Culture

Mossman Gorge - Daintree Forest

A visit to the Mossman Gorge not only promises breathtaking scenery, extraordinary wildlife and lush rainforest, it also offers the opportunity to learn about the rich cultural heritage that links the people of the region to the land.

Hear first-hand from the Kuku Yalanji people the legend and history that is steeped in the roots of the trees, the walls of the caves and the backdrop of the surrounding mountain.

Kuku Yalanji People

The Kuku Yalanji people are the Indigenous inhabitants of the land and have a history dating back 50,000 years to the earliest human occupation of Australia. They are true rainforest people, living in complete harmony with their environment. It is part of them and they are part of it, a notion that is movingly brought to life during an Indigenous guided walking tour of Mossman Gorge. Their traditional country extends from south of Mossman to Cooktown in the north, and Palmer River in the west.

The Kuku Yalanji culture is built around a deep respect for nature and an intimate knowledge of its cycles. Their knowledge has been passed down through the generations – with the members of the community having learned all they know from their elders, parents, grand parents, uncles and aunties.  

Book in to an award-winning Dreamtime Walk, conducted by the Kuku Yalanji people. Be taken on a journey steeped in heritage as you uncover their ancient culture and traditions. The experienced guides share their dreamtime legends, explain the tales and history of cave paintings and provide an enchanting narrative of the rainforest and their special relationships with this unique tropical environment.

History

The Mossman Gorge is steeped in history and legends that have been passed down through the generations of the Kuku Yalanji.

One of their greatest legends is a tale about the striking backdrop to the Gorge – Manjal Dimbi.  Manjal Dimbi is the most prominent of all nearby mountains. Roughly translated, Manjal Dimbi means "mountain holding back". According to Aboriginal dreamtime stories, the large humanoid rock represents Kubirri, who came to the aid of the Kuku Yalanji when they were persecuted by the evil spirit, Wurrumbu. Kubirri holds back the evil spirit, who is now confined to The Bluff above Mossman River, Manjal Dimbi has been anglicised to "Mt Demi" and Kubirri is known as the "Good Shepherd.”