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Townsville, Queensland, Australia
July 11, 2010
From journal Port Douglas – a Tourism Hot Spot
by Happy Cappy
July 19, 2003
A 10 minute drive north of Port Douglas along the highway lies the small town of Mossman (blink and you miss it). Following the Mossman gorge signs we headed inland for about another 10 minutes. The landscape changing from sugarcane farmland to lush rainforest. Passing through an Aboriginal community, here there is an opportunity to stop and learn about traditional Aboriginal life in the region and be guided through the forest by an Aboriginal elder. The windy forest road opens into a clearing, with plenty of parking for cars and tourist buses, an amenities block and picnic tables.
There are direct tracks to the gorge with areas to place your gear while your swimming (always have someone keep an eye on your valuables). The water is a clear cool green and runs freely. Locals use the area as a cool respite from hot summer days, and of course there are no crocodiles so the river is safe for swimming. However it is not like the beach where is no life guard on duty so care must be taken not to dive into shallow waters and watch for snags!
We opted for the 5km hiking circuit which covers rough terrain and is quite slippery in the wet. The trail crosses the gorge over a suspension bridge and winds it way along the ridge for a view of various waterfalls and sections of the gorge. the bush path took us through thick rainforest, opened on to rocky outcrops above the gorge, and through palm valleys. We passed ancient Moreton Bay figs that look something like "old man of the forest" from Lord of the Rings. There are markers along the way pointing out native flora and documenting their importance in aboriginal culture and their surrounding habitat. The hike takes around 1 hour 10 minutes if you are reasonably fit, we took our time to read the markets and take photos.
What to bring: Picnic, water bottle, mossie repellent, sunscreen.
What to wear: walking shoes or hiking sandals, hat, sunscreen.
Note: The tracks are not suitable for wheelchairs or prams.
From journal A Week In Pardise
November 16, 2002
From journal Birding and Ecology in Daintree
July 18, 2002
The drive up the coast from Cairns and Port Douglas is scenic enough. If you visit Mossman Gorge, you will wind up on some lonely and secluded roads. Parts of the roads are very narrow, with one-vehicle widths at some points. There is a parking lot with very basic lavatories nearby. A couple of well-marked walking paths lead from the parking lot, through the lush and moody rainforest, to the rugged natural beauty of Mossman Gorge. The grounds are fine areas for bushwalking or family picnicking.
While walking along one of the paths, you will hear the rush of unseen waters beyond the trees. You will eventually discover a stream of fresh river water cascading down a bed of alternately smooth and craggy rocks. We walked across a wavering footbridge constructed from mesh wire, rope and wood boards for some excellent vistas up and down the valley of the Mossman River. I am sure the bridge is structurally sound, but it created the feeling of some walkway at an amusement park. If you are careful, you can climb on and around the rocks below for a cool swim in the natural waters.
There are several strange turkey-like creatures roaming around the park grounds. As we were walking back towards the parking lot to leave the park, one of the "turkey lurkeys" was trotting towards us from the other end of the footpath. Heck, it was charging at us! It was a funny and mildly intimidating sight to see this red-necked mini-beast running straight at us! The "turkey lurkey" eventually swerved off the footpath at the last second to duck into the bushes, much to our relief.
From journal Bill in Australia - CAIRNS and QUEENSLAND