From the Daintree rainforest to the Tablelands, the Wet Tropics National Landscape is an entrancing and intriguing destination that engages everyone who visits. Here, two World Heritage masterpieces meet: the tropical rainforests of the Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef. Within this region you'll find a spectacular array of plants and animals, walks, waterfalls, mountains, beaches and marine life, including the oldest continuously surviving tropical rainforests on earth and many rare and threatened species found nowhere else.
There's plenty to do and see, whether you're seeking culture and adventure or just want to retreat to a healing rainforest spa.
Five ways to enjoy the Wet Tropics
Great Tropical Drive, QLD
The Great Tropical Drive from Cairns or Townsville is one of the most beautiful ocean drives in the world, with its spectacular backdrop of steep mountain ranges and coastal beaches. It passes through six unique regions: Cooktown; Port Douglas and Daintree; Cairns and Beaches; Mission Beach and the Cassowary Coast; Tropical Tablelands and Savannah Country; and Townsville, Charters Towers and Hinchinbrook.
There are also 13 discovery trails which link some of Australia's best attractions including the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree rainforest. Once you've explored them all you'll have fully experienced the best this region has to offer: rainforests, reefs, rich culture, tantalising tropical foods and outback adventures.
Boardwalk in Daintree, QLD
Cooper Creek occupies the centrepiece of the last remnant of the oldest-surviving rainforest in the world, known as the Daintree. A Gondwanan rainforest relict that has survived more than 160-million years, where ancient plants reside in tranquillity as living proof of their persistence over the millennia. Experience the rainforest on all levels: an intimate, guided walk off the beaten track or climb high amongst the trees on a Rainforest Canopy Walkway. Take a birds-eye view and skydive over the rainforest at Mission Beach and catch a glimpse of the rare Southern Cassowaries at Djiru National Park.
Feel the strength of ancient geological events that shaped this landscape with a walk through Crater Lakes National Park.
The Wet Tropics also has a unique living heritage with 18 Aboriginal tribal groups whose connections to the World Heritage Area date back more than 60,000 years, making them the oldest rainforest cultures in the world. Join a tour with an Aboriginal guide for an insight into the Indigenous history, culture and spirituality of the region. The Bama Way, between Port Douglas and Cooktown, follows ancient Aboriginal story-lines through the rainforest.
Explore Australia's more recent history at Cape Tribulation, where Lt. James Cook struck the reef off the coast in 1770. Both this natural landmark and Cooktown are named in memory of these events.
The Wet Tropics is home to Queensland's two highest peaks, Bartle Frere (1622 metres) and Bellenden Ker (1593 metres). You can also strap on your hiking boots and trek the 32 kilometre-long Thorsborne Trail on Hinchinbrook Island as it snakes its way through the tropical wilderness and along spectacular ocean beaches. The four trails that make up the 130 kilometres of the Misty Mountain wilderness walking track network in the Tablelands can be challenging, but the rewards are pristine forests and breathtaking views, and there are plenty of relaxed trails to explore if that's more your style.
Waterfalls and wild rivers are also an important part of this landscape. Wonder at Wallaman Falls, Australia's highest single drop waterfall in Girringun National Park. Witness the picturesque Millaa Millaa and Josephine Falls on the Waterfall Circuit in summer. Explore the walking trails, waterfalls and swimming holes of spectacular Mossman Gorge. Take a cruise on the Daintree River, which teems with birdlife and crocodiles. Go white-water rafting on the Tully River. Spend some time exploring the pristine beaches and islands, such as Magnetic Island off the coast from Townsville.
The Wet Tropics is also a bird watchers heaven with more than 200 species of birds and native Australian wildlife to be found at Hasties Swamp, Mareeba and the Tyto Wetlands.