Things to Do on Cooya Beach

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cooya BeachThe Daintree Rainforest is best-known for its ancient trees and lush vegetation, but that’s not all it has to offer. In fact, where the rainforest meets ocean, there are some spectacular beaches boasting pristine sands and sparkling turquoise waters.

Cooya Beach is one of these stretches of sand. Set near the mouth of the Mossman River to the north west of popular Port Douglas, it promises visitors excellent swimming and snorkelling amongst numerous other activities.

It proves to be a popular hotspot for holiday homes and there are plenty of locals who live around the area. If you’re ready to get stuck into some of the things Cooya Beach has to offered, here are some activities to get you started.

Cooya beachThings to Do in Cooya Beach
Mud-crabbing is one of the go-to activities on Cooya Beach. Because of the close proximity to the mouth of the Mossman, there are numerous forms of life that relish the muddy waters and the change from freshwater to saltwater surroundings. Try your hand at catching some crabs in a relaxing afternoon activity.

Likewise, boating is a popular sport amongst visitors and locals. The pristine coastline promises spectacular views and peaceful waters to peruse. Hop aboard a boat to explore the area from a different perspective and soak up all that this picturesque part of the coastline has to offer.

Like much of Australia’s waters, the ocean off Cooya Beach is ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving. Below the surface, you can explore a colourful world of unique marine life and discover some incredible corals as you go.

cooya beach IKick Back and Relax
The sandy shores of Cooya Beach are ideal for kicking back and relaxing on. Grab a spot in the sun or shade and while away the hours reading, sunbathing, or watching the world go by.

Keen swimmers will enjoy the calm waters of Cooya Beach. As well as an abundance of quirky marine life, the area is great for a leisurely swim. When it gets too hot in the sun, cool off in the waters for the ultimate refresh.

Cooya Beach offers a stark contrast to the lush canopies of the Daintree Rainforest. If you’re in the area, check out the serene sands that cover this stretch of coastline and join in with the local activities, whether that’s mud-crabbing, boating, or simply kicking back and relaxing by the water’s edge.


The Animals and Plant Life of the Daintree National Park

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mangrove girlLocated in the tropical wilderness of North Queensland, the Daintree National Park promises a lush expanse of rainforest and plenty of native wildlife to encounter. The Daintree Rainforest itself boasts an incredibly biodiverse landscape with a large concentration of animal and plant species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. It is also one of the oldest rainforests on the planet.

For the most part, the park is covered by tropical rainforest, which has been alive for more than 110 million years.

It is thought the forest was created via a fortuitous continental drift when it split away from the supercontinent that took up the southern hemisphere millions of years ago. As it drifted away towards Antarctica, it passed through ocean currents and dropped in temperature, while other areas sped off to warmer climates. It is thought the rainforest segments of the supercontinent, like the Daintree, retained their original climates, as well as their original tree species. In fact, many tree species that have long been thought extinct have recently been rediscovered in the park.

green pythonAnimal Life in the Daintree National Park
The park is home to more than 430 different bird species, ranging from small, colourful varieties to larger, more prehistoric-looking species. Keep your eyes peeled for the wompoo fruit-dove, which is one of around six pigeon species in the park, as well as the cassowary and the buff-breasted paradise kingfisher.

CassowaryOn the forest floor, you might spot creatures like the striped possum, the ringtail possum, the brown bandicoot, and various species of tree kangaroo. There are plenty of native Australia critters here, too, including the swamp wallaby, the platypus, and the short-beaked echidna.

If that wasn’t enough, there are also around 23 reptile species that call the forest home, and 13 amphibians that wander between the watering holes and dry land. You might be able to spot forest dragons, water dragons, chameleon geckos, pythons, and varieties of tree snakes, as well as a unique frog species like the Australian lacelid, the white-lipped treefrog, and the common mist frog.

The selection of wildlife and plant species in the Daintree Rainforest really is spectacular, and you can guarantee that you’ll be able to spot at least a few of the native critters that call the park home. While wandering beneath the lush canopies and exploring ancient landscapes, keep your eyes peeled so you don’t miss a wildlife-spotting opportunity.




Getting to Know the Kuku Yalanji People

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Kuku Yalanji 1The Mossman Gorge in the Daintree Rainforest not only promises visitors an exceptional landscape of lush scenery, it also lets visitors step back in time to experience Australia’s ancient culture, where they can learn about the rich heritage of the local Indigenous people who live in the area.

While in the region, you can hear from the Kuku Yalanji people themselves about the legends and history that imbues the Gorge and its surroundings.

The Kuku Yalanji People
The Kukuk Yalangi people originate from the rainforests in the lush north of Queensland. Here, they have been living together in complete harmony with the environment for more than 50,000 years, which is when life in Australia is thought to have come about.

kuku yalanji 2Some tribes of the Kuku Yalanji people spread as far as Port Douglas, Cooktown, and Chillagoe, but, for the most part, they are concentrated around the Mossman River and Gorge.

Nature is a hugely important part of the Kuku Yalanji people’s belief systems, and they have intimate knowledge of its cycles which has been passed down from generation to generation. They are often known as the “rainforest people” because of their close affinity with nature and their surrounding scenery.

The Kuku Yalanji people have been sharing their knowledge and histories around the Mossman Gorge officially since 1986, offering tours to visitors and guided walks through the scenery. Now, there is an eco-tourism centre at the Gorge that gives visitors the chance to learn more about the rich cultural history of the Kuku Yalanji people and their connection with the environment.

Kuku yalanji 3Dreamtime Stories
Dreamtime stories are a rich part of Indigenous culture, and the Mossman Gorge is steeped in numerous legends that span back thousands of years. One of the most popular narratives follows the backdrop of the Gorge – Manjal Dimbi. This is an impressive mountain whose name, when translated, means “mountain holding back”.

According to some Dreamtime stories that imbue the area, the large humanoid rock of Manjal Dimbi represents Kubirri who helped the Kuku Yalanji people when they fell afoul of the evil spirit, Wurrumbu. Kubirri held back the evil spirit, who now sits in The Bluff above the Mossman River.

A visit to the Daintree Rainforest and the Mossman Gorge isn’t just an opportunity to experience some of Australia’s most mesmerising natural scenery, but it also gives you the chance to learn more about the Kuku Yalanji people and their fascinating history and contribution to Australian heritage.

What to Do at Cape Tribulation

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Cape Tribulation 1Cape Tribulation marks the spot where the turquoise waters of the sea meet the lush greenery of the forest and is one of the most unique spots of natural beauty in Australia.

Here, the Great Barrier Reef, an incredible natural wonder, joins forces with the Daintree Rainforest, bringing visitors an eclectic backdrop of ancient trees, native wildlife, and beautiful scenery.

The Best Time to Visit Cape Tribulation
The majority of visitors head to Cape Tribulation during the dry season, which takes place between July and November. During this time, marine stingers tend to be fewer in number and the temperature is much more enjoyable.

There are four key resorts that dot Cape Tribulation that cater to every kind of traveller – whether you’re a backpacker working to a budget or on the hunt for a more luxury experience.

Cape Tribulation 2Things to Do in Cape Tribulation
The diverse landscape that makes up Cape Tribulation means there are plenty of things to see and do during your stay. If you’re looking for active adventures, the area has you covered, or if you simply want to relax and soak up the unique scenery, you can do that to.

Diving and Snorkeling
The close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef means snorkeling and diving are two of the most popular activities in the region. Beginners and pros can dip beneath the surface of the water and explore the marine life that characterises one of the most spectacular parts of the world.

Bushwalking and Treks
Back on land, you can wander the many routes that weave their way through the rainforest. Along the way, you can marvel at huge ancient trees, spot exotic fruits, and look out for some of the native species that call the forest home.

Cape Tribulation 3Active Adventures
For the more adventurous traveller, there are plenty of adrenalin-pumping activities to get stuck into. You can explore the coastline from a different perspective in a kayak, you can take a horse ride through the forest, zip line through the high canopies, and even take a 4-wheel-drive safari.

River Cruise
If you fancy exploring at a slower pace, you can cruise down the Daintree River, spotting animals as you go and learning more about the natural habitat and its residents.  

Cape Tribulation really is an exceptional part of Australia, promising lush rainforest scenery with an abundance of animal and plant life, and the beautiful expanse of the Great Barrier Reef, with its picturesque islands and turquoise waters.

The Reptiles of the Daintree Rainforest

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reptilesThe Daintree Rainforest boasts some of Australia’s most diverse scenery, incorporating ancient plant life, stunning views, and a collection of incredible wildlife. One of the most prominent types of animal you’ll find here is the reptile, a group which revels in the warm Australia temperatures and the seasonal tropical climates of the rainforest.

If you find yourself wandering through the forest, keep your eyes peeled for reptiles great and small, including crocodiles, one of Australia’s most prolific hunters, and smaller species that are native to the region.

Reptiles in the Daintree Rainforest

Australia is home to two different kinds of crocodile, but you’ll only find the saltwater crocs in the Daintree. There are about 70 adult crocs that live in the Daintree River, a picturesque landmark that weaves its way through the forest, the largest of which can grow up to 5 or 6 metres in length.
Crocodile spotting is now a popular activity in the Daintree Rainforest, and there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to get up close to these magnificent creatures and learn more about their fascinating history, habitat, and behaviour.reptiles2

Though some people might shy away from snakes, the species found in the Daintree Rainforest are beautiful – if not a little deadly. The vast majority of snakes in the forest are harmless to man, but keep your eyes peeled for the Taipan, the Eastern Brown, the Death Adder, and the Red-bellied Black, all of which can be very dangerous if disturbed.
Aside from these deadly species, you can also spot the Amethystine Python, which is the largest snake in Australia, clocking in at a whopping 8.5 metres in length.

reptiles3Lizards and Other Reptiles
It’s not just snakes and crocs that’ll keep you on your toes in the Daintree; there are plenty of other reptiles to discover, too, including the Lace Monitor, the second largest Goanna found in the country, Tree Monitors, and Black-tailed Monitors. These lizards have low bellies that drag along the floor and flicker their tongues as they hunt down carrion and bird’s eggs.
Elsewhere, you might spot an Eastern Water Dragon splashing about in the shallows, a Boyd’s Forest Dragon, with its large spines and vibrant colouring, a Frilled Lizard that runs like a cartoon character on two legs, as well as Major Skinks, and the Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko.

The animal life in the Daintree Rainforest is nothing less than magnificent, especially the eclectic selection of reptiles that call the region home.

What to Do Around the Mossman River

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Mossman Gorge CentreThe Mossman River carves a pretty scene through the landscape of the Daintree Rainforest, one of Australia’s most beautiful natural hotspots.

Set in the Cape York Peninsula of Queensland, the river begins under Devil’s Thumb in the sprawling Mount Carbine Tableland of the Great Dividing Range. It then flows through carved, ancient valleys in the Mount Lewis Forest Reserve before hitting the deeply etched sides of the Mossman Gorge. From there, it winds onto the coastal plains outside of Mossman before emptying into Trinity Bay and the Coral Sea.

The River itself was named after Hugh Mosman in 1873 by the famous explorer George Dalyrmple.

Visitors to the region can enjoy a range of activities around the river’s banks. Just watching the crystal water flow along the length of it is mesmerising, while the ancient plant life and animal species that live around it are well worth keeping an eye out for.

When it passes through the Mossman Gorge, you can admire the impressive boulder garden that characterises the area. Here, the whole river appears to be made up of giant granite boulders that cast a surreal scene to the surroundings.

Mossman GorgeThings to Do at the Mossman River

There is plenty to get stuck into around the Mossman River, not least taking beautiful hikes through the surrounding rainforest scenery.

River drift snorkelling is a popular activity in the deeper parts of the river. While doing this, visitors can float down the river admiring the underwater world as they go. Alternatively, if you’d like to stay above the water level, you can hop in a kayak and row your way along the river. This gives you the chance to see some of the spectacular scenery up close and from a new perspective entirely.

Mossman 3Elsewhere around the river, you can take a guided indigenous tour of the rainforest, learning more about the rich history of the region and discovering some of the stories and myths that entwine with the landscape.

For something a little more refreshing, you can take a swim in the cool waters of the river, cooling off in the hot Australian sun and getting amongst some of the area’s prominent wildlife.

The Mossman River and its surrounding scenery really is a spectacular sight to behold. Edged by the lush expanse of the Daintree Rainforest, it brings visitors cool waters, a fabulously rich indigenous history, and impressive natural wonders that date back thousands of years.

The Wildlife and Cultural History of the Daintree River

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Daintree RiverThe sprawling expanse of the Daintree River flows through the lush confines of the Daintree Rainforest near Cape Tribulation in the UNESCO Heritage wetlands of Queensland. Proving to be a popular hit with tourists, the region is awash with incredible plant life, amazing animals, and stunning views.

Beginning on the slopes of the impressive Great Dividing Range in the Daintree National Park, the river then flows down through the rainforest where the water is fresh. Where it meets freshwater, it bursts into life with an array of animal species and plant life to discover. Afterwards, it meets up with two smaller tributaries before it heads through Cairns Marine Park, weaving through dense mangrove swamps. It ends at theDaintree River 2 Coral Sea, just to the north of Wonga Beach, where it opens out onto a giant sandbar.

Why Visit the Daintree River

The Daintree River is hugely popular with nature lovers and other visitors who are simply looking to soak up the incredible natural beauty of Australia.

Here, ancient vegetation creates breath-taking backdrops, while there are scenic views around every twist and turn. Along the length of the entire river, native wildlife flourishes.

At the moment, there isn’t a bridge that allows visitors to cross the river, so to get to the other side you have to climb about the Daintree River Ferry.

It’s not just the river that promises visitors an exceptional experience, either. In the surrounding landscapes, you can see Black Mountain, Daintree Range, Thornton Peak, and the Cape Tribulation Rainforest, just a few of the amazing sights to behold in the wetlands.

Daintree River 3The Cultural History of the Daintree River

The Daintree River holds a special place in Australia’s cultural history too, and has been imbued with indigenous traditions for thousands of years.

The Kuku Yulanji were the indigenous people who once lived around the river. They were hunter-gatherers who lived in small communities and camped along the banks of the river, surviving on a simple diet of vegetation harvested from the forest around the river. It is thought the tribe lived alongside the Daintree River for more than 9,000 years, contributing to a major part of the area’s history.

Because of its rich cultural history, its stunning views, and its eclectic selection of wildlife, the Daintree River continues to be an incredibly popular hotspot with tourists. Here, you can really get to know one of the most beautiful parts of Australia.

Getting to Know the Mossman River

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mossman riverThe Daintree Rainforest is one of Australia’s most magical natural hotspots. Here, native species frolic amongst lush greenery, and ancient rivers carve through impressive landscapes. The Mossman River is a popular pit stop in the area, set on the Cape York Peninsula.

The river itself begins under Devil’s Thumb on the Mount Carbine Tableland in the Great Dividing Range, where it then flows down through a centuries-old valley into the Mount Lewis Forest Reserve. From there, it makes its way through the Mossman Gorge and onto the coastal plains and the township of Mossman. Eventually, it reaches Trinity Bay, where it meets the Coral Sea.

Named by the explorer George Dalrymple in the late 1800s, it now proves to be one of the Daintree Rainforest’s most sought after landmarks. As well as admiring the scenery and checking out the plant and animal life along the river banks, visitors can try their hand at kayaking along its length.

But these are not the only things to do. In fact, Mossman Gorge, where the river runs through, is a hive of activity, both cultural and adventurous.

Mossman Gorge Centre
Things to Do

Mossman Gorge Centre
This new indigenous eco-tourism development marks the start of the Mossman Gorge. Here, visitors can learn about the spectacular landscape, from its expansive history to its ecology in the present day.

Indigenous Heritage
This part of Australia is deeply imbued with a rich indigenous heritage. Stories and age-old narratives sear the landscape, while tribes still carry out ancient traditions in the region. You can take a guided Dreamtime Walk through the Mossman Gorge past the Mossman River with the Kuku Yalanji people, learning about their traditions, culture, and important history.

The Daintree Rainforest
One of the best ways to explore the Mossman River, though, is to walk along its length. Taking you through the green canopy of the Daintree Rainforest, you’ll be exposed to ancient trees, colourful plant life, and a whole host of native creatures.

As you go, you’ll pMossman 3ass cascading waterfalls that thunder into deep pools below, soaring mountains, and impressive gorges that have been carved over thousands of years.

If you’re in the Daintree Rainforest, be sure to check out the Mossman River. Not only will you get to stand in the incredible Mossman Gorge and stare up at age-old cliff faces, but you can discover some of Australia’s most elusive creatures that call this region home.

How to Explore Cape Tribulation Beach

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Cape TribulationCape Tribulation basks in the glow of the Daintree Rainforest, one of Australia’s most magnificent natural wonders. This ancient collection of trees and native species proves to be a popular pit stop for travellers, while the Cape Tribulation Beach – just outside the rainforest – offers some respite from the green canopies.

From Cape Tribulation, you can hop on a boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef, which languishes just off the coast and offers plenty of opportunities for scuba diving, snorkelling, and seeing the incredible selection of marine life.

Further inland, visitors can enjoy a plethora of walking routes that take in the stunning coastline, bird-watch in the cover of the rainforest, and take on more adventurous activities like zip-lining.

Cape Tribulation Beach

Cape Tribulation Beach is the main beach in the area. Though there are several other smaller beaches boasting pristine sands and mesmerising sea views, Cape Tribulation Beach is perhaps the most popular.Cape Trib Beach

Situated to the north of the cape, you can take a short walk to the lookout point. From there, you are exposed to breath-taking views of the turquoise ocean and out to the Great Barrier Reef beyond.

Walk north, and you can stop off at The Beachhouse, where you can tuck into delicious dishes and relax with a drink or two in the bar. For the ultimate paradise experience, dine right on the beach with the water lapping at your toes. 

Cape Tribulation Beach is popular with tourists because it is removed from the southern end of the cape, where the carpark is, and where many people begin their journey. That means the crowds are usually thinner, and there is more chance to soak up the peaceful atmosphere of the region.

Things to Do at Cape Tribulation Beach

Take a Walk

The beaches along Cape Tribulation are all spectacular in their own way. You can walk from Cape Tribulation Beach all the way north to Cape Trib Beacj 2Emmagen Beach, passing pretty coves and charming swathes of sand along the way. Be sure to check the tide times before you begin this walk.


For the more adventurous traveller, there is the chance to kayak around the coastline, getting to know little nooks and crannies that can’t be seen from the land. From Cape Tribulation Beach you can paddle your way around the shores, taking in the cape from a different perspective.

Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Forest really are a must-see if you’re in the area, and Cape Tribulation Beach is just the icing on the cake.


The Salt Water Crocodiles of the Daintree Rainforest

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Daintree Saltwater CrocodileThe Daintree Rainforest is one of Australia’s greatest natural wonders, promising lush greenery and breath-taking views across ancient scenery. Amidst it all, there is a plethora of animal life, including the crocodile – perhaps the most magnificent creature in this region.

The crocs that live in the Daintree are saltwater crocs, where the males measure between 5-6 metres, and the females come in at a still-impressive 3 metres in length. In the Daintree River alone, there are thought to be around 70 adult crocodiles, a number that has increasingly grown over the past 30 years. Today, the area is popular for crocodile spotting thanks to its ever-growing number of these ancient creatures, and for its close proximity to Cairns.

You might think it’s dangerous getting up close and personal with these predators in their natural habitat but, since crocodile spotting has been a key activity here since the 70s, the crocs are used to the whir of boats on their waters and crowds gawping at them over the side of the deck.

Despite this being a prominent croc-spotting place, experts have described the area as low density because of prolonged hunting over the years. In 1974, the numbers of saltwater crocs in the Daintree Rainforest were dangerously low, forcing a legislation to be put in place to protect them. Since then, numbers have begun to rise again, and the crocs there are still breeding successfully year after year. saltwater crocodile

The crocs have been a prominent part of Australian culture for centuries, and have even been a major part of Aboriginal culture. In the past, these creatures were believed to hold bad spirits, hence why they were banished to the salt water streams around Australia.

Though today they aren’t at risk of extinction, they are still being hunted for their hide, which is the most expensive hide of all crocodiles.

Salt Water Crocodiles and Breeding

The salt water crocs in the Daintree Rainforest breed during the summer months. They lay their eggs in a compost mound they build themselves Saltwater Crocodileand incubate them for around 3 months. The eggs then hatch during the wet season, producing little 20cm long hatchlings that remain with their mother for a few weeks or months after they are born.

Salt Water Crocodiles and Territory

You don’t want to mess with a salt water crocodile! They are extremely territorial, and will attack anything they think may be a threat to them, including fish, mammals, other reptiles, and even humans.

The Plants of The Daintree Rainforest

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flower jpgThe Daintree Rainforest is one of Australia’s most beautiful natural wonders. Here, colourful bird species swoop below lush, velvet canopies, while native creatures rustle about in the undergrowth. It really is a nature-lover’s dream.

And if you’re a keen gardener, you’re going to love the sheer volume of incredible flora that resides in the forest.

In fact, the diversity, intricacy, and age of the plants found in the Daintree Rainforest is much larger than any other ecosystem in the entire country. Taking it further, it’s home to the largest concentration of rare and endangered flora anywhere in the world.

Flowering plants are in abundance here, where there are 12 of the 19 primitive plant families in the world, as well as 28 of Australia’s 36 mangrove species – a heady collection of flowers large, small, beautiful, and dangerous.

Idiot Fruit

This primitive flowering plant was only discovered in 1970, but it boasts a unique little history that has made it a fascinating find. Plants 1

It began with four cows and a local farmer called John Nicholas, who worked for the Daintree Tea Company. The cows were found dead in the paddock, and it was learned that they died from chewing large seeds which were found in their stomachs during an autopsy. It turns out that the seeds produced a poison not unlike strychnine, and they were what caused the cows’ deaths – seeds that were from the Idiot Fruit.

Blue Quandongs

These giant plants are an important part of the Daintree’s canopy. They shade the smaller plants from the sun and grow a blue fruit that expands to about 3cm in diameter when ripe.

Wild Ginger

Ginger plants can be dangerous, with many of the family containing poison. However, this type of ginger reaches six metres high and is often used by hikers to supplement their water. When chopped near ground level, the stem releases water, which is perfect for a rejuvenating drink.

Plants 2Wait-a-While Vine

For something a little more dangerous, there’s the wait-a-while vine. Consisting of thin strands of vine that are smattered with small spikes, these plants can get caught on clothing, rip skin, and tear fabric that they come into contact with. Mostly, you’ll find them hanging from tall trees, floating down to the ground in thick clumps.

There are plenty of other plant species that call the Daintree Rainforest home, and a simple hike will open your eyes to all the beautiful varieties.

Mossman Gorge - Discovering the great beauty of the Daintree Rainforest

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mossman gorgeAside from the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns in Queensland provides access to one other natural wonder that inspires awe and excitement into its visitors. The world heritage listed Daintree Rainforest is a destination unlike any other, with one of the world’s most diverse range of fauna and flora it offers a truly incredible opportunity to explore Australia’s outdoors.

One of Daintree’s most accessible attractions can be found in its southern regions, Mossman Gorge is located just 80kms north of Cairns and is a great first stop on your journey through this marvellous rainforest. Nearby the site itself, you will find the Mossman Gorge Centre, where you can start your visit off by learning more about the area and the historical significance of the land to the Kuku Yalanji indigenous people. This centre also has a gallery full of aboriginal crafts and artworks on display.Mossman 2

From the centre you’ll be able to make your way toward the gorge, you can take a stroll through the peaceful canopy of rainforest from the carpark and you’ll soon find yourself transported to the natural paradise that is Mossman Gorge. You’ll be met with a truly magical scene of glistening, crystal-clear water flowing rhythmically over ancient granite boulders that have come to rest in the shallow waters of the gorge. If you’re able to visit during the Summer months of December to February then this will be the perfect time to pull on your swimming costumes and jump into the cool waters of the gorge, providing the absolute perfect place to kick back, relax and enjoy the smooth ambience of your surroundings.

The gorge also has several easy walking trails to offer, all of which allow you to explore the area around you and view some of the many marvels that this rainforest has on display. Taking the River Circuit Trail will reward you with unquestionably stunning views of the sparkling water as you make your way alongside the beautiful river. This walk is only 400m long and can be finished in a matter of minutes, the slightly longer trail Mossman 3known as the Rainforest Circuit covers a total distance of 2km. It’s on this walk that you can really spend some time exploring the natural beauty of this ancient rainforest, and if you keep your eyes peeled you may even spot some of Daintree’s famous wildlife.

The staggering beauty of the Daintree Rainforest never ceases to amaze its visitors, as people from around the world come to view sites just like Mossman Gorge, and leave with amazing memories of their trip.