If you’re visiting Cairns, it’s likely there are two World Heritage sites that brought you here – one being the Great Barrier Reef and the other being the Wet Tropics World Heritage Rainforest – often referred to as the Daintree Rainforest or the rainforest in Cairns. The Cairns rainforest truly is incredible – surviving for over 130 million years, outlasting major world altering events like the dinosaur extinction and ice ages. It fulfils all four criterion to be World Heritage listed, is home to plants found no where else in the world and provides scientists with a window back in time – to see how the world once was and has evolved over millions of years. It’s fair to say the Cairns rainforest is a spectacular place and there are so many ways you can experience it on your Cairns holiday. Read on to discover how to experience the Cairns rainforest.
Suggested read: 101 things to do in Cairns.
1. Back Country Bliss Adventures
One of the best ways to experience the Cairns rainforest is with Back Country Bliss Adventures on their River Drift Snorkelling tour. This is a unique experience where you will be zipped into a wet suit, given a raft and will get to float and explore the Mossman River over the course of a half-day.
2. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Another popular Cairns rainforest experience is the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Situated between Cairns and Kuranda this cable car enables you to explore parts of otherwise inaccessible rainforest as you skim the canopy and explore at two especially designed rainforest stops (Red Peak and Barron Falls station). Skyrail can be turned into an iconic day out by visiting the eclectic Kuranda Village and combining your Cairns rainforest experience with the Kuranda Scenic Railway (more on this below). A local’s tip: Visit Skyrail Rainforest Cableway on a rainy, misty day as this truly makes the rainforest come alive. You can read more here: The best photo spots at Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.
3. Kuranda Scenic Railway
As mentioned above, a popular Cairns rainforest experience is to combine the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway with the Kuranda Scenic Railway. This railway tracks meanders its way between Kuranda and Cairns, as you sit back and enjoy weaving through the rainforest along the mountainside. It is common to experience Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for one portion of your journey and the Kuranda Scenic Railway for your other – the order you do this is up to you!
4. Mamu Tropical Skywalk
For those interested in exploring the rainforest south of Cairns, you need to put Mamu Tropical Skywalk on your list! Found on the Palmerston Highway near Innisfail, spend an hour or so walking along the rainforest floor footpath, elevated pathways, cantilever and observation tower to gain a different perspective of each layer of the Cairns rainforest. You can find out more about the experience here: Exploring the rainforest canopy with Mamu Tropical Skywalk.
5. The many Cairns rainforest waterfalls
It’s safe to say that Cairns has a LOT of rainforest waterfalls. From Josephine Falls and Babinda Boulders down south, Millaa Millaa Falls and Ellinjaa Falls on the Atherton Tablelands, Stoney Creek, Isabella Falls and Fairy Falls near to town, you are certainly spoiled for choice. If you’re visiting Cairns in the wet season, try and capture Barron Falls in flood. It’s an experience you’ll never forget. Find out how: How to see Barron Falls in flood.
6. Mossman Gorge
Often referred to as the heart of the Daintree, Mossman Gorge is one of the most beautiful Cairns rainforest experiences. Marvel at the emerald green rock pools before joining a Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk hosted by Mossman Gorge. Here you’ll uncover the connection the Kuku Yalanji people have with this ancient tropical rainforest, while learning about traditional plant use and identifying rainforest food. You can visit Mossman Gorge by yourself or as a part of the Back Country Bliss Adventures’ Mossman Gorge Adventure Day tour. Suggested read: Your Cairns to Port Douglas itinerary.
7. Daintree Discovery Centre
Ready to uncover the history of Cairns tropical rainforest? You’ll want to put the Daintree Discovery Centre to the top of your list. Found not too far from the Daintree River, you can spend a few hours wandering the rainforest paths, elevated boardwalks and towers to view the Daintree from all levels. The Daintree Discovery Centre is particularly popular with families and children where you can combine the education of learning about the ancient tropical rainforest with the fun of exploring the canopy and even interacting with robotic dinosaurs!
8. A Daintree Tour
If you’re short on time but want to see a lot, it’s highly worth exploring the Cairns rainforest by tour. There are many tours that operate out of Cairns that include reef, rainforest and waterfalls. It is a great way to see the main sights while also not having to worry about transport or fussing about timing.
Please Note: This blog was created as a result of partnership with certain companies mentioned. For more information on my disclaimer and how you can work with me see: Work With Me.
If you are interested in this, you may also be interested in:
- 101 things to do in Cairns
- Your Cairns to Port Douglas itinerary
- Places in the Daintree you must visit
- The best photo spots at Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
- The best easy day trips from Cairns
- 5 Cairns bucket list items to tick off
- Exploring the rainforest canopy with Mamu Tropical Skywalk
- How to get to Glacier Rock: The ultimate guide
- The best places to drone in Cairns