The top 10 waterfalls to chase in Tropical North Queensland
There’s a saying that goes “there is a waterfall in every dream” and considering the dreamy waterfalls in Tropical North Queensland, that may just be the case.
Tropical North Queensland is ancient, verdant landscape where rainforest and Reef meet. Inland from this blue and green symphony are a circuit of Mother Nature’s most awed creations, waterfalls. If you’re yet to bathe in one, you should probably pack the car as you’re reading this post, and by the end have an itinerary mapped out to visit as many of them as you can.
These waterfalls falls near Cairns will have you exploring waterfalls of all varieties – so top up on sunscreen and pack your togs as we make a route for the best waterfalls the Wet Tropics has to offer.
Stoney Creek Falls
Close enough to the city but far enough away to feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, Stoney Creek Falls is a quick 20 minute drive north of Cairns.
Boasting green canopies to keep you cool and filter the sunlight through, a crystal clear rockpool, and idyllic spots to stretch out and cool off, it’s an oasis you don’t need to travel too far to explore.
Josephine Falls is fed by rains trickling down Bartle Frere, Queensland’s highest peak. Carpeted by smooth granite boulders, a lush world heritage-listed rainforest, a natural waterslide, and viewing decks to gaze out at the falls from, it’s a playground for both young and young at heart.
Millaa Millaa Falls
Getting three waterfalls in Tropical North Queensland in on one day seems a stretch, but not for Millaa Millaa, Zillie and Ellinjaa who are all neighbours. They’re accessible off a loop road so you can zip between them to your heart’s content. All three waterfalls are family friendly, so little (and big) ones are welcome.
You know you’re getting a visual feast when you visit Millaa Millaa. For the ultimate picnic with a view, she really delivers. Located in the Atherton Tablelands, she is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Australia, has a pristine rockpool to bathe your cares away and is a bit of a star, appearing in a music video and TV commercials for her oasis-like beauty.
Zillie Falls is next on your Waterfalls Circuit route. About 7km down the road from Millaa Millaa, Zillie is the quiet achiever of the three.
Lesser-known means you’ll most likely be totally secluded to lap up the serenity, roaring falls and rock pools below all to yourself. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon sprawled out while you bliss out, and keep your eyes peeled for the flying foxes who live nearby.
Ellinjaa greets you with a dense rainforest staircase down to the picturesque falls that await. The last stop on your Waterfall Circuit route, Ellinjaa has some surprises of her own.
There’s a hidden ledge behind the falls that you can sit on and drink in the scene from. Platypuses are also often found playing and swimming at the base of the falls, so you’ll have some company while you cool off.
Malanda Falls Conservation Park
Situated on the Atherton Tablelands, Malanda Falls is a member of the Queensland Heritage Register, so you know you’re getting something special when you visit.
The surrounding rainforest frames the falls and there are some short walks around the falls where you might even spot a tree kangaroo. A visitor centre allows you a deeper look into the falls’ history, with guided walks conducted by Aboriginal guides.
Millstream Falls National Park
Millstream Falls is the widest single-drop waterfall in Australia, so it’s a celebrity in its own right. There are over 100 individual falls all dropping in harmony, so take your time to drink in the sights.
View the falls from multiple angles by taking a stroll along the walking track, or follow its World War II heritage walk to see camp site remains, training grounds and trenches.
Emerald Creek is a haven for unplugging and going off the grid. Wander down the road into eucalypt woodland, bathe in the nearby creek and spot dragonflies and damselflies as you unwind.
Picnic (with BBQ facilities) near the tall gum trees and then tackle the 1.9km walking track ending with a lookout over the falls. Furry friends are allowed; just remember to keep them leashed.
Davies Creek Falls
If you’re new to the whole waterfall thing, then A – you’re going to want something that’ll knock your socks off, and B – start with Davies Creek Falls.
Tucked among the mountains behind Cairns, these falls read like something out of a private island novel. With an infinity pool that serves panoramic views of the lush green mountains, complete tranquility and plenty of spots to bask in the sun, it’s the ultimate waterfall to recharge the body and mind. Nearby camping areas allow you to extend your stay and explore the walking tracks the National Park has to offer.
There’s big and then there’s Barron Falls. With a raging downpour enough to power a hydro-electric station, it’s best to pack hiking shoes and view this one from a distance.
Walk along the suspended viewing walkway to get a good look, or take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway that takes you over the ancient World Heritage listed Wet Tropics Rainforest. During wet season, the falls grow to an even more dramatic scale, with floodwaters often creating a spectacle that is best viewed from the Din Din Barron Falls lookout near Kuranda.