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What Is The Name Of The Rainforest In Cairns?

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Mon 10 Jul 2023

What is the name of the rainforest in Cairns? Just north of Cairns lies the Daintree Rainforest, known for being the oldest tropical rainforest on the planet! At approximately 180 million years old, the Daintree is a marvelous natural wonder. Travellers in Cairns should absolutely take the time for a day trip or a weekend trip up to the rainforest so they can marvel at the ancient landscapes, wildlife, and culture of the Daintree!

Daintree Rainforest

What Is The Name Of The Rainforest In Cairns?

The rainforest near Cairns is known as the Daintree. Despite being the oldest rainforest on Earth, it's not nearly as widely known as other rainforests such as the Amazon. But that makes it a hidden gem! Though it's an incredibly impressive area, it's not super touristy. Actually, most tourists in East Coast Australia stick to tourist destinations further south like Sydney or the Gold Coast, or they head to the Whitsundays. And travellers in Cairns tend to prioritize the Great Barrier Reef, as they should! 

But if you do have a few days to spare in Cairns, consider a visit to the Daintree Rainforest! Even in peak tourist season you'll rarely encounter any crowds, and you can immerse yourself in the lush wilderness. 

Daintree and Reef

The Daintree: Where Two World Heritage Sites Meet

Though most travellers come to Cairns for snorkelling or scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, it is still worth heading up to the Daintree. One special fact about the Daintree Rainforest is that it's located right next to the Great Barrier Reef! This corner of Tropical North Queensland is actually where two World Heritage Sites meet. The Daintree spreads right up to the coastline, where the coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef begin. 

Cape Tribulation is the main tourist town in the Daintree Rainforest. It's a small, jungle village with a few lodges and tourism offices on the one main street. This is a great place to base yourself for your exploration of the two World Heritage Sites. Ocean Safari offers an amazing day trip where you can snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef right off the coast of Cape Tribulation! So you can walk through the world's oldest rainforest and swim in the world's largest coral reef system all in one epic day!

Ocean Safari Cape Trib

Where Is The Daintree Rainforest?

The Daintree Rainforest is located about 100km north of Cairns. It's an easy drive along the Captain Cook Highway, with gorgeous scenic views of the tropical coastline. You can rent a car in Cairns and complete the road trip yourself, or you can join a guided tour from Cairns to the Daintree. Day trips are the most popular option - they are affordable, fun, easy, and allow you to return to your accommodation in Cairns at night. 

But multi-day tours are a good option as well. You can stay overnight in Cape Tribulation and have more time to explore the wonders of this magical area. Hike in the jungle, go on a river cruise, zip-line through the forest, go wildlife-spotting, stroll on deserted beaches, taste homemade exotic fruit ice cream at Daintree Ice Cream Company, book a scenic flight, visit stunning lookouts, go horseback riding, and more. So much fun awaits you in the Daintree Rainforest!

Daintree coastline

Other Rainforests Near Cairns

Though the Daintree Rainforest is the main rainforest near Cairns, there is more natural beauty closer to the city. All around Cairns, you can find the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of Queensland which is full of waterfalls, hiking trails, small rural towns, and plenty of natural beauty. The Atherton Tablelands are part of this area, and you can access many of the wonders here in just an hour's drive from Cairns. There are so many fun things to do here, and there are lots of top-rated tours that will bring you here for the day if you don't want to rent a car in Cairns

Atherton Tablelands

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