Port Douglas Rainforest Habitat turns 21yrs

Port Douglas Rainforest Habitat turns 21yrs

This Sunday, 23 of May is a landmark day for The Rainforest Habitat.  Known as one of the must do experiences for visitors to Port Douglas, the Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary has evolved substantially from its humble beginnings as a sugar cane field to a thriving tourism industry leader.


The Port Douglas Rainforest Habitat was the brainchild of John Morris and Michael Turner who wanted to make the rainforest and its inhabitants more accessible to the people, so construction began in 1988 and The Rainforest Habitat opened to the public as a bird and butterfly sanctuary in June 1989.


The attraction covers eight acres of land and depicts three different and unique environments - wetlands, rainforest and grasslands.   In 1994 park management became aware of the need to preserve our flora and fauna, a growing concern at the time and one which has only increased in significance since.


A plan was put in place to display and interpret the wildlife and flora of Tropical North Queensland, in particular the Wet Tropics region. This dynamic and ever evolving plan was designed to take The Rainforest Habitat into the new millennium, catering for the developing environmentally conscious market. This culminated in The Rainforest Habitat achieving Australia’s first Advanced Eco Accreditation in 1998.


Not to rest on their laurels, further improvements and developments have been made to the park since 2000 including the Koala enclosure, Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo enclosure and breeding facility, Crocodile enclosure, Restaurant, Gift Shop and office.


In 2003, The Rainforest Habitat achieved a world first with the birth of a Black-necked Stork chick (commonly known as Jabirus). These wetland birds had never before bred within any zoo or wildlife sanctuary. The pair has continued to breed each year since. The Rainforest Habitat has also achieved breeding success with the increasingly rare Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroos.


Recognition of their work has seen The Rainforest Habitat become a multiple finalist and winner of Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) and Queensland Tourism Awards.  They also achieved Hall of Fame status in 2004 in the Environmental and Significant Tourist Attraction categories at the TTNQ and Queensland Tourism Awards.