8 & 9 June: Up to gorgeous Mossman

Author: Mrs A

Location: Mossman, Mossman Gorge & Newell Beach

Friday: We had really wanted to go to Port Douglas, but the timing just didn’t work out. It is a long weekend and also the beginning of the huge wave of grey nomads which surge up into Queensland from South Australia, Victoria and southern NSW. Anywhere remotely pet friendly in Port Douglas has been booked out for months.

So instead we chose Newell Beach, a very sleepy little beachside settlement about 6 minutes drive from Mossman, and about 25 minutes drive north of Port Douglas. We drove up from Cairns and settled into our campsite, first impressions a little depressing, with grey skies overhead, choppy waters on our local beach and a fairly run down campground.

We decided to cheer ourselves up by heading out to a local winery. ‘A winery in far North Queensland?’ I hear you ask…yes, a tropical fruit winery. We decided to be brave and give it a go. It was just a short drive to the one we chose, set on a vine covered veranda at the back of a house on a large tropical property.

It was certainly a ‘different’ experience. A wide selection of different fruits are used for the wines, which the owner likens to dry traditional wines. The first we tried was a Mango wine. She described it as a dry Chardonnay…I couldn’t get over the mango nose, and really couldn’t place any Chardonnay characteristics.

Ginger wine was next…not too bad, but I would probably find it a little overpowering with food. We skipped the Lychee wine, I could not be persuaded this would not be sweet…

The owner was fabulous at conjuring up images of peppery shiraz and light Sangiovese and Tempranillo, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to spend $28 on a bottle of any of the fruit wines that followed. We moved swiftly on to the fortified wines which were a little more palatable. We walked away with a bottle of Kaffir Lime, which would be lovely with a splash of soda water as a light aperitif, and a Chocolate port for those moments which require a little more decadence. We have a delivery of delicious Margaret River Amelia Park wines being delivered to Palm Cove ready for our return to Cairns, which will much better suit our palates.

Saturday we decided to drive up to Mossman Gorge. In contrast to so many of the beautiful gorges we have visited on our journey up the coast, this had a large carpark full of vehicles and a busy visitor centre. We jumped on a bus up to the gorge and commenced our exploration. The swimming holes were fairly busy with visitors, but other areas not too bad, and we managed to escape most of the crowds on our exploration.Once away from the swimming areas it is relatively peaceful, moss covered rocks with a crystal clear creek tumbling down all around, surrounded by old growth rainforest of the Daintree National park. Birds flitted around, perching sideways on the vines that hang down from the canopy above and swooping across our path to catch the insects we disturbed as we strolled along. Being rainforest there was a lot of rotting wood, and with that an amazing array of colourful fungi – I drove Mark crazy with my gasps when I saw the next amazing colour scheme I had to capture.Giant fig vines which had long overtaken their host tree were a key feature, looking like incredible sculptures with their expansive roots and vines, often more than a century old.It is definitely a photographer’s paradise, with often two or three people already set up in front of lovely waterfalls with their cameras on tripods, stealing the best positions for their digital artworks.We returned happy, having had our taste of nature and got showered and ready for dinner.

We had booked into Mojo’s Bar and Grill, the number one restaurant in Mossman. We had driven around Mossman anticipating interesting shops and things to see, but hardly anything had been open, and the art gallery had a sleeping drunk on the entrance steps, so not entirely encouraging! We were a little nervous about dinner…Fortunately we were pleasantly surprised – not only an interesting menu (for example an entree of prawn & crab salad, burnt corn, pickled coconut, chilli, shallot, green pawpaw and a ginger citrus vinaigrette, and mains of Spanish Mackeral with a rainforest salad – mesclun, Quandong, rainforest lime, roasted macadamia, lemon myrtle & vanilla vinaigrette) but also a great wine list. Top marks Mojo!


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