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The Best of Australia’s Ancient Rainforests

We’ve lucked in when it comes to rainforests.

Australia is awash with the magnificent sight of lush greenery.

Some of it is so special that it earns World Heritage-listed status.

Better yet, it’s sprinkled across much of the country.

And to top it all off, a load of this sprawling rainforest is easily accessible and leads to myriad memorable experiences.

We’ve dug up some of many highlights…

Buckle up, we're in for an epic journey. Location: east coast region, TAS. Credit: Jason Charles Hill.

Rainforests in Queensland

The Sunshine State is also the rainforest state. Swathes of vibrant vegetation can be found from top to bottom.

Springbrook National Park is a crowd favourite. More below. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Wet Tropics of Queensland

This mammoth World Heritage-listed area hoards a wealth of tropical rainforest that stretches roughly 450km from Townsville to Cooktown. It encompasses the Daintree Rainforest as well as popular national parks. Highlights include:

The Daintree dazzles. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Daintree Rainforest

The Daintree is a national icon. It’s home to the oldest tropical rainforest on earth, estimated to be about 130 million years old. It’s also Australia’s largest rainforest, incorporating an area roughly 1200 sq km, and supports a staggering selection of animal and bird life.

Daintree National Park

Part of the wider Daintree Rainforest is this much-loved national park. It’s notable for its two distinct sections – Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation – and invites ample exploration by boat, car, or on horseback or foot. Start your bucket-list adventures at the Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre.

Explore from: BIG4 Port DouglasBIG4 Ingenia CairnsTasman - Cairns Cool Waters or BIG4 Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park.

Embrace the cultural experiences at Daintree National Park. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Barron Gorge National Park

Lush rainforest explodes within these boundaries. It’s best viewed aboard the famous Kuranda Scenic Railway, which travels through the park as it links with Cairns. Or witness it from great heights on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. The expansive greenery competes for the eyes’ attention along with the park’s namesake, Barron Gorge, as well as mighty Barron Falls. It all begins 20km northwest of Cairns.

Explore from: BIG4 Ingenia CairnsTasman - Cairns Cool Waters or BIG4 Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park.

Girringun National Park

While there’s opportunity galore to gaze at rainforest in this epic area, the greenery is overshadowed by the presence of Wallaman Falls. With a plunge of 268m, it’s regarded as Australia’s highest permanent single-drop waterfall. Girringun is 160km northwest of Townsville.

Explore from: Tasman – Rowes BayBIG4 Townsville GatewayBIG4 Ingenia Townsville or BIG4 Eco Resort Townsville.

Move over, rainforest. It's all about Wallaman Falls at Girringun. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Paluma Range National Park

The southern gateway to the Wet Tropics, Paluma has two notable attractions on theme. These are rainforest-cloaked Mt Spec, 60km north of Townsville, and rainforest-fringed Jourama Falls, 90km north. The duo combines with a bounty of other goodies.

Explore from: Tasman – Rowes BayBIG4 Townsville GatewayBIG4 Ingenia Townsville or BIG4 Eco Resort Townsville.

Wooroonooran National Park

Marvel at rainforest with ease within these sprawling surrounds. The essential experience is a stroll along the Mamu Tropical Skywalk. It features elevated walkways, a cantilever, and an observation tower, allowing for incredible views of the greenery from all angles. The skywalk is 30km southwest of Innisfail.

Explore from: BIG4 Innisfail or BIG4 Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park.

Essential experience: Mamu Tropical Skywalk. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Gondwana Rainforests of Australia

Incorporating large chunks of southeast Queensland and spilling into northeast NSW, this space is another to earn World Heritage status. It houses an extraordinary amount of subtropical rainforest, warm temperate rainforest, and the bulk of the world's Antarctic beech cool temperature rainforest. The Gold Coast hinterland is a key area to note on the Queensland side where a handful of national parks steal much attention:

Tamborine National Park epitomises the extreme beauty of the Gold Coast hinterland. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Lamington National Park

Rainforest dominates the landscape with loads of walking tracks and lookouts to admire it all, but it’s not the only element in abundance here. Lamington is home to 500-plus waterfalls that are equally breathtaking among much more. The park is 45km southwest of the Gold Coast.

Explore from: BIG4 Gold CoastNRMA Treasure Island or BIG4 Tweed Billabong in Tweed Heads.

Springbrook National Park

Encounter more gripping greenery with ease along with further falls synonymous with the area. The walk to Natural Bridge is a highlight. Springbrook is 45km southwest of the Gold Coast.

A pearler: Purling Brook Falls in Springbrook. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Tamborine National Park

The rainforest and waterfalls keep coming, joined by basalt columns, rocky outcrops, and more treasure. The 1km-long Curtis Falls track is a solid choice for scenic strolls. Tamborine is 45km northwest of the Gold Coast.

Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

Deep in the Gold Coast hinterland is this outstanding attraction. It showcases a sea of green from all angles and is headlined by a cantilever bridge that extends 30m above the rainforest below. The skywalk is 45km northwest of the Gold Coast.

Star attraction: Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

K'gari/Fraser Island

Another spot with World Heritage recognition – despite what it might seem, this distinction isn’t handed out willy-nilly – K'gari showcases the unique sight of towering ancient rainforest emerging from the sand. It is a truly magnificent spectacle and is joined by a vast assortment of other natural goodies. Reach K'gari via ferry from River Heads, 25km south of Hervey Bay.

Explore from: BIG4 Hervey BayIngenia Holidays Hervey BayTasman - Fraser Coast or Tasman - Torquay Palms​​​​​​​.

K'gari adds rainforest to its massive list of visual treats. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Eungella National Park

Subtropical and tropical rainforest is in spades throughout Eungella, backed by gorges, waterfalls, rock pools, and a wide variety of bird species and animals. Finch Hatton Gorge is a must-visit, while platypuses can be spied from a dedicated viewing platform at Broken River – with an ounce of luck! Eungella is 80km west of Mackay.

Explore from: BIG4 Mackay or Cape Hillsborough Nature Tourist Park.

Finch Hatton Gorge is a headliner within Eungella. Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Rainforests in NSW

The state delivers a rich diversity of rainforests with ample scope to get among it.

Prepare for almighty views of rainforest and more in NSW. Location: Dorrigo National Park. Credit: Destination NSW.

Gondwana Rainforests of Australia

As mentioned above, this huge area straddles the NSW/QLD border. On the NSW side, the Gondwana Rainforests extend as far south as Newcastle or thereabouts. A host of national parks present the ideal means to unearth this ancient greenery. They include:

Barrington Tops National Park

Expansive tracts of rainforest burst from Barrington Tops along with volcanic flows, wildlife galore, and more. Immerse yourself in the green-filled scenery along the 2.5km looping Antarctic Beech Forest walking track. The park is 105km northwest of Bulahdelah.

Explore from: BIG4 River Myall in Bulahdelah or BIG4 Happy Hallidays in Hallidays Point.

Mystical: Barrington Tops. Credit: Destination NSW.

Border Ranges National Park

Rainforest carpets the landscape, admired effortlessly along a network of variable walking paths. The 0.6km return Pinnacle walk is a comfortable climb with 360-degree views from a lookout that take in Wollumbin/Mt Warning. Alternatively, the 1.5km-long Border Loop walk is a pretty path. Border Ranges is 70km north of Casino.

Explore from: BIG4 Casino.

Dorrigo National Park

Roughly 65km southwest of Coffs Harbour, Dorrigo is a popular pick for rainforest foraging. Start at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre and step onto its adjoining Skywalk lookout, which offers mesmerising views from a vantage point 20m above the surrounding vegetation. Or follow the 4.4km return Crystal Shower Falls walk, which leads to the dazzling sight of this water wonder.

Explore from: BIG4 Park BeachBIG4 Sawtell Beach or NRMA Darlington Beach in the Coffs Harbour region.

The Skywalk affords outstanding views. Credit: Destination NSW.

New England National Park

It’s a case of choose your walking track to marvel at these rainforest-cloaked surrounds. The 5.5km Lyrebird walking track and the 5.7km Cascades walking track are both looping paths that bathe the eyes in greenery. Or simply head to Point lookout for pretty panoramas, reached 200m from a nearby carpark. New England is 70km northwest of Nambucca Heads or a similar distance south of Coffs Harbour.

Explore from: Valla Beach Holiday ParkTasman – Nambucca Heads or Ingenia White Albatross in Nambucca Heads or BIG4 Park BeachBIG4 Sawtell Beach or NRMA Darlington Beach in the Coffs Harbour region.

Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

Alongside rows of rainforest are gigantic gorges, flowing rivers, and even various historical features that ensure a visit is rich with rewards. Although we’re spruiking rainforest, the headliners in these parts are the waterfalls. They include Wollomombi Falls, which plunge from a height of 220m to rank as the state’s highest. The park is 100km northwest of Port Macquarie, 110km east of Tamworth, or 150km southeast of Armidale.

Explore from: Ingenia Bonny HillsLeisure Tourist Park or Jacaranda Holiday Park in Port Macquarie, BIG4 Paradise Tamworth or City Lights Holiday Park in Tamworth, or BIG4 Armidale.

Oxley Wild Rivers has ample appeal beyond its patches of rainforest. Credit: Destination NSW.

Tooloom National Park

Subtropical rainforest jostles for attention alongside a wide assortment of other plant life, creating a solid mix of landscapes to please the eyes. The 1km Tooloom walking track is a signature path that leads into the rich rainforest. Tooloom is 80km southeast of Warwick or 105km northwest of Casino.

Explore from: BIG4 Freedom Lifestyle Warwick or BIG4 Casino.

A highlight: Tooloom National Park. Credit: Destination NSW.

Minnamurra Rainforest Centre

Elsewhere, the South Coast NSW region showcases subtropical, dry, riparian, and temperate rainforest around this excellent attraction. Found within Budderoo National Park, it features a series of elevated walkways complete with suspension bridges and dedicated viewing decks. The 1.6km Lyrebird loop walk is a family favourite and the 4.2km return Minnamurra Falls walk delivers strong visual rewards. The centre is 15km west of Kiama.

Explore from: BIG4 Easts Beach in Kiama.

Minnamurra Falls are must-visit material. Credit: Destination NSW.

Sea Acres National Park

Just 5km south of Port Macquarie’s heart, Sea Acres protects a valuable pocket of coastal rainforest easily viewed along an elevated boardwalk. A rainforest centre reveals more, and guided tours detail the strong Indigenous connection to these surrounds.

Explore from: Ingenia Bonny HillsLeisure Tourist Park or Jacaranda Holiday Park.

See the sights in Sea Acres. Credit: Destination NSW.

Rainforests in Victoria

The state is cloaked in rainforest from east to west. Several national parks stand out as prime places to discover green-filled landscapes. 

Green greatness: Great Otway National Park.

Great Otway National Park

Gorgeous fern gullies dominate these surrounds, which fringe the famous Great Ocean Road. There are walking tracks galore, several leading to a cluster of waterfalls that adds to the area’s mystique. Melba Gully contains some of the densest rainforest in these parts: Follow the looping 1.5km Madsens Track Nature Walk from the picnic area to admire it all.

Explore from: BIG4 parks in the Great Ocean Road region.

Erskine Falls is one of many flowing features to admire in Great Otway.

Mitchell River National Park

This is among a handful of Gippsland national parks awash with rainforest. It’s also home to river gorges and other spectacular landscapes. A highlight is the Den of Nargun loop walk, a 3.4km return path that leads to a cave of deep cultural significance to the Gunaikurnai people. The park is 85km northwest of Lakes Entrance.

Explore from: BIG4 Waters EdgeBIG4 Whiters or NRMA Eastern Beach in Lakes Entrance.

There are walks for young and old at Mitchell River. Credit: Jessica Shapiro.

Tarra Bulga National Park

Tarra Bulga is another Gippsland national park to add to the itinerary, highly prized for its cool temperate rainforest and associated fern gullies as well as mountain ash forests. A standout experience is a stroll along Corrigan’s Suspension Bridge, which extends through the rainforest canopy and dishes up breath-stealing views. Tarra Bulga is 30km south of Traralgon.

Explore from: BIG4 Traralgon.

Step foot on Corrigan’s Suspension Bridge for a memorable experience.

Wilsons Promontory National Park

More Gippsland greenery oozes from this crowd-favourite park. Join the beautifully named Lilly Pilly Gully Nature Walk (5.2km return) to admire warm temperate forest and a feast of wildlife. In fact, this coastal park has tons to explore, including brilliant beaches, granite peaks, and sand dunes.

Explore from: Wilsons Prom Holiday Park, BIG4 Ingenia Inverloch or Ingenia Holidays Inverloch Foreshore.

Wilsons Prom has tons to explore.

Dandenong Ranges National Park

Cool temperate rainforest abounds within this picturesque area, a popular playground for Melburnians. It teems with highlights that include Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden and nearby Sherbrooke Falls, the popular 1000 Steps walk, Olinda Falls, and sculpture-scattered William Ricketts Sanctuary.

Explore from: BIG4 Dandenong, BIG4 Melbourne, or BIG4 Yarra Valley in Healesville.

Enchanting: Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden.

Yarra Ranges National Park

The scenery is truly divine in this neck of the woods, which is filled with cool temperate rainforest, tree ferns, and towering mountain ash and ancient myrtle beech trees. Key experiences include walking on the Rainforest Gallery elevated platform, accessible from Warburton, and winding along the Black Spur Drive, which stretches almost 30km from Healesville to Narbethong.

Explore from: BIG4 Yarra Valley in Healesville.

An iconic road: The Black Spur Drive.

Rainforests in TAS

The Apple Isle is a nature lover’s dream destination. Not surprisingly, the treasure includes radiant rainforests.

There are rainforests galore in Tassie. Pictured: Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Credit: Stu Gibson.

Tasmanian Wilderness

This World Heritage area covers a mammoth 1 million ha of which an estimated 40% is rainforest. UNESCO rates it for its possession of ‘one of the last expanses of temperate rainforest in the world’.

Several prominent national parks are protected in this area and showcase this important plant life. They include:

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

Ancient rainforest is just one of a litany of landscapes that bedazzle visitors. The Enchanted Walk is a 1.1km circuit that provides a great introduction to the area’s greenery and is every bit deserving of its name. The park’s visitor centre is 70km south of Ulverstone.

Explore from: BIG4 Ulverstone or BIG4 Stanley.

Get to Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair. Credit: Emilie Ristevski.

Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

This epic park swims in lush rainforest, which combines with cascading beauties that include almighty Nelson Falls. The signature attraction in these parts is a cruise along the Gordon River, which is fringed throughout by rainforest. Cruises depart from Strahan.

Explore from: BIG4 Strahan.

Southwest National Park

The rugged, isolated park sits at the bottom of Tasmania and herds the state’s largest expanse of wilderness. Admire cool temperate rainforest on the 1km return Creepy Crawly Nature Trail, a winding, boardwalk path. Southwest is reached about 120km south of Hobart.

Explore from: BIG4 Hobart.

Boardwalk beauty: The Creepy Crawly Nature Trail. Credit: Stu Gibson.

takayna/Tarkine Rainforest

Planted in the northwest corner of Tasmania and hoarding almost 450,000ha, takayna is home to the southern hemisphere’s largest tracts of cool temperate rainforest. A couple of key areas are:

Green machine: takayna is simply splendid. Credit: Rob Mulally.

Savage River National Park

Look, we’ll be honest. As magnificent as this area is, it’s close to untouchable. Limited access is available by 4WD.

Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area

Occupying territory near the top of the state’s northwest corner, this space is stuffed with eye-popping scenery. Rainforest vies for attention alongside dramatic coastline, lichen-covered rocks, sand dunes, rivers, and more. It’s an area steeped in Indigenous history, too.

Kayaking along the Pieman River tempts in takayna. Credit: Jess Bonde.

Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails

On the east coast, this area is coveted by mountain bike riders. A whopping 125km of purpose-built trails wind around spectacular scenery that includes temperate rainforest. The trails are roughly 65km northwest of St Helens.

Explore from: BIG4 St Helens or Tasman Holiday Parks - St Helens.

Rainforest rides: Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails. Credit: Jason Charles Hill.

Rainforests in NT

NT’s most iconic national parks are home to a mountain of spectacular landscapes both delightful and diverse. Rainforest is among the sensational scenery. 

Monsoon rainforest adds to Kakadu's mixed bag of goodies. Credit: Tourism NT/@helloemilie.

Kakadu National Park

Spots of monsoon rainforest – as well as monsoon forest – are found within this World Heritage-listed park. It’s best spotted on one of many scenic walking tracks that include:

Explore from: Breeze Holiday Parks – Mary River or BIG4 Hidden Valley and BIG4 Howard Springs in Darwin.

Walks within Kakadu deliver stunning sights. Credit: Tourism NT/Sean Scott.

Litchfield National Park

This gem is sprinkled with more monsoonal rainforest. Sections of it surround some of Litchfield’s most prized assets, which can be reached via various walks. Essential sights include:

Explore from: BIG4 Hidden Valley or BIG4 Howard Springs.

Sensational swims: Florence Falls. Credit: Tourism NT/@helloemilie.

Rainforests in WA

The northern reaches of WA aren’t just bathed in rugged, rocky landscapes…

Kimberley region

Although this mammoth area in the state’s north is better associated with funky formations, towering gorges, red earth, and stunning coastline, there is another drawcard.

Upwards of 1500 patches of monsoon rainforest are dotted around the Kimberley, often providing an important refuge to various animal and bird species. 

Explore from: Lily Lagoon Resort in Kununurra.

It's not all about the funky formations in the Kimberley. Pictured: Bungle Bungle Range. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.

Mitchell River National Park

Spotted 500km northwest of Kununurra, this beauty hoards small pockets of rainforest among a truckload of spellbinding scenery.

Mitchell River National Park is overflowing with eye candy. Credit: Tourism Western Australia.

Rainforests in SA

SA doesn’t really do rainforests, but there is an attention-grabbing attraction that’s on theme…

Bicentennial Conservatory, Adelaide

With its spaceship-like design, the Bicentennial Conservatory stands out among the picturesque surrounds of the CBD-fringing Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

Built in 1988, this is the southern hemisphere’s largest single-span conservatory: 100m long, 47m wide, and 27m high.

Inside, visitors can marvel at various lowland rainforest plants from northern Australia and overseas via various vantage points. Many of the featured plants are endangered in their natural habitats.

Explore from: BIG4 West BeachThe Retreat at West Beach Parks or Marion Holiday Park in Adelaide.

Humongous: The Bicentennial Conservatory.

Can’t see the forest for the trees? Then you probably need a BIG4 break! It starts here.

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