Top 8 Waterfalls in Far North Queensland

waterfalls in far north queensland

Tropical Queensland is known for its stunning natural scenery. It boasts ancient rainforests with lush greenery and has a treasure trove of waterfalls, both near and far from Cairns. 

You will likely have to share these special spots with the locals, as it’s a great way for people to cool down – especially in the summer months. The great thing about the summer months is that it is also the wet season in tropical north Queensland. This means it’s generally the best time to see and experience the many majestic waterfalls in all their glory!

All of the sites in our list of top 8 waterfalls in Far North Queensland, can be reached in a 2WD, and create a perfect itinerary for a campervan holiday from Cairns.

Crystal Cascades

Crystal Cascades is popular with both locals and tourists. Located just 20 mins from Cairns city in the Redlynch Valley. Crystal Cascades is a collection of swimming holes and cascading falls. 

Bring your pool float and retreat to one of the shadier pools along the way, or simply travel to the end of the track for the most impressive of the falls.

Fairy Falls

You’ll also find Fairy Falls in Redlynch Valley. It is a beautiful waterfall that is as magical as its name, hidden away in the lush rainforest not far from Crystal Cascades. Reaching this natural plunge pool requires some rock hopping, but the effort is totally worth it. 

The trail starts out in the brush on the left side of Crystal Cascade’s parking lot. The well-traveled path reaches the creek; then it’s time to kick off your shoes and follow the creek bed up for a while. Hot tip: The trip from the parking lot to the falls shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes. 

Don’t be misled by the false trail made by the previous travelers’ steps, which looks to lead you away from the creek on a very steep ascent.

Behana Gorge

Behana Gorge is located just South of Cairns and is a perfect way to finish a day on the Tablelands if you are coming back to Cairns from Atherton.  

Be sure to pack a few water bottles before attempting the 3.2 km hike up to Behana Gorge since, despite being entirely concreted, it can be difficult to endure in the humidity of Tropical North Queensland. The highlight of Behana Gorge is the magnificent Clamshell Falls.

Spring Creek Falls

If you head north of Cairns toward Port Douglas (about an hour’s drive) Mowbray Valley is where you will find Spring Creek Falls. Make sure you take your walking shoes or hiking boots as it has no set path. You can join a guided tour that leaves from either Mossman or Port Douglas. Consider if the walk is right for you. It is a 3km walk including walking across rocks which see you walking to multiple waterfalls and deep swimming holes.

Barron Falls

This one is not for swimming. But still impressively majestic, particularly after heavy rain.  

Barron Falls which is close to Kuranda Village is the most well-known waterfall in the area. The falls are displayed during the rainier summer, and it draws people from far and wide to witness the falls in all their splendor.

In contrast to drier times of the year, when the mean daily flow can be as low as 350 megalitres, during this time the volumetric flow rate of water through the gorge can reach almost 265,000 megalitres in a day. If it’s flowing, make sure to move quickly because it may only last a few days at its magnificent best.

Hartleys Creek Falls

North of Cairns at Wangetti (about 45 mins drive) is Hartleys Creek Falls.

Although the name of the waterfall might conjure up ideas of the adjacent Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, if you are trusting and feeling brave you can swim safely at Hartleys Creek Falls. 

Make sure you bring those runners and lots of water because the trail leading up to the falls is around 7.5 km roundtrip and passes through Wet Tropics Rainforest, which is listed as a World Heritage Site. It should be noted that swimming is not permitted in the brackish water farther down the creek, which is closest to the Captain Cook Highway, because crocodiles may be present there.

Davies Creek Falls

2 hours from Cairns and great for spending time on the Tablelands, you will find Davies Creek Falls.

You might find it difficult to believe that the magnificent Davies Creek Falls are hidden among the hills, falling over enormous granite rocks, as Kuranda’s rainforest transforms into a typical Australian bush. 

Park your campervan at the campgrounds close by and have a swim in the infinity pool atop the falls, so you have more time to enjoy the area. The gravel road to the falls is accessible to conventional vehicles for most of the year at the Davies Creek Road turnoff, which is 21 kilometers past Kuranda

Babinda Boulders

Babinda Boulders, about an hour’s drive south of Cairns, has a fantastic open swimming hole, a picnic area with grills, and a short, beautiful walk along the Devil’s Pool trail. Here the crystal-clear waters crash over sizable, smooth granite boulders to create a picturesque chute waterfall and rapids that can be seen from the lookout point and along the track.

The tragic love tale of Dyga and the young Aboriginal woman Oolana may be read here; according to the local Yidinji Traditional Custodians, her spirit is reported to be around still today. As you walk to Devil’s Pool, please ensure you only swim in the designated swimming hole at Babinda Boulders and never venture outside the fence.

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