Heading North for Winter DAY SEVEN

Rainforest on steroids and a resort with wildlife as a feature

Below you will find a detailed description of the route as seen through the eyes of its creator to give you firsthand knowledge of the type of experiences available along this route The Below map of this road trip’s detailed trail and interactive map. Click on the link in each icon to go to more details

Rifle Creek Rest Area to Port Douglas (52.4km 52min)

1. RIFLE CREEK REST AREA to MOSSMAN GORGE (34km 35.5min) 2 km from Mossman, L off Captain Cook Hwy onto Johnston Rd/Mossman Gorge Rd.

H was no better in the morning and by the time we reached Mossman Gorge he was in the full throws of sinus and coughing….so we left him staring at four walls again…really we do feel for him but thought best if he was quarantined lol.

There was a little confusion at first as to how to get access to the rainforest walks as we were going on internet info. So to clarify things, you can no longer drive directly to the walk entrance but pay a small fee and catch a bus up (supporting the local community and traffic jams)…..or you can walk up the 2km, and then do the 2km walk, and walk the 2km back.

Now I’ve been to many a rainforest, so much so that I cringe a little at thought of another, so they have to be pretty special to get my thumbs up. So the best way to describe this tropical rainforest is a rainforest on steroids, a literal fern explosion. There is a feeling that if you stood still long enough a strangler fig may take hold like in some scene from The Huntsman.

The superbly kept walkways and boardwalks make life easy but probably not a real wilderness experience if that’s what you are after…don’t even attempt to take a photo of the suspension bridge as traffic makes it impossible unless you want an action photo lol.

Standing in the ice-cold crystal clear water was invigorating at the halfway point, but we couldn’t muster up the courage for a full plunge dip at the swimming hole, though many others did.

The few path detours on the way back are well worth it. Like shimmering blue sparkles, the delicate butterflies dance above the water and around the rocks and seem to kiss the still waters in a display of impossible gentleness.

The Aboriginal community runs the Mossman Gorge experience on an impressive scale. The staff were very helpful and the whole place was immaculate, from the walk trails to the conservation centre. Even the community we passed through on the shuttle bus was neat and well-maintained, a true gem of a heritage place. The quality of locally produced artwork and products on offer at the conservation centre is well above any I have seen before in a similar establishment.

 

2. Ramada Resort by Wyndham 316 Port Douglas Road – Park Caravan

Not sure how we could top that experience at the Daintree but as we entered the Ramada accommodation entry our thoughts changed to anything is possible. The entry walls tower above like the massive trees of the forest and there hangs a jellyfish-like light feature. Welcome screeches out from nowhere, and leads us into an open-air reception full of comfy lounge spaces and warm smiles. Yes, I said screeches lol, it’s the resident parrot welcoming all the visitors as they enter just casually perched to the side.

It’s not until you venture that bit further that you get the full impact of the place. A boardwalk leads me through a lush green rainforest (yes, within the resort). Moss-covered trees and entangled vines to my left and right, below a waterway full of barramundi. Fully inclusive is the wild birdlife darting around, water lilies and the croak of resident frogs (a good sign of a healthy ecosystem). And there is my favourite flower, the beautiful orchids!

More little lounge area nooks amongst the rainforest and there at the end the long lagoon with a waterfall and swim up bar, what more could you want….don’t need to go to the Daintree now…well maybe not. But it means that poor sick H can still get a feel for the area even if he can’t go far past the bed.

Even the open-air Restaurant gives way to the rainforest with large vine-clad buttress trees weaving through the floorboards at regular intervals surrounded by the dining tables. To tell you the truth, I don’t care how the rooms are after seeing this, but they are great as well with all the rooms positioned to either side of the rainforest courtyard.

NEXT: Crocks, Cassowaries, and where the rainforest meets the ocean