Windin Falls is a spectacular waterfall located within Wooroonooran National Park in Tropical North Queensland.
It takes about two hours from Cairns, plus a 5-km-hike before uncovering it.
Being not easy to reach makes it even more rewarding to get to. The feeling when you lean onto the edge of the waterfall overlooking the Wet Tropics Rainforest is unbeatable.
An important aspect to keep in mind is the different flow of the water whether you are going during dry or wet season, i.e. a calm stream vs a powerful waterfall.
UPDATE, MAY 2021 WINDIN FALLS ACCIDENT: unfortunately a hiker lost her life at Windin Falls yesterday. As she was reportedly visiting after heavy rains, the water flow was impetuous and she accidentally slipped into the stream some 15 metres away from the drop, before being dragged over the edge by the currents. Source: ABC news.
A sad reminder to always be careful and stay away from the water when the current is strong.
HOW TO GET TO WINDIN FALLS – CHECK OUR MAP
HOW TO REACH WINDIN FALLS – FROM CAIRNS
The closest big city is Cairns, some 100 km North to the boundaries of Wooroonooran.
It is perfectly possible to get to Windin Falls from Cairns and back in one day, both independently and with an organised tour.
However spending a night in the nearby Atherton Tablelands would make your trip easier.
FROM THE ATHERTON TABLELANDS
Towns like Atherton, Malanda and Yungaburra are worth a visit and offer plenty of accommodation from hostels to camping sites in order for you to leave early in the morning and be at the top of Windin Falls at a reasonable hour.
Wherever you are leaving from, Topaz Road will be your route to follow until turning up left towards Cairns Old Track.
Just past Lamins Hill Lookout, take the dirt road on the left, still Cairns Old Track where it says “No through road” – do not follow the Walking Track sign – and proceed on the unsealed road for 4 km. At the very bottom of the road there’s a small parking area.
In case you see many cars parked before reaching the bottom, you could opt to stop a bit before the end of the road.
Cairns Old Track, like the name says, is an old unsealed road, in fairly good conditions. There’s just a couple of steep sections where your car or van could struggle, especially if it rained recently it can be muddy, whilst you’ll be totally fine with a 4WD.
HIKING PATH TO WINDIN FALLS
A few hundred meters beyond the parking area, there’s a junction. Take the right way, climbing over the gate.
From here the path is about 4.5 km long. It’s a low-medium difficulty hike through the forest that would take a couple hours at a relaxed pace. However if you are quite fit you can reduce the time to less than 1h15.
Consider that it can get muddy and slippery if you visit after some rainy days.
It is hard to get lost, you just need to go straight on along the way.
GETTING TO THE STREAM
Do not leave the track until you spot a simple map hanged to a tree: it will show you the easiest point where to take a right turn and descend towards the edge of Windin Falls.
A final 400-meter-downhill path will take you down to the stream.
We were there after some heavy rain and the waters were flowing with vehemence.
To be honest at first sight we just thought it’d be impossible for us to cross and get to the very edge of the fall.
After testing the strength of the flow we crossed the river and got closer to the gully.
Keeping the open gorge in front of you, the right side of the creek is where you can walk into it up to the edge.
Again, since we visited after some rainy days, it was about 1 meter deep. We could fairly easily keep balance with our feet. In rainy season though the current must be even stronger, so always be extra careful when approaching the water.
On the contrary, during a typical dry Winter in Queensland (June to August), the water level will be significantly lower.
Photo and video opportunities are countless once you are there, we also used our drone to take some spectacular aerial footage.
DRONE TIP: taking off and landing your drone from/in your hand will be very helpful, since there’s very little even surface where to land safely on the rocky terrain .
THE WAY BACK
Take your time at the top of Windin Falls, it is impossible to get bored by the views over Wooroonooran National Park.
Be sure to take all your rubbish away with you if you do bring some food or drinks.
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The same path you hiked on your way to the falls will bring you back to the parking area.
Don’t leave too late in the afternoon as it gets dark pretty quickly in the forest, you still have to drive after getting to your car, and the way back always seems longer when you’re tired. Keep your eyes open and stay safe!
We hope this simple guide will be helpful to you and wish you a great day at the gorgeous Windin Falls!
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