Travel Guide: The Australian Rainforests (Dorrigo, Daintree, Border Range)

guide, hiking, rainforest, tips, travel -

Travel Guide: The Australian Rainforests (Dorrigo, Daintree, Border Range)

Dorrigo Rainforest

Dorrigo rainforest is situated approximately 580km north of Sydney in New South Wales. Renowned for its picturesque waterfalls and coastal plains, Dorrigo has been one of Australia’s best-loved rainforests for many years.


Dorrigo Rainforest has been used by humans since early European settlers landed in the area. It was predominantly used for timber getting (mostly hoop pine and red cedar). Later on much of the area was cleared for agricultural use.

In 1976 the area officially became Dorrigo National Park and was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1986.

Since then Dorrigo Rainforest has become one of Australia’s leading tourist attractions.

Flora and Fauna:

Dorrigo Rainforest is in the NSW North Coast bioregion and has a wide range of native flora and fauna, some of which is only found in this region.

Some of the native flora you can find across the rainforest include:

  • Flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius);
  • Guioa (Guioa semiglauca);
  • Strangler fig (Ficus watkinsiania);
  • Tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys); and
  • Lemon scented tea-tree (Leptospermum petersonii).

You can also find many species of invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds within the rainforest, including:

  • Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor);
  • Red-legged pademelons (Thylogale stigmatica);
  • Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus);
  • Brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa); and
  • Wompoo fruit-dove (Ptilinopus magnificus).

Tips for Exploring:

  • The best time to visit Dorrigo is during the spring when the climate is mild and dry;
  • Be sure to start at the Visitor Centre where you can find information on walking trails and more.



Daintree Rainforest

Daintree is the largest area of rainforest on the Australian mainland at over 1200 sq km in size. It is on the tropical northern coast of Queensland.


Daintree Rainforest is one of the world’s best examples of Earth’s evolutionary history and is listed on the World Heritage List.

The flora and fauna in the rainforest clearly demonstrate the eight stages in Earth’s evolutionary history, including the Age of the Pteridophytes, the final break-up of Gondwana and the effects of the Pleistocene glacial periods on tropical rainforests.

Daintree is the world’s oldest, continually surviving rainforest.

Flora and Fauna:

Daintree Rainforest is home to over 30% of frog, marsupial and reptile species in Australia as well as 65% of its bat and butterfly species and 18% of bird species. Some of the world’s rarest species are found in the forest.

Flora you might find includes:

  • Blush Satinash (Acmena hemilampra);
  • Milky Pine (Alstonia scholaris);
  • King Fern (Angiopteris evecta) ; and
  • Coffee bush (Breynia stiptata).

Fauna found in Daintree includes:

  • Echidna;
  • Platypus;
  • Fawn-Footed Melomys (Melomys cervinipes);
  • Dainty Tree Frogs (Litoria gracilentis); and
  • Lemon-bellied Flycatcher.

Tips for Exploring:

  • The best time to visit is during the dry winter months;
  • You’ll need a car to be able to explore all that Daintree has to offer.



Border Ranges Rainforest

Border Ranges Rainforest, on the border of Queensland and New South Wales, is a World Heritage listed park that sits around the rim of an ancient volcano.


The history of Border Ranges dates back to over 43 million years ago when the area was just a swampy basin. Through erosion, plate tectonics and sedimentary deposits, the landscape slowly became the rainforest we see today.

Border Ranges attracts bushwalkers, birdwatchers, naturalists, geologists and more to its steep escarpments, breathtaking waterfalls and diverse rainforest.

Flora and Fauna:

Within the park there are several types of rainforest: cool temperate, warm temperate, dry and subtropical – attracting a diverse range of flora and fauna in a small area.

Some of the common flora you will find includes:

  • Antarctic beech;
  • Bangalow palms;
  • Red Cedar trees; and
  • Giant hoop pines.

Fauna you might find includes:

  • Green catbird;
  • Rufous scrub-bird;
  • Albert’s lyrebird; and
  • Hip pocket frog.

Tips for Exploring:

  • The park is at its best during wet months, however the dry months can be more pleasant;
  • Bring your own firewood if you plan on camping.