Don’t Miss This! Daintree Discovery Centre, Queensland

Looking 23 metres down – the Canopy Tower

The Demon Duck of Doom (Dromornis stirtoni) at the Daintree Discovery Centre is unlikely to cause panic unless you’re of a particularly nervous disposition. That’s because it’s a metal cutout, the real life version having been extinct since the late Miocene period.

Likewise, the Giant Ripper (by name AND nature) Lizard (Megaliania prisca) – facing down this venomous vertebrate (up to seven metres long) with bacteria-laced saliva as its weapon of choice is child’s play. It’s just a cut-out too, as it became extinct around the time the first Aboriginals arrived. The closest you’ll get to it today is the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis), less than half the size at a mere three metres. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your point of view), the nearest wild specimen is many miles away in Indonesia.
Above the canopy – 1998

But what’s a few megafauna between friends when a much more highly developed and dangerous animal roams the walkways and forest floors of the Discovery Centre?



The Daintree River – 1998



At it’s most hazardous AND scary, this creature can be found atop the 23 metre (76 feet) Canopy Tower, dropping objects both natural and foreign through the trees to the forest floor below. Yes, Homo sapiens can be particularly frightening in its immature form – and a spitwad becomes a force to be reckoned with when dropped from a great height …

Over the crocodile-infested Daintree river, the ‘challenging’ main road winds through the magnificent World Heritage listed Wet Tropics rainforest that the founders fell in love with way back in Queensland’s glory days of unbridled development. How the privately owned centre became an award-winning eco-tourism attraction with cutting edge ‘green’ technology since opening in 1988 is a masterclass in prioritising and persistence for apathetic, incompetent and inactive governments … but I digress!



Daintree River Mouth – 1998

 The Canopy Tower cyclone rating no doubt provides relief to nervous climbers – but the climb to the top platform can be shaky even on a calm day when a tour group gallops past, as it did on our July 2010 visit. But … it’s the journey not the destination for those who take the only opportunity in OZ to experience the unique characteristics of each rainforest level. Although the destination is mighty fine too – it’s a different world above the canopy!

As the oldest rainforest in the world – with a high incidence of endemic plants, animals and birds – the Daintree is a valuable scientific resource with secrets still to be discovered. So observing rainforest plants, birds and butterflies up close, with expert commentary provided by audio units along the Daintree Discovery Centre’s aerial walkway, boardwalks and interpretive displays is an Aussie must-do!



From the Canopy Tower – Daintree Discovery Centre

 Especially when coupled with the chance to observe the juvenile Homo sapiens at play, unfettered by parental disapproval or social mores …

PS – Pictures marked 1998 were taken during our first trip to the Daintree. 

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20 comments

  • I had an amazing stay at the Silky Oaks Lodge near the Daintree.

    Check out the travelogue on my travel blog!

  • @NJAMB – Thanx! But it’s easy to be descriptive with such great subject material!!

  • Not Just Another Mother Blogger!

    I just love the descriptive way that you write! And such gorgeous pictures!!!! You’ve made me look more closely at the nature that is around me, but we certainly don’t have the cool signs like you do.

  • @Kath – And safer now it’s been saved from the clutches of the developers in the 80’s! Think QLD premier, Joh B-P!!
    @Betty – Thanx for visiting!
    @PAMO – Hey, I’m a nervous climber too!! I’d even go so far as to say a climber who ISN’T nervous is a fool!!! But maybe I’m just overcompensating … thanx for signing up!!
    @Michelle – Some of my 2010 pix were ruined when the film (yes! film!!) was developed. I compared them to the 1998 ones, and there’s virtually no difference!! The ones not marked 1998 are real 2010 pix. When in 2010 were you there?? How bizarre if we were there at the same time?!

  • Michelle (Confessed Travelholic)

    Ahh I remember going here! I love this place! Wow 1998! I went in 2010 but it still looks pretty similar 🙂

  • The rain forest must be such a glorious place to visit. Seeing the levels sounds exciting even for a nervous homo sapien like me!
    The Komodo Dragon looks fierce.
    I enjoyed my visit as always and got a few laughs to boot.
    I signed up for email updates so maybe now I won’t miss anymore of your wonderful posts!
    Thanks.

  • Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry

    those photos are amazing!

    Australia is such a magical country, interesting flora, fauna, and places to visit as well.
    i really enjoyed that old forest.

    thanks for sharing this interesting post!

    have a great day, wednesday, huh! lol!

    hugs
    betty xx

  • Love the Daintree. One of Australia’s best spots…..

  • @Courtney – well, I aim to please … I guess it won’t come as any surprise that I don’t have kids!!! Lucky them, lucky me!!
    @Marie – yes, I’m a sucker for alliteration … I wonder how much artistic license is in the smile?? And you can take comfort in that your loss made it possible for countless travellers to visit the Daintree!! They’re clearly just not as deserving as you …
    @Andrew, Andrew, Andrew. NEVER say never! Our motto has become ‘we may not pass this way again …’ – with a clear grey nomad bent, although I’m not yet admitting to the grey …
    @Dianne – such a great experience, we climbed it again later that same day to view the afternoon birds!!
    @Windsmoke – For those of us used to the often dry riverbeds of the south, rivers like the Daintree are a revelation!

  • @Ann O’Dyne – Ah, but the DD of Doom sounds thrillingly neanderthal, whereas Elmer and Daffy? More like inadvertently comical!!
    @diane b – I find the idea of megafauna strangely compelling … knowing something that big and dangerous was in the undergrowth might just bring on that double-punch of awe/terror!!
    @Mary – As the dominant colour, the greens are unbelievable! And a brilliant foil for any other colour – butterflies, berries, flowers!
    @Manzanita – according to the skeletons, the megafauna were a fact! OZ is crawling with them – if dead animals can be said to crawl …
    @SFlaGuy – well, come on down!! There are concrete jungles here too – but I’m happy to say that you guys couldn’t learn anything from us about that … would be interesting to compare!!

  • Fantastic photos of above the canopy, my favourite one is The Daintree River Mouth simply breath taking :-).

  • What an experience to have climbed that far – but I’m sure it was well worth the effort! it’s a beautiful area.

  • I have been to Cairns twice and not seen the Daintree. Always leave yourself wanting is my motto but it may mean I have missed it forever.

  • I’m rather liking the sound of the Demon Duck of Doom. It has a certain ring to it and in the photos he has a nice smile. Always a comfort as you are being ripped to shreds 🙂

    I’ve never made it to the Daintree, although some of my hard earned dosh went to building the Pt Douglas Mirage resort before Chris and Pixie did the midnight flit to Majorca with the rest of my money. Does that count?

    It looks just wonderful, even with the rugrats.

  • Courtney Mroch

    OH WOW! How pretty is that? And your sense of humor with the immature homo sapiens being frightful too. (Not to mention the ones dropping things from the bridge thing.) LOL! Neat!

  • The more you post, the more I want to vist. I like to get out of the “Concrete Jungle” of South Florida as much as possible. Looks like you have the real thing in abundance.

  • That climb would be something thrilling to do, even though I might freeze up like a hunk of ice, at any level. A ski chair lift used to be a challenge for me but the older I get, the more I seem to push my insecurities beyond the edge.

    According to Cayce, the prehistoric animals were a fact. Oh well, I’m happy my serious bugaboo animal is my fat puppy.
    Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

  • Yet again, your photos of an adventure are really wonderful. We have a rainforest along the coast in Washington state. They hold enormous appeal for me. The greens are like shimmering velvet. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  • Wow! The oldest rainforest in the world. That’s interesting. I’m glad we wouldn’t have to meet up with any of those prehistoric animals today.

  • wonderful photos and thank you for sharing the great country out there.

    Elmer Fudd may have called Daffy The Demon Duck

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