Only 15 minutes north of Port Douglas you will uncover Mossman Gorge, rich in Indigenous culture and breathtaking beauty. Learn about the traditional values of the Kuku Yalanji people that have called the Daintree Rainforest home as you explore emerald rainforest pools peppered with granite boulders and freshwater swimming holes on a guided rainforest walk. Explore the free self-guided national park walks at your own pace as you adventure through the Gorge:
Take a moment to visit an Indigenous gallery in Mossman, experience traditional hunting at nearby Cooya Beach or explore the country drives around Mossman.
Mossman in Tropical North Queensland is an agricultural centre on the Mossman River and the gateway to Mossman Gorge. Located 15 minutes north of Port Douglas, Mossman is a thriving township known for its sugar cane and exotic fruit farming. Here you can paint your own Aboriginal art with a Kuku Yalanji artist, or go hunting for mud crabs at Cooya Beach the traditional way - with a spear in the mud flats. On Saturday you will see the bustling local Mossman Market held under the historic raintrees in the gardens of St. David's Church. Stop and peruse the goods, with everything from locally made tea cakes, to herbs, veggies and exotic fruits - oh and don't forget the obligatory locally made tea towels or aprons. Mossman is also the gateway to the breathtaking Mossman Gorge in the Daintree National Park, a dramatic freshwater rainforest river that tumbles over boulders and through lush rainforest. Here you can explore the free national park walks, have a swim or enjoy a picnic. For an experience you'll never forget, embark on a guided rainforest tour with the Kuku Yalanji, the traditional owners of the land. As you leave Mossman, explore the country back roads around Finlayvale and Miallo, where you can have an adults only lunch at a luxury lodge and see a historic bomb site from WWII.
The coastal village of Cooya Beach is just 5 minutes from Mossman and approximately 10 minutes north of Port Douglas. A residential area popular with local families, with beach suitable for walking, exercising dogs and catching your dinner! Here you can explore the mangroves on a cultural tour and spear your own mudcrabs. And no catch is complete without a cook up afterwards of course.
Just north of Mossman is the lush farming and agricultural bowl of Miallo, an Indigenous name that means 'wild country'. It is also the site of historic significance in Australia during World War II, as it marks the location of the only civilian casualty inflicted by the enemy on the Eastern Australian mainland. On 31 July, 1942 a Japanese air raid dropped 8 bombs in the Douglas Shire over Mossman, one that exploded a field and damaging a nearby house, injuring its smallest resident, 2 1/2-year-old Carmel Zullo. Fifty years the site was recognised with a plaque and unveiled by Carmel herself, who sustained leg injuries that night.
To access the site, turn onto Miallo-Bamboo Creek Road from the Captain Cook Highway (you can enter either north or south of Mossman) where you will find the plaque and statue with an inscription of the details of the raid.
As you approach the jungle wilderness of the Daintree there is time for a stop at Newell Beach, a sleepy coastal village. Boasting views of the famous Port Douglas headland to the south and across to Low Isles and the lighthouse, the pristine 2.5km beach is met by estuaries at each end. For boaties, there is a boat ramp providing easy access to nearby estuaries and to the nearby Daintree River and Snapper Island. The area is teaming with good eating fish, but remember to be croc wise in these areas. There is a local caravan park, convenience store and also beachside holiday houses for longer stays.
Wonga Beach is a quiet, local beach village just 20 mintues south of Daintree Village along the Great Barrier Reef Drive. Stop and stretch your legs on a walk along the beach, looking out for the Beach Stone-Curlew, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot and Little (Gould's) Bronze-Cuckoo. For the young ones, there is playground equipment at the southern end of the Wonga Beach community park. Here you can also find three maintained graves along the beach, one belonging to maritime hero Charlie Lifu and includes an inscription of his feats. For something active, go catch and release fishing for barramundi at the local barra farm - if you're feeling hungry, you can even take your catch with you! Looking south from Wonga Beach you can see Port Douglas and Island Point headland, while across the water is Snapper Island, named by Captain Cook in 1770 because it looked like a crocodile. To the north, you can see the rainforest clad mountain ranges of the Daintree National Park, including Alexandra Range, which was named after a beautiful Danish princess. The mountain range behind Wonga and leading into Daintree Village is called Dagma Range, after her younger sister. Wonga Beach facilities include a service station and pharmacy, caravan park and BBQ facilities.
Perched on the southern side of the Daintree River, you will find an unspoilt oasis thriving with ancient vegetation, scenic surroundings and vast array of native wildlife and plant species. The Daintree Village, a peaceful township filled with friendly faces and undeniable charm is a welcome rest point along the Great Barrier Reef Drive. Explore the quaint village with stores presented in the style of yesteryear, stopping for a scone and tea. Channel your inner explorer and embark on a crocodile, bird and wildlife spotting cruise before retreating to your luxurious rainforest lodge, exclusive holiday house or cozy safari tent hidden deep in the rainforest.
The Daintree River along the Great Barrier Reef Drive is a spectacular entry into the Daintree Rainforest via cable car ferry. Rich in bio-diversity and ancient vegetation, the Daintree River is home to hundreds of fish and crustacean species and more than half of the world’s mangrove species. The prehistoric estuarine crocodile, or saltwater crocodile, also calls the Daintree River home. Nearly extinct due to hunting their numbers now flourish, making the Daintree River a prime ‘croc spotting’ location. Jump on board a guided river tour departing from the ferry or from Daintree Village, spotting the vast and scenic surroundings. The Daintree River can only be crossed by cable car ferry, pulling you into the final section of the Great Barrier Reef Drive, to Cape Tribulation.
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