About 15 kilometres North of Port Douglas the Mossman River makes its way down from the hills, fed by water stripped from the clouds by the jungly plants, as well as the rains. The large
Visitor centre is run and was designed by the Kuku Yalanji people, who have lived in the area for centuries.
I had some idea that it would be a very pushy place, with people trying to thrust aboriginal crafts at you. Not at all. It was pleasant, very well laid out, and there was an opportunity to browse with no pressure. Surely they sell more that way.
The bus fare to the walk around the gorge was $4.80 apiece. No more than a visit to the Rutland Water Bird reserve at Egleton. Once you arrive at the Bus stop in the gorge, there is a choice of trails, some very short, but the longest circuit is about 2.5 km. It seems longer in the heat and humidity, though thankfully the path is almost entirely in the shade.
We arrived at 1 pm and followed the longer circuit, past the Mossman River Lookout, and over Rex Creek suspension bridge, which bounces in a joyful manner as you walk across.
Shortly afterwards there is another viewpoint, and you can see Manjal Dimbi (Mount Demi), which is sacred to the Kuku Valanji. A large humanoid rock represents Kubirri, who protected the Kuku Valanji, when they were threatened by an evil spirit Wurrumbu. The mountain is high, steep and covered with lush tropical trees.
A party of visitors ahead of us had stopped, and showed us a lizard - the local 'forest dragon'.
For the most part the path is clear and not overcrowded, so that you feel as though you are right in the rainforest. We saw more impressive trees, including a sinister 'strangler fig' , of the sort that formed the curtain fig near Yungaburra.
When we finished the circuit, we went back to the swimming hole, where there were many warnings of the danger of flash floods. Lots of people were swimming, so Harry joined them, and I paddled. I was amused to hear several people complaining how cold the water was. Wonder what they'd make of Scarborough.
We returned to Port Douglas by about 6pm, to cook a pasta salad with tuna. Then a final stroll round the town, and on to the beach to look at the stars, before returning to the cottage and writing twenty-three Christmas cards. My earliest ever - just so that people can get Aussie cards with Aussie stamps. They 'll have an almighty shock, since my cards are usually the ones sliding through the letter box on December 23rd!