Best Waterfalls Near Cairns

McCabe David / February 21, 2021

Set amongst mighty mountain ranges and lush World Heritage listed rainforest, there are a myriad of waterfalls near Cairns that each offer something unique to photograph. You will find everything from gentle, dreamy waterfalls flowing to an almost meditative cadence, to powerful, crashing falls creating misty, magical scenes.
We have created this guide to help you plan some of the best day trips possible from Cairns, with a focus on the incredible waterfalls nearby. Discover fairytale scenery amidst rich, tropical rainforest, pristine blue swimming holes, and distinctive rock formations as you explore the many waterfalls near Cairns.
On your journey, you may even encounter native wildlife such as tree kangaroos, platypus, cassowary and even glow worms! Tropical North Queensland is truly a treasure trove of natural wonders. Bucked away in Far North Queensland on the East Coast of Australia, Cairns has an incredible amount of nearby waterfalls. Taking a day trip to these beautiful falls is one of the best things to do in Cairns. This list will help you discover what we consider to be the top 17 best waterfalls near Cairns.
The Cairns Waterfall Circuit (or Atherton Tablelands Waterfall Circuit) is a common term you’ll hear in Cairns! It refers to three waterfalls on a 17km loop circuit along Theresa Creek in the Atherton Tablelands. These three waterfalls are Millaa Millaa Falls, Ellinjaa Falls and Zillie Falls. These three falls are easily accessible on a day trip from Cairns, with plenty of time to include some of the other waterfalls on our list as well.
Both Millaa Millaa Falls and Ellinjaa falls have picnic and BBQ areas, with toilets at Millaa Millaa. I’d highly recommend packing a picnic and making the most of your day by having lunch in one of these beautiful settings. All three waterfalls are family-friendly and easily accessed via clear walking tracks from the car parks.
As these three waterfalls are commonly visited together, it made sense to cover them first. Directly following, we will tell you all about some of the other amazing waterfalls near Cairns!