Tchupala Falls Cairns Sarah Latham

For those with access to a vehicle, the Palmerston Highway, found south of Cairns near Innisfail is full of some of the best Cairns things to see – and they are often the lesser known gems in Cairns. Arranged in order from Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands, read on to discover the best things to see on the Palmerston Highway in Cairns.

1. Nucifora Tea Plantation

Starting off the list of things to see on the Palmerston Highway in Cairns with a beautiful photo stop. Nucifora Tea Plantation is found 17 minutes along the Palmerston Highway and is the perfect first stop to your journey. Pull over on the side of the road and snap a quick picture with the gorgeous tea plantation in the background.

Nucifora Tea Plantation Cairns Sarah Latham

2. Mamu Tropical Skywalk

Hop back in your car and drive the quick 3 minutes up the road to Mamu Tropical Skywalk. One of the ways to experience the Cairns rainforest, give yourself at least an hour to explore the rainforest from the forest floor pathways, the elevated boardwalks and the canopy tower with views stretching across Wooroonooran National Park. You can read about Mamu Tropical Skywalk here: Exploring the rainforest canopy with Mamu Tropical Skywalk.

Mamu Tropical Skywalk Sarah Latham

3. North Johnstone River Lookout

After you’ve left Mamu Tropical Skywalk, continue along Palmerston Highway for only a minute before arriving at the North Johnstone River Lookout. Here you can pull your car over and either quickly snap a picture to remember the view or venture down the marked rainforest path to discover an even better view further in.

Palmerston Highway North Johnstone River Lookout Sarah Latham

4. Tchupala Falls and Wallicher Falls

After you’ve taken in the views of the North Johnstone River, it’s time to start chasing waterfalls. Again, only another minute along the Palmerston Highway and you’ll arrive at the entrance to Tchupala Falls and Wallicher Falls. These waterfalls are found only a short 5 or so minute trail through the rainforest and you can read how to find them here: How to get to Tchupala and Wallicher Falls.

5. Nandroya Falls

After you’ve returned to your car (remember to check for leaches, which are unfortunately common in this area), you only have to venture a quick 3 minutes drive down the Palmerston Highway before pulling into the car park for Nandroya Falls. Found near the Henrietta Creek camping area, walk a minute or so along the side of the Palmerston Highway until you see the sign post point to the track to Nandroya Falls. Remember to leave at least 45 minutes (if you are taking the quicker route – there is a longer route option there as well) each way plus time at the waterfall when visiting Nandroya Falls. On your way into and back from Nandroya Falls be sure to stop at Silver Creek Falls as well!

Nandroya Falls Walk Sarah Latham

6. Serendipity Falls

Once you’ve arrived back to your car, it’s time for the final stop on your Palmerston Highway adventure. Head along the Palmerston Highway for another 7 minutes before reaching Serendipity Falls. Unlike the other waterfalls, this Palmerston Highway waterfall is viewable from the road and therefore you only need to stop for a moment to capture this beautiful roadside waterfall.

Palmerston Highway map to follow

Exploring the Palmerston Highway can only be done by vehicle as the distances are too long between to walk (and you’d be walking alongside a road!). However, the entire driving distance between Nucifora Tea Plantation right at the start to Serendipity Falls at the end is less than 15 minutes – making it a very easy commute between. You can find the Google Maps link with each place pinned here.

Palmerston Highway Map Sarah Latham

Note that Nandroya Falls needs a good 45 minutes walk each way to visit and you will want to spend at least an hour exploring Mamu Tropical Skywalk so it is wise to leave a day for exploring the sights on the Palmerston Highway. If you have more spare time at the end of your Palmerston Highway adventure, I recommend continuing to head up the Palmerston Highway into Millaa Millaa on the Atherton Tablelands and enjoy exploring some of the Atherton Tablelands waterfalls there. Also, if you haven’t brought lunch, there are a few great places to eat in the Millaa Millaa region as well!

two people standing on Palmerston Highway

If you are interested in things to see on the Palmerston Highway in Cairns, you may also be interested in: