Daintree Rainforest Facts

The Daintree Rainforest is a tropical rainforest in Queensland, Australia, named after Richard Daintree, an Australian geologist and photographer.

It meets all four natural criteria for World Heritage Sites and is adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef.

It contains over 12,000 species of insects and 30% of Australia’s frog, marsupial, and reptile species.

The Daintree Rainforest is a region of tropical rainforest on the Queensland coast, north of Cairns. It is home to many rare and endangered animals, including the southern cassowary and Bennett’s tree-kangaroo.

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Daintree Rainforest Facts for Kids

  • The forest covers nearly 1200 km2 (460 sq mi).
  • The Daintree Rainforest is at least 135 million years old
  • Over 3000 plant species and 12,000 insect species live here
  • In Australia, 40% of its bird species and 65% of its bat species live in the rainforest
  • George Elphinstone Dalrymple discovered the Daintree River in 1873.
  • A lot of animals living in the Daintree are rare or endangered.

Average Rainfall

Throughout the year, the rainforest receives around 79 in (200 cm) of rain.

Oldest Rainforest In The World

The Daintree Rainforest is at least 135 million years old and maybe as much as 180 million years old. The dinosaurs roamed this earth between 245 and 66 million years ago.

The Ecosystems

The Daintree Rainforest is one of the world’s most complex ecosystems. It contains over 3000 species of plants and 12,000 types of insects, along with 230 species of butterfly.

More than 40% of Australia’s birds and 65% of its bat and butterfly species live in the Daintree / wet tropics and Great Barrier Reef areas.

World Heritage Site

The Daintree National Park is a World Heritage Site with the Great Barrier Reef and is the only place in the world where two World Heritage sites meet.

The Daintree Rainforest Name

George Elphinstone Dalrymple discovered the Daintree River in 1873. He named it after English-born Australian geologist Richard Daintree.


In the Daintree Rainforest, tall trees called emergent trees tower above the canopy. These trees gain maximum sunlight exposure and are prime targets for pollinators.

Food in the Rainforest

The witchetty grub is considered a delicacy by the local Kuku Yalanji people, and they are considered a source of food and medicine.

The chocolate pudding fruit is a species of persimmon that is edible and contains 2-4x as much vitamin C as oranges.

Kuku Yalanji

Long before European explorers came, the Daintree rainforest was home to the Kuku Yalanji, a people whose songs and legends continue to enrich the rainforest with special meaning.

European colonists began exploring the Daintree region in the late 19th Century, and a road to Cape Tribulation was built in 1961.

Rainforest Animals

A lot of animals living in the Daintree are rare or endangered.

There are many rare species of animals in the Daintree Rainforest, including the White-Lipped Tree Frog, Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo, the Buff Breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Boyd’s Forest Dragon, and Spotted-Tailed Quoll.

The Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo is extremely agile and can leap 9m (30 ft) from one branch to another without getting hurt.

The saltwater crocodile is the largest living reptile and the most popular animal in the Daintree rainforest.

The Daintree is home to a tenth of the world’s bird species, including 430 species of birds and a few that cannot be found anywhere else.

The cassowary is in the same family as the emu and ostrich and is the second heaviest flightless bird. It has dagger-like claws and is considered the most dangerous bird on earth.

Cassowaries are the third-largest bird in the world, and their eggs are camouflaged with tropical foliage. They are essential for ensuring seed dispersal in the Daintree and eating seeds from 238 different species.

Rainforest Plants

The Daintree is filled with flora, including the Blue Quandong, a fast-growing tropical tree, and other blue-fruited trees.

Wild Ginger in the Daintree Rainforest grows to nearly 6 m tall and provides a refreshing drink when cut near the bottom.

Austrobaileya is a vine that climbs to the top of the rainforest canopy and smells like rotting fish.

The Daintree Rainforest has many old plants. More than half of the planet’s flowering plant families are found here.

The Idiot Fruit is found only in the Daintree and was known for its poisonous qualities by early timber cutters.

Idiot Fruit was discovered after several cows mysteriously died and are considered Australia’s most significant botanical find.

Copper Laurel is a primitive understory plant that is pollinated by beetles. It can be used in combination with other ingredients in beverages, jams, and desserts.

Plants like the Wait-A-While Vine and the Stinging Tree can be harmful if accidentally touched.

The Daintree River

The Daintree River is one of the three major rivers of the rainforest. The Mossman River, the Bloomfield River, and the Daintree River connect the northern and southern sections of the rainforest.

Is the Rainforest Threatened? 

The Daintree Rainforest is threatened by deforestation, climate change, residential development, and invasive plant and animal species. The Queensland government is buying back privately owned land in order to protect the Daintree.