The best of Australia’s ancient rainforests

Australia. We certainly lucked in when it comes to rainforests. Our country is awash with the magnificent sight of this lush greenery.

Heck, much of it is so special that it earns World Heritage-listed status. Then, some of it is so ancient it remembers a time when Australian television screens exclusively displayed footage in black and white.

Conveniently, large swathes of Australia’s sprawling rainforest is easily accessible. And to top it all off, this rainforest is even generous enough to spread itself all over the country.

Without further ado, it’s time to uncover Australia’s ancient rainforests…

Waterfall in Lamington National Park, in Queensland


You can trek through all five climatic types of rainforest in Queensland.

In north Queensland, the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics includes Kuranda Rainforest and the Daintree – the oldest tropical rainforest on earth.

Accessible from Cairns, Port Douglas, Cape Tribulation and Cooktown, the Daintree is home to an incredible array of plants and animals. Cruise the Daintree River, taste bush tucker with an Aboriginal guide, or sleep in a tree-top eco-lodge.

In the Gold Coast hinterland, Lamington and Springbrook national parks have sub-tropical and cool temperate rainforests dating back to the supercontinent of Gondwana. Explore them on day hikes, or take the Great Gold Coast Hinterland Walk.

Russell Falls, in Tasmania


Tasmania is home to Australia’s largest swathes of cool temperate rainforest, most of it protected as part of the island’s World Heritage-listed Wilderness.

These cool, dark, and magical places support a rich array of life, including species found nowhere else on earth.

Trek the Overland Track through ancient forests of King Billy Pine in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. Or get up close to moss-covered Gondwanan on the Creepy Crawly Nature Trail in Southwest National Park.

Glimpse rare Huon pines on the Franklin River Nature Trail through Wild Rivers National Park. Or explore the rainforest around Liffey Falls at the northern edge of the World Heritage Area, roughly an hour’s drive from both Launceston and Devonport.

Mount Warning, in New South Wales.

New South Wales

The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia spill across 50 separate parks in northern New South Wales and south-east Queensland.

Accessible from Byron Bay, this vast World Heritage-listed area embraces the planet’s largest subtropical rainforest, along with warm and cool temperate rainforest types. 

Bushwalk through the rainforest in Nightcap, Mount Warning, or Border Ranges national parks, which all flank the ancient, eroded volcano of Mount Warning Wollumbin in the Northern Rivers region. 

Listen for the call of the rare Albert’s Lyrebird, picnic among Antarctic beech forest, spot native marsupials, or take a scenic rainforest drive.

There are also rainforest pockets in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains near Sydney, in Budderoo National Park in the Southern Highlands, and Myall Lakes National Park, north of Port Stephens.

Kakadu National Park, in the Northern Territory.

Northern Territory 

The south of World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park is dotted with monsoon rainforest. Explore it on the walk to spectacular Jim Falls, which drops more than 250m to deep, cool plunge pools. Follow the Gubarra Pools walk or take the Gu-ngarre Walk through savannah woodlands to the edge of a billabong.

This Northern Territory national park is also famous for its lily-dotted wetlands, rich wildlife, and treasure trove of Aboriginal rock art. Cruise the rivers past crocodiles, barramundi, and birds, see rock crevices cut by Dreamtime ancestors, or take a scenic flight over Kakadu’s waterfalls and rugged escarpments.

Rainforest on the Great Ocean Road, in Victoria.


Victoria’s cool temperate rainforest survives in small patches across Gippsland and the Dandenong, Yarra and Otway Ranges.

In Gippsland, you can take rainforest walks through Tarra Bulga National Park and Morwell National Park, or wind through scented sassafras and black olive berry in Errinundra Saddle.

Walk through the tops of towering mountain ash trees in Yarra Ranges National Park, an hour’s drive from Melbourne and bordering the famous Yarra Valley wine region.

Or hop off the Great Ocean Road to explore the lush, green world of Great Otway National Park. The Melba Gully Boardwalk leads you past cool myrtle beeches, moss-covered blackwoods, and tree ferns.

The Western Australian coastline, surrounded by forest.

Western Australia

You might only associate the Kimberley with its outback landscapes, but in fact it has more than a thousand spots of dry rainforest.

Scattered across sheltered valleys and high-rainfall coastal areas, these pockets support some 300 species of plants, most of which are found nowhere else.

They also provide refuge to declining wildlife species, including some birds and snakes and the endangered scaly-tailed possum.

Look out for relict vine thicket and rainforest around the pools and springs along the Gibb River Road in the northern Kimberley.

Mitchell River National Park has patches of rainforest dotted throughout, which hold unique plant life compared to the surrounding savannah.


What’s your favourite Australian rainforest? Or which one is on your must-explore list?

Isn’t it time you hit the great outdoors? Book your next BIG4 break now.

Immerse yourself in Australia’s ancient rainforests’ originally appeared on

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