Port Douglas Walks

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If you enjoy a walk or hike, Port Douglas has you covered. From a gentle stroll around Flagstaff Hill to the more challenging Bump Track and Devil’s Thumb hikes, there’s something for everyone.

The Daintree has a selection of Boardwalks, unfortunately, after the tropical storm/cyclone Jasper, most remain closed, but Mossman Gorge is very much open! Full details on Port Douglas Walks are in this post.

We also need to give you some important safety tips for hiking in and around Port Douglas, they’re at the end of the post.

Walks Port Douglas Australia
For a short walk in the centre of Port Douglas, take the Flagstaff Hill walking trail.
Possibly the most famous Port Douglas hike, the Bump Track, it’s a great workout with rainforest trails and incredible views.

Best Port Douglas Walks

Walk on the Beach in Port Douglas

Four Mile Beach Port Douglas is not four miles long, it took its name from the Fourmile family in days gone by. To walk from the Macrossan St. end of Four Mile Beach, near the lifeguard station, south towards the Mowbray River mouth (near Sea Temple) should take you 40 minutes to an hour. At high tide, it can be impassible. Look out for falling coconuts if you have to walk high on the beach and remember that creeks could potentially have crocodiles or marine stingers (in season.) The Mowbray River most certainly has crocodiles.

If you plan to walk the length of Four Mile Beach, do it around sunset or sunrise, tide allowing. You should never walk too close to the water’s edge. The risk of crocodiles is small, but it’s still a risk.

We have walked cycled, and swum at Four Mile Beach thousands of times and not had any issues, but I’m never going to say it’s 100% safe. You should swim at the top end, near the surf lifesavers.

The Bump Track

The Bunp Track hiking trail
The Bump Track hiking trail, just south of Port Douglas has mixed terrain, this creek crossing is near the top.
Bump track hiking trail starting point
The Bump Track hiking trail is at the back of Mowbray Valley, it’s signposted and there is a place to park. Just follow the trail up the hill.

The Bump Track is a historic route which used to be the only access to Port Douglas, long before the coastal highway was built.

You can start walking The Bump Track from the back of the Mowbray Valley, just south of Port Douglas. If you plan to walk to the top in Julatten, and back down, allow at least four hours. Most people just walk up to the first lookout, where there is a bench and a good viewpoint, before turning around.

It’s a strenuous hike because it’s steep. I’ve personally walked from the top to the bottom and back up in four hours. Towards the top, there are creek crossings and a waterfall. You may need a guide to find the waterfall as it’s not visible from the main track.

You’ll often encounter trail runners, mountain bikers and off-road motorbikes on this route. No dogs are allowed in the National Park, but the bottom of the Bump Track does allow dogs.

You may encounter cassowaries, tree kangaroos or wild pigs on this track. Watch out for snakes, we’ve seen red-bellied black snakes on this walking trail.

Flagstaff Hill Walk

One of the coastal lookouts on the clifftop Port Douglas walking trail around Flagstaff Hill
The walking trail around the headland, Port Douglas

The Flagstaff Hill walking track is relatively new and is a purpose-built walking track with viewing platforms, steps, and a water point or two. It’s a short walk, just about 1 Km, but it’s not easy, with a lot of steps and rough terrain. You can enjoy great views out to sea and on a good day, you can sometimes see sea turtles below.

This is a great run if you’re fit!

The walking track starts at “The Stairs” at the top end of Four Mile Beach. Climb those and continue until you see the Flagstaff Hill Walk sign (photo at the top of the page) and the first viewing platform, from here just follow the trail around to Rex Smeal Park. Or do it in the opposite direction!

You don’t need hiking boots for this walk, I do it in thongs or running shoes.

When you reach the other end, you can easily walk back along Macrossan St. past shops and restaurants (or maybe stop in a pub) to your starting point.

Mossman Gorge Walks

Port Douglas Walks Mossman Gorge walking track
The raised walkways at Mossman Gorge today make access much easier for visitors.
The walks at Mossman Gorge are signposted, there’s a short walk to the swimming hole, or longer walks through the rainforest.

There are a few short walks on boardwalks, bridges, and natural rainforest terrain at Mossman Gorge. The gorge is part of The Daintree Rainforest and the Wet Tropics of Queensland Heritage area. (UNESCO listed in 1988)

Access to Mossman Gorge is by shuttle bus from the Mossman Gorge Visitor Centre. Visitors have to park their cars here and take the shuttle up, there is an admission charge for the gorge, which is basically for the bus. The bus cut down on road traffic both in the heritage area and through the Aboriginal community’s homes, it is low emission.

In 2022 the visitor centre was renamed the “Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre” to reflect the role it plays in educating the world about Indiginous culture. This land is under its traditional custodians, the Kuku Yalangi. We pay our respects to them, their culture and to the Elders past, present and future. Read their story here.

Mossman Gorge Centre opening times are 8 am – 5.45 pm, 7 days per week, except Christmas Day. The recent storms did cause some damage to the walking trails, check at the desk at the Cultural Centre to see if any are still closed or dangerous.

At the bus drop-off point you can access the start of the rainforest boardwalks. There are maps here to help you decide which walk to take.

Mossman Gorge is about a 25-minute drive north of Port Douglas, about 20 km. If you don’t have a car there is a transport service to and from the gorge, book that here. The transfer service costs about $45 Au, return. Admission to the gorge is $14 for adults, $7 for children aged 5 to 15 and free for younger children. A family pass costs $35. These prices may change at the end of March 2024.

If you’d like to take a guided tour of the gorge and rainforest, book a half-day or full-day tour here.

Spring Creek Walk and Waterfall

Spring Creek is in the Mowbray Valley, near The Bump Track, south of Port Douglas. You can walk along the creek and eventually reach a waterfall. You will probably need to walk in the creek and climb over boulders. It may be slippery and not great for small kids.

Hike to Hartley’s Creek Falls

Hartley’s Creek Falls are south of Port Douglas, along the Captain Cook Highway. Heading south there is a car park for this hike, just past the creek bridge at Wangetti. Park here, on the right, and hike through the bush to the falls and swimming holes.

The Daintree Boardwalks

At the time of writing only one of the Daintree Boardwalks was partially open (February 2024) because of damage caused by cyclone Jasper. The boardwalk is very close to the Daintree Discovery Centre, take a right for the centre, and continue past this attraction to reach the boardwalk. We were only able to walk about 200m into the rainforest.

You can walk at Cow Bay or Thornton Beach, being cautious of crocodiles.

The Devil’s Thumb Hike

The Devil’s thum is a hard day hike and you will need a guide.

Shipwreck Bay Hike

Likewise, the Shipwreck Bay hike is hard to find, you’ll need a guide. It’s north of the river on the Cape, south of Cow Bay and Cape Tribulation.

Safety Tips For Walking or Hiking in and Around Port Douglas

Port Douglas is hot year-round, don’t underestimate the amount of water you will need to carry. We also have wildlife (and a few plants) that could be a danger to you. You may also enter areas where there is no phone signal (for instance, The Bump Track), so always let somebody know where you’re going and when you should be back.

Some of these walks are remote and you may not see another human, as a solo woman, I wouldn’t do some of these. I’ve done the Bump Track many times with kids.

The sun is strong, always have a hat and protect your skin with clothing or sunscreen.

Coconuts and gympie gympie (stinging plant) are your major plant hazards, but we also have a vine called “wait a while” which is covered in sharp hooks. Don’t walk into that, I’ve seen it happen, it’s not nice.

Mosquitos will probably be your biggest problem, particularly around sundown, so have repellent.

Other than insects, there are venomous snakes, wild pigs, cassowaries, potentially dingos, and crocodiles, Stay safe, stay smart.

On this site, we walk, cycle, and run in this region, a lot. if you’d like any more information, get in touch or ask in the comments, we’re here to help.

About the author
Alyson Long

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