Wet, green, and laden with some of the world’s most bio diverse wildlife, the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is the oldest rainforest on Earth. Amongst these marshes filled with saltwater crocodiles and valleys punctuated by waterfalls, are species of plants that have existed since Australia and Antarctica were joined one. Thanks to the exceptionally harsh terrain, parts of the area are completely untouched by outside human development, and the ecosystem exists in much the same way as it has for 100 million years. Nevertheless, despite the remote and rugged nature of this vast swath of forest, there are still a few places where visitors can experience its wealth of natural beauty. In the heart of the Daintree River Valley, tour the rainforest as it runs right up to meet the Great Barrier Reef, or soar through trees at Cape Tribulation on a jungle canopy tour. In the sultry innards of Girrungan National Park, you can glimpse the power of Wallaman Falls—the highest waterfall in Australia—before setting out on a five-day trek on the Wet Tropics Great Walk. In total, the heritage area is approximately three times the size of the state of Rhode Island, and encompasses 19 national parks and hundreds of miles of hiking trails. It’s a place of adventure, a place of silence, and filled with fascinating wildlife, and a spot that every visitor should experience in Queensland’s tropical north.
The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area spans over 2.2 million acres from just north of Townsville to just south of Cooktown. Driving time between the two cities is just short of eight hours. On average, December-March is rainy and hot, with August-November usually being the most comfortable time to visit.