Sarah Latham sitting at Crystal Cascades

Don’t go chasing waterfalls, TLC sang. Pfft. In Cairns in Far North Queensland it gets hot and there is no better way to cool down then to chase some of the glorious waterfalls we have on offer here.

Depending on how far out you want to venture, we have waterfalls near and far. Whichever waterfall you choose none of these will disappoint!

Read along for the best Cairns waterfalls and enjoy a great day trip from Cairns!

 1. Stoney Creek

It is easy to see why Stoney Creek is popular with Cairns locals. Located a mere 20 minutes (if that) out of the CBD, Stoney Creek is home to many small and large waterfalls. A dirt path will lead you up and along the falls, so you can choose at leisure which of the many swimming spots will be graced with your presence. The water is cool and refreshing, and the scenery is stunning – just remember to bring mosquito spray!

FYI – this photo was taken on the rare occassion Stoney Creek is flooding, it is normally a lot calmer.

Stoney Creek is one of the entrances to the popular Glacier Rock hike. You can read more about this hike here: How to get to Glacier Rock Lookout: The Ultimate Guide.

2. Fairy Falls Sarah Latham Fairy Falls Cairns

Right next to Crystal Cascades is Fairy Falls. Instead of taking the main entrance towards Crystal Cascades from the carpark, take the dirt track from the top of the carpark. Follow this and you will be greeted with a beautiful waterfall often known as the local’s secret. Complete with a rope to swing on this picturesque fall is another beautiful waterfall to add to your list.

3. Isabella Falls

This hidden gem is tucked away in the back of the Cairns suburb, Edmonton.
Taking a left at the McDonalds on the way into Edmonton, follow the road along until you come to Waterfall Road (appropriately named). Park your car and walk down the pathway and be greeted with a waterfall you’ll struggle to believe is nestled amongst the suburban houses.
Try to visit this waterfall in dryer weather as to get to the top of it will take a little bit of climbing. But the view is well worth the climb, as can be seen here!

4. Crystal Cascades

Sarah Latham Crystal Cascades Cairns

Another popular spot for Cairns locals is Crystal Cascades. Located 20 or so minutes from the Cairns CBD, in Redlynch Valley, this pristine waterhole is an easy day out with a few large swimming spots and a waterfall at the very top. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy your day watching the crystal water cascade on by.

5. Behana Gorge

Girl sitting with back to camera overlooking large waterfall and waterhole

Heading south out of Cairns, Behana Gorge is a spot not to be missed. Bring your hiking shoes, as this beautiful swimming hole and waterfall is at the end of a 45 minute hike. Not only is the walk in beautiful, but there is nothing better than a refreshing swim to cool off after a hike! Pack your water bottle, runners and bikinis and get ready for a great afternoon.

6. Josephine Falls

Josephine Falls Cairns

Heading south out of Cairns and along to Innisfail you will find the beautiful Josephine Falls. Clearly marked and easy to get to this beautiful waterfall is equipped with a viewing platform, a swimming spot and a natural water slide. Enjoy the day relaxing on the giant boulders or in the refreshing water.

7. Millaa Millaa Falls

This dreamy waterfall is located on the Atherton Tablelands, about an hour and a half drive from Cairns. Very easy to access with a carpark right near the waterfall. Try and visit this one early in the morning as it is very popular on tourist routes with tour buses stopping by all day.

8. Zillie Falls

Only a 5 minute drive away from Millaa Millaa Falls is the outstanding Zillie Falls. A short (and a bit muddy) hike down from the top will have you face to face with this impressive force! Explore a little, explore a lot and enjoy all that mother nature has to offer.

9. Emerald Creek Falls

Emerald Creek Falls Cairns Sarah Latham

Emerald Creek Falls is more of an adventure than those previously mentioned but the payoff is worth it. Put ‘Emerald Creek Falls’ into your GPS or Google Maps. A short trek from the carpark will lead to a rocky outcrop and a beautiful waterfall. Enjoy a sizzling Tropical North Queensland day by cooling off under the waterfall or lying out over the rocks.

10. Wallaman Falls

If you are looking for a big day trip, Wallaman Falls will tick your boxes! The highest, permanent single drop waterfall in Australia is located 3 and a half hour drive south from Cairns. View the impressive falls from the lookout, or get your hiking boots on and trek down towards the bottom of the falls – just prepare yourself for the hike back up! This is definitely one to tick off your bucket list and will leave you wanting to chase waterfalls, ignoring all TLC advice from now on.

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