emerald creek falls mareeba

Things to do

Swimmable Waterfalls

Why you should definitely chase waterfalls in the tropics

With its diverse wilderness and abundant national parks, Tropical North Queensland is home to many beautiful hikes, waterfalls and swimming holes. It’s important to always follow the advice from Queensland Parks and never venture into out of bounds areas, flooded waters or dangerous areas to prevent serious injury or death.


Tropical North Queensland is blessed with an abundance of waterfalls. The great news is that you can swim right up to many of these spectacular cascades – and even let the running water cascade over you.

Swimmable waterfalls are found from Cardwell to Cape York, with many concentrated around the Atherton Tablelands. Often punctuating the end of incredible hiking tracks or explored via a road trip, waterfalls really are the best way to cool down. The ultimate reward for the modern day adventurer.

Perhaps the most photographed waterfall in Australia is Millaa Millaa Falls – a heritage-listed plunge waterfall that’s also a great swimming spot. After enjoying the falls, keep your eyes peeled for the electric-blue Ulysses butterfly and the elusive platypus. One of the most accessible falls from Cairns is in Josephine Falls, less than an hours drive away. Sitting in the shadow of Mount Bartle Frere, Jo Falls (as it’s known to the locals) boasts its very own natural waterslide on the bottom pool. To really get off the beaten track, head to Cape York Peninsula’s remote north to find Fruit Bat Falls, where the clear, spring-fed waters of Eliot Creek tumble over a rift in the ancient sandstone landscape. The series of waterfalls in this national park provides respite to travellers tackilng a long and dusty drive along the Old Telegraph Track.


Josephine Falls on the Cassowary Coast is famous for its natural rock waterslide

Behana Gorge is located just south of Cairns

Cool off at Attie Creek Falls on the Cardwell Forest Drive

Enjoy a natural shower at Ellinjaa Falls

Chasing Waterfalls

Pop these spectacular waterfalls onto your TNQ wish list.

zillie falls atherton tablelands
Atherton Tablelands
10 waterfalls to chase on the Atherton Tablelands

Hit the famous waterfall circuit, uncover those lesser known or stretch a little further and take a dip in Australia’s widest, single-drop waterfall on the Atherton Tablelands.

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Emerald Creek Falls
20 waterfalls near Cairns

Mighty mountain ranges and Wet Tropics Rainforest create the optimum environment for a myriad of extraordinary waterfalls. Fall in love with these 20 waterfall wonderlands only a short drive from Cairns.

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How to shoot waterfalls like a pro

At the top of Tropical North Queensland’s ‘must-see’ natural attractions are undoubtedly it’s tropical waterfalls. You know the ones with the oh-so-silky water and the brilliant greens. Here are four tips from professional photographer, Andrew Watson, to help you capture your own slice of natural beauty.

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Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
12 other things to do when visiting the Cardwell Spa Pool

Whether you’re out to catch a barra, hike Australia’s largest island National Park or adventure your way through a scenic 4WD track, Cardwell is the perfect launch pad for an outdoorsy weekend with a friendly local twist.

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nandroya falls atherton tablelands
Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast Waterfalls & Swimming Spots To Cool Off In

Mother Nature sees your backyard swimming pool and raised you her take on it with these waterfalls and swimming spots– each perfectly moulded and best explored with a sense of adventure.

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emerald creek falls mareeba
Atherton Tablelands
10 things near Mareeba worth the drive from Cairns

If your ideal holiday involves roaming from providore to providore, seeing 400-million-year-old rock cave formations and exploring waterfalls in between, there’s a town on the Atherton Tablelands you’ll want to get to know.

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atherton tablelands canopy treehouses
Atherton Tablelands
7 great reasons to head to the Atherton Tablelands

The Atherton Tablelands are the kind of place you want to take at your own pace. Jump in a car and head inland to tick off these must-do experiences.

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