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Things to do
Camping is not permitted along the Manjal Jimalji trail.
There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Mossman, Port Douglas and Cairns.
For more information see the tourism information links.
The Manjal Jimalji trail is not for everyone. Although well marked, the trail has steep ascents and slippery surfaces and walkers must be prepared for rock scrambling in places. Only experienced bushwalkers with above average fitness should attempt this trail.
To ensure your walk is safe and comfortable, try to walk between May and November when the weather and trail conditions are at their best. The trail becomes slippery in wet and cloudy weather. Walking the trail is not recommended in these conditions. Contact the Mossman office for details of current trail conditions.
Stay on the walking trail at all times—this reduces the risk of injury, prevents disturbance to native vegetation and reduces erosion. Serious injuries have occurred in this area as a result of walkers leaving the designated trail.
As outlined below, the trail is broken up into sections identified by natural landmarks. Distance markers have also been placed at 1km intervals along the trail. These markers can be used to help you track your progress.
Manjal Jimalji trail—10.6km return (allow 8 hr) Grade: difficult (steep ascents and slippery surfaces).
Little Falls Creek to coral fern patch
The trail starts at Little Falls Creek. Take care when crossing the creek as the rocks can be very slippery. After crossing Little Falls Creek the trail climbs steeply through the lowland rainforest. Bloodwoods and wattles tower above the rainforest canopy and thickets of lawyer vine can be seen along the edge of the trail.
As the trail ascends the vegetation begins to change. At 900m in elevation, 3 km along the trail, you reach the upland rainforest. Look for the red flowers of a Proteaceae or the blue kauri pine.
Coral fern patch to Split Rock
Another 300m along the trail the rainforest stops abruptly at a natural clearing filled with wiry coral fern and the wind-hardy mountain tea-tree. Help to preserve this picturesque vegetation by remaining on the trail at all times.
At an altitude of 1,000m the absence of rainforest plants provides excellent views and an ideal spot for a break. On a clear day this vantage point allows walkers to see the Mossman and Port Douglas coastline.
At this point walkers need to decide whether to continue to the lookout (which is a further 4km return) or turn back. To continue to the lookout walkers should have climbing skills, above average fitness and at least five hours of remaining daylight.
At about 3.7km the trail re-enters the rainforest. Another 400m along the trail look for a large cracked boulder known as Split Rock.
Split Rock to the lookout
From Split Rock the trail gently undulates before reaching Manjal Jimalji, which is located below the crest of the ridge. Large boulders are present along this last section of the trail and climbing skills are required.
On a clear day, enjoy the extensive views from the lookout. The rainforest-clad Main Coast Range, of which Manjal Jimalji is a part, runs parallel to the coast. To the east, views of the Mossman lowlands and coastline are possible. The Dagmar Range can be seen to the north and the impressive Wundu (Thornton Peak) and Daintree valley to the north-east.
Conditions at the lookout are often damp as moisture-laden clouds move in from the sea and are trapped by the steep ranges. Around the boulders, mist-nourished plants are shaped by the wind. Look for the red-flowering native rhododendron.
Birdwatching can be particularly rewarding along this trail, due to the changes in forest type and altitude. The bird life changes significantly as you ascend along the trail. Through the lowland rainforest look for metallic starlings, yellow-spotted honeyeaters and the endangered southern cassowary. Listen for the 'wallock-woo' of the wompoo fruit-dove.
Once you reach 600m in elevation, about 2km along the trail, keep watch for fernwrens, grey-headed robins and chowchillas—these birds are generally restricted to altitudes above 600m, so catching sight of them or hearing them call is a treat for walkers.
At higher altitudes walkers should keep watch for golden bowerbirds, tooth-billed bowerbirds and white-cheeked honeyeaters—unique to rainforest areas above 900m.
Black-bellied swamp snakes and venomous rough-scaled snakes often bask in the sun. Never provoke, harass or disturb these animals. Remember, this is a national park—all animals, including snakes, are protected.