Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia has officially opened the Mossman Gorge Centre, a new AUD$20 million eco tourism development at the Mossman Gorge World Heritage Site north of Cairns.
The development was officially opened by the Australian Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin yesterday (7 Aug) and the centre is a major ecotourism hub in the Daintree region and provides ongoing work opportunities for local Indigenous people in retail, hospitality and tourism.
“This new Indigenous eco tourism development will better serve visitors to Mossman Gorge and will provide one of Australia’s most iconic Aboriginal experiences in Tropical North Queensland,” said Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia Managing Director Koos Klein.
“It is the perfect option for visitors looking for a genuine, authentic engagement with Indigenous Australia,” he said.
The centre operates a fleet of eco shuttles that operate every 10 minutes from the Centre. While guests are transported into the Gorge they gain an insight into the Kuku Yalanji culture and the flora and fauna of the rainforest around them.
“The eco shuttles represent a substantial investment and will eliminate the traffic and pollution issues that were emerging and will allow visitors a greater enjoyment of the serene atmosphere of the rainforest,” Klein said.
Visitors to the Gorge can also enjoy one of two Ngadiku Dreamtime Gorge Walks. The walks offer exclusive access to Kuku Yalanji land and are lead by experienced interpretive Indigenous guides who demonstrate traditional plant use, identify bush food sources and provide an enchanting narrative of the rainforest and their special relationship with this unique tropical environment. The walks start with a traditional smoking ceremony for visitors before meandering through the stunning rainforest and takes in traditional bark huts. Visitors have the opportunity for a refreshing swim in a water hole and both walks end with traditional bush tea and damper and a didgeridoo performance.
Both walks can be booked from the Mossman Centre and operate at regular times throughout the day with the shorter Dreamtime Gorge Walk at AUD$45 per person and longer the Dreamtime Legend Walk, at AUD$65 pp. Both walks give visitors a more intimate look into the culture, spirituality and traditions of the Kuku Yalanji people and their unique connection with this ancient land.
The centre also houses a Café with a full lunch and snack menu, an Indigenous Art Gallery and a Gift Shop.