Complete waterfall guide to visiting Mungalli Falls in the Atherton Tablelands above Cairns in Far North Queensland. Includes everything you need to know to visit this little-known waterfall in the Outdoor Education Centre.
Mungalli Falls is a great waterfall located in the Atherton Tablelands, approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes from Cairns. There are multiple levels to explore, with the tallest having a 75-meter cumulative drop. This makes it one of the largest in the area!
However, this one is a little different from the other waterfalls near Cairns since it is located within a Wilderness Retreat Complex. Don’t worry though, the owners of the land allow visitors to check out the waterfall free of charge!
How to Get to Mungalli Falls
In order to get to Mungalli Falls, you're going to need your own car or transport. If you're coming from Cairns, it's a fairly long, 100-kilometer drive through the Atherton Tablelands.
On the Palmerston Highway, you'll need to turn right onto Junction Road. This is a dirt road that continues for approximately 2 kilometres before reaching the Mungalli Falls Outdoor Education Centre.
You are free to leave your car in the car park and walk through the wooden-decked cafe to the road leading to the falls. Immediately on your right, you'll see the first waterfall cascade.
Keep walking down this road for 15 minutes, passing some balance obstacles until you reach a dead-end cul-de-sac. Here you'll see a sign indicating the direction toward the main level of Mungalli Falls.
What to Expect at Mungalli Falls
By far, the most impressive level at Mungalli Falls is the bottom level. While it's not a vertical drop, the flow can create a powerful scene, especially in heavy rainfall.
It's said that the cumulative fall of this section is 75 meters. However it looked a little shorter, perhaps 60 meters would be a little more accurate. Regardless, it's an impressive waterfall and definitely worth a visit if you're heading to Millaa Millaa anyway.
Unfortunately, there isn't much opportunity for a swim at this waterfall, since access to the bottom is blocked off.
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Spotting Platypuses and Glow Worms at Mungalli Falls
We were also told that you could see glow worms around the base of the waterfall. However, if they were there, it was too bright to see them when we were there.
Locals have also mentioned that wild platypuses live in the rivers in and around the waterfall. If you manage to spot one, you're one lucky visitor.
If there was a gold standard for Australian wildlife spotting, then a wild platypus would definitely take the cake. If you didn't manage to spot one at Mungalli, a little tip is to go to Yungaburra, which is also in the Tablelands. There is a little lookout over Petersons Creek here where you can often spot a wild platypus!
Mungalli Falls Weather and Climate
Mungalli Falls and the general Millaa Millaa area sit at an altitude of 800+ meters in the North Queensland wet tropics. This creates a unique climate that is sometimes up to 10 degrees cooler than the coast.
The tall surrounding peaks of Wooroonooran National Park, including Queensland's tallest mountain; Mt Bartle Frere, create dense rain clouds which cause constant downpours year-round. As a result, the waterfalls in the area always have decent power and flow.
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!
Don't Miss the Nearby Waterfalls
More Cairns Waterfalls & Adventure Articles
If you enjoyed this quick guide to visiting Mungalli Falls, make sure to check out some of my other travel guides. I've written extensively about travel and adventure in and around Cairns, so I'm sure you'll find something new!