tour to discover the nocturnal sights, sounds and movements of this old rainforest.
There are many self-guided short walks with plaques of information that are a good way to learn about the forest and inhabitants. We did these:
Mardja Botanical Walk - a 1200 metre loop through the rainforest and mangroves.
Dubuji Boardwalk - 1200 metres through tropical lowland forest, and is the home to the rare Peppermint Stick Insect which lives on the Pandanus palms.
Jindalba Board Walk - a 700m boardwalk loop built into the hillside through spectacular rainforest.
Cape Tribulation – a short walk through the rainforest
and back along the beach.