Queensland’s 10 best waterfalls
Watching water cascade over the lip of a waterfall is hypnotic. From below it starts as a raging torrent, plummeting to ground zero before feathering into a cloud of mist and soaking everything around. From above it’s a different scene entirely. Lean out over the edge to spot the impact zone below and let vertigo take hold before you cower back to safety.
Stumbling on a waterfall after a hot and steamy trek through a national park is like finding gold at the end of the rainbow. And there’s only one thing to do; untie your shoes, strip down to the bare essentials and dive in. Go on. It’s the antidote to a Queensland summer and it costs nothing!
Tucked away in the Gold Coast Hinterland lies the dramatically beautiful Springbrook National Park. Here, cliffs induce giddiness, ravines plunge deep and quaint little streams provide the perfect recipe for an aquatic wonderland.
Natural Bridge alone is worth the walk, but add to the mix Cave Creek spilling through the roof of the cave and you can see why the glow-worms stick around to chill out in this pristine environment.
Think Lord of the Rings scenery with towering mountain peaks, add long sandy beaches and throw in some crocodile action for good measure. You’re left with one of the most visually dramatic islands on the east coast of Australia – Hinchinbrook.
Towering above Zoe Bay are the multi-drop Zoe Falls, accessed via a fairly steep climb from the beach past a handful of swimming holes.
But it’s well worth the effort. Once you get to the rock pools there’s a stunning panoramic reward. Go there by foot via the Thorsborne Trail or by kayak along the coast.
Staring down from a dramatic precipice you can see why Stony Creek’s 268m descent gives Wallaman Falls the title of Australia’s tallest permanent waterfall.
It flows all year round (although it is fullest from November to April) and the 4 km track from the road at the top through the steamy rainforest to the 20 metre deep pool below is worth the trek.
Nestled in the hulking shadow of Queensland’s highest mountain, Bartle Frere, Josephine Falls plummets down before cascading over huge rounded granite boulders.
It’s only a 700-metre walk from the car park, which isn’t enough time to build up a sweat so the best thing is to climb to the top of the mountain (taking around 8-10 hours), returning to the rock pools at the base to soak away any aches and pains.
Raging, angry yet oddly beautiful, the Barron Falls during the wet season is captivating at any angle. Here the water roars off the side of the cliff showering the valley below in mist and rainbows – it’s an impressive sight!
Tucked into the gardens of Paronella Park, a decrepit yet gracious castle oozing tales of Tropical North Queensland’s own flapper style parties, are the Mena Creek Falls. Beautiful in their own right, these Falls are compelling for the Spanish love story behind the man-made triumph which also Jose Paronella build Australia’s first hydro-electric power source. The thousands of stunning tropical plants around the falls create the perfect Eden pitting Paronella as RACQ’s Number 1 Must-Do Attraction in Queensland.
A slow drive inland from Cairns takes you to Atherton Tablelands, home to a handful of picturesque water falls, the top pick being Millaa Millaa. Surrounded by lush vegetation and often a bus load of tourists, this is the perfect Kodak moment. If one fall is not enough, then continue on the Waterfall Circuit to tick off Zillie and Ellinjaa Falls.
Not to be mistaken with the ‘other’ Cedar Creek Falls near Proserpine, this 15-20 metre beauty has carved some impressive rock pools at its base that are worth walking to. The viewpoint from the top allows wheelchair access and their close proximity to the Gold Coast make it an easy half-day trip for families.
If you think a big drop is what makes a waterfall then this one will impress, with its 40-metre descent into the basalt gorge below. Surrounded by lush rainforest the valley is located in the Main Range National Park, around two hours drive south-west of Brisbane.
Not far from the hustle of Brisbane the mighty Mt Coot-tha climbs to the dizzy height of 287 metres above sea level. Not that big really, but still tall enough to squeeze rain from the belly of passing storms during the summer months and turn quiet streams into gushing creeks.
Easy to get to, JC Slaughter Falls has great picnic spots – but get there soon after the rain when the falls are at their best.
Have we missed a waterfall that you love? Let us know your favourites in the comments below.