Mossman Gorge; a beautiful but busy (and not free) day trip

If you look Port Douglas things to do up, you’ll be told about Mossman Gorge, and when a heap of our family was over we decided to head out to see what it was really like. This looks absolutely stunning in photos, and I was pretty keen to see what it would actually be like.

Mossman Gorge swimming area
At the Mossman Gorge Swimming area

Where is Mossman Gorge?

This beautiful location is located not far from Mossman itself, and its only 21 minutes drive from Port Douglas. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay on private property at Miallo Creek, which would be the perfect base to check this spot out.

Camping at Miallo Creek Stay
We camped at Miallo Creek, which would be the perfect place to visit from

It costs to get there

I was quite surprised to hear that you have to jump on a shuttle bus to get to Mossman Gorge. This is $14 per adult, or $35 for a family with two adults and two kids.

The bus ride is 5 minutes from the main tourist centre, down a narrow single lane road, and includes a ride back. Now, if you wanted to be really tight, you could choose to walk, and we saw a few people doing this, but the road is awfully sketchy to be on as a pedestrian, and its not a small walk to get there.

This is the first time we’ve had to pay for access to a Gorge in this way, and whilst I can understand the cost of running the buses, it still seems a bit of a rip off (or tourist trap!), and did leave a slightly sour taste in my mouth!

Mossman Gorge buses that take you to the gorge
You have to pay at the visitor centre, and you’ll get shuttled by the buses

What is the Gorge like?

I don’t think we’ve been to a Gorge anywhere in Australia and left feeling like it was rubbish. Mossman Gorge is a beautiful place, but its obscenely busy, and quite touristy.

The walk to the swimming area is stunning, and the swinging bridge is pretty awesome, and I bet the bigger walk would be beautiful too, given our experiences in other gorges (like Finch Hatton Gorge, which is unbelievable).

Mossman Gorge is a stunning part of the world
This is another beautiful part of Queensland, but what’s not?

No swimming

Asides from the cost, the other major shock I got was seeing a sign (after we’d paid), that said there was no swimming (on that date), as the current was too strong.

Now, I did look at the sign carefully to see if it was a recommendation or mandated, and I got the impression it was a recommendation, but a very strong at that.

I’m a very strong swimmer, and I don’t take stupid risks, but was glad to see a huge number of people enjoying the beach area and swimming around when we arrived.

Yes, the current was strong in sections closer to the waterfall, and yes, a warning is a good idea, but to come out and say no swimming is just covering ones backside in my opinion.

Swimming at Mossman Gorge
The signs are pretty direct in suggesting you don’t swim at Mossman Gorge

Suspended bridge and walks

Not far beyond the swimming area lies a longer walk, known as the Rainforest Circuit Track. This is 2.4 km long, and they reckon takes about 45 minutes. The bridge itself is completely worth a look, and it would be stunning scenery further along.

You can also do a small walk from the shuttle bus drop off area, along with the walk to the swimming area, and from there to the suspended bridge. We didn’t do the longer walk as the kids wouldn’t have been up to it with the gear we had, but its a beautiful part of the world.

Suspended Bridge at Mossman Gorge
The suspended bridge at Mossman Gorge is pretty awesome

Is it worth going?

Honestly, this place is nice, but its probably no nicer than Babinda Boulders (which are amazing), and when you have to pay a fairly substantial amount to get there, I’d question whether its worth it.

I’m glad we did it, to see what it was like, but I also feel like we’ve been to plenty of other amazing places in Queensland that were as good or better, and you didn’t have to pay for them. Plenty of them are quieter than Mossman Gorge too, so pick your poison.

We’d probably go again just to do the bigger walk, but we’d be just as happy to find somewhere else to explore too, that’s a bit less developed.

Mossman Gorge is nice, but not insane
It’s a nice place, but there’s plenty of other spots that are as good, and free

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