Manjal Jimalji Trail | Devils Thumb
Daintree National Park
Directions - Located near Mossman, to reach the start point of the Manjal Jimalji Trail, head north on Mossman Daintree Road for 7.7km then turn left onto Miallo Bamboo Creek Road. Turn left onto Whyanbeel Road, then left onto Karnak Road, eventually reaching the small parking area for the trail near the obvious wooden sign.
The Hike - With a visit to Port Douglas to escape the Perth winter, my research had indicated that the Manjal Jimlaji Trail (aka Devils Thumb) would be right up my alley. Climbing up into the steep hills a short distance inland from the coast, it would provide a good chance to explore the tropical rainforest of the Daintree National Park, along with some stunning views overlooking the Coral Sea, Port Douglas and the surrounding landscape. That was the plan but as with some things in life, the reality was a little different...
Picking a free day where there were no family activities booked, the weather wasn't looking great, with the forecast showing a chance of rain in the afternoon. Hoping to be finished by the time the rain rolled in, I was up relatively early and driving to the start point about 30 minutes from the centre of Port Douglas. Driving through the countryside near Mossman, it got me thinking that the Gang Gajang song "Sounds of Then" should really be reworked to say "out on the patio we'd sit, and the humidity we'd breathe, we'd watch the lightning crack over cane fields, laugh and think, this is Far North Queensland". It's a very specific description to represent the whole of Australia but I digress. The moody weather driving past the cane fields with the mountains in the background caused me to stop a few times to try and capture the scene, and didn't fill me with confidence that I'd be getting clear weather at the summit. Onwards I pressed and was soon at the small car park in front of the wooden sign for the trail.
Gathering up my pack and finishing the breakfast I had bought in Port Douglas, I was ready to tackle what is a pretty strenuous climb, with over 1100m of elevation gain over the full 10.6km there and back hike (spoiler alert but I didn't make it the full length). Having not done much in the way of tough hikes in the past couple of months, I was still confident of making it to the top in good time. The start of the trail sees you walk along a wide track, before joining single trail to cross a small creek. I spotted a couple of bright flowers along the creek but my suspicions were confirmed later on that these are not native to the area. Passing a private property that gave off Hawaii vibes to me, you see an old car that made me think The Phantom was going to come trapsing out of the jungle soon. You then enter Daintree National Park and it felt more like the hike I was expecting. Arriving at a crossing of Little Falls Creek, I could see the path and marker on the other side but no way of getting there without getting wet boots.