About eight years ago I visited Yu Garden in Shanghai in horrible weather. It was wet and cold and being outside was not at all how I thought I should be spending my day. But then my guide told me this was the best time to view parts of the garden. Some areas had been designed to be enjoyed in poor weather, he said, pointing out the way the mist hung over the pond.
Walking through Mossman Gorge I wondered if nature didn’t take the same approach to rainforests. After all, they aren’t called sunforests are they?
The Gorge is part of the Daintree National Park and the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in Far North Queensland. At more than 110 million years old, the Daintree Rainforest is one of the oldest rainforests on the planet, if not the oldest.
Within just minutes of walking into Mossman Gorge, I felt I was deep within the forest, even if the visitor centre was just down the road. The dense canopy blocks a lot of the rain and light, although enough had dripped through to coat the leaves with rain drops. It was as if I’d stepped into some magical land where everything is green. Very, very green.
Visiting a place like this is a fascinating look at what nature gets up to when we humans don’t interfere: the majestic old trees with their roots stretching out like feet about to take a step, before tunnelling into the ground; the vines and ferns twisting like rope up the trucks; the bright new leaves springing from the forest floor.
There are more than 5km of walks through the Mossman Gorge, some more accessible than others. Most visitors seemed to stick to the level boardwalk, Baral Marrjanga, so by the time we reached the far side of the 2km rainforest circuit we had the track to ourselves. Regardless of which tracks you take, you’ll get a good look at the rainforest.
Mossman Gorge is a 15-minute drive from Port Douglas, in Tropical North Queensland. Entry is $9.10 for adults, $4.55 for children up to 15 years and $22.80 for a family of two adults and two children. The entry price includes a return shuttle bus from the visitor centre to the start of the rainforest walks.