A complete guide to the absolute best waterfalls in Cairns and the surrounding Tropical North. Includes everything you need to plan epic Cairns waterfall-chasing adventures!
The Cairns region seems to have everything for adventure travellers. Located between the World Heritage Listed Wet Tropics and the incredible Coral Coast and Great Barrier Reef, it’s no wonder that Cairns is one of the most popular travel destinations in Australia.
But, if you’re not on the beach or snorkelling at the reef, then you might want to head inland for some hiking and to explore the rainforest. Here, you’ll find incredible freshwater swimming holes, creeks, rivers and of course, some of Australia’s best waterfalls!
I’ve spent several months personally exploring and photographing all of these incredible falls to ensure I give you the most accurate and up-to-date information! It’s been a blast. But now, it’s time to rip into this, the most comprehensive list of Cairns waterfalls you’ll find online!
- How to Navigate This Cairns Waterfall Guide
- The Best Waterfalls in Cairns & Tropical North Queensland
- 1. Barron Falls
- 2. Crystal Cascades
- 3. Fairy Falls
- 4. Stoney Creek Falls
- 5. Isabella Falls
- 6. Clamshell Falls
- 7. Babinda Boulders and Devils Pools
- 8. Josephine Falls
- 9. Millaa Millaa Falls
- 10. Zillie Falls
- 11. Ellinjaa Falls
- 12. Nandroya Falls
- 13. Silver Creek Falls
- 14. Tchupala Falls
- 15. Wallicher Falls
- 16. Mungalli Falls
- 17. Cannabullen Falls
- 18. Tully Falls
- 19. Dinner Falls
- 20. Emerald Creek Falls
- 21. Davies Creek Falls
- 22. Malanda Falls
- 23. Windin Falls
- 24. West Mulgrave Falls
- 25. Spring Creek Falls
- 26. Hartley’s Creek Falls
- 27. Souita Falls
- 28. Big Millstream Falls
- 29. Little Millstream Falls
- 30. Mena Creek Falls
- 31. Wankaroo Falls
- Bonus: Wallaman Falls – Australia’s Tallest Waterfall
- Cairns Waterfall Chasing Guide: Tips and Resources
- More Cairns & FNQ Travel Guides
Also, if you're planning your visit to Cairns, don't forget to read my comprehensive accommodation guide for where to stay too.
How to Navigate This Cairns Waterfall Guide
This is a long blog post that includes just a short summary of each waterfall highlight. However, I've also written comprehensive travel and hiking guides for each waterfall, which you will find in the link below each item on this list.
In these individual posts, there is information on how to get to each Cairns waterfall, what to expect, as well as some more awesome photos to inspire your trips.
This post covers waterfalls along the coast from Innisfail to the Daintree, as well as many from the nearby Tablelands. However, all are accessible if you have your own transport and base yourself in Cairns.
Cairns Waterfall Map - Tropical North Queensland
Of course, you're not going to be able to visit all of these epic Cairns waterfalls in a single day. Therefore, to help you out, I've included a map and pinned the waterfalls into different colour groups based on their location.
This should help you plan day trips and itineraries for chasing all of these waterfalls in Tropical North Queensland.
Travel Hack: Click on the Cairns waterfall map above and it will load on your Google Maps app. You can save it by clicking the grey star at the top, which will add it to "Your Places" on your Google Maps account. This way, you have a handy digital app on the go with all the waterfall locations pinned– just refer back to this article (or bookmark it) for the explanations!
Best Cairns Outdoor Experiences
- Fitzroy Island Full Day Trip - the closest (and cheapest) Great Barrier Reef Island to visit from Cairns. Check out the world-famous famous Nudey Beach and hike to the island summit // Fitzroy Guide
- Daintree & Mossman Gorge Trip - visit the oldest rainforest in the world in the Daintree National Park. Visit Cape Tribulation, Mossman Gorge and get an included cruise.
- Great Barrier Reef by Catamaran - visit the outer reef and snorkel or scuba dive at two pristine reef locations.
- Scenic Helicopter Flight - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Great Barrier Reef from above on a scenic helicopter flight from Cairns city.
- ... 7 more top-rated tours here
Travel tip: By far, the best islands for snorkeling in Cairns are the Frankland Islands (pristine reef). There is only one boat trip allowed to stop on these islands and you can book this directly with BackpackerDeals + use code OLLY5 to get $5 off.
The Best Waterfalls in Cairns & Tropical North Queensland
So, let's get right into this list of the 31 best waterfalls in Cairns and its surrounds! Whether you're looking for the perfect spot to cool down or you want to snap some pictures of a tropical waterfall at the end of a rainforest hike, the below list will have you covered.
Let's dive in.
1. Barron Falls
Barron Falls is one of the largest waterfalls near Cairns, with close to 250 meters of cascading water forcing its way down the deep Barron Gorge.
Located near Kuranda, Barron Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Cairns and the surrounding Wet Tropics Area. The water force will vary depending on the season. However, to see this waterfall in full force, you'll need to visit in the wet season. Nevertheless, while the wet season might produce a more powerful waterfall, I'd still recommend a visit in the drier months too because the lookout over the gorge is spectacular.
Get to Barron Falls: Scenic Rail & Skyrail Combo
To make the most of this experience, you might want to book a complete self-guided day tour from Cairns in the link above. This includes accommodation pickup, a ticket to the Scenic Railway and the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, which takes you to the best views of Barron Falls.
2. Crystal Cascades
In terms of distance to Cairns, Crystal Cascades is one of the closest on our list. At the end of a short sealed walk, you'll find a decently-sized waterfall with a deep swimming hole. There are also several spots on the trail that allow access to more swimming spots in the creek.
Apparently, this waterfall and creek swimming location used to be a fairly well-kept secret. However, when I visited, it seemed to be one of the most popular waterfalls near Cairns.
To get here, it's only a short 30-minute drive from Cairns. If it's a quick freshwater swim you're looking for, then this might be a good choice for you.
Don't Miss This Cairns Packing List
Preparing a trip to Cairns? Don't miss these must-bring items on your list!
3. Fairy Falls
If you decide to make the short trip to Crystal Cascades, then you might be glad to know that there's another hidden waterfall just around the corner.
Fairy Falls is located at the end of a short, unmarked trail beginning at the Crystal Cascades car park. It might not be the biggest out of this list of the best waterfalls in Cairns, but it's still a pretty epic little waterfall that's great for escaping the crowds.
The pool underneath this narrow waterfall is also deep enough to swim. This is perfect if you want to relax at your own private waterfall oasis.
4. Stoney Creek Falls
Stoney Creek is an easily accessible swimming hole and waterfall track that is a favourite amongst Cairns locals.
Although the waterfalls here aren't the most spectacular, they're only a 20-minute drive from Cairns! This means that visiting Stoney Creek is perfect if you're looking for a place to cool down in the rainforest.
There is a wide and deep swimming hole only 5 minutes from the car park. However, it's also possible to continue for roughly 25 minutes up the sealed rainforest track to Stoney Creek Falls (Old Weir Falls), a larger and more impressive Cairns waterfall.
5. Isabella Falls
Isabella Falls is a secret little waterfall hidden at the back of a local suburb in Cairns.
A short, 20-minute rainforest track leads to a tall and secluded waterfall half-way up the mountain adjacent to Edmonton.
This one takes a bit of root scrambling to reach the top, but it's well worth it! Along the way, there are several stops at swimming holes and smaller, cascading waterfalls too. So, a trip to Isabella Falls is definitely worth it if you are chasing something close to town!
6. Clamshell Falls
Clamshell Falls is a waterfall located at the end of the Behana Gorge Waterfall Track in the Wooroonooran National Park just south of Cairns. The walking track follows a large catchment water pipe along sealed ground. The Behana Gorge is very scenic with plenty of photo-worthy lookouts along the way.
The main waterfall, Clamshell Falls, is located right next to the Behana Gorge catchment, which supplies water to many Cairns suburbs. Don't worry though, you can still get to the waterfall and swim in the many natural rock pools along the way. Only the main catchment area is fenced off.
Check out: Behana Gorge Canyoneering Trip from Cairns
#1 Water Bottle Filter
Enter the Grayl GeoPress Water Filter & Purifier Bottle! I take this bottle on every hike and use it as my go-to source for filtering water all over the world. I've even used it to drink tap water in India!
// Compare how the GeoPress stacks up against the best water bottle filters on the market.
7. Babinda Boulders and Devils Pools
While not technically a waterfall destination, I've included Babinda Boulders and the Devils Pools on this list because they offer another excellent freshwater swimming location near Cairns. Still, there are some awesome cascades along the river too.
While it's mostly considered a creek, Devils Pools also has a small waterfall, fed by the fast-flowing waters from the Bellenden Ker Range's foothills.
Babinda Boulders has beautiful, clear-flowing waters surrounded by tropical rainforest trees and plants.. While Babinda Boulders is a popular swimming spot, many advise against swimming at Devils Pools since several deaths have unfortunately occurred here.
8. Josephine Falls
Next up on the list of the top waterfalls in Cairns for swimming and is definitely one of my personal favourites; Josephine Falls.
This waterfall is located closer to Innisfail, approximately an hour's drive from Cairns. The car park location is also the start of the Mount Bartle Frere track, which leads to the top of the tallest mountain in Queensland.
Josephine Falls cascades down the Bartle Frere Range in the Wooroonooran National Park. It's a decent-sized waterfall that flows into a large circular freshwater pool.
While quite spectacular, the main waterfall itself isn't the main reason why it's earned a spot on the list of best waterfalls near Cairns. What's really great about this waterfall is that it has the best and clearest freshwater swimming areas near Cairns.
Just a little further down from the main waterfall are deep, crystal-green swimming holes. You'll even find a small but fun waterfall rock slide with a drop into one of the refreshing pools.
9. Millaa Millaa Falls
Millaa Millaa Falls is probably on the top of most lists of the top waterfalls in Cairns. It's certainly a very popular waterfall and lives up to that fame too. The single-drop, plunging waterfall lies in a hidden rainforest oasis that really makes it feel like it belongs in a fairytale. This waterfall is located on the "Millaa Millaa Waterfall Circuit, which also includes two other impressive falls (below).
Millaa Millaa Falls is known as the most photographed waterfall in Australia. It's even been featured in a few historic advertisements.
I've nicknamed it the perfectionist's waterfall. It looks as if the plunging water maintains a completely symmetrical shape as it gushes into the deep, round freshwater pool below.
Best Price Online: Bus Tour to Millaa Millaa
To get to Millaa Millaa Falls, you'll need to drive approximately an hour and a half from Cairns. While it might seem like a long drive, I'd definitely recommend the visit as it's truly one of the Far North's most epic locations.
10. Zillie Falls
Zillie Falls is only a few minutes drive from Millaa Millaa Falls and part of the Millaa MIllaa Waterfall Circuit on Theresa Creek Road.
Although very impressive, this waterfall is much less-visited than Millaa Millaa. This means that if big crowds aren't your scene, you could always head down the road to Zillie Falls.
Another sing-drop fall, this waterfall gushes dramatically off the edge of a steep, eroded basalt column onto large boulders below. There is a viewing platform above the falls, as well as a "secret" track which leads to the base for a better vantage point.
11. Ellinjaa Falls
Ellinjaa Falls is the last of the Millaa Millaa waterfall trio. This one is in my opinion, the most beautiful and one where the balance of nature and man-made development has met a good medium.
Requiring another very short, but scenic walk along a sealed track, Ellinjaa is a dramatic, cascading waterfall that flows down a wide basalt column into a reasonably wide freshwater pool.
There is also a ledge behind Ellinjaa Falls which you can climb onto to sit behind the falls.
Car Rentals in Far North Queensland
Cairns is one of the most popular travel destinations in Australia and car rentals quickly book out! I recommend booking well in advance. I always use RentalCars.com as they compare the widest range of rentals across dealerships in the Far North.
12. Nandroya Falls
Nandroya Falls has to be one of the best waterfalls in Cairns in terms of what you get. What I mean by this is that a trip to Nandroya Falls will offer an incredible rainforest hike as well as two incredible waterfalls in. one trip.
Nandroya Falls is located in the Wooroonooran National Park, approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes from Cairns CBD. After a very scenic 40-minute walk through parts of the oldest rainforest in the world, there's a large clearing with an impressive 50-meter spouting waterfall. Nandroya also has a lower, wider level where you can swim or snap some photos.
If you're planning to head to Millaa Millaa Falls, then a trip to Nandroya Falls is just around the corner. It also makes sense to visit Millaa Millaa early to beat the crowds, then make a trip to Nandroya on the way back through the National Park.
13. Silver Creek Falls
Silver Creek Falls isn't the most spectacular out of all these epic Cairns waterfalls. However, I'll include it on the list because you'll get to see if it if you visit Nandroya Falls.
Hikers will find Silver Creek Falls roughly halfway on the Nandroya Falls trail. It's a small waterfall flowing from Silver Creek and plunging into a small, shallow freshwater pool.
You can't swim at this one, but it's worthy of a couple of photos, at least.
14. Tchupala Falls
Located around the bend from the Nandroya Falls hike is a pair of incredible waterfalls called Tchupala Falls & Wallicher Falls in the Wooroonooran National Park. The first is Tchupala Falls, which is actually a series of three large waterfall levels.
The Tchupala Falls track is a little shorter than Nandroya Falls, and shouldn't take longer than 15 minutes to hike to. Unfortunately, the lower levels have been closed due to being classed as too dangerous.
Regardless, Tchupala Falls would have to be one of the best waterfalls in Cairns for those looking for the complete rainforest adventure.
15. Wallicher Falls
Wallicher Falls is another large cascading waterfall flowing in the same section of the Wooroonooran National Park. In fact, the trail to Wallicher Falls begins at the same location as Tchupala Falls.
The walk to Wallicher Falls takes roughly 20 minutes. At the end, there is a main boarded viewing platform opposite the waterfall. This will offer the best views of the falls as after this, the trail continues down to the creek source, where you can't see the main waterfall.
This waterfall is quite wide and can have some serious power in the wet season. However, Wallicher Falls isn't quite as impressive as Tchupala Falls. That said, I'd it is certainly worth checking out, especially since they're so close together.
16. Mungalli Falls
Mungalli Falls is another great waterfall in the Atherton Tablelands, approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes from Cairns. There are two levels to explore, with the tallest having a 75-meter cumulative drop down a steep rock face.
This waterfall is unique because it's actually located within an outdoor Wilderness Retreat Complex. Luckily, the company welcomes guests to come and check out the waterfall for free.
Mungalli isn't the best waterfall for swimming. Instead, it's a popular place to spot wildlife. The park staff even told us that you could sometimes see glow worms at the base. Apparently, if you're lucky, you might also spot a wild platypus near the waterfall or further down the creek.
17. Cannabullen Falls
Cannabullen Falls is an epic 70-metre waterfall located deep in the Misty Mountains of the Wooroonooran National Park. Getting here requires a bit of a drive and a long hike. However, let me tell you that the view from the top of the waterfall is absolutely worth it!
Also, to add to the reward after the long journey, there are several impressive cascades just behind Cannabullen Falls waterfall to check out too.
18. Tully Falls
Once upon a time, Tully Falls was one of Queensland's largest waterfalls and a true Queensland icon. However, due to the upstream damming of the river, the once-mighty Tully Falls has been reduced to a mere trickle.
However, don't let this dissuade you from embarking on the long trip from Cairns. The Tully Gorge lookout atop of where the falls once ran is now one of the most beautiful gorge lookouts in Australia.
19. Dinner Falls
Dinner Falls is a multi-tiered waterfall that sits high on the Tablelands at 900M above sea-level! It can be found after a short loop hike in the Mount Hypipamee National Park.
Dinner Falls is a great waterfall if you're chasing a quick swim and a short walk. As a bonus, you'll also get to check out "The Crater", a remarkable volcanic diatreme with a natural crater pool that is over 70M deep!
20. Emerald Creek Falls
On the other side of the thick Wet Tropics National Parks, you'll find some more epic Cairns waterfalls, Emerald Creek Falls being one of the best!
Compared to the other waterfalls on this list, Emerald Creek Falls differs in terms of scenery and flora. Instead of dense, wet rainforest, you'll find a drier landscape with small pockets of tropical trees and ferns. Emerald Creek Falls has an upper cascading level and a lower plunging waterfall which falls into a deep swimming hole. There are also many more swimming holes a little further down, making it one of the best for getting a quick swim in.
Getting here is pretty straightforward and involves a short but scenic walk up to the main swimming area and waterfall. However, google maps tends to take people down the wrong road. Therefore, I'd recommend reading the full blog post for exact directions and to avoid getting lost like I did the first time.
21. Davies Creek Falls
Davies Creek Falls is another waterfall close by to Emerald Creek Falls. This is one of the larger waterfalls, with a cumulative drop of up to 75 metres into the deep gorge in the Davies Creek and Dinden National Park. There are several viewing areas, and you can even walk down to the top of the waterfall to enjoy the view from above.
There are also a few great swimming holes just further upstream from the waterfall. However, you'll need to monitor conditions as they can change pretty quickly in heavy downpours.
Nearby to Davies Creek Falls, you'll also find some quick circuit tracks and walks. If you're looking to explore the best waterfalls in Cairns on the other side of Cairns and closer to the Atherton Tablelands, then a day trip to Davies Creek Falls and Emerald Creek Falls is a great option.
Featured in: 22 Awesome Things to do in the Atherton Tablelands
22. Malanda Falls
Located on the outskirts of the quaint, Malanda Village, is a popular waterfall and swimming area that is very popular with locals. Malanda Falls flows from the North Johnstone River over basalt rock which was formed by lava from the Mount Hypipamee area, just a few kilometres away.
The waterfall itself is a wide, plunging waterfall that tumbles into a deep, man-made swimming pool.
This is one of the most artificial freshwater swimming spots and waterfalls in Cairns and the surrounding Tablelands.
However, the surrounding rainforest and delicate charm of Malanda Village make it seem like more of a hidden, local gem than a commercial establishment. In fact, swimming here is free, and you'll often find many locals and visitors basking on the pool edges and admiring the waterfall.
NEARBY: Curtain Fig Tree Yungaburra
23. Windin Falls
Perhaps one of the most "insta-worthy" waterfalls in Cairns, Windin Falls has to be seen to be believed. After a relatively easy, 1.5-hour hike in the Wooroonooran National Park, the Windin Falls track finishes at the top of the waterfall
From the top of the falls, you'll get one of the best views in Cairns and the surrounding National Parks as you look down the Jurassic valley.
There is also an infinity pool at the edge of the waterfall, where on calm days, you can swim and enjoy the otherworldly view.
Tip: visit for sunrise for the best views of the valley below the waterfall.
Waterfall in the Daintree: Alexandra Falls, Daintree National Park (Cape Tribulation)
24. West Mulgrave Falls
West Mulgrave Falls is perhaps one of the most underrated, or perhaps unacknowledged waterfalls near Cairns or even Australia. While not many people know about this incredible place, I think it's about time the word got out!
This incredible cascading waterfall plunges into a deep, crystal-clear freshwater swimming pool in the middle of the rainforest.
However, getting to West Mulgrave Falls involves a long and difficult trek through dense rainforest terrain. Also, the track is not well-marked and you will need some experience in the bush before embarking on this epic waterfall hike.
25. Spring Creek Falls
Spring Creek Falls, also known as "Black Rock Waterfalls" is a unique set of waterfalls located within the Mowbray Valley just north of Cairns near Port Douglas. Getting here involves a scenic, yet lengthy boulder and rock-skipping journey up the Mowbray Valley.
The main waterfall is by far the largest and marks the end of the line. It's also a great way to cool off in the serenity of the National Park. Best of all, chances are you'll have it all to yourself!
26. Hartley's Creek Falls
Hartley's Creek is well-known in Cairns for the popular tourist attraction: Hartley's Crocodile Adventures. Don't worry, though; there are no crocodiles at Hartley's Creek Falls! This waterfall hike is a popular walk due to the proximity to Cairns' Northern Suburbs.
At the waterfall, you'll find a wide and deep freshwater swimming hole and a tall cascade gushing down the cliff face above. Furthermore, there are multiple more freshwater swimming holes along the track where you can stop en route to Hartley's Creek Falls.
27. Souita Falls
One of the most off-the-beaten-path waterfalls, Souita Falls, is a two-tiered cascading waterfall in a small pocket of rainforest located behind rural farmland in the Tablelands.
Souita Falls is probably one of the least-known and therefore least-visited waterfall near Cairns and the surrounding Tablelands.
If you're up for a quick walk to some secluded waterfalls with a bonus chance of spotting a wild platypus, then put this one in your Cairns waterfall-chasing day trips!
28. Big Millstream Falls
The next two waterfalls run on "The Millstream", a watercourse carved through ancient lava flows. Big Millstream Falls was in my opinion one of the most underrated waterfalls near Cairns and actually holds the title of "Australia's Widest Single-Drop Waterfall".
Access to the waterfall is on a short, sealed track leading to a lookout point above the falls. Unfortunately, there is no access to the base of the falls, which means although it looks perfect for swimming, you can't actually do. so.
Read More: Big Millstream & Little Millstream Falls
29. Little Millstream Falls
Little Millstream Falls is the second waterfall on this waterfall and is smaller than its bigger brother. However, don't let the name deceive you. This waterfall is actually a trio of solid cascading flows, with a vast, deep swimming hole underneath.
Unlike Big Millstream, there is access to the. base of these falls, where you can swim or go platypus spotting.
30. Mena Creek Falls
Mena Creek Falls lies beside the tourist attraction of Paronella Park within a small country town on the Cassowary Coast, roughly 100 KM south of Cairns.
This quaint little waterfall gets its fame from the adjacent castle, built by José Paronella in the 1930s. According to the story, José’s dream was to build a castle after emigrating to Australia in the early 1900s from Spain to work the cane farms.
While Paronella Park requires an entry ticket, you can check out Mena Waterfall for free at the viewing platform below the falls. However, don't get too excited about swimming here as there are croc warning signs everywhere!
Entry Ticket: Paronella Park Entry Ticket - an epic castle!
31. Wankaroo Falls
Wankaroo Falls isn’t listed in any hiking guidebooks or tourist information sheets. It’s very much a hidden gem, and a waterfall you’ll likely have all to yourself if you make the effort to find it.
This 35-metre single-drop waterfall lies deep in the Wooronooran National Park and boasts a beautiful, deep rainforest pool. The trail is unmarked, meaning I would only recommend this waterfall mission for those with a fair bit of experience hiking in Far North Queensland.
Bonus: Wallaman Falls - Australia's Tallest Waterfall
Okay, Wallaman Falls isn't exactly a "Cairns waterfall". While it does take about 3.5 hours to get here from Cairns, I feel it still deserves a spot on this list since it's easily Far North Queensland's most impressive waterfall. In saying that, maybe even the best in Australia— it is already ranked as the biggest!
For those visiting Cairns on a road trip or if you're a Cairns local planning a trip south to Mission Beach or Townsville, add Australia's tallest waterfall to the list— Wallaman Falls!
Cairns Accommodation Guide – Where to Stay
Visiting Cairns? The best places to stay are near the Cairns Esplanade or on the sunny Northern Beaches. Below are the top 4 options for varying budgets.
- Crystalbrook Riley - If luxury and location are what you're after, you can't beat the Crystalbrook Riley. This is the best 5-star resort in Cairns and features absolutely everything you'd expect from a Crystalbrook resort.
- Fitzroy Island Resort - Sleep out on one of the picturesque Great Barrier Reef Islands at Fitzroy Island Resort. Spending the night on the island can work out cheaper than staying in town and means you get more time to explore the reef, coral beaches and rainforest walking trails.
- Gilligan's Backpackers - The best backpacker option for a great vibe in Cairns. Great place to meet like-minded travelers and has facilities including a pool. air-con, a huge shared kitchen, and a great common area!
- Pepper's Beach Club - stay at the best beach resort in the heart of Palm Cove on the Cairns Northern Beaches!
Cairns Waterfall Chasing Guide: Tips and Resources
And... That wraps up the list of the best waterfalls in Cairns and the surrounding Tropical North! As mentioned, I've also included this brief visitor's guide to Cairns waterfalls. This should help out travellers plan their trips and adventures in Australia's adventure capital!
Getting to the Waterfalls in Cairns
By far, the best way to explore Cairns and the Tropical North is to have your own car.
While I understand that that won't be possible for everyone, you simply will be very limited if you don't.
So, if you're keen on checking out some epic Cairns waterfalls, I suggest renting a car.
Best Time to Visit Waterfalls Near Cairns
You might be wondering, "what's a good time to visit the best waterfalls in Cairns?" The answer is that many of these waterfalls are great for visiting year-round. However, many of the falls will vary in terms of strength and flow at different times of the year.
It's important to know that unlike the southern regions of Australia, Cairns has two seasons; wet and dry.
Dry Season: April to November
During this time, the weather is usually dry and warm, averaging around 26-28 degrees Celcius. There isn't much rainfall, meaning that some larger rain-fed waterfalls like Barron Falls might be reduced to more of a trickle.
However, you'll be excused if you initially thought that all the waterfalls weren't flowing well in the dry season. I've visited many of these waterfalls in both the dry and the wet seasons. As you can see from the photos, most of the waterfalls still had great flow, even in the drier months. This is because many of the rainforest peaks surrounding Cairns generate clouds and remain wet through a phenomenon known as a "perpetual rainforest". Due to the rugged terrain around Cairns and the Far North, water is funneled through ancient creek systems which are often the source of many of these waterfalls.
So, while it might not be raining around Cairns, you can still expect to find healthy, flowing waterfalls!
Wet Season: December to March
During these hot and wet summer months, Cairns sees tropical rainfall almost daily. This results in some pretty powerful waterfall flows. The wet season is a great time to check out the larger waterfalls to see them at their best. However, swimming can be very dangerous due to quickly-changing conditions.
Packing List for Cairns Waterfall Adventures
Here are some must-have items when hitting the trails to some of Cairns' best waterfalls!
- Dry bag to keep your valuables dry
- Mosquito and leech repellent
- A phone with reception or downloaded maps
- Quick-dry towel
- Swimmers, of course!
More Cairns & FNQ Travel Guides
I hope that this comprehensive guide to the best waterfalls in Cairns and surrounds has been useful in planning your WATERFALL-CHASING adventures in tropical Far North Queensland! After seeing so many amazing waterfalls in the Cairns area, you might also want to explore more of Queensland.
Our mates at Spaceships have created a great, free guide for road tripping in Queensland (things to do, see and more).
For more travel guides, inspiration and things to do and see, take a pick from my other articles in the list below. Alternatively, why not start with this mega-guide to the Best Things to do in Cairns or this epic list of the Best Hiking Trails in Cairns.
Also, if you're keen to check out the reef and islands, check out this guide to the Best 5 Islands Off Cairns.
Enjoy and stay adventurous!