Mossman Gorge, Daintree National Park

Sun sparkles on the cool, rippling water of the gorge and all around you is the lush green of the rainforest. The kids call excitedly as they spot a turtle sitting on a giant, rounded boulder in the river. They run ahead over the suspension bridge, almost missing the sight of a huge jungle perch gliding through the water below. You’ve given them the task of spotting the first information board – by following the boards you’ll find out how surrounding plants are used by the Indigenous Kuku Yalanji people.

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Contact details

Gorge Rd, via Mossman

Don't Miss

■ The guided walks on Aboriginal life in the rainforest. These leave from the entrance to Mossman Gorge four times daily (except Sundays), and take an hour and half. Visit culturally significant sites and learn about cave paintings, see traditional bark shelters and cool rainforest streams, learn how to find bush tucker, and have a taste of damper; Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime; (07) 4098 2595;

■ Other Daintree attractions a bit further north, such as Cape Tribulation, Daintree Discovery Centre and Jungle Surfing.

Fabulous Facts

One of the animals found only in the rainforests of north-eastern Queensland is Boyd’s forest dragon. The colourful markings on this spiky, prehistoric looking lizard include a mustard yellow pouch beneath the chin, and bright patches of yellow, black and white on its olive body. Surprisingly, these serve as camouflage in the rainforest.

Insider Tips

■ The Department of Environment warns against entering the river because of dangers from swift currents, flash flooding and slippery rocks.

■ Read Jeannie Baker’s Where the Forest Meets the Sea, a beautiful and thought-provoking picture book about this area.
■ Mossman Gorge National Park is an easily accessible introduction to tropical rainforest.
■ Try to arrive early in the morning while the birds are calling and before too many people arrive. Hot summer afternoons draw the crowds, especially on weekends.
■ Watch out for stinging trees. They have large, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges and grow to 4 metres high. The stings are extremely painful.
■ There is a picnic area with toilets near the carpark. Watch for Australian brush turkeys that come scavenging for food.
■ The two walks leading from the Mossman Gorge carpark connect up with each other. The one on the right leads to the river (watch for a short track that takes you down to a sandy beach). If you cross the suspension bridge, you’ll find the track with information signs that takes you on a one-hour circuit through the forest.

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