Daintree Rainforest

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The Daintree Rainforest is a tropical rainforest region on the north east coast of Queensland, Australia, north of Mossman and Cairns. At around 12,000 km² the Daintree is the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest on the Australian continent. Along the coastline north of the Daintree River, tropical rainforest grows right down to the edge of the sea.

Daintree Rainforest, Cairns, Australia
Daintree Rainforest, Cairns, Australia

The area includes the Daintree National Park, some areas of State Forest, and some privately owned land, including a residential community of upwards of 500 people. Some of the privately owned land north of the Alexandra Range is being progressively purchased for conservation purposes under a $15 million government scheme involving equal contributions from the municipal (Cairns Regional Council, which includes the former Douglas Shire council), State (Queensland) and Australian Federal governments.

Daintree Rainforest, Cairns, Australia
Daintree Rainforest, Cairns, Australia

The tropical rainforest ecosystem of the Daintree Rainforest is one of the most complex on earth. Its plant diversity and structural complexity is unrivalled on the Australian continent and represents the origins of our more familiar 'Australian' flora. Millions of years ago the Australian continent was warm and humid and rainfall was plentiful. During this time rainforest thrived in places such as the Ayers Rock region.

Daintree Rainforest, Cairns, Australia
Daintree Rainforest, Cairns, Australia

As Australia became more arid, there were fewer and fewer places rainforests were able to survive. In the Daintree region, however the climate and topography were ideal, so the area became a last remaining refuge for rainforest. Within this refuge many species were able to live comfortably without reason to change. Their descendants that are still living today retained many of their ancestors primitive characteristics, some dating back 110 million years.

Daintree Rainforest, Cairns, Australia
Daintree Rainforest, Cairns, Australia

Besides all the scientific interest within this Daintree region there are many natural and often unique features to be explored. The landscape is one of striking diversity including magnificent scenery, mountain ranges, fast flowing streams and waterfalls, deep gorges and dense rainforest. There is outstanding coastal scenery that combines tropical rainforest, white sandy beaches and fringing reefs just offshore. This is an extremely rare combination.

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