Tropical Rainforest Ecology
A literal treasure trove of biodiversity, the Daintree Rainforest and The Wet Tropics region of Australia is significant to any student studying biology and ecosystems at risk.
UNESCO World Heritage
This region showcases a living record of the ecological and evolutionary processes that shaped the flora and fauna of Australia over the past 415 million years.
Twelve out of the world's 19 families of primitive flowering plants grow here and within these families, there are at least 50 species found only in the Wet Tropics. In addition, this area hosts about a third of Australia's 315 mammal species - 13 of these species are found nowhere else in the world.
Explore the many different types of tropical rainforest – parts of which are some of the oldest rainforest in the world—and learn about its ecology through walks, talks and hands-on activities.
Any of the following can be combined into your custom educational tour in Australia:
As one of only a handful in the world, the James Cook University Canopy Crane gives students (and researchers) unparalleled access to the rainforest canopy. At 47 metres tall with a 55 metre radius, the crane allows students to observe flora and fauna up close, as well as view panoramic views of the Daintree Rainforest in this World Heritage area.
In a swath of upland rainforest, learn from your guide how biologists perform vertebrate transects, which allows them to survey life within the rainforest. Data collected in the rainforest will be sent to the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity & Climate Change at James Cook University in Townsville. This is a valuable tool for biology students.
Explore an ancient volcanic crater—or maar—now a lake and protected in a national park. On this track pass through several different rainforest communities, which offer an opportunity to glimpse some of the area’s ten known species of rare and threatened plants, as well as 25 species of flying foxes.
Help restore biodiversity with seed propogation and tree planting in an area considered a "hotspot". Here your service project helps protect new endangered species--a rainforest frog (Kuranda Tree frog or Myola frog) and a palm--in this buffer zone for a World Heritage area.
Ride an exhilarating zip line (flying fox) through the Daintree rainforest canopy. By clipping into a series ofsteel cables arranged in the trees, students can fly across the rainforest canopy and get a bird's eye view of the world. During this unique adventure led by naturalists and scientist guides, keep an eye out for Boyd's Forest dragons and the brilliant blue Ulysses butterfly.
Look for crocs in the wild on an eco-friendly solar-powered river boat in Daintree National Park. An on board "croc-cam" lets you get up close and personal with these magnificent estuarine crocodiles.
Photo credit: Dr. Martin Cohen
Study more in depth ecosystems at risk, including endangered mabi rainforest. Here you can pay tribute to some local high-profile residents: take in the beauty of massive curtain fig trees, and learn how these giants straight out of Lord of the Rings eerily “strangle” their hosts.
Learn more about "permaculture" principles at an organic farm. Here you are treated to a succulent tropical fruit tasting in the Daintree rainforest, involving at least 10 different rare fruits in any season including the Star Apple, Miracle Fruit and even the Ice Cream Bean.
Learn Traditional Uses of Rainforest Plants
On a rainforest walk with an aboriginal elder, see the rainforest through indigenous eyes. The Kuku Yalanji are the only tribal rainforest people in Australia who still have their own culture and language and students learn what native plants were used for food, medicine, and even soap. Your guide also explains aspects of aboriginal culture
Explore a rare type of volcanic pipe - a.k.a "the Crater"- and the abundance of nocturnal wildlife that appears in this high-altitude rainforest once the sun goes down. A naturalist guide will help you collect data on unique mammal and marsupial poulatoins like Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroos, Green Ringtail Possums, Sugar Gliders, Musky Rat-kangaroos and numerous other kangaroo and wallaby species that live in the forest.
Photo credit: Dr. Martin Cohen
Your Own Custom Educational Tour - Australia
Through Small World Journeys’ relationships with naturalists, field guide authors, professors, birding experts and zoologists, we can match the educational objectives of any student group. Contact us to learn more about how your students can benefit from one of our Educational Adventures.
Want Ideas For Your Student Group?
Check out our set itineraries that include a rainforest element: