Mossman is a short 20km scenic drive from Port Douglas and is the doorway to exploring two iconic destinations within the Daintree National Park – the Mossman Gorge and River. Mossman is nestled in the Mossman Valley with the peaks of Mount Demi making for a impressive backdrop for this typical North Queensland country town.
The Mossman township itself is also scenic with its historic buildings like the hospital, welcoming pubs and country hotels- view a selection of Mossman accommodation options. Although a small town, it remains the seat of local government and the epicentre of the local sugar cane industry.
The town has a population of around 1800 and they offer visitors a welcoming and enjoyable stay.
Covering 56,500 hectares of rugged, and somewhat inaccessible, steep mountain ranges, Mossman Gorge traps moisture blown in from the ocean, ensuring frequent rainfall and thus feeding the Daintree & Mossman Rivers.
Known for easy walking tracks and swimming holes, the Gorge is a must-see for visitors to the region.
The beauty of the Daintree National Park's plant and animal life is a major draw-card for Mossman, with tourism experiencing a dramatic boom in recent times.
The natural attraction towards the Mossman Gorge has caused big crowds during peak times (weekends and school holidays), however if you arrive early enough you can miss the first tour groups and enjoy the peaceful tranquility of crystal clear waters that flow over large granite boulders.
Things to do in Mossman
Swimming at the Mossman Gorge Swimming Hole
One of the most popular features of Mossman Gorge is the sheltered swimming hole where Mossman River flows over massive granite boulders. Here you’ll find a nice wide portion of the river deep and calm enough to enjoy a dip amongst the tranquil rainforest.
Children can play in the shallows closer to the banks while more confident swimmers may want to paddle out to the centre, climb up the boulders and dive into the deep centre, or even swim up to where the stream cascades into this pool area.
There is a regular bus service that takes visitors from the Mossman Gorge Centre out to the swimming hole for a small fee.
Mossman Gorge Walking Tracks
DERM have provided a handy map of the walking tracks in and around the Mossman Gorge. Essentially there are two main tracks in the Mossman Gorge that are great for those wanting a short stroll or a longer trek through the rainforest:
River Circuit Track, Grade: Easy
400 metre return (approximately 10 minutes)
Starting from the car park and running along the Mossman River, then returning through the forest. You can extend your walk by continuing on to the Mossman River lookout and further on to the Rainforest Circuit track via the Rex Creek suspension bridge and the Manjal Dimbi lookout.
Rainforest Circuit Track, Grade: Easy
2.7 kilometres return (approximately 1 hour)
This loop track is accessed from the river circuit via the Rex Creek suspension bridge. See views of Manjal Dimbi and an access point to Wurumbu Creek. There are plenty of signs throughout the track with information on nearby plant life & their uses by the Kuku Yalanji people.
Please note that if you would like to take a different route, you need to contact Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service in Mossman (QPWS) and complete a bushwalking registration form.
Visitors can also take guided tours and walks through the Mossman Gorge with the local indigenous community, the Kuku Yalanji. Visit their website or call 07 4098 2595, or contact the Mossman Gorge Community Rangers on 07 4098 1305 for more information on the Kaku Yalanji culture.
If you'd prefer to see the Mossman Gorge your own way, there are plenty of picnic tables and toilet facilities near the car park, but remember to stay safe! DERM provides the following safety warnings for the Mossman Gorge:
- Do not enter the Mossman River - the currents are swift, with flash flooding and slippery rocks a cause for concern. Despite this, the huge granite boulders that line the river create cool, clear, freshwater swimming holes.
- Avoid stinging trees. Found along rainforest edges, these trees can grow to 4 metres high and have large, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Do not touch these plants as it will most likely cause a very painful sting. It you are stung and the symptons are sever, seek medical attention.
Camping in Mossman Gorge
Unfortunately there are no camping grounds in the Mossman section of the Daintree National Park. You can however camp in the Cape Tribulation portion of the park, at Noah Beach campground. You will need camping permits but the fees are relatively low; $5.45 per person, per night or $21.80 for a family of up to 8 people.
How to Get There
If you are coming from Cairns, the Department of Environment & Resource Management (DERM) provides the following route to the Mossman Gorge:
From Cairns, travel north for 80km along the Cook Highway to Mossman. In the centre of Mossman, turn left into Johnston Road, which leads directly to the Mossman Gorge car park.
From Port Douglas, head out on Port Douglas Rd to Captain Cook Highway and follow it north for about 14km. Turn left onto Johnston Rd and follow it all the way to the Mossman Gorge Centre.
- Mossman Gorge, Daintree National Park
- Tourism Port Douglas & Daintree - Mossman Information
- Mossman Gorge Centre