Family | Adventure 16 January 2017

Tick Off Two World Heritage-Listed Natural Wonders In One Idyllic Location

As a destination the relaxed coastal town of Port Douglas offers what’s arguably an unbeatable two-for-one offer for travellers. This Far North Queensland destination is the only place in the world where two World Heritage listed sites meet.

Eager travelers can easily explore the natural wonders of both the magnificent Great Barrier Reef and the lush green Daintree Rainforest during their visit to this chilled out town an hour’s drive north of Cairns.

What’s special about the Daintree Rainforest?

Home to the world’s oldest living rainforest, the nearly 900,000 hectares of the Daintree National Park feature a vast biodiversity of flora and fauna, some that are entirely unique to the area. This lush green rainforest is extra special as the ecosystem is much more complicated than any other rainforest in the world, making it super unique.

Lush green Daintree Cape Tribulation with scenic views of blue waters of the sea

The forest itself is estimated to be 180 million years old, which is 10 million years older than the Amazon. Within the Daintree you can find more than 920 species of tree, more than 130 types of reptile, and the elusive and dangerous Cassowary. There is only a small population left of this massive prehistoric-looking flightless dinosaur bird in the wild. They can reach up to two metres in height and while spotting one in the wild is a trip highlight, it’s best to keep your distance!

Wildlife spotting Cassowary living within the Daintree Rainforest

How to explore the Daintree Rainforest

The Daintree Rainforest starts just an hour’s drive north of the region’s gateway city of Cairns. A 95km long forest, it begins at Mossman Gorge, traverses the Daintree River, through Daintree National Park up to Cape Tribulation and along the Bloomfield Track northwards to Cooktown.

The best way to explore the forest is with a guide who can also reveal deeper cultural insights, sharing knowledge and stories from the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people, the traditional owners of the land. Get lost deep in this magnificent forest with Tony’s Tropical Tours or Back Country Bliss.

Tourists get lost deep in the magnificent lush greens Daintree Rainforest

Get to know the Great Barrier Reef

The iconic Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system and one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth. Made of more than 2,500 individual coral reefs and more than 900 islands and coral cays, this interconnected underwater network is a haven for an incredible range of marine life – including 30 types of whales and dolphins. 

One of the planet's most extraordinary natural wonders, some 9,000 known species call the Great Barrier Reef home including 1,500 types of fish. Naturally, once you dive beneath the ocean’s surface with the help of a snorkel or diving instructor you’ll be on the lookout for Nemo the clownfish and his friends. You’re guaranteed to see colourful coral, tropical reef fish and plenty of curious sights, and if you're lucky you’ll also spot turtles, dugongs and maybe even dolphins.

Port Douglas is the closest and most convenient departure point with over a dozen tours departing each day to the outer reef areas of the vast 2,600km reef region.

Surfers dive deep the Great Barrier Reef, with colourful coral, tropical reef fish and plenty of curious species living beneath the waters

How to explore the Great Barrier Reef

While you can see the reef from outer space, the best way to experience it is up close with a tour that takes you from the coast to the corals. The most popular option is to pop on a snorkel and dive right into this marine wonderland.

Alternatively, pick a ‘stay dry’ option including viewing the mesmerising colours and variety of coral, plant and marine life aboard a semi-submersible boat with huge underwater windows. Explore your options with Quicksilver Cruises.

Nemo Clown Fish living in the corals of Great Barrier Reef

Where to stay in Port Douglas

As each day of exploration comes to a close, return to the relaxing comfort of your room at Oaks Lagoons and enjoy time soaking in one of six lagoon-style pools and a massage room.