This wasn’t my first time to Port Douglas or the Daintree. In fact I had visited about 5 years before. But it was one of those places that just STAYS with you.
When it came to booking a week away, I suggested Port Douglas.
I wanted to see if it was still as magical as I remember.
The Mossman Gorge together with the Daintree Rainforest can be done on a single day if you are short on time.
Otherwise the Mossman Gorge makes for a lovely half day trip which is what we did.
When I visited the first time around in 2012 we were able to drive right up to the National Park about 30 minutes from the center of Port Douglas and park our cars in the parking bay. This time around however we had to park at the information center and take a bus shuttle that is $9 each way. The shuttle comes every 15 minutes so you are never waiting too long.
The lady at the desk said this was done as the roads to the Gorge can be quite dangerous. Plus now they also offer Aboriginal guided Dreamtime Walks from the center for an additional fee.
Despite the many warnings and the signs, many still go in to the water for a refreshing swim.
I felt a bit naughty but I did too. I was happy just going in waist level and staying by the edge. The current can be very strong, so I wouldn’t recommend doing anything silly here.
The water is clear enough to spot several fish.
After a dip in the waters we went on some of the tracks nearby for a walk around.
It was a really lovely day-trip that I would do again. A little sad though to see just how popular it has gotten. When I visited the first time around there was only a handful of other people visiting the Gorge. This time there were independent tour group with lots of young ones only there for the SnapChat and Instagram moments.
The Daintree Rainforest
It’s a beautiful drive to the Daintree. Sugar canes all around. Very reminiscent of Fiji.
You also get to go on a ferry crossing in your car.
There are so many signs for crocodiles in the water but we didn’t get to see any 😦
Once you enter the National Park, there are plenty of signs that will point you to areas of interest.
There are also several lookout points, guided walking tours and cafes here and there.
We did the Mardja Botanical Walk which is free, and has a proper walking track. Do take some mozzie repellant with you. You don’t need to wear full hiking gear if you plan on staying within the walking tracks in the National Park.
Wet tropics indeed:
It was incredibly peaceful and serene. We were the only ones on the walk and all we could hear was birds and other insects.
Once again no crocodiles were spotted despite the repeated warning and danger signage everywhere.
Yes there are roads, signs, pathways and hotels and cafes but just remember that we only have access to a very small part of the Daintree. The rest of it still sits untouched.
There are also several (safe) swimming holes in the area but they are more local kept secrets which you will stumble upon by talking the cafe and shop owners.
We stopped here for lunch.
Once you get closer to Cape Tribulation you’ll start seeing a lot more backpackers and hostel accommodation.
We pulled into the parking bay at Cape Tribulation and walked over. We had the whole beach to ourselves.
A local told us that Cape Tribulation is the only beach that has been left completely untouched. i.e, they haven’t gone in and planted palm trees to make it look better or more “beachy”.
Cape Tribulation is where two World Heritage area meets.
This is where the Reef meets the Daintree.
If you get a chance I highly recommend a read through one of my favourite childhood books “Where the Forest Meets the Sea” by Jeannie Baker.
It’s one of those places that make you feel like you are living the life such as the move The Beach. It’s so pristine and untouched, and not another soul on the beach with you.
On the way back we stopped for some ice-cream. Plenty of options to choose from:
We enjoyed our ice-cream at yet another secluded, magical beach. Cow Bay
So yes. It was as good as I remember. In fact it was even better.