At the southern end of the Daintree Rainforest, lies the spectacular Mossman Gorge; a unique link to an ancient rainforest and an ancient way of life. This is my guide to exploring Mossman Gorge in Queensland which will hopefully inspire you to visit on a trip to Australia.
Mossman Gorge is the most beautiful of introductions to the Daintree National Park and the Daintree Rainforest. Along the gorge, you’ll find mountains that rise towards the clouds literally next to you as well as ancient granite boulders where the Mossman River cascades down towards its final destination; the ocean that surrounds the Great Barrier Reef. What I find really special about Mossman Gorge is that you are able to experience the most unique connection with local Aboriginal culture.
Any trip to Tropical Queensland on the East Coast of Australia would not be complete without exploring Mossman Gorge and this guide will take you through everything you need to know about visiting.
MY GUIDE TO EXPLORING MOSSMAN GORGE IN THE DAINTREE NATIONAL PARK
WHERE IS MOSSMAN GORGE & HOW TO GET THERE
Mossman Gorge is probably the most easily accessible part of the Daintree Rainforest; just over an hours drive from Cairns and only 20 minutes from Port Douglas. When I visited, it was part of our campervan trip up the East Coast of Australia and this was one of our final stops before concluding at Cape Tribulation.
To get to there it’s a simple drive up the Captain Cook Highway from Port Douglas, a right turn towards Mossman and then a left off the main street to the gorge itself. Literally 20 minutes and just over 22km. There are tours that you can join that will bring you right up here but there’s something much more free about doing this yourself; you can spend as long as you want which will allow you to develop a deeper connection with the area.
We parked at the Mossman Gorge Centre and opted to take the daily (between 8am and 5:40pm) shuttle bus which will take you right into the gorge for $13.05 each.
THE DAINTREE RAINFOREST
Did you know that the Daintree Rainforest is around 180 million years old? 180 million years old. Compared to the Amazon Rainforest that we are all taught so much about which is only (I say only but you know what I mean) 55 million years old. The Daintree Rainforest is the world’s oldest rainforest and is home to flora and fauna not found anywhere else on earth. This should be somewhere every single person hopes to visit in their lifetime.
THE MOSSMAN GORGE CENTRE
As I said above, when you arrive, you’ll find yourself at the Mossman Gorge Centre; an Indigenous ecotourism development which begins that real connection with Indigenous Australia. There’s a cafe here where you can grab a coffee before or after your trip to the gorge as well as an Indigenous art gallery showcasing artwork from local artists.
EXPLORING MOSSMAN GORGE
After utilising the shuttle service, you’ll be dropped off right at the start of a trail which will take you deep into the rainforest alongside the Mossman River. Almost immediately you’ll come to probably the most recognisable area of Mossman Gorge; the huge ancient granite boulders in the river. Swimming is possible but there are plenty of warnings that it is dangerous and it’s fair to say that people have died here (buzzkill I know). Make sure you check the daily water conditions and be sensible.
Anyway, we didn’t have a little dip as the signs said clearly that no swimming was allowed, so we carried on to one my favourite walks in Australia. Across the Rex Suspension Bridge and you’re straight to the Mount Demi lookout; I don’t think the photos do this justice as the mountain literally feels on top of you – absolutely huge!
The rainforest circuit track is around 2.4kms and if you get there early enough you might be lucky enough to be one of only a handful of visitors. Don’t rush this walk, it’s beautiful. You honestly feel as though you’ve been transported to another world; a world millions of years old.
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as some of Australia’s rarest species call this area home. I’m talking the Southern Cassowary, possums and tree kangaroos amongst many others. All I saw was a bush turkey though so hopefully you’re a little luckier than me…
We were unfortunately in saving mode when we visited but I’d highly recommend the special guided Dreamtime Walks which are hosted by a local Indigenous guide.
Thank you for reading this guide to exploring Mossman Gorge in Queensland, Australia. If you have any questions at all or would like more information, please let me know in the comments below.
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