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Townsville to Cairns road trip: Best waterfalls and wild swimming spots in North Queensland


On steamy North Queensland days, there’s nothing fairly like dipping into the crystal clear steam below a thundering waterfall. 

Invigorating is an understatement. So for those who’re road tripping from Townsville to Cairns, the place do begin? Here are seven waterfalls and wild swimming spots you possibly can’t miss.



There’s loads of area to unfold out at Jourama Falls. Picture: Kirrily Schwarz

1. Jourama Falls

The stroll to Jourama Falls takes about 20 minutes from the automotive park. Don’t take the primary flip off (it goes to a tiny swimming spot however there are a lot better ones upstream). The stroll to the very high is at the moment closed whereas the trail undergoes repairs, however across the decrease falls there are lots of swimming pools deep sufficient for swimming and loads of large boulders the place you possibly can unfold out and benefit from the sunshine. Pro tip: Bring a picnic since you’re going to need to keep just a few hours.

Wallaman Falls is well worth the sweat. Picture: Getty Images

Wallaman Falls is properly definitely worth the sweat. Picture: Getty Images

2. Wallaman Falls

Wallaman Falls is moody. Some days, it might probably disappear right into a cloud. Otherdays, the solar will shine and flip the spray right into a rainbow. Even if the view has disappeared from the highest, it’s properly definitely worth the 2km trek to the underside. The path is well-marked and maintained, however it’s finest to put on correct footwear (as an alternative of thongs or sandals) for those who like your ankles. You’ll descend via the cloud into to rainforest to a superb viewing level the place you’ll be drenched in icy spray as a reward for the sweaty journey down. At 269m, it’s Australia’s tallest single-drop waterfall, which make it definitely worth the 50km detour. 

Murray Falls is wild, but there's a safe swimming spot downstream. Picture: Kirrily Schwarz

Murray Falls is wild, however there is a secure swimming spot downstream. Picture: Kirrily Schwarz

3. Murray Falls

The sheer quantity of water gushing excessive of Murray Falls is unimaginable. The fall itself is means too harmful for swimming, however there’s a stunning boardwalk with a lot of nice vantage factors alongside the best way, which gives a secure means to really feel the mist in your face. If you’re eager to soar in, comply with the path just a bit additional downsteam. A five-minute stroll down the hill, previous the facilities block, down some stairs, and you’ll discover a way more sedate spot that’s secure for households. 

Rainforest Swimming Hole

Josephine Falls is a well-liked spot on sizzling days. Picture: Getty Images

4. Josephine Falls

The stroll to Josephine Falls is an on the spot temper increase.  A large and simply accessible path disappears into the shade and winds its means via the rainforest to three spectacular view factors that may take your breath away. It’s a preferred spot for swimming, however ensure you verify the indicators. Conditions can change quickly following rain, so use your widespread sense and ensure it’s secure earlier than leaping in. Pro tip: Go early (earlier than 8am) to keep away from the crowds and benefit from the serenity. 

Babinda Boulders is a great family-friendly spot. Picture: Getty Images

Babinda Boulders is a good family-friendly spot. Picture: Getty Images

5. Babinda Boulders

Babinda Boulders is the most secure and most accessible wild swimming spot alongside the best way from Townsville to Cairns. There are glorious services, together with paths, facilities, picnic tables, and barbeques. The important swimming spot is a large and shallow stretch of river with a beautiful turquoise tint that’s appropriate for all ages and skills. There’s additionally a 20-minute stroll via the rainforest which follows the stream downhill, the place you possibly can take a look at the waterfall. While you’re in the world, cease in Babinda and go to Star Apple restaurant on the Babinda State Hotel and order an Indonesian-inspired feast.

You can't swim there, but Barron Falls is a must-visit. Picture: Tourism and Events Queensland

You cannot swim there, however Barron Falls is a must-visit. Picture: Tourism and Events Queensland

6. Barron Falls

Okay, no. You can’t swim at Barron Falls. (Don’t consider us? Check the image above.) However, it’s undoubtedly one of the spectacular sights you’ll ever see in Far North Queensland or anyplace else in the world, which is why it’s included in this checklist. The finest means to see it’s to e book a ticket on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, simply quarter-hour north of Cairns, which has an awe-inspiring view of the traditional panorama of Australia’s moist tropics world heritage space. Prepare to be impressed.

Sitting on a rock amongst the rainforest, Mossman Gorge, Daintree rainforest, Queensland.

Mossman Gorge is a good spot to whereas away a day. Picture: Tourism and Events Queensland

7. Mossman Gorge

The last must-see swimming spot, when you’re in the world, is Mossman Gorge close to Port Douglas. The crystal clear water means you’ll have the option to see each mesmerising element, together with all of the fish. There’s a 20-minute boardwalk via the spectacular Daintree Rainforest that may take you to the water’s edge, with a bus that ferries passengers to and from the go to entre each 20 minutes. Prepare to keep some time –  no less than half a day – and don’t miss one of many Dreamtime Walks, hosted by native Indigenous individuals, which dives into the tales and cultural heritage of the Ngadiku individuals.

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