If you’re planning a trip through northern Queensland the Atherton Tablelands waterfalls should be near the top of your list! In this post, we cover 10 of the best waterfalls along the waterfall circuit and everything you need to know about getting there to explore on your own!
But you’ll find that the waterfall circuit in the Atherton Tablelands offers its own chance to tour the area to explore by car, hike the lush rainforest and even enjoy a refreshing swim in a cool swimming hole at the base of the falls.
When we were up in the Atherton Tablelands we wanted to visit some of the waterfalls that we had heard so much about. There are so many in the area, we were overwhelmed.
The Atherton Tablelands is one of the most well-known areas, and the Atherton Waterfalls are some of the most spectacular waterfalls in northern Queensland.
These stunning cascades flow year-round, making them a must-see attraction when visiting this region.
With some waterfalls being as tall as 125m, these places will blow your mind. Do not forget to pack your bathers as most of them have swimming holes to enjoy a dip in the cool water.
You can drive the waterfall circuit in a car if you’d like, where you can visit multiple waterfalls including Milllaa Millaa Falls, Ellinjaa Falls, Zillie Falls and Mungalli Falls in one day on a loop drive.
Or you can just head out to explore a couple of others on our list as you desire.
The 10 Best Atherton Tablelands Waterfalls
Here is our list of the top options for Atherton Tableland Waterfalls you can visit on your trip.
Malanda Falls is a great place to spend an afternoon with your little one. Located just outside of the town of Malanda.
The sound of the cascading water washes over you as it runs down over basalt rock, which formed long ago when ancient lava flowed down about 15km away.
Have a picnic looking at the falls or go for a dip in one of the pools. It only takes about five minutes of walking on one of many beautiful trails before you reach this hidden gem that will not disappoint!
There is a beautiful mosaic depicting a traditional aboriginal tribe (Ngadjon-Jii tribe) at the carpark for the waterfalls between the info center & Malanda falls. Do check it out and be mindful to respect the area.
Enjoy one of the walks you can do from the Malanda falls; Tulip Oak walk (1 km return) or Rainforest Walk (1.5km return). Or you can join a local Aboriginal guide on a 45-minute Rainforest Dreaming Guided Walk.
Dinner Falls is a circuit located on the upper Barron River. At the end of the trail, you will see a viewing platform overlooking Mount Hypipamee National Park where you can enjoy Dinner Falls up close or from afar!
Mt. Hypipamee is an enormous crater that has been blasted through solid granite by the explosive eruption of volcanic gases. The walls are sheer and rise up to 58 meters above the deep blue lake and 82 meters below them – a testimony to its immense power!
READ MORE: Check out our guide to the best things to do in Cairns!
Trek to Dinner Falls Circuit following a 400-meter bitumen walking track through the lush rainforest and past plunge, segmented and cascading falls.
You’ll find the circuit located on a section of the upper Barron River with a picnic area for visitors’ enjoyment.
Windin Falls has some of the most beautiful views over the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
The falls are located on Old Cairns Track, approximately 90 minutes away from town, and require an uphill hike of 13km to see them. The final 100m steep decline can be slippery but well worth it for the refreshing natural infinity pool viewpoint at the base of the falls!
You might spot cassowaries if you are lucky so keep your eyes open.
It is an easy walk to Windin Falls. Follow orange ribbon / arrows that will guide you. It is a steep descent at the end, to get to the top of the water fall so please be careful!
Getting there from Cairns, drive towards Lamins Hill Lookout and head past the lookout. Keep driving for around 4km until you see a sign for Windin Falls.
Park your vehicle here and then walk about 5 minutes until you get to a large metal gate. This is the beginning of the trail.
Millstream Falls is a popular spot to visit in Atherton Tablelands. The falls are divided into two sections; Big Millstream Falls and Little Millstream Falls.
The widest single-drop waterfall in Australia is the big Millstream Falls with its water flowing over an old basalt lava flow.
Within this dry rain shadow of the Great Dividing Range, eucalypts are everywhere you look. But for those who want to see more than just one waterfall and a view from afar, there’s also Little Millstream Falls nearby! Do not miss it.
Even though the waterfalls sound close, they can be accessed on different roads. Both are located off Kennedy Highway.
The Little Millstream Falls is located off Wooroora Road in another area. The Big Millstream is located off Divisional Memorial Drive
From the parking lot at Big Millstream Falls, follow the walking trail down to the lookout where you can view huge waterfall. It is about a 500m walk.
The national park has a rich World War II history. Campsites were built by battalions within the 1940s. Take the short World War II Heritage Walk and learn all about it. There are information signs to read about this.
Pepina Falls is a small but beautiful waterfall in the rainforest.
It can be reached by driving 1 hour away from Innisfail, or just 15 minutes drive south of Falls Millaa on Old Palmerston Highway. Keep driving until you reach Middlebrook Creek Bridge (8km).
There’s a car park with a ‘Pepina Falls’ sign and a walking track which takes about 10 minutes each way to reach the falls.
These waterfalls are not too big, as they are only 7m high and 9m wide at their base. But you would most likely have this place to yourself as this is not one of the more popular waterfalls.
What makes this place special is that it is surrounded by lush plants like ferns that grow up close along its edges.
This waterfall is not the best place to swim as the access to the pool is a little hard.
READ MORE: Wondering what else to do while you’re exploring North Queensland? Check out our epic Brisbane to Cairns road trip itinerary!
Ellinjaa Falls is a picturesque waterfall that you can visit as part of the Atherton Tablelands Waterfall Circuit.
You’ll enjoy seeing the water rush over lava rock, and even spot some turtles or platypus while having your picnic lunch on one side of these falls!
There’s also a walkway to take you all the way down to see other parts closer up. Ellinjaa has great swimming spots too – do not miss out!
The wild beauty is only made more breathtaking when you take into account how remote they actually are-making them one of Australia’s least visited natural wonders!
You can not help but be awed when viewing this spectacular site from its footbridge where there is hardly any sound other than water cascading over lava columns.
If these waters do not make it onto your bucket list yet, then get on board now because nobody goes home disappointed after visiting such a pristine location like this one.
Zillie Falls is another amazing waterfall located on the Waterfall Circuit along with Millaa Millaa Falls and Ellinjaa Falls.
There is a lovely viewing platform at the base of Zillie where you can enjoy a view of the cascading water and rapids, which make for an invigorating experience.
But if that’s not enough to excite your senses, there’s also plenty more nearby! Here there is always an amazing view with water roaring around rocks as well as rock pools perfect for a swim.
If you find yourself in the area of Millaa Millaa Falls, do not miss out on a chance to see its much louder and more daring sibling Zillie Falls.
Millaa Millaa Falls
Millaa Millaa Falls is probably the most photographed waterfall in Australia. It definitely is a popular destination for so many coming up this way to visit.
The Millaa Millaa Falls is a heritage-listed plunge waterfall that is beautiful to photography but also a great swimming spot.
You can sit back and enjoy the waterfall, but keep your eyes peeled for the electric-blue Ulysses butterfly and possibly a platypus if you are there in the early morning or evening.
You can pretty much drive up to Millaa Millaa Falls and enjoy the view. You’re bound to be mesmerized by all that surrounds you here. Or at least take an amazing photo with one of Australia’s most photographed places as its backdrop!
Tchupala Falls is a two-tier waterfall located in Palmerston section of Wooroonooran National Park which is apart of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
To get out to Tchupala Falls you’ll walk about 3.5km one way from the trailhead which starts at the Henrietta Creek Camping Area. You will pass through beauty of lush rainforests along the way.
This area has some of earth’s oldest continuously surviving rainforest and it is an integral component of this global treasure trove because its fertile soil fosters these unique ecosystems that must be protected for all life on Earth!
On the trail, you will pass another waterfall also named Wallacha Falls. if you have time, you can definitely spend a few days relaxing and hiking out to the waterfalls from this campground.
Nandroya Falls is a tall skinny beautiful waterfall among a beautiful backdrop of tropical trees and ferns.
The falls begin as a large flow before cascading over boulders and tumbling into the deep pool below. It’s impressive to see.
You can see the waterfalls by walking the Nandroya Falls Circuit Trail. The loop is about 6km easy walk and begins at the parking lot at the Henrietta Creek Camping Area, just off of Palmerston Highway. This camp is beautiful to stay at if you have the time.
There are signs to guide you to the beginning of the trailhead. Depending on which way you go on the way out to Nandroya Falls, you will pass Silver Falls, which is another great waterfall to see.
Wrapping Up the Best Waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands
The Waterfall Circuit of Atherton Tablelands provides some of the best waterfall viewing in all of Australia in one condensed area.
But if you have the time to explore the region outside of Cairns you’ll find plenty of hidden gems surrounded by lush rainforest and tons of natural beauty.
These are our favorite waterfalls near Cairns. Let us know if you have any favorites that we left off this list!