Where are all the animals?

Where are all the animals?

Nearly always, the first question we are asked by visitors is, ‘where are all the animals?’ It is a really good question, as some people can leave feeling disappointed because expectation hasn’t met reality, and that is not what we want – we want people leaving here in awe of this incredible rainforest, with a better understanding of it. The reason you don’t see a lot of animals, is actually due to 130 million years of evolution, but first here are some quick Daintree Facts that you may or may not know.

  • The Daintree Rainforest is huge – totalling over 1200 square kilometres in size (that’s around 25,000 football fields if you can imagine that, or 162 Sydney Harbours). 
  • The Daintree Rainforest was named after 19th century Australian geologist and photographer Richard Daintree, but ironically he never actually visited. It was his friend, colonist George Elphinstone Dalrymple that named the river, which you crossed to get here, in 1873, to which the whole region later became known.
  • The Daintree is home to some of the biggest tropical trees in the world, particularly the Bull Kauri species, which grow up to 50m.
  • 20% of Australia’s bird species, 35% of Australia’s frogs, marsupials and reptiles and 65% of Australia’s bat and butterfly species can be found right here within the Daintree Rainforest.
  • The Daintree Rainforest is home to over 3000 species of plants, and contains 395 species that are listed as either rare or threatened. 65% of Australia’s ferns are also found here.
  • The Daintree Rainforest is believed to be over 135 million years old, making it the oldest tropical lowland rainforest on Earth (that is more than 120 million years older than the Amazon).
  • The Dinosaurs and Megafauna that you meet in the Jurassic Forest (at the Discovery Centre) would have roamed this very rainforest 190 million to two million years ago.
  • The Daintree Rainforest sits alongside the Great Barrier Reef and is the only place on Earth where two World Heritage sites meet.
  • We are the only off-the-grid community that lives on Mainland Australia. That means we have no electricity, reticulated water, sewerage or general waste services. You can learn more about this in our sustainability exhibit behind me.
  • Altogether, there are 18 Rainforest Aboriginal tribal groups in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. In this area, the Traditional Owners are the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people. Their country extends from near Cooktown to Port Douglas.
  • For the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people many natural features of the landscape have spiritual significance including Wundu (Thornton Peak), Manjal Dimbi (Mount Demi), Wurrmbu (The Bluff) and Kulki, which you would recognise as Cape Tribulation. They have lived here for thousands of years, relying on the rich array of plants and animals for food that the rainforest had to offer.
  • The average rainfall in the Daintree each year is two metres (79 inches) but some areas have recorded up to 9 metres (345 inches) in a single year There are two seasons, the wet season from December to March and the during the wet season.
7 Must Do Things to Do at Daintree Discovery Centre

7 Must Do Things to Do at Daintree Discovery Centre

Located 10 kilometres north of the river in the heart of Cape Tribulation, the Daintree Discovery Centre is the must-do spot for the eco-conscious traveller, for kids wanting to know what life was like when dinosaurs roamed (and even spot a few!), and for anyone interested in the general magnificence of the oldest continually living rainforest on the planet. 

The Daintree Discovery Centre is the fully immersive and interpretive centre where visitors can experience the rainforest at every level – from high above the canopy looking down at spectacular flora, walkways through the mid-level heart of the rainforest, through to the forest floor, keeping an eye out for cassowaries. Self-guided audio tours are also available, and feature interesting information of how the traditional local Aboriginal people made good use of the natural features of the rainforest.

But with all these exciting activities, it can be a little overwhelming to decide what to do, making sure nothing is left out! We’ve put together a handy checklist for you to make sure no rainforest experience is left unexplored.


 1. Immerse Yourself in The Land Time Forgot

Explore the ancient rainforest at every level! Starting at ground level, discover the magic of the rainforest floor, the place where life strains and struggles for light, yet still remains so lush. This vibrant and natural part of the forest has over 400 metres of elevated boardwalks to provide the best viewing for the least amount of impact, allowing visitors to take their own pace through the wilderness. There’re also strategically placed bench seats where you can rest for a while, taking in the magnificence of this natural beauty that surrounds.

Often much richer in life than the forest floor, the canopy can be hard to see at eye level, which is what makes the Aerial Walkway so special. At 11m high and 125m in length, this elevated walkway through the trees allows an unparalleled view into the mid-level rainforest as well as impressive views over McLean’s Creek.

2. Walk On Top of A Rainforest Canopy

Standing 23 meters tall in the middle of thick tropical rainforest, The Canopy Tower provides a truly unique and intimate way to experience the rainforest at different levels, from the forest floor all the way up to the top of the canopy. With information on each of the five levels you’re sure to learn a thing or two (and get your aerobic fitness up) as you ascend through the rainforest levels.

3. Put Yourself in Jurassic World

120 million years ago (give or take a millennia), dinosaurs roamed the super continent Gondwana. While a few things have changed since then (like wifi and Netflix), what hasn’t changed much is the ancient rainforest where we stand today. Take a walk along the Jurassic Forest Track, a path full of life-sized animatronic dinosaurs, guaranteed to surprise and delight everyone.

A seven-metre-long Ripper Lizard, a Giant Thunderbird and a dynamic Diprotodon are among the extraordinary creatures that can be spotted at the Discovery Centre. Four of the seven models are believed to be remnants of a special group of dinosaurs that lived in various parts of Queensland around the Jurassic Period. *RAWR*.


4. Go Dinosaur Spotting… (for real!)

They still exist, you know! Well, their direct descendants do… Cassowaries are believed to be real life relatives of the terrifying velociraptors, a sickle-clawed dino-bird that flourished in central and eastern Asia and Australia about 100 million years ago. They started to evolve, and as of about 40 million years ago the cassowary as we know it remained stable.

Vital to the survival of the rainforest, the Southern Cassowary eats fallen fruit and distributes seeds across the rainforest floor via their droppings. Many trees rely on this methos of seed dispersal to reproduce. By following the Cassowary Circuit, you’ll learn more about the animal, what they eat, and how the species has survived for so many years (and maybe spot one or two!).


5. Learn About Bush Tucker

Australian bush foods have been on the menu for our Indigenous people for over 40,000 years. If you’re keen to better understand bush tucker, you’re in luck – on this immersive walking tour, you’ll discover ancient stories of the Daintree’s Kuku Yalanji people as you make your way through the rainforest, signage pointing out traditional tucker as you go. On the Bush Tucker Trail you’ll learn more about native rainforest nuts, spices and fruits, as well as the plants of the rainforest and how these plants can be used for medicinal purposes.


6. Take A Moment Under an Ancient Fig Tree

Looking up at the giant strangler fig tree at the Daintree Discovery Centre can make a person feel rather insignificant, awed in the magnificent enormity of its stature. Thought to be between 500-600 years old, this strangler fig is amongst the world’s most spectacular and curious plants.

Each ‘tentacle’ starts off as a tiny fig seed that germinates high up in the canopy of a tree. It sends down an intricate web of roots, which gradually wind round the trunk of the host tree. Strangler figs are epiphytes – plants that survive without roots in the ground and trap all the nutrients and moisture they need as it falls from the forest above. They are not parasitic, but they do eventually kill the host tree.


7. Go Tech While Off Grid

This incredible educational facility definitely puts the fun in learning! Informative audio guides in 8 languages, rainforest reptiles and native fish displays, children’s audio guides and displays, a mini theatre, an interpretive centre with touch screens, all providing a huge wealth of information about the rainforest ecosystem presented in fun, interactive ways. centre offers several touch screen with easy access to a variety of information suitable for all ages, as well as colourful displays incorporating lots of images and easy-to-read text.

Learn in remarkable detail about the many animal species – big and small – that call the rainforest home, from the famous cassowary and crocodile to the humble green tree frog. There’s also a 3D cassowary display with life size models, and a reptile room where you can get all up close and personal with the slithery rainforest folk.

Have you sized up to a cassowary?

Have you sized up to a cassowary?

The cassowaries of the Daintree Rainforest have not changed in some 40 million years and are vital to the survival of the rainforest. They are predominantly fruit eaters consuming around 5kg per day. Although, don’t be surprised if you see one enjoying flowers, fungi, snails, insects, frogs, birds, fish and other small mammals and carrion to complement its diet.

They eat fruit from at least 26 different plant families, most of which are highly poisonous to humans. Rainforest fruits such as Black Palms, Finger Cherries, Davidson Plums, Cluster Figs, Silver Quandongs and Noah’s Walnuts are particular favourites.

The Southern Cassowary is a keystone species because they eat fallen fruit whole and distribute seeds across the rainforest floor via their droppings. Many trees rely on this method of seed dispersal to be able to reproduce. Once the fruit has passed through the bird, most of the fleshy part has been removed from the seed leaving it ready to germinate from a lovely pile of compost – or Cassowary Poo! – to you!

Have you sized up to our cassowary at the Discovery Centre?

Cassowaries are large birds, and will grow as tall as 1.80m, with the females being bigger and stronger than the males – they can even reach up to 2 metres and may weigh up to 60 kilograms. Come visit and compare your height to theirs!

Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual celebration that honors the achievements of the environmental movement and raises awareness of the need to protect Earth’s natural resources for future generations. The first Earth Day was held April 22, 1970.
45 Things To Do On Earth Day

45 Things To Do On Earth Day

Tomorrow is Earth Day, and we’ve got a few ideas on how you could celebrate and support our beautiful planet.

  • Plant a tree or donate a tree.
  • Join a local park, river or beach clean-up.
  • Change your car’s air filter regularly.
  • Keep your tyres properly inflated to get better petrol mileage.
  • Carpool, ride your bike, use public transport or drive an electric or hybrid car and reduce your carbon footprint with every kilometre (not) driven.
  • Switch to environmentally-friendly, non-toxic cosmetics and cleaning products.
  • Replace inefficient incandescent light bulbs with efficient CFLs or LEDs.
  • Teleconference instead of traveling. If you fly five times per year, those trips are likely to account for 75% of your personal carbon footprint.
  • Donate your old clothes and home goods instead of throwing them out.
  • When you need something, consider buying used items.
  • For any new clothing, choose natural fabrics to avoid micro-plastic.
  • Choose reusable items over disposable plastics, especially single-use plastics like bottles, bags and straws.
  • Recycle paper, plastic and glass.
  • Use cloth towels instead of paper ones.
  • Change your paper bills to online billing. You’ll be saving trees and the fuel it takes to deliver your bills by road.
  • Read documents online instead of printing them.
  • When you need to use paper, make sure it’s 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
  • Set your office printer to print two-sided.
  • Collect used printer, fax, and copier cartridges to recycle
  • Convince your school or office to choose reusable utensils, trays, and dishes
  • Use reusable bottles for water, reusable mugs for coffee and pack your lunch in a reusable bag.
  • Organise to have healthy, locally-sourced food served at your school.
  • Buy local food to reduce the distance from farm to fork. Buy straight from the farm, frequent your local farmers’ market, or join a local food co-op.
  • Buy organic food to keep your body and the environment free of toxic pesticides.
  • Grow your own organic garden, or join a farm-share group.
  • Try a foodprint calculator to find out exactly how your meals impact the planet.
  • Reduce your meat consumption to curb carbon emissions from the livestock industry.
  • Make your next meal plant-based.
  • Compost kitchen scraps for use in your garden — turning waste into fertiliser.
  • Take a shorter shower and use a water-saving shower head.
  • Fix leaky taps and shower-heads.
  • Run your dishwasher only when it’s full to save water and energy.
  • Conserve water outdoors by only watering your lawn in the early morning or late at night. Use drought-resistant plants / native plants in dry areas.
  • Use cold water to wash your clothes and line dry.
  • Form a “green team” at your office to find cost-effective ways to conserve resources and promote sustainability.
  • Volunteer for a local environmental group and/or make a donation.
  • Pull out invasive plants in your yard or garden and replace them with native ones.
  • Turn off lights and unplug electronics you’re not using. This includes turning off your computer at night.
  • Install solar panels on your roof.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator to save energy (and get exercise!).
  • Lower the temperature on your hot water system.
  • Contact your electricity company and find out about renewable energy options.
  • Use energy-efficient appliances and electronics.
  • Recycle batteries from small appliances and your electronics. Use rechargeable batteries instead.
  • Check out the Earth Day Action Toolkit on https://www.earthday.org/toolkit-earth-day-2021-restore-our-earth/