Before travelling to Australia, I had no idea how much of the East Coast was covered in rainforest, how mountainous it was nor just how many waterfalls there were. Australia is full of surprises and I loved hunting down the next waterfall on our 15,000km journey half way round the country. Whilst I haven’t visited every single waterfall in Australia, this is my take on the most impressive waterfalls in Australia.
South west of the Gold Coast are two of my favourite national parks on the East Coast of Australia; Springbrook and Lamington. Lamington National Park is home to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat which has plenty to offer including a campground, mountain villas, a spa, an infinity pool as well as a really good tree top walk.
We stayed at the Green Mountains campground a few minutes walk away from O’Reillys and it only cost us $13 for a night. The campground is perfectly positioned to take advantage of both O’Reillys and the rainforest walk to Moran Falls (one of the best waterfalls in Australia).
After walking approximately 2km through dense rainforest you’ll come to a lookout with the first glimpse of Moran Falls thundering (maybe) over the cliff edge into the canyon below. This waterfall is glorious at sunset and the lip of the cliff is the perfect spot for some unbelievable photos! Be careful obviously, no-one wants to slip.
Purling Brook Falls
The other national park I mentioned above is Springbrook which should be visited in conjunction with Lamington National Park. Three of this park’s waterfalls make the list starting with Purling Brook Falls.
A pretty tall waterfall standing at a touch over 100 metres where the water lands in a lovely little pool surrounded by palm trees and rainforest. When I visited, the light was fading fast so we only saw this waterfall from above. A short circuit walk will take you right down to the bottom of the waterfall but make sure you do the loop in a clockwise direction so you’re not stuck climbing 265 steps up the cliff side.
This was probably my favourite of the waterfalls in Springbrook National Park. A lovely walk takes you through, you guessed it, dense rainforest as well as directly through a small gap in a huge rock! It was quite busy when I visited but still managed to get a few good photos of the falls of which you get two for one here.
The rainforest in Springbrook National Park is part of a larger group of UNESCO listed Gondwana rainforests. These rainforests are from a time where Australia and Antarctica were connected and formed the Gondwana continent. For a sense of how mental that is, Australia split from Antarctica over 40 million years ago…
When walking the circuit at Twin Falls, you’ll find ancient Antarctic Beech trees as well as brush box trees some of which have been dated at over 1,500 years old.
Over no doubt thousands of years, this waterfall has pounded away on and ultimately eroded a whole in a huge basalt rock. You’ll have to enter a small cave to see this waterfall which isn’t a bad thing at all as you’ll discover the cave is home to thousands of glow-worms too. It’s best to visit again at night on a tour to see these creatures in all their glowing glory.
Curtis Falls in Mount Tamborine is more about the journey than the destination. I wouldn’t say that the waterfall is technically one of the most impressive in Australia but the walk through hundreds if not thousands of palm trees makes up for it. No photo can really give a sense of just how many palm trees are in this area of rainforest. It’s amazing!
I did plan on getting a great photo of the waterfall with my drone but, and I cannot stop thinking about it, the drone took on a life of its own and had a little meeting with a tree!
Around an hour’s drive west of Ingham in tropical Queensland lies Australia’s tallest waterfall; Wallaman Falls. The waterfall is a massive 268 metres tall and can only really be appreciated from the bottom of the valley. However, to get down, you’ll have to tackle an hour’s climb down through rainforest and often on steep rocky paths. Obviously, the return walk is difficult, very difficult in the heat, and takes a little longer but is definitely worth it. There are warnings at the top of the walk that people have died trying to do the walk so be careful and always take plenty of water.
Millaa Millaa Falls
One of Queensland’s most popular waterfalls on the backpacker circuit. This 18 metre high waterfall surrounded by lush rainforest was made famous by Peter Andre in the video to ‘Mysterious Girl’ (you know the one…) and can get quite busy with tourists visiting on day trips. Don’t let this put you off as it’s a beauty and there’s easy access if you want to cool off in the water!
Barron Falls can be found in the Atherton Tablelands not far from Cairns. The best way to see this waterfall is either on the Kuranda Scenic Railway or the Skyrail. On the scenic railway, the train comes to a stop half way up the mountains towards Kuranda at a great lookout over the top of Barron Falls. In the dry season, the falls aren’t the most spectacular but, having seen a video of the falls in the wet with such spectacular power, I’d love to visit again.
Mena Creek Falls
You’ll find Mena Creek Falls not too far from Mission Beach and the Cassowary Coast. A beautiful drive through sugar plantations will bring you to Paronella Park, a place that truly needs to be seen to be believed, as well as Mena Creek Falls. Paronella Park might steal all the glory with it’s little castle and tropical gardens but the waterfall is pretty special too. You can walk over the top of the waterfall on a rope bridge or stick around to after dark to see the falls beautifully illuminated.
If you want to read a little more about Paronella Park, check out my post here.
New South Wales
The Blue Mountains are one of my favourite areas in Australia and Wentworth Falls is probably the best waterfall here with three tiers! You can walk just over 1km down to the waterfall itself but the best view is from the Princes Rock Lookout. When you’re at the falls, please don’t climb over the barriers to get a selfie closer to the edge of the third drop down into the valley. We saw plenty of people risking their lives for a photo which is not cool at all!
Crystal Shower Falls
Just a short distance south of Coffs Harbour, you can head inland from the coast on a scenic drive called the Waterfall Way. Guess what you’ll find plenty of on this drive? After the lovely bohemian town of Belligen, the road steeply climbs up Dorrigo Mountain through lush rainforest and waterfalls gushing down the cliffside just inches from the roadside.
Dorrigo National Park is the first stop on your adventure up the Waterfall Way (where you’ll find many of the best waterfalls in Australia) where you can walk 3.5km (return) to Crystal Shower Falls. Highlights of this walk are not only the waterfall but a suspension bridge for some classic photos as well as little detour where you can walk behind the waterfall too.
Still within the Dorrigo National Park, Dangar Falls are a thirty metre high waterfall with a huge pool for swimming. I tried to have a little swim but it was far far too cold for me even in the Australian heat.
Towards the end of the Waterfall Way before you reach Cathedral Rock National Park, you will find Ebor Falls. I’d describe Ebor Falls as a triple waterfall. You’ve got the first double waterfall which you’ll see from most vantage points (a quick walk from the car park) and then you’ve got the huge 300 foot waterfall where the water goes crashing down into the canyon below.
We saw a few people down the bottom of the first double waterfall though I believe they abseiled down. I couldn’t see any easy access trails to get to the bottom but the view is still worth it. I got a few shots of all three waterfalls with the drone but there’s an easy walking track to ensure you don’t miss the lower falls as well. This was another of one of my favourite waterfalls in Australia.
Erskine Falls & Hopetoun Falls
Even though I lived in Melbourne for three months, I never had the chance to squeeze in a trip down the Great Ocean Road. We planned our honeymoon in April 2020 to return to Melbourne as well as Queenstown in New Zealand. We’d hoped to get a few nights in road tripping the Great Ocean Road but, obviously due to Covid-19, we were unable to make it. These two waterfalls on the Great Ocean Road were high up on my lists and look like absolute perfection. The framing at Hopetoun Falls is something of a dream for photographers too!
Jim Jim Falls
Another waterfall that I didn’t get the chance to visit but, from the photos I’ve seen, it looks incredible. Most impressive in the wet season, this waterfall’s prime season comes up with a slight issue. The amount of rain in the wet season needed to create such a powerful waterfall means that all of the access roads are cut off. For this one you’ll need to jump in a helicopter where you’ll see spectacular aerial views of Jim Jim Falls, the nearby Twin Falls and Kakadu National Park.
Wow that was certainly some list of the most impressive waterfalls in Australia, it’s making me immediately want to pack up my life again and go exploring this beautiful continent again. There’s no doubt that I will have missed some bigger and better waterfalls off this list so let me know in the comments below if there’s any others you’d recommend.