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Port Douglas to Mossman Gorge (& Mossman Australia)

Last Updated 26/10/2021.

Mossman Australia is a small town in Far North Queensland. It is north of both Cairns and Port Douglas, south of Daintree Village and the Daintree Rainforest. It’s not really a tourist town other than for visitors going to the Mossman Gorge, an incredibly beautiful rainforest spot, for walking, learning, enjoying, and sometimes swimming.

A lot has changed at the Mossman Gorge over the 20 years we’ve lived nearby. This post covers Mossman town itself, the Mossman Gorge, and Getting there from Port Douglas.


Mossman Hospital Mossman Australia
Mossman Australia has its own small hospital. Mossman Hospital is a super-cute historic building.
Mossman Gorge rainforest walkways
Raised walkways at Mossman Gorge with views to the waterfalls.
Mossman Saturday Markets Under The Rain Trees Mossman Australia
The Mossman Saturday Markets are held under the iconic rain trees Mossman Australia. Stalls mostly sell local produce and delicious street food.
Mossman main street and cane train going to Mossman sugar mill
Mossman is a sugar town. You’ll drive through field after field of sugar cane on the road between Port Douglas and Mossman. The little cane trains haul the cane, once cut, to the sugar mill in Mossman itself. The sugar used to be shipped out of the Sugar Wharf in Port Douglas. That’s mostly used as a wedding venue these days.

Where is Mossman?

Mossman on Kuku Yalanji land
Mossman Australia lies on land belonging to the Kuku Yalanji people or Bama. Cane fields approaching Mossman from the Tablelands, with the mountains that form the Mossman Gorge beyond.

Mossman Qld is in Far North Queensland Australia. It is in the tropics, at just 16 degrees south of the equator (approx).

Mossman is approximately 20Km northwest of Port Douglas and the drive should take you 20 minutes or so. There is very little public transport in this region but buses do exist.

A cycle path is under construction, currently cycling on this road isn’t very comfortable.

Taxis and minibus shuttles are a possibility.

Mossman is 76 km (approx) northeast of Cairns, the drive should take you just over an hour. Again, public transport is limited. Taxis and shuttles are mostly very expensive.

There is no train to Mossman from Cairns and the closest international airport is in Cairns.

Driving north from Mossman, you’ll arrive at the Daintree Ferry after 28mins, 30km. You’ll then be in the Daintree Rainforest proper, although Daintree National Park does extend south of the river.

Mossman Gorge Visitor Centre

get to mossman gorge visitor centre
The Mossman Gorge visitor center. You can buy your shuttle bus tickets here, which is, effectively, your admission fee to the Mossman Gorge. This is free for locals with proof of address.

Driving towards the Mossman Gorge, from Mossman itself, you’ll arrive at a large modern building and car park. This is the Mossman Gorge Visitor Centre.

It is preferred that visitors to the gorge itself park here and take the regular shuttle buses up to the rainforest, swimming holes, and walkways. The bus costs about $12 for a return adult ticket.

If you are local the bus is free. There is no actual admission fee for the Mossman Gorge, you just pay for the bus. You will need to show proof of your address, such as your driving license.

Visitors can, in theory, walk to the Mossman Gorge swimming holes, this would be free. However this is Aboriginal land and the elders would prefer visitors not to do this. The road from the Visitors Centre to the gorge entrance passes through their settlement.

At the Visitors Centre you’ll find a really good souvenir shop. This is a great place to pick up Aboriginal art inspired items, and a small restaurant.

The car park has a charging place for electric vehicles.

Bus tickets are available inside the Visitors Centre and you can book and pay for a Dreamtime Tour here too.

The whole operation is very slick and modern these days to old-timers like us who remember the gorge before there were even walkways.

Can You Swim at Mossman Gorge?

Every time we’ve visited Mossman Gorge, people have been swimming. We went yesterday, dozens of people were swimming.

That said, there is a sign that seems to be permanently set to “Danger, No Swimming”.

These waters can be dangerous in the wet season and if the water is really flowing there is a strong current. There are warning signs about this and about slipping on boulders.

There were no warning signs about crocodiles that we saw. As far as I know a crocodile has never been seen in the water at the Mossman Gorge. Most popular local swimming holes are popular because they’re croc-free. We hope.

The water at the Mossman Gorge is usually crystal-clear and full of fish. Bring your snorkel and mask if you have one.

We’ve swum here dozens of times, even with babies and small children without any mishaps. But we have seen snakes on the path and there could be stinging tree about if you go off the paths. So don’t.

Further Information on Mossman and Things To Do Near Mossman

We made this little video playlist of things to do near Mossman, places to see, activities, tours, and accommodation.

Everything we could think of for holidaymakers or people planning to live in Mossman Australia. Other posts of ours that could be useful to you include:

Living in Mossman Qld?

If you’re thinking of moving to Mossman or buying a house in Mossman, the following information may be useful for you.

  • Mossman has its own small hospital. The nearest big hospital is in Cairns.
  • Mossman has a large Woolworths supermarket, the biggest supermarket in the area. They do usually offer home delivery.
  • There is a small hardware store in Mossman.
  • There is a selection of small cafes and restaurants in Mossman, along with a bakery and at least one pub or hotel.
  • There are churches for various faiths
  • There is a Bowls Club in Mossman
  • Mossman hosts The Mossman Show in July and the locals get a public holiday.
  • The showground occasionally hosts bull riding. The rodeo, which used to be nearby, has closed.
  • Mossman has a large highschool that also serves Port Douglas.
  • There are doctors, dentists, and a vet in Mossman (at time of writing)
  • Property prices are lower in Mossman than in Port Douglas.
  • There is a small library in Port Douglas, a larger one in Mossman.
  • There are (or have been) play groups and pre-school groups in Mossman. There is day care.
  • Mossman markets are a great place to buy local produce, but many local farmers and homesteaders sell at their gates too.
  • Mossman Botanic Gardens may happen in the future!
  • There is a fantastic kids’ playground under the rain trees in Mossman.

That’s all we have for you on Mossman right now. Whether you’re thinking of buying or renting and living in Mossman, or if you’re in Far North Queensland while travelling around Australia or holiday making nearby, we hope our post about Mossman is useful to you. Most people visiting Port Douglas, Palm Cove and Cairns with kids and without, will take a trip to Mossman Gorge, Daintree Village and the Daintree Rainforest. The gorge itself is a real highlight of the area. If you have a local business in Mossman and would like to be featured in this post, get in touch, we’re local.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please check and double-check all the information we give you locally as times, places, dates, and services do, as we found, change often. Restrictions and closures may apply.