Waterfalls of the Atherton Tablelands (Cairns Highlands)

Waterfalls

Visitors can use Ravenshoe as a base for exploring many of the spectacular waterfalls in the area including:

  • Millstream Falls, billed as the widest in Australia,
  • Little Millstream Falls,
  • Millaa Millaa falls (perhaps the most photographed falls in Australia),
  • Nandroya and Silver Creek falls
  • Zillie Falls
  • Elinjaa Falls

There are many beautiful waterfalls in the district, almost all of them set in lush tropical vegetation that sets off the water against a lush green backdrop of tropical vegetation. These falls vary from raging torrents of water during the wet season, especially after high rainfall periods to more tranquil but nonetheless spectacularly beautiful falls during the drier months. All falls offer a water-cooled relief to the often hot and humid weather, though the the winter months are often pleasantly mild.

All the falls are accessible by walking track, some being more of a challenging walk than others, depending on how wet the path is and how much vegetation has been deposited and not yet cleared.

Many of these falls can be quite a challenge to get to and, as always in the Far North, you should carry plenty of water, sunscreen and insect repellent.

Millaa Millaa Falls

The Millaa Millaa falls are easily accessible via a short walk from a convenient car park and feature a pleasantly manicured grassy area right in front of the plunge pool at the foot of the falls.

This area is quite popular with families but you can easily avoid the hubbub by visiting in school hours and avoiding weekends. The falls provide welcome relief from the heat because the mist given off by the water provides a natural evaporative cooling effect. If you’re lucky and quiet, you may catch a glimpse of a platypus or one of the resident catfish as they trawl slowly along the bottom of the pool. Don’t look for them in the main pool because they naturally avoid exposing themselves to predatory birds.

The visiting area has a fully functioning toilet block for visitor convenience.

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Millaa Millaa Falls

Crystal Creek and Nandroya Falls

There are two paths to the Nandroya falls from the western side of the Henrietta Creek camping area. You can cross the footbridge over the creek and follow the edge of the highway near the forest until you see the signpost. From there, after a short distance the track divides—the left branch takes the upper path, leading about 1.7km to the main falls, passing the 10m high Silver Creek Falls on the way. The right lower branch is a longer route to the falls but passes the lower drop of the Nandroya falls on the way. The logical thing to do of course is to do a circuit, taking the crystal falls one way and the lower Nandroya falls reaches the other.

Crystal Creek Falls

Assuming you turned left, as you make your way down the track, you’ll pass over the lower reaches of the Crystal Creek after it has dropped off an escarpment on its way. You’ll hear these on the way and in the narrow valley, they sound quite loud. Do’t let this fool you into turning back after you’ve checked them in the mistaken belief that you’ve seen the main falls because this is just a prelude, albeit very pleasant. You need to do some rock-hopping to cross over the stream and then continue for a while.

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Crystal Creek Falls

Nandroya Falls

Shortly you’ll arrive at the Nandroya Falls, where you’ll see what looks like the vent of an old volcano with its crater filled with water and a waterfall emerging from a gap in the opposite side, plunging into the lake at the bottom of the ‘vent’. The initial plunge is about 30 metres. And the cascading secondary falls down stream are about another 10 metres.

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Nandroya Falls upper drop

If its hot, this pool is a very pleasant place to take a dip but remember, though it’s very deep, you should take care and not dive into the pool in case you’ve picked a shallow spot with hidden rocks.

To return, take the lower path back which is a longer pathway but skirts Henrietta creek and the lower portion of the falls. The scenery in both paths is a delight.

Little Millstream Falls

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Little Millstream Falls

Elinjaa Falls

Elinjaa Falls

Elinjaa Falls

Zillie Falls

Zillie Falls

Zillie Falls

 

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