Mowbray falls are situated close to Port Douglas, however they are not overcrowded with tourists because of the long hike to get there. Therefore It is a very beautiful secluded area with an abundance of wildlife.
The path goes through a mix of jungle and Eucalyptus forest due to the change of altitude. Along the journey you are presented with great views over the Mowbray valley and the falls. The path ends at the top of the falls where there are many little water holes great for a swim or to just relax by.
Getting to the Mowbray Falls
There is two ways to access the Mowbray Falls. Both use the Mowbray Bump track for access:
Route 1: Difficult, 8km one way, 3hours
The first route walks the entire 6km length of the bump track, starting from the Port Douglas end. There is a 2km detour to the falls off of the bump track. It is possible to do the 14km return in one day provided you are fit and start early. I recommend doing the return as you will need another person to drive around to pick you up if you just go one way. It is not possible to do a loop.
The turn off to the falls is not signposted but there are ribbons and tape markers attached to the trees. This second part of the walk is much more difficult because the narrow path is covered in fallen branches and slippery rocks.
To find the start of the route turn off Captain Cook Highway, just south of Port Douglas onto the Mowbray River Road. After crossing a river the road forks, take the right fork onto Connelly Road. The track starts on your left. It is about 3.5km from the Highway.
Route 2: Moderate, 4.6km Return, 2 hours
The second route is much shorter and starts at the other end of the bump track, close to the village of Julatten, on the black mountain road. The black mountain road leads through the Mowbray National Park to Kuranda. The road is unsealed but is suitable for 2WD up until the entrance to the bump track, after this it become 4WD access only. From Julatten take Euluma Creek Road, then turn off onto black mountain road. The start of the bump track is about 5km down this road.
The hike itself is 4.6km return. The first 1.5km is along the bump track, which is an easy wide path. The turn off to the falls is not signposted but there are ribbons and tape markers attached to the trees. This second part of the walk is much more difficult because the narrow path is covered in fallen branches and slippery rocks.
History of the Bump Track
It is thought that this was originally an aboriginal track used for travel between the coast and mountain regions.
During the 1870’s when many mines were opening in the mountain areas and the only access to the sea was via Cooktown. Therefore there was an outcry for a better route to the coast. Christy Palmerston Found this route in 1877.
It wasn’t long before a town was established (now Port Douglas) and the bump track was regularly used. Bullocks and Horses hauled heavy carts full of gold, copper and tin from the mines down the steep and slippery slopes to the port. On the return journey they were often pulling new machinery and supplies of food. As a result any passengers would have to walk up or down the slopes. They slept on the side of the road at night time.