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How To Get To Mossman Gorge

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Thu 15 Feb 2024

You can get to Mossman Gorge in the Daintree Rainforest by driving yourself or by joining a guided tour. There are plenty of places to rent a car in Cairns or Port Douglas, which are the nearest tourist hotspots to Mossman Gorge. Or if you’d rather join a tour with a knowledgeable local guide, there are some incredible Cape Tribulation day tours and overnight tours from Cairns and Port Douglas that stop at Mossman Gorge on the way. 

So if you’re wondering about how to get to Mossman Gorge, whether you can swim in Mossman Gorge, which tours to book, and more, this article will cover everything you need to know! Definitely try to include Mossman Gorge in your Daintree Rainforest itinerary, as it is a truly magical place. 

people walking on a rainforest bridge at mossman Gorge

Where Is Mossman Gorge?

Mossman Gorge is located in tropical North Queensland within the Daintree Rainforest, which is known to be the oldest rainforest on the planet at around 180 million years old! Mossman Gorge is also part of the UNESCO Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, which is known for its rich natural beauty. 

The closest major town to Mossman Gorge is Port Douglas, which is about 22km away. The small township of Mossman is just 2km away. When visiting Mossman Gorge, be sure to stop at the Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre to learn about the local ecotourism efforts and the indigenous art, culture, and community that is so special to the area. You can even go on guided walks with the indigenous community to learn more about the Kuku Yalanji land where Mossman Gorge is located. 

people walking next to visitor center at Mossman Gorge

Can You Swim At Mossman Gorge?

You can swim at Mossman Gorge, but stick to the calmer pools and always use caution! Mossman Gorge swimming hole is one of the top places to swim near Cairns, especially from November to May, which is Stinger Season in northern Queensland. During this time, the oceans around the tropical north of Australia become populated with marine stingers such as Box Jellyfish and Irukandji. 

To avoid the marine stingers, travelers in Cairns flock to freshwater swimming holes to escape the summer heat. It is easily one of the best places to swim near Cairns, but it is a very wild and rugged area filled with granite boulders, so always use caution. The Mossman River can be unpredictable, so only swim where the water pools into shallow, calm swimming spots. 

girl standing next to a river at Mossman Gorge

How To Get To Mossman Gorge

There are two main ways to get to Mossman Gorge: by renting a car and driving yourself, or by going on a guided tour. Cairns and Port Douglas are the two most popular departure points for a day trip to Mossman Gorge. 

The drive from Cairns to Mossman Gorge is 77km and takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes. From Port Douglas to Mossman Gorge, it’s only 22km and it takes about 20 minutes. It’s a beautiful drive, but it’s up to you if you’d rather hire a car and drive yourself or go on a guided group tour. 

people walking on a bridge over the forest in Mossman Gorge

Can You Drive To Mossman Gorge? 

You can easily drive yourself to Mossman Gorge from Port Douglas, Cairns, or anywhere else in the area. From Cairns to Mossman Gorge, you’ll be traveling north along the Captain Cook Highway which is an incredibly scenic drive full of beaches and lookout spots. If you don’t have your own car, rent one in Cairns

Navigate to Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre, and once you arrive you can take the shuttle bus that travels from the centre to the gorge itself. The shuttle leaves every 15 minutes, drives you down Mossman Gorge Road, and drops you right in the heart of the stunning Mossman Gorge. Shuttles run from 8am - 6pm every day, with the last shuttle being at 5:30pm. 

passenger shuttle bus parked near the rainforest in Mossman Gorge

Mossman Gorge Tours

Another one of the best ways to get to Mossman Gorge is through a guided tour. There are lots of epic local day tours or overnight tours that depart from Cairns or Port Douglas and head up the coast to the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest. Tours are perfect for travelers who just want to relax and enjoy themselves without having to plan anything. They are also great for solo travelers and backpackers who want to meet people, or for inquisitive travelers who want to learn more about the land, history, and culture from a local guide. 

Most Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation tours from Cairns or Port Douglas stop at Mossman Gorge on their journey north. Some include a visit to the Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat, and some include Aboriginal cultural experiences. There are so many amazing ways to visit Mossman Gorge from Cairns!

people posing at mossman gorge in the daintree rainforest

For the ultimate adventure to the Daintree, Cape Tribulation, and Mossman Gorge, check out our full list of tours!

If you have any questions, feel free to call us at (07) 4082 7470 or live chat with us online!

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