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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 11 July, 2022
Expert travel writer: Mark Chipperfield

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.

Price from: £44
Minimum age: 5
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: 1 hour

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.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Silky Oaks Lodge

Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia[1 miles]

Rainforest relaxation guaranteed at this beautifully run eco-lodge with a fantastic restaurant and award-winning spa.

Official star rating:

Shantara Resort

Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia[11.9 miles]

A modern apartment hotel in the centre of Port Douglas. A perfect, convenient base, close to all of the evening action, for those who want to spend their days out exploring (rather than lounging in a resort). Adults only.

Official star rating:

Peppers Beach Club

Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia[12 miles]

Decidedly upmarket beachside resort hotel with a fantastic in-house spa and award-winning restaurant. A good all-rounder with something for everyone.

Official star rating:

Port Douglas Peninsula Boutique Hotel

Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia[12.1 miles]

A compact, beachside hotel equipped with kitchenettes that’s an excellent choice for those travelling on a budget. Adults only.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Port Douglas

Queensland, Australia

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.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Drift Snorkelling on the Mossman River

Mossman, Queensland, Australia[1 miles]

Discover a different perspective on the Daintree Rainforest by drifting along the Mossman river on an inflatable raft, with turtles and waterdragons under the water and soaring mountains above.

Best for ages: 4+ | £65 | 3.5+ hours

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Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours

Cooya Beach, Queensland, Australia[6.5 miles]

Discover the secrets of Queensland’s coastal landscape and learn traditional aboriginal skills such as spear-throwing, mud-crabbing and fishing on an immersive tour with a Kuku Yalanji guide.

Best for ages: 4+ | £48 | 3 hours

Boat tours of the Daintree River

Daintree Rainforest, Queensland, Australia[24.3 miles]

Cruise through a 180 million-year-old rainforest of ancient flora, to spot hundreds of bird species, turtles, colourful tree frogs, exotic snakes and gigantuan ‘salties’ (saltwater crocodiles).

Best for ages: 4+ | £11 | 1-2 hours

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Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Art gallery

Indigenous Art Gallery

Mossman, Queensland, Australia[0.6 miles]

This quality art gallery features the work of the best local Kuku Yalanji artists. The gallery is part of a unique indigenous tourism project which also includes dreamtime walks, a gift shop and a café serving local bush tucker.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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people wandering around an outdoor market with white roofed stalls, under trees

Port Douglas Markets

Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia[11.5 miles]

This buzzy local market, held every Sunday from 8am to 1.30pm, is a great place to catch up with some colourful personalities, pick up some local artwork or sample some fresh local produce.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Nautilus Restaurant

Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia[11.7 miles]

This celebrated restaurant showcases local specialities like Moreton Bay Bugs, kingfish and mud crab, on the atmospheric wooden deck. Five- and seven-course degustation menus available.

Best for ages: 13+ | £35

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