Located in Tully, just south of Cairns, Ponytail Falls would have to be the most beautiful waterfall I have seen in this region and that is saying something. Situated above the Tully River, this waterfall cascades down the rock face before joining the river. The Tully River is light blue and there are small to large rocks dotted throughout. It really feels like you’ve slipped into a fairy tale.
I had seen a few photos of Ponytail Falls online and therefore thought I knew what to expect. I was very happy when I arrived and saw this waterfall is that much more impressive and beautiful in real life. It is also much taller than photos show.
If you live in Cairns, Ponytail Falls is a bit of a drive; however, you can turn it into a great day or half-day out by combining with other sights in the area. Even without doing so, this waterfall by itself is worth the drive.
Although I have seen photos of people perched on the rocks in the middle of the river, personally I would advise against that. Only 5km down stream is a definitely no swimming zone due to crocodiles and while Ponytail Falls has no signs I wouldn’t go in for a dip down the road (even if upstream) from a croc habitat.
How to get to Ponytail Falls
Ponytail Falls is located a 35 minute drive inland from the Bruce Highway turnoff at Tully and about 2 hours 20 minute drive from Cairns City.
The direction are very simple to follow. Head south out of Cairns on Mulgrave Road until it becomes the Bruce Highway. Continue on until you reach Tully. Turn right at Dean Road and follow this until you reach Cardstone Weir Lookout.
Google Maps Directions
Put Cardstone Weir Lookout into Google Maps (click here for the link).
Cardstone Weir Lookout
Once you get to Cardstone Weir Lookout, I recommend pulling over, walking the few stairs down and checking out the Tully River from the lookout.
Ponytail Falls Location
Once you’ve had your fair share of admiring the beautiful and rapid river, head back to your car and continue along the road you were driving (heading upstream from Cardstone Weir Lookout) for about 2km until you see an 11 painted on the road.
Where the 11 is painted on the road, there is ample space on the corner to pull over and park safely off the road. On the side of the carpark that you just pulled in from you will see a clear entrance into the rainforest.
Follow this path for a few minutes and you will come to an ‘intersection’ (both paths will bring you to Ponytail Falls).
If you take the left track you will get directly across from the waterfall (where my photos in this blog were taken)
If you take the right track you will cross over a small bridge and arrive slightly to the right of the waterfall but with a large area including undercover seating area if you want to spend the day here.
Like I said earlier, even after seeing photos of Ponytail Falls online I was completely blown away when I saw it for the first time in real life. It was taller than I had envisioned and combined with the light blue water of Tully River, really felt like a fairytale situated within the Cairns region. Ponytail Falls is probably one of my favourite waterfalls ever and I will definitely be bringing my friends and family here asap.