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Is Mossman Gorge Worth Visiting?

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Wed 21 Feb 2024

It's absolutely worth visiting Mossman Gorge, a gem of natural beauty and Aboriginal culture nestled in the Daintree Rainforest. Whether you're on a self-drive adventure of Tropical North Queensland, or you're joining a Daintree Rainforest tour that includes Mossman Gorge in the itinerary, this magical place is sure to impress. Here are some helpful things to know about visiting Mossman Gorge. 

For more info about travelling there, check out our detailed post: How To Get To Mossman Gorge.

woman reading an informational sign at mossman gorge

Is Mossman Gorge Worth Visiting?

Mossman Gorge is definitely worth visiting, mainly due to its visitor-friendly amenities, natural beauty, and important indigenous heritage. Located just northwest of Port Douglas, en route to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation, this natural and cultural attraction is a popular stop on guided rainforest tours from Cairns

But if you're still unsure about whether or not Mossman Gorge is worth a visit, we're going to break down those key factors that make it a worthwhile stop. From the ease of visiting, to the lush rainforest and swimming hole, to the fascinating, ancient histories and traditions that thrive here, travellers will feel enchanted by Mossman Gorge!

Amenities for visitors at Mossman Gorge

Mossman Gorge is a popular tourist attraction in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Because it's such a highly-visited location, there are excellent facilities for tourists at Mossman Gorge. There is a day-use area, known as Mossman Gorge Cultural Center, which has trail maps, toilets, souvenirs, an art gallery, and a cafe for your convenience. Most of Mossman Gorge, including the day-use area, shuttle, and one of the rainforest boardwalks, is wheelchair-accessible as well!

couple walking near the entrance at mossman gorge visitor centre

Mossman Gorge shuttle bus

The Mossman Gorge shuttle bus makes it super easy to explore the remote wilderness of Mossman Gorge. If you're self-driving, park your car at the visitor centre and then hop on the shuttle which will bring you through the rainforest to the gorge. The shuttle runs between the visitor centre and the gorge frequently throughout the day. 

Bus stop sign for Mossman Gorge shuttle

Can you walk to Mossman Gorge? 

Unfortunately, you can't walk to Mossman Gorge as the road leading there is narrow, winding, and potentially dangerous. That's why the shuttle runs all day, to safely transport pedestrians to and from the gorge!

Can you go to Mossman Gorge for free?

Mossman Gorge itself is free and open 24/7. However, you do have to pay for the shuttle bus that brings you to and from the gorge and the visitor centre. The current Mossman Gorge shuttle prices are as follows:

  • Adult - $14 AUD
  • Child (5-15 years) - $7 AUD
  • Family (2A + 2C) - $35 AUD
  • Infant 0-4 years - Free

girl standing on the rocks at Mossman Gorge Queensland

Rainforest walking trails

Now that we've covered the logistics for visitors, it's time to talk about the main draw of Mossman Gorge: the rainforest! This tranquil paradise is located in the midst of the Daintree Rainforest, the world's oldest tropical rainforest. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area, the natural beauty here is well protected and preserved. There are lots of ways to connect with nature at Mossman Gorge!

girls admiring the rainforest greenery on a walking trail

How long is the walk to Mossman Gorge?

There are a few rainforest walking routes that you can follow to explore the wilderness of Mossman Gorge. All the walks take between 5 and 45 minutes, are graded easy-moderate, and allow you to glimpse the local flora and fauna of the Daintree. Here are the 4 main walking trails at Mossman Gorge:

  • Baral Marrjanga (wheelchair accessible) - 270 metres long
  • Lower River Track - 300 metres long
  • Rex Creek Bridge - 460 metres long
  • Rainforest Circuit Track - 2.4km long

people walking along the rex creek bridge at mossman gorge

Are there crocodiles at Mossman Gorge?

There are no crocodiles at Mossman Gorge due to the free-flowing, clear fresh waters and abundance of boulders. Crocodiles tend to prefer murkier waters which are better for hunting. Saltwater crocodiles in particular will usually congregate near river beds that flow into the ocean where the water is brackish, such as the Daintree River. However, crocodiles are wild animals and we never know exactly where they are going to be, so there is maybe a small chance that a croc would find its way to Mossman Gorge. Though it's highly unlikely, and Mossman Gorge is often considered a safe place to swim!

Can you swim at Mossman Gorge?

Mossman Gorge itself is shaped by the Mossman River, which is dotted with moss-covered boulders that create a fairy-tale-like scene. You can swim at Mossman Gorge as it offers a lovely, freshwater swimming spot to escape the Queensland heat.

It's important to note that Mossman Gorge is not supervised, and the Mossman River does have lots of rocks and sometimes strong currents. Some may recommend avoiding swimming here, especially during periods of heavy rainfall when the water flow is more intense. But it's up to you! If you are going to swim, just try to stick to shallower areas where you can see the bottom and stand comfortably.

people swimming in a rainforest river

Mossman Gorge indigenous heritage

Another one of the main reasons why travellers visit Mossman Gorge is to connect with Australia's Aboriginal culture. Mossman Gorge is an important site to the Kuku Yalanji indigenous people of the area, and allows visitors to learn about the art, history, language, and culture that has thrived here for centuries. The Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre employs mostly indigenous staff and has won multiple awards for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tourism.

Indigenous Art Gallery

At Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre, you can admire and purchase visual art created by local Kuku Yalanji artists. The talented artists bring knowledge and techniques passed down through generations to their works. This is the perfect place to buy souvenirs, support the community, and learn about indigenous art!

souvenirs painted with aboriginal art in Cairns

Dreamtime Walks

Rather than taking a self-guided walk of Mossman Gorge, you can book a Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk run by an indigenous guide. These educational and insightful walks take you through the rainforest where you can learn about local plants, remedies, and sacred sights from the eyes of an indigenous Australian. You can also take part in a traditional smoking ceremony and learn about native traditions like painting and bush soap making.

ferns and rainforest greenery in the daintree

Aboriginal cultural tours

Combine a Dreamtime Walk with other unique cultural experiences on a full day tour! From Cairns or Port Douglas, there are lots of amazing day tours that include a visit to Mossman Gorge with other fascinating activities, such as Aboriginal painting or fishing. Or you can choose tours that include Mossman Gorge with other Daintree activities such as a wildlife river cruise.

person painting in indigenous art style at Daintree Dreaming

Photo: Daintree Dreaming Art & Culture

What is so special about Mossman Gorge?

Mossman Gorge is special because it unites the pristine, natural beauty of the world's oldest rainforest with the captivating art, culture, and traditions of the Kuku Yalanji indigenous people. It's a place that is easily accessible to travellers coming from Cairns or Port Douglas, and it offers unique insights into the history and landscape of Tropical North Queensland. Any visit to Mossman Gorge is sure to be a highlight of your time in Cairns!

mossman gorge stream and rocks in the rainforest

Check out our full list of Daintree Rainforest tours if you're interested in exploring more of the world's oldest tropical rainforest!

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