Swish, cosmopolitan and delightfully laid-back, Port Douglas is an ideal stepping off point for trips to the Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef, and to connect with authentic indigenous culture.
Travel bucket list idea:
Dreamtime walks at Mossman Gorge
Mossman, Queensland, Australia|www.mossmangorge.com.au|
With so much focus on the Great Barrier Reef, it’s understandable that the Daintree Rainforest gets second-billing. But a leisurely walk into the Mossman Gorge, with its astonishing range of plant and animal species, will instantly transform you into a rainforest aficionado.
A Dreamtime walk refers to the Aboriginal concept of ‘the dreaming’, when the natural world was created and shaped by mythical beings. The Daintree is one of the oldest eco-systems on the planet, dating back some 135 million years, and a walk with an indigenous guide beneath the towering strangler figs, fan palms and maple silkwoods is an unmissable experience.
The walk begins with a traditional ‘smoking’ ceremony, designed to ward off evil spirits, before delving into the forest itself. En route, stories are shared of the Kuku Yalanji culture and traditions, and there is exclusive access to the tribal lands.
Alongside the Aboriginal history and culture, birdwatchers will be delighted to catch sight of pelicans, egrets, cormorants and the fearsome cassowary. It is possible to do a self-guided walk, but the rainforest is a different place when seen through the eyes of those who know and understand it.
Getting there & doing it
Mossman Gorge is 20 minutes by car from Port Douglas or two kilometres from the township of Mossman. An excellent visitor centre provides maps and information about the surrounding rainforest, plus a café and restaurant. A shuttle bus operates from the visitor centre to the gorge itself.
Ngadiku Dreamtime Walks can be booked online at the Mossman Gorge Centre.
When to do it
Mossman Gorge is open all year round, with the winter months being ideal for bushwalking. Dreamtime walks depart from the visitor centre five times every day. Regardless of the season hikers should wear proper shoes, a hat and lightweight clothing – and cover themselves in insect repellent.
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