Day 6: Mossman Gorge

Where Else But Queensland?

Day 6: Mossman Gorge

Words: Andy. Photos: Chris (

*Editor’s notes: at the photographer’s request, I regret to inform you he forgot is SD card on our adventures today because, literally, the only thing we had planned today was a trip to the laundromat, which doesn’t offer many photo ops (we’re not Scomo, after all). That said, we did go to some beautiful places today, which have been captured by iPhone and lovingly edited to a standard Chris still can’t stand…

Our big opportunity to sleep in arrived! So, up at eight am it was. We took a bit of extra time this morning, which was nice, distracted by the shenannigans of The Love Boat Crew as we prepared for our big trip to the Laundromat in Mossman. Julie McCoy was trying her best (and failing) at setting up a couple in their autumn years and Merrill Stubing was grappling with the fact that his runaway daughter, Vicki, wanted a life with him instead of the upper middle class lifestyle her aunt and uncle had provided for her.

Anyhow, Mossman is only about 15-20 minutes from where we’ve been staying in Wonga Beach, so we scooted down the road to wash our dirty laundry. We’d aired it long enough. Traveller’s tip for those needing the laundromat: you’re going to need thirteen dollars to wash and dry a load of washing (plus two more for laundry detergent). The people at the petrol station will make change for you but will also a/ educate you about who actually owns the laundromat (the pub) so you should go there to get your coins because they and the other      businesses in town are sick of playing banker for them, and b/ assume you’re the one who just filled up with diesel and when you say “it’s not mine” race out to the door and yell out to the person who’s actually at the bowser to confirm they are, in fact, the one’s who are refuelling.

Cashed up, we loaded two machines, dropped in the coins and headed across the road to Temptations for breakfast. I had “The Hangover” which is Mossman’s name for a big breakfast, and Chris had a BLT. The large coffees were enormous: good value! By the time we’d eaten, it was time for the drying and I was a dollar short, so had to do the old “buy a packet of Mentos with twenty bucks” trick. It was going to be another half an hour, so we looked into a few shopfronts, including Mensland, which is a menswear store that also sells women’s clothing, and by the time we’d wandered to the other end of town in the now lightly falling rain, the clothes were ready to be sorted, folded, and stuffed back into our Coles bags. Yes, we’re all class.


We hadn’t planned today, which was nice, and still wanted to explore the National Park at Mossman Gorge so drove around the corner and up the road back to the visitor centre and hopped on the shuttle bus up to the walking track. There are three distinct section of track in the park. Th first part is fully wheelchair accessible and snakes its way around to a viewing platform overlooking the rapids of the Mossman River. The forest is lush, especially in the rain, which persisted for the duration of our walk. With no ponchos available at the shop, and umbrellas fifty five dollars a pop, we decided a little bit of rain wouldn’t hurt us. It’s rainforest, after all!

From the next section onwards there are stairs, then uneven patches of track, and we all remember my experience in Wilpena, so up we went! The first, paved, section follows the river, the stream of water gurgling away in a soundtrack of relaxing white noise. The trees start to become thicker as you get deeper into the walk, where you get the chance to get really close to some towering beauties. Roots running along the ground that could easily be confused for water pipes, twisting vines drapes like large plaits on the edge of the path and basket ferns for days. Moss-covered boulders line parts of the track and were handy to steady myself as I stepped up smaller rocks that led to, at times, muddy sections of track. The odd little slipette, but I managed to stay standing, which even amazed me.


You’ll pass several groups of people on your walk, but the grade of track and it’s length (only just over two kilometres) is enough to deter a lot of people from exploring the forest. Don’t let that be you! Trees decorated with lichen, moss and vines growing up their trunks like Boho bracelets are all around, and there’s even a rock shelter you can hop under of the weather deteriorates. We’d already been waling for nearly an hour in the rain, so it wasn’t really high on our list of needs.

There a couple of small streams along the way which make for some nice rest pauses to appreciate the gentle trickling sound of water, and maybe even capture audio for your meditation time back at home. Another creek closer to the end of the walk has a little sandy beach, but is not currently ope for swimming. The pool is much shallower than the main swimming are at the gorge, which is not recommended for swimming due to strong currents anyway, although that doesn’t deter visitors from taking a plunge, including on days like today when the rain is likely to cause flooding at short notice. It did look pretty inviting though.

We finished out walk, completely saturated, and hopped on the bus to visitor’s centre for a drink. They were closing up soon, so they served us in takeaway cups – a mango smoothie for Chris and an iced tea for me. We sat overlooking the bushland next to the cafe, finished our drinks and walked back to the car to change into clean, dry shirts. Lucky we’d been to the laundromat, and luchy the rain stopped pretty much as we exited the walking track.

One more trip into Port Douglas was in order and we hopped down to the scene of Monday’s crime, the wharf area, where we wandered through a small market then sat down over cocktails, people watching for a little while. The Quicksilver boat we’d been on arrived back while we were there, so we wove through the sullen disembarking faces (it’s a great day out, but refer back to day 4 for a clue on why they might be looking a bit haggard) for Chris to take a shot of the catamaran, because we realised in our excitement (!) we’d forgotten to photograph the actual vessel.


Anyhow, it was getting close to food time, although not really because it was only five o’clock, but we’d been trying to decide on where to eat and everywhere that got us salivating seemed to have shut up shop at two pm. Not sure what that’s about, but we ended up back on Macrossan Street (the main street of Port Douglas) and wandered the length and breadth of it looking for a/ shoes for Chris because the ones he was wearing were giving him grief, and b/ somewhere to eat that was open and served something we fancied.

We decided against Watergate and also decided we should wait a little bit longer to eat, because we’re still under sixty, so headed to the Deck Bar for another drink – G&T for C and Cointreau on ice for me. Another wander in search of food and we ended up back at Iron Bar, where we’d eaten earlier this week. A cocktail for Chris, water for the driver and a meal that included chargrilled prawns for starters, steak, chargrilled corn and greens on the side. After spending the equivalent of a week’s grocery bill, and a little bit more, we left well satisfied with a very tasty meal, well savoured, and drove a little bit further up the street for ice cream. The hunt for shoes had been unsuccessful, therefore the care was required.

There’s this great gelato place about two thirds the way down the street run by an Italian lady who makes all the flavours herself and they are to die for! Chris had coffee and pineapple (she did give a quizzical look when he requested the combination, but went with it) and I had chai spice with caramel (which tasted like an ice cream version of creme caramel), and it’s totally going to be wirth the sugar hangover tomorrow!

It’s our last night in Wonga Beach. We’ve had a great stay and seen some beautiful sights. We’re headed back down to Cairns tomorrow for a couple of nights and some little adventures down there. Stay tuned!


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