At 135 million years old, Mossman Gorge forms part of the oldest surviving rainforest in the world. From Mossman, the world heritage listed Daintree Rainforest begins it’s northward journey to Cape Tribulation and a rendezvous with Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It’s the ideal walk for a sneak rainforest preview.
How to Get to there.
Drive yourself. It’s only five minutes away from the small North Queensland town of Mossman, with it’s interesting old buildings, cane trains and huge shade trees. Mossman on the Captain Cook Highway is, in turn, 20 minutes north of Port Douglas. If you find yourself anywhere from Cairns north without a vehicle you can arrange a bus tour to collect you.
There are three, 5 to 10 minute walks:
Baral Marrjanga – Easy – Riverside walk including two raised boardwalks. Wheelchair friendly. Baral in local language means track and Marrjanga group of elders. The rainforest is the revered group of elders. Track of the rainforest.
Lower river track – Mod-Easy – follows the river joining up with Baral Marrjanga. Not wheelchair friendly.
The track has several viewpoints over the river.
Rex Creek – Mod-Easy – Continues on after Baral Marrjanga.
Turn left at the lookout to Rex Creek (bridge).
Rex Creek – the flow depends on recent rains.
and one 2.4 km Rainforest Loop Track.
This 45 minute self guided walk commences on the far side of the Rex Creek bridge. It’s a good idea to wear joggers or similar as the track is rough with stumble worthy tree roots and rocks. 80 metres into the walk on the left is a view to Mt. Demi, after which the track forms a loop.
Swimming in the Gorge.
It’s hot and humid up here and swimming in the gorge is popular. The Mossman river tumbles over rapids and cascades into boulder lined pools on it’s way through the gorge. The rocks are sometimes mossy, but the water is crystal clear and fish easy to spot in the shallows. Sinking into that startlingly cold water on a steamy summer’s day is one crazy good feeling.
Water surges from upstream rains can rush through the gorge unexpectedly creating hazardously strong currents. We’ve not experienced this first hand but I know it can happen, so err on the side of caution and leave the river immediately if you notice a rise in levels.
Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk.
Be led by an indigenous guide and learn about bush food, (bush) soap making and ochre painting, with access to Kuku Yalanji land, a sacred aboriginal site visit and Bush Tea and Damper. We’ve not been on this tour so I can’t offer a review but I do know that we are lucky to have the opportunity of learning from the indigenous caretakers.
Mossman Gorge Centre.
The building of this centre has changed the lives of the indigenous community for the better by providing 60 permanent jobs and 20 Indigenous traineeships each year. In the current Australian job climate that is impressive. The centre has bought other changes to the gorge.
Shuttle Bus and Gorge Access.
Between 8 am and 6 pm access to private vehicles stops at the Centre carpark with an electric bus shuttling visitors the final 2km to the start of the gorge walk.
The shuttle operates every 15 minutes and costs $9.50 adult $4.70 child and 2+2 $23.50. Last shuttle in is 5.30 pm and out 5.45 pm.
It is still possible to walk or cycle into the gorge free of charge at any time, keeping in mind you’ll be sharing the access road with the shuttle bus and community traffic. Before 8 am and after 6 pm public vehicles also are allowed free entry.
Indigenous Art Gallery and Gift Shop.
The interesting gallery displays art and craft work from the Kuku Yalanji, with souvenirs for sale.
Normally we bring our own supplies on day trips, but indulged ourselves here at Mayi Cafe and were happy we did. The menu is laced with tastes from the bush. I filled up on crunchy Kumara Wedges served with the tastiest tomato relish e.v.e.r . Marty loved his meat pie and prices were affordable.
Lovely clean toilet amenities including showers – great to freshen up with after the walk.
What to take on the Walk.
Bathers and Towel
Umbrella (wet season)
Wearing a hat is standard in TNQ but it is quite shady in the forest.
While the tracks are not wheelchair accessible, the shuttle bus, picnic area, toilets and the rainforest boardwalk are.
The walk itself is free.
Mossman Gorge is in an interesting part of Australia and I really hope you get to visit one day. Maybe you’ve already been? Tell me about it in the comments.
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