The top 10 waterfalls to chase in Tropical North Queensland
Don’t stick to the boring old rivers and lakes that you’re used to.
There’s plenty to see and do in Tropical North Queensland and, if you venture inland, you’ll come across stunning rainforests and Mother Nature’s greatest creation: the waterfall.
With so many to explore, we’ve done the hard yards and found the top 10 waterfalls to chase when you explore the majestic Wet Tropics.
Stoney Creek Falls
Not able to travel too far from Cairns? You’re in luck. Stoney Creek Falls is only a 15-20 minute drive north of town and a local hot spot. With a crystal clear waterhole, rocky walking tracks and secret cooling-off spots, you can enjoy all the benefits of a tropical rainforest without venturing too far off the grid (score!).
Looking for a place where you can wander along rainforest paths, swing on thick vines, slide down a natural waterslide and chew with a view? Head to Josephine Falls just an hour south of Cairns amongst the Bartle Frere Mountains. You can thank us later.
The Waterfalls Circuit
Take the relaxed approach to waterfall chasing and spend the day conquering the Waterfall Circuit – a popular 17km loop road accessible off the Palmerston Highway featuring three stunning waterfalls in a row – Millaa Millaa, Zillie and Ellinjaa.
Millaa Millaa Falls
If cascading falls, cool flowing creeks and a lush rainforest spells bliss for you head deep in the Atherton Tablelands and you’ll find Millaa Millaa Falls. This popular beauty makes for a perfect day trip (and one serious nature fix), with plenty of beautiful places to kick back for a picnic. Her falls and lookouts will have you reaching for the camera, stat.
Conveniently, Zillie Falls is both easy on the eyes and easy to get to (a short 7.5km drive from Millaa Millaa) so a stop off here is absolutely necessary. Zillie is a lesser known than her neighbours on the Circuit so expect tranquillity and (almost) total seclusion. For the best views, venture down the mountainside to the viewing deck to access the base of the falls (local’s tip: avoid attempting this walk in the rain as the path can get slippery and hard to navigate).
Just a 15-minute walk from the carpark down a dense rainforest staircase, Ellinjaa is perfect for those who like milky-white waterfalls (and well-positioned rocks to take photos on). Local’s tip: there is a little ledge hidden behind the falls that you can sit on and take in the scenery (or a GoPro selfie).
Malanda Falls Conservation Park
If you venture deep into the rainforest, you will stumble across the North Johnstone River tumbling over an ancient lava flow. Sound like paradise? Head to Malanda Falls where you take a dip in the pool, picnic and spot platypuses and tree-kangaroos.
Millstream Falls National Park
Known as the widest-single drop waterfall in Australia, Millstream Falls is the definition of epic. With over 100 individual cascading falls at a time, you won’t know where to look so it’s definitely worth taking time to take it in. Stand on the opposite mountain for a birdseye view or wander down the walking track to witness nature in its finest form.
For those who want to get off the beaten track, let us introduce you to Emerald Creek. Venture down a dirt road into eucalypt woodland to a place where the waters of the creek tumble over granite boulders and picturesque falls plunge into placid pools. Enjoy a picnic among tall gum trees beside the creek or break a sweat with a bike ride through the Dinden West Forest Reserve. You’re welcome.
Davies Creek Falls
Panoramic views? Tick. Endless infinity pool? Tick. Total serenity? Tick. If you’re searching for a fall that has it all, Davies Creek ticks all the right boxes. Nestled amongst the mountains behind Cairns, this is the ultimate place to frolick in the sun, breathe in that fresh mountain air and truly switch off from reality. For those wanting to take their adventure to the next level, stay at Davies Creek camping areas and enjoy the many walking tracks through the National Park.
There’s big and then there’s Barron Falls. With falls cascading with enough energy to power a hydro-electric station 250 metres down the rocky mountains, this is truly a sight to behold. There are multiple vantage points to spot this fall from the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to the viewing walkway suspended high above the rainforest floor.