Daintree Rainforest, Australia

Australasian Darter (female)

The earth’s numerous rainforests vary widely depending on rainfall, climate, proximity to equator and many more factors. Here’s a look at the Daintree Rainforest, the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest on the Australian continent.

 

Daintree River, Australia

Approximately 460 square miles (1,200 sq. km.) in size, it is nestled in the northeastern part of the continent on Cape York Peninsula.

 

One of the world’s rarest and most unique birds, the southern Cassowary lives in this rainforest. It is listed as Endangered, with 1,500-2,500 individuals left in Australia.

 

Southern Cassowary, Australia

Standing six feet tall with bright red and blue features, Casuarius casuarius is elusive. A flightless bird and second heaviest in the world, other features include: a keratin helmet atop the head; and one toe with a blade-like claw used for kicking, capable of killing dogs and humans.

 

One day our guide took us birding deep into this rainforest. We were quietly elated when a male cassowary came upon us. But soon we noticed he was very agitated with us, in spite of our respectful distance and quietness. As he became more agitated, we did our best to flee without disturbing him, and fortunately we did get away.

 

You can read more about it in a previously-written post (Bowerbird Bowers).

 

Spangled Drongo, Australia

Daintree Cassowary Crossing

During our two weeks in the Daintree Rainforest, I asked all the Daintree people we met if they had ever seen a cassowary. Only one person had.

Casuarius distribution map.png

World distribution of Southern Cassowary. Courtesy Wikipedia.

 

 

 

It’s a quirky part of the world, that’s what I love about it. The Village has a population of 78. We were the only guests in the only hotel.

 

Papuan Frogmouth, Daintree River, Australia

We lodged in Daintree to take the Daintree River early morning river cruise–a marvelous adventure. Although we saw many beautiful birds on this cruise (a few photographed here), our favorite was the Papuan Frogmouth. (Study the photo carefully, he is camouflaged, in the center.)

 

Queen Elizabeth II, Daintree Village

Our first night in Daintree Village, we ate dinner at their only evening restaurant. There was a shrine of Queen Elizabeth II next to the cash register, and we listened several times to Johnny Cash singing “Ring of Fire.”

 

After dinner we walked the short distance (100 yards) back to the hotel, and in that brief nighttime walk we came across six large cane toads, and two-inch cicadas swarming our heads; and watched as a grass snake tried desperately to get into the room next door.

 

Stalking killer birds, persistent reptiles, and a place where the only busy nightlife is wildlife. Ah, that’s my kind of place.

 

All photos taken by Athena Alexander.

 

Wicked Walkabout by Jet Eliot

A mystery novel I wrote, with Australian bird and wildlife scenes.

Click here to buy e-book Wicked Walkabout – $4.99

or from Amazon

 

 

 

Rainbow Lorikeet, Australia

 

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66 thoughts on “Daintree Rainforest, Australia

  1. What a fantastic post..and a lovely way for me to start the weekend. I am so pleased with myself that since reading your first book and of course the corresponding blog, I now know what The Cossowary Bird looks like….I am now waiting for an Australian to ask me about unusual birds in that great land….so that I can talk sort of intelligently about the Cossowary 🙂 Your description of Daintree is priceless….only in Australia. …..Thank you and hope you enjoy a lovely weekend surround with hummingbirds. Janet 🙂

    • So wonderful to get your message, Janet. It is a pure delight for me to read that you have grasped the cassowary, and I, too, hope an Australian asks you about unusual birds there. lol. Re hummingbirds, it is a great time here in northern Calif. for this delightful creature, because they are getting close to their nesting time, so all the males are practicing their “J” dives. This is a spectacular dive they do to impress the females. They zoom up, like 20′ feet (6 m) into the sky, then come blasting down to earth. Right before they get to the ground they flip back up, the tail making an abrupt whistling sound. They call it a “J” dive because the bird trail is in the shape of a “J”. This is a courtship display. Right now the females are not here yet so the males are practicing. It’s a joy to watch. I wish you could see it. Enjoy your weekend!

  2. What a great adventure & fab post! Although ….. I just found the camouflaged bird. I had given up, as I thought I was looking for a frog. Then went back for one last try. Lol,

    • This gave me a big smile, Resa. I love that you gave it another try and that you found the bird. Bird watchers LIVE for a chance to see a frogmouth. lol. Always a joy to have your spirited visits, my friend.

  3. How fabulous you were able to visit such a beautiful and unique part of Australia AND to see a Frogmouth. Those brids are simply divine – LOVE them. Shame about the cane toads though… nothing a good 9-iron won’t fix though!

  4. Such an exciting trip, Jet… beautiful birds, especially the colourful cassowary, rainbow lorikeet and lovely photos you have shared with us! I really enjoyed this Rainforest adventure. Thank you for this lovely post. 🙂

    • Now every time I hear “Ring of Fire” I think of sitting in that restaurant, listening to this classic from the 60s. Really fun to share quirky Daintree with you, ACI — I am certain you would like it here.

    • Yes, that was a joy to sit and watch the darter fishing — I’m happy you enjoyed Athena’s photo of the catch. Thanks so much, Amy, as always for your continued visits. I have enjoyed visiting Thailand with you.

    • The frogmouth was indeed a spectacular find. Our boat floated underneath it and we stayed there a long time admiring it. I’m really glad you enjoyed it, rhallum, and I like your description of “curious and adorable.” Thanks for visiting~~

  5. This post had me smiling all the way through! Your love of people and places curious and quirky is always a delight to read – and then there’s the wildlife/nightlife! I stared and stared at the frogmouth photo (ended up following the link and then back) and I’m not entirely sure if I found it. Oh dear. However, I’m pretty sure these tired old eyes could spot the cassowary…
    Thanks, Jet, and have a great weekend!

    • I so enjoyed your comment, pc — and you had me smiling all the way through. We were floating in a boat beneath the limb of that frogmouth, and of course the guide pointed him out or we never would have spotted him. I always appreciated your visits, pc; it is a joy to share the adventures with you.

  6. You did right by staying away from the Southern Cassowary! This bird is dangerous and very aggressive. I saw one adult but it was captive, kept behind a reinforced fence, it wasn’t a friendly fellow at all.
    Very nice post Jet, have a great weekend! 🙂

    • The cassowary advanced on us in a most aggressive way, even as we backed up and retreated. But fortunately we eventually got away. It’s not often we are frightened by birds! Thanks so much, HJ. 🙂

  7. We missed the cassowary in this area so we’ll have to go back! Loved the lorikeets. Your post brings back some great memories. Hope you are doing well

    • It’s not too many times we can be intimidated by birds. I was more than intimidated, I was really scared! But it all worked out fine. Great to hear from you, Bill, I hope you are enjoying your winter adventure down south.

  8. So I guess the scene with you escaping the cassowary in Wicked Walkabout was taken from life – I suspected as much as you managed to make it seem very real. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole book. Thanks for the extra insight to this rain forest.

    • Wonderful to have you recognize the cassowary scene in Wicked Walkabout, Alastair. That was indeed an occurrence in real life. On a different topic, the chorus frogs have come back to our neighborhood pond and are SO LOUD every night. It is absolutely glorious. I wish you could witness and record this amazing scene. Many thanks for your visit, I appreciate it.

      • Living in Britain I have always wondered how I would feel about that kind of noise – the frogs I mean – but then I remember that I have a whole CD of different frog sounds and it is amazing, so maybe I would be ok with it 😄

  9. lovely post Jet. I loved reading about your cassowary encounter, much better than mine. I had a fleeting glimpse of one in Daintree years ago. They are such ornery characters.

    • woo-hoo, Sherry, you got to see a cassowary in Daintree. I remember how much you enjoyed the scene in Wicked Walkabout, and am very glad to hear you had a glimpse of it there in Daintree.

  10. Amazing to think that the Southern Cassowary stands 6′ tall – what a sight it must be to see that beautiful bird. Enjoyed the trip with you Jet.

  11. My eyes nearly popped out of my head at the first photo. Luckily after bouncing against the screen I retrieved my vision and wits to carry on with the post! Athena has outdone herself with that National Geographic action. Wow!
    I take it by your experience a cassowary has an extended personal space. Note to self for future cassowary encounters.
    How fabulous that you saw a Frogmouth in the wild! We fed one at a wildlife refuge in Tasmania. Australia has such amazing creatures.

  12. The Far North certainly has some quirky places, Reading your post tells me you got a good taste of it 🙂
    Seeing a cassowary was very special Jet; though I was relieved to read you got away before it became annoyed. I’m now wondering if your protagonist had similar luck… or not…

    • Fun comment, Gail. We liked the north; we visited the coast as far north as Daintree, spent many days in Cairns, and had a week in Darwin and Kakadu. On a previous trip we had spent most of our time in the south, and had vowed to come back and see Kakadu and the north, and were glad we did. You have one really huge country! Re the protagonist and how she fared with the cassowary, you’ll just have to read it to find out. ha. Many thanks.

    • Thank you very much, Sylvia. We were delighted to have had the chance to see all these lovely birds in the Daintree, and it is a delight to share them with you. 🙂

  13. Living in Brisbane, we drove up there one year. It’s an amazing place. A great adventure holiday. Not the relaxing type with all the different varieties of dangerous animals you need to be aware of. I didn’t see a Cassowary on that trip but was lucky enough to see one in the wild a little further south. Nice post Jet.

  14. You were quite fortunate to see the Cassowary, and perhaps even more fortunate to escape unharmed.

    “Stalking killer birds, persistent reptiles, and a place where the only busy nightlife is wildlife. Ah, that’s my kind of place.” …It sounds like you were in your own paradise. I had the choice to visit between the Daintree and Kakadu years ago and chose Kakadu. The Daintree is still on my list. Thanks for taking us there.

    • Wonderful to hear from you, Draco, thanks for your kind words. Australia is such a huge continent, it is impossible to see everything at once. After our first trip there, we came back with Kakadu as a top priority, and we were not disappointed…it was a true joy. I’m glad you have been to Kakadu, and I’m glad I could take you to Daintree here. Thank you for your visit.

    • Oh, how I love hearing that you’ll never forget the cassowary, Andrea. I enjoyed reading about your experiences of remembering the cassowary, and hunting in the photo for the frogmouth. Gave me a smile. Thanks so much.

  15. The variety of the birds you featured was marvelous! The frogmouth eluded me until I blew up the photo to 200%!!! And your book, “Wicked Walkabout” was terrific and brought Australia to life!

    • I liked hearing that the frogmouth photo had to be blown up to 200%. Their game is camouflage, and it sure works well. Thanks for taking the time to spot the frogmouth, and thank you for stopping by, Nan.

    • All the places you’ve been in this world, Elisa, and as we know, the more we see, the more there is to see. I loved Australia, but it was so big, it took several visits, and I’m thinking about another. So glad to share Daintree with you, thanks for your visits this morning.

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