Lying inland from white sandy beaches and the allure of the Coral Sea, is a dense rainforest world packed with cool streams, steep mountains ranges and rare flora and fauna. This is Mossman Gorge, located just outside of Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland. It’s also home to the traditional Kuku Yalanji people, who’ve inhabited the area for tens of thousands of years.
Also known as the rainforest people, the Kuku Yalanji have intimate knowledge of the forest environment. Fortunately, this knowledge, which includes hunting and preparing bush food, has been passed down from generation to generation.
Since 1986, Kuku Yalanji guides have been sharing this knowledge, along with their history and culture, in and around Mossman Gorge. And in May last year, the Indigenous Land Corporation and Mossman Gorge Aboriginal Community combined to open an eco-tourism centre at the gorge. This is great news for visitors, who can experience some of this ancient knowledge first-hand.
Apart from an art gallery and a café which serves locally sourced food infused with bush tucker, the Mossman Gorge Centre offers visitors guided rainforest walks along easy graded trails. The tours visit special places and culturally significant sites, taking you past traditional bark shelters and over cool rainforest streams.
Here experienced guides demonstrate traditional plant use while identifying local bush tucker sources. Visitors will also be exposed to dreamtime legends, the history of cave paintings and an enchanting narrative describing the relationship between the Kuku Yalanji and the rainforest environment.
These tours operate under Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, which is owned by the Indigenous Land Corporation, an independent statutory authority of the Australian Government. Besides introducing visitors to the ancient rainforest world, Voyages works to certify local employment, protect the environment and ensure the Kuku Yalanji traditions are upheld.