Discover Australia's magical, World Heritage-listed rainforests. They stretch across the country and cover every climatic type.
You can trek through all five climatic types of rainforest in Queensland. In north Queensland, the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics includes Kuranda Rainforest and the Daintree – the oldest tropical rainforest on earth. Accessible from Cairns, Port Douglas, Cape Tribulation and Cooktown, the Daintree is home to an incredible array of plants and animals. Cruise the Daintree River, taste bush tucker with an Aboriginal guide or sleep in a tree-top eco-lodge. In the Gold Coast hinterland, Lamington and Springbrook National Parks have sub-tropical and cool temperate rainforests dating back to the supercontinent of Gondwana. Explore them on day hikes or do the Great Gold Coast Hinterland Walk.
Tasmania is home to Australia’s largest swathes of cool temperate rainforest, most of it protected as part of the island’s World Heritage-listed Wilderness. These cool, dark and magical places support a rich array of life, including species found nowhere else on earth. Trek the Overland Track through ancient forests of King Billy Pine in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Get up close to moss-covered Gondwana on the Creepy Crawly Nature Trail in Southwest National Park. Glimpse rare Huon pines on the Franklin River Nature Trail through Wild Rivers National Park. Or explore the rainforest around Liffey Falls at the northern edge of the World Heritage Area.
New South Wales
The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia spill across 50 separate parks in northern New South Wales and south-east Queensland. Accessible from Byron Bay, this vast World Heritage-listed area embraces the world’s largest subtropical rainforest, along with warm and cool temperate rainforest types. Bushwalk through the rainforest in Nightcap, Mount Warning or Border Ranges National Parks, which all flank the ancient, eroded volcano of Mount Warning Wollumbin. Listen for the call of the rare Albert’s Lyrebird, picnic amongst Antarctic beech forest, spot native marsupials or take a scenic rainforest drive. There are also rainforest pockets in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains near Sydney, in Budderoo National Park in the Southern Highlands and Myall Lakes National Park, north of Port Stephens.
The south of World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park is dotted with monsoon rainforest. Explore it on the walk to spectacular Jim Jim Falls, which drops more than 250 metres (820 feet) to deep, cool plunge pools. Follow the Gubarra Pools walk or take the Gungarre Walk through savannah woodlands to the edge of a billabong. Kakadu is also famous for its lily-dotted wetlands, rich wildlife and treasure trove of Aboriginal rock art. Cruise the rivers past crocodiles, barramundi and birds, see rock crevices cut by Dreamtime ancestors or take a scenic flight over Kakadu’s waterfalls and rugged escarpments.
Victoria’s cool temperate rainforest survives in small patches across Gippsland and the Dandenong, Yarra and Otway Ranges.
In Gippsland, you can do rainforest walks through Tarra Bulga National Park and Morwell National Park or wind through scented sassafras and black olive berry in Errinundra Saddle. Walk through the tops of towering mountain ash trees in Yarra Ranges National Park, an hour’s drive from Melbourne. Or hop off the Great Ocean Road to explore the lush, green world of Great Otway National Park. The Melba Gully Boardwalk leads you past cool myrtle beeches, moss-covered blackwoods and tree ferns.
You might only associate the Kimberley with its outback landscapes, but in fact it has more than a thousand spots of dry rainforest. Scattered across sheltered valleys and high-rainfall coastal areas, these pockets support some 300 species of plants, most of which are found nowhere else. They also provide refuge to declining wildlife species, including some birds and snakes and the endangered Scaly-tailed Possum. Look out for relict vine thicket and rainforest around the pools and springs along the Gibb River Road in the northern Kimberley. The Mitchell River national Park has patches of rainforest dotted throughout which hold unique plant life compared to the surrounding savannah.