Swimming in Nature Part 3: Josephine Falls & Mossman Gorge

Josephine Falls

Another weekend, another swimming-hole(s).

Bae and I tried to go to Josephine Falls a couple of weeks ago, soon after moving. It was actually the beginning of that relentless couple of weeks of rain that ended-up flooding Townsville, and it was royally farrrrrked.

Like the Devil’s Pool, peeps have died at Josephine Falls after flash-flooding. I couldn’t get an exact number on the death-toll, but it seems there were at least two in 2018, one in 2016, and another in 2004.   

So we decided to wait until there was a couple of days of dryness before even attempting another swim.

Good idea.

We spent a whole like, 3-ish hours at Josephine Falls. Overall, very good – nice currents for swimming, super shaded from the sun, minimal amount of weird floaty stuff to freak-out over, and lots of rocks to sit on in the water.

Bae said it was like “jumping into peppermint oil”, which is surprisingly accurate and complimentary since everyone loves peppermint oil.

This would be the PERFECT photo without the people ;(

SO, let’s review:

  • The Boulders is cool because of well, the big-ass boulders, and the Death I mean, Devil’s Pool.
  • Millaa-Millaa is rad because it’s hella cold and has some lame claims-to-fame (Also, no deaths… that I know of???).
  • Mossman (below) has a mini-forest-canopy-walk.

So what does Josephine Falls have that sets it apart? A SLIDE AND A SWING (both natural of course!). It’s like a pool and a playground combined!

To go down the ‘slide’ you have to:

  • Swim over to the rock-face.
  • Claw your way up and out of the water over a rock with a gross algae strip;
  • Inevitably fail at least once and fall back into the water (and if you’re wearing a thong bikini, you might even accidentally give everyone an eye-full of your ‘twinkle tush’ if ya know what I mean).
  • Act superior when you do make it to the top.
  • But then fall over again either while waiting for your go, or when you’re trying to find the perfect insta-worthy pose to do on the way down the slide while carrying a water-proof selfie-stick.

Pretty rad.

Now to the swing… Say for example you’re waiting for some wanker of a barefoot-tourist-guide or whatever to give his gullible group of tourists an in-depth $100.00 explanation of how to (no joke) swim in a straight line, and then go down a slide – an explanation which also somehow involves a suspicious amount of touching and re-arranging of the lady tourists, but not the dude tourists.

While you’re waiting for these shenanigans, there’s a section of Josephine Falls called the ‘Top Pools’, right behind the unofficial waiting-area of the slide.  

Growing on the side of the Top Pool and overhanging it is this big ole’ massive fig tree. Down in Brisbane I’d assume it was a Moreton Bay Fig, but up here I’m not sure. It’s a fig though, and it has some super old, cool vines hanging from it, thicker than my wrist, draping and twisting in gigantic U-shapes, just begging to be swung on.

Anyone who says otherwise, and insists on giving you filthy looks for living your best life?

They’re just a miserable binch, because guess what my dudes?


Unfortunately, no photos, because of the proximity of water, but here’s a good idea of what it looks like.

We climbed all over the vines, and they could even support Bae’s weight, with no creaking or cracking, or anything that indicated they would break anytime soon, so hopefully they should still be there when we go next time.

Mossman Gorge

The next day we went to Mossman Gorge, north of Cairns. The drive is absolutely gorgeous with beach after beach after beach.

The Gorge is a tad unusual, in that it is located within a National Park, but has limited access because of the small roads, and the Aboriginal Community that lives at the foot of the mountain/gorge. You gotta catch a bus up (or walk 4km, which let’s be honest, I can’t be fucked doing), and the bus does cost money, so be prepared for that! Once you get off the bus, you walk through the forest canopy on an elevated platform, and get to see all kinds of cool rainforest plants and fungi before getting to the river.

The only thing that kinda sucks about blogging/reviewing swimming-holes: How many times can you say, “Oh yeah, it was gorgeous, magnificent, invigorating, amazing etc.” before it just begins to sound dull and/or seem like you’re rubbing it in someone’s face?


I can’t help it! Places like this were the reason we moved here!

Mossman Gorge definitely has been the most challenging swim so far with the strongest, most persistent current, and my shoulders and arms were just straight-up knackered afterwards. Technically the conditions were “Swimming Not Advised” due to the rain-cast (again, people have died/been maimed), but we gave it ago anyways.

Even the rocks were harder to get onto, as evidenced by my river-walrus impersonation below. Feel free to really zoom-in on that ~flattering~ shot.

An additional bonus? The fish in Mossman must be super used to humans, ’cause they’d swim literally like, 30cm away from your foot.

So cute! 

2 thoughts on “Swimming in Nature Part 3: Josephine Falls & Mossman Gorge

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