Mossman Gorge Port Douglas
Holidaying in Tropical North Queensland is beautiful yet frustrating because it is often hard to cool down given you can’t swim in the ocean (unless you’re brave enough to swim with Crocs, Sharks and deadly jellyfish!)
Mossman Gorge is, however, a safe swimming spot where you can cool off while enjoying some nice rainforest walks.
Packing for Tropical North Queensland
You definitely need to be prepared for your trip to FNQ (Far North Queensland). There are a few essentials in my mind, one of which is, of course, mosquito repellent! Click here for a printable packing guide for your trip.
Where is Mossman Gorge?
Mossman Gorge is about a 1 hour 15-minute drive north of Cairns or a 25-minute drive from Port Douglas.
Getting to Mossman Gorge
We would recommend hiring a car for your North Queensland trip as you will find it much easier to get around without relying on transport or tour operators. Driving to Mossman Gorge is easy, highways and main roads. You will drive along the Captain Cook Highway which in itself is a beautiful drive and one of the most famous drives in the Southern Hemisphere.
When you arrive at Mossman Gorge, you will notice plenty of parking so that’s not an issue. Parking is free.
For a map and tips on getting to the region and the Gorge itself, click here.
If you aren’t hiring a car, that’s ok – there are ways of getting to Mossman Gorge. There are daily transfers from Port Douglas at 9:00 am and 12:00 pm from 49 Macrossan Street which is the BTS Port Douglas Office. Departures from Mossman Gorge are at 12.45 pm and 2.45 pm to take you back. I’d recommend booking in advance to ensure your spot. You can do this by visiting this website or calling 07 4099 566.
If you’re looking for a guided tour, you can jump on the Indigenous half day tour that departs from Port Douglas and will take you on a 1.5 hour Dreamtime Gorge walk and give you access to Kuku Yalanji land.
If you’re travelling from Cairns, visit a local information centre or your hotel tour desk and they will be able to arrange a tour for you.
Mossman Gorge Shuttle Bus Service
When you arrive at the centre, you will notice that you will need to take a shuttle bus service to get to where the walks start. Prices for this service is $9.50 per person return. Prices are current as at January 2018. Click here for current prices. You can buy your tickets at the ticket counter at the centre.
I would not recommend walking – there is no walking path and it’s a long walk and in the heat of the day wouldn’t be very nice. It’s definitely worth sitting on the air-conditioned bus for the short journey.
Buses depart every 15 minutes between 8 am and 5.30 pm daily. No need to pre-book these
Mossman Gorge Walks
There are a few walks you can do from where the shuttle bus drops you off. We did two shorter walks because we were short on time.
Baral Marrjanga walk
This is a very short walk of only around 270m and takes only 5 – 10 minutes. This walk will take you through the rainforest to a beautiful lookout with views of the Mossman River and the mountain ranges.
There are two sections of elevated boardwalks and these take you through the lower canopy of the rainforest. This walk is wheelchair and stroller friendly.
Lower River track
Also a short walk at only 300m, also taking only 5 – 10 minutes. This walk will take you along the winding path of Mossman River and will join up to Baral Marrjanga. You will find a few lookouts along the way which all give great views of the river.
This track includes a few steps which, some of which are made from rocks. We were there during some rain so they were quite slippery so be careful.
Rex Creek bridge
Slightly longer at 460m, this 10-minute walk is pretty cool! This is the Rex Suspension Bridge and makes for some beautiful views. You will need to follow Baral Marrjanga to the lookout and then follow the signs to the left. Unless you want to do the longer 45-minute walk, you should turn around the way you came and head back to the shuttle. Otherwise, see below!
Rainforest Circuit Track
From Rex Creek Bridge, you can walk the 2.4km 45-minute walk around this track. It is a moderate to easy walk and you will get a few lookouts along the way where you will see Manjal Dimbi (Mount Demi). Further down from the lookout the track divides to form a circuit which winds you through the rainforest.
Swimming at Mossman Gorge
Because we went after a bit of rainfall, the water wasn’t as clear as it can be. However, you can enjoy a bit of relief from the heat by hopping into the river and enjoy the water rushing over the giant granite boulders which form some beautiful water holes. There is plenty of rainforest surrounding these waterholes to provide some nice shelter.
Swimming at the Gorge is your own responsibility. Please take note of the staff’s recommendation on the board near the shuttle bus. Depending on the weather and recent storm activity, it may not be safe to swim in the waters. We were there after a storm and some rain. As you can see the water is hardly crystal clear so it’s important to be extra careful if getting into the water and not go far. The stream runs pretty fast and can be very dangerous.
What to pack for your trip to Tropical North Queensland
We have put together a packing guide for Tropical North Queensland. The one thing you always need to remember to carry with you and use is some mosquito repellent. Those bad boys are disastrous and will just keep attacking you so remember to put some ‘Off’ on – buy the Tropical strength! Watch this space for our printable packing guide which is coming soon.
For more things to see and do in Queensland, check out this page!
Do you have travel insurance?
Before travelling, make sure you get a travel insurance policy – you never know when you might need it! Click here for information on travel insurance, what company we recommend and a link to get an instant quote.
If you’re looking for alternative accommodation to either save some money or share with friends or family, click here for information on Air B&B ($50 discount on your first booking), hotel price comparison websites etc.
“To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark