Cannabullen Falls is an epic 70-metre waterfall located deep in the Misty Mountains of the Wooroonooran National Park in Far North Queensland. This guide will detail everything you need to know about hiking to the Cannabullen Falls spillway and some photos to inspire your hike!
Cannabullen Falls is an example of just how raw and underrated the region around Cairns and the Far North really is. The wide, remote trail to Cannabullen Falls is a step back in time— with no more sound than the echoing calls of prehistoric birds and your own muddy footprints, as you traverse through the oldest surviving rainforest on earth.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that a hike with a reward at the end is so much more well, rewarding. And, the rewards don’t come much better than this. The end-point of the hike opens up to an incredible natural theatre.
Waterfalls and cascading streams flow all around you in a tight clearing with rocks and tropical vines on all sides. At the very end of the flow is the main event, the 70-metre Cannabullen Falls spillway, plunging triumphantly into the depths of the rainforest valley below.
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
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After exploring so many epic waterfalls near Cairns and the Tropical North, Cannabullen Falls might be up there with some of the most impressive.
The 70-metre giant is a perfectionist's waterfall. Its stream plunges perfectly down the vertical cliff face at the end of a beautiful tropical rainforest valley.
Unfortunately, the Cannabullen Falls hike doesn't allow for a direct view of the scale of the waterfall. Instead, you'll be led to the spillway where you can watch the flow from above.
Either way, I was quite content with this and truthfully pretty stoked to be able to see this incredible waterfall from its source. The view from the top of the waterfall is absolutely incredible and while similar to what you'll get at Windin Falls, might just trump it in its epicness.
How to Get to the Cannabullen Falls Trailhead
Cannabullen Falls is located in the Misty Mountains of Wooroonooran National Park, approximately 2 hours from Cairns. You'll need a car to get to the trailhead, and I'd recommend taking a 4WD since the last stretch gets a bit bumpy on an unsealed road.
- GPS Coordinates: 17°39'23.4"S 145°38'27.0"E
From Cairns, you'll need to begin the long mission up the Gillies Range Road and turn south towards Millaa Millaa. From here, take the Misty Mountains Tourist Drive before turning left on Maalan Road. Continue for approximately 3 KM before turning on to Sutties Gap Road.
This road is narrow and after a minefield of cow pats turns into a pretty bumpy 4WD track as you enter the National Park gates. Continue on Sutties Gap Road for about 8 KM until you reach a clearing with a noticeable signpost (at GPS coordinates below).
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The Cannabullen Falls Hike
- Hike Distance: 13.8 km return
- Duration: 4 hours return
- Elevation: 436 m total elevation gain (undulating)
- Difficulty: Moderate
The hike from Sutties Gap Road to Cannabullen follows one of many walks within the Misty Mountains. While this out-and-back hiking trail is easy to follow, there are a few sections where you could make a wrong turn.
There's also no phone reception anywhere along the trail, so I'd suggest having a GPS map with you (you can use the GPS map below if you save this blog to your offline pages).
The trail is also very wide and undulates gently, with only a few short instances of leg-burning climbs. There are also two creek crossings that you will need to make so be prepared to take off your shoes or cop a soggy boot.
While most of the Cannabullen Falls hike is a breeze, the last section is a little bit hairy. When you get to it, you'll already hear the waterfall and be greeted by a short but steep descent down a slippery and muddy track. Solid tree roots will help you climb down.
While there is a bit of treefall in some sections on the trail, you shouldn't have any issue finding your way to the falls. Just make sure to follow the direction of the orange and pink tree markers and make turns where signs point to Cannabullen Falls (and remember the way back on these turns).
GPX File: Download (Don't use for primary navigation)
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The Cannabullen Creek Waterfalls
After the 2-hour walk through the mystical Misty Mountains, you can relax and admire the beauty of the Cannabullen Creek Waterfalls.
When you pop out to the creek clearing, you can turn right and walk along the banks upstream to get to a beautiful waterfall amphitheatre where there are deep ponds that you can swim in. Before commencing the hike I had no idea that these upper-level stepping waterfalls existed, so this was a treat for me.
Further downstream is the Cannabullen Falls spillway. You can't really get to the cliff edge on the left side of the stream (the side you pop out on), so don't try.
Since there hadn't been much rainfall and the stream was relatively gentle, I decided to cross Cannabullen Creek further upstream near the stepping waterfalls. This allowed me to carefully walk around on the right banks to get to the cliff's edge.
If you're not good with heights or if the stream is flowing hard, don't attempt this. Also, remember that this blog is an account of my trip, and you shouldn't blindly copy what you read online.
Use common sense and respect the remoteness of this waterfall.
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Photos of Cannabullen Falls
Unfortunately I had crashed my drone the week prior and it was getting repaired. This was immediate heartbreak for me as I arrived to the waterfall because it meant that I couldn't capture the scale of Cannabullen Falls in all its glory.
However, here are some more photos of the waterfalls on Cannabullen Creek that I hope will inspire you to visit this iconic Tropical North Queensland gem!
UPDATE: Tom from Wandering.The.Sky read this guide and sent me the below aerial photo from Cannabullen to share with my readers. Awesome shot! You can check out more of his work on his Instagram.
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More Far North Waterfalls & Hikes
I hope that you enjoyed this detailed guide to the Cannabullen Falls hike in Wooroonooran National Park. If you have any questions or trail updates, then please help me and other travelers out by leaving a comment below.