We toodled up the track a bit from Cairns today and popped into Port Douglas and Palm Cove. Palm Cove has been names on of Australia’s Top 10 beaches – not sure what the prerequisite was cause I reckon I’ve seen better. But maybe I caught it on an off-day!

For my money Palm Cove, and for that matter Port Douglas up the road was all about ‘Show me the money” so we moseyed on out of there.

I won’t begrudge them their pretty, coastal views from the lookouts or the beachfront, or the fact that like some other towns we’ve encountered they don’t yet charge for visitor parking at the beach. However we weren’t there for a wine and dine day, and the weather was hardly beach going temperature so we kept out raincoats on and headed up to Mossman Gorge.

Mossman itself is a sugar milling township, the commercial and service centre of the region, and in stark contrast to the society-set scenes of the towns just back up the road.

I like a town with a story, and Mossman certainly has a few of them judging by its 1930’s art deco buildings with names like The Cigarette and Tobacco Marketing Company, and it’s handful of aboriginal elders sitting outside the pub in bush-hats and denims. Unfortunately the Skipper was keen to get to the Gorge, so there was no time to pull up a pew for a pint.

All is redeemed with the magnificent Mossman Gorge.

This is a magnificent 56, 000 hectare area of rainforest and yes … yet another World Heritage Listed area … the Daintree Rainforest. The Gorge can only be accessed through entering a very professional visitor centre.   Just 6km up the road from the town. The Mossman Gorge Centre is managed by the Kuku Yalanji community and I was pretty impressed with their very slick approach to visitor management, while offering opportunities to employ the community and to provide a public interface.  The main feature of the park is a spectacular rocky gorge, with a series of waterfalls, though which the Mossman River flows. The kids loved catching the $6 ad / $3 child ticket eco-shuttle bus from the Mossman Gorge Centre.

The boardwalk along the Gorge at the end of the bus trip was an enjoyable one, though we didn’t get to dip in the waters with guides urging against it after recent heavy rainfalls. I can understand why, the falls were powering and if a kid got sucked under a rock there’d be no hope.

Regardless of this there was the odd British back-packer game to give it a go. We like our swims without an ambulance ride at the end, so were happy to take pics.

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