The second stop on the half day tour I did was at Mossman Gorge, which is about 10 minutes from Port Douglas. We arrived in the late afternoon and had a stop in the cafe at the Visitors' Centre for afternoon tea. And a very nice afternoon tea it was! Damper with jam, cream or honey, which was delicious and then there were a variety of drinks (hot or cold) you could select from. It turns out we all went for the tea, as it was a Daintree blend, so we supported the local industry!
The Mossman Gorge is at the southern end of the Daintree Rainforest which is the oldest rainforest in the world and has World Heritage listing. (Yep research!)
A fairly new addition is the visitors' centre, with a cafe, art gallery and gift shop (and toilets!) From the visitors' centre you take a shuttle bus to the gorge itself. This was put into place as the constant stream of vehicles going down to the gorge was causing some environmental damage, so to reduce the traffic on the local roads, tourists park their cars (plus the tour buses/vans) in the carpark at the visitors' centre and use the shuttle bus. (I did see a few hardy souls who were walking as well, it's quite a distance)
The gorge is lovely, being there late in the day there weren't many people so quite peaceful.
The Mossman river, the water is flowing quite fast from the rainforest covered mountains which can just be seen in the background. The water level is low at the moment as the northern part of Australia is just coming out of the Dry Season. The Wet Season is when it receives large quantities of rainfall.
Path through the forest, there's a circular trail that takes you around the gorge.
Water flowing into the swimming hole. There's a tiny beach if you want to go in and swim. It's one of the attractions of coming to the gorge, to swim in the fresh water. It is crystal clear, you can see right to the bottom and see the fish swimming around as well. I passed on swimming, cold water doesn't appeal that much to me!
In the upper part of this tree, you can see a vine with its leaves either side. It looked like a little ladder to me, and it appealed to my sense of fantasy. I loved the Magic Faraway tree books as a child, so this tree had a little ladder for all the magic folk to return to their homes.
This tree had a sign nearby explaining that some of the flora in the rainforest is parasitic, and this was a good example, with different plants attaching themselves to a large host.
It was a lovely way to spend some time wandering around the gorge. Apart from the environment I was quite impressed how the running of the tourist development at the gorge has a high presence of the local indigenous population. There is a community that lives close to the gorge and there seems to be a commitment that the visitors' centre provide employment to locals. The front of staff workers, (at the cafe, giftshop, gallery) and the shuttle bus drivers that I encountered were all indigenous.