Half an hour out of Cairns and a short 3.5km walk will take you to the breathtaking Behana Gorge and tumbling Clamshell Falls.
We acknowledge that this adventure is located on Yidindji Nation, the traditional land of the Yidindji people who have occupied and cared for this land for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.
Pack a picnic lunch and your swimmers and bask in the tropical sun for hours
You’ll find an accessible and sealed walk from the car park at Behana Gorge, a mere 30-minute drive from Cairns. With plenty of opportunities to veer off, clamber down to the water and set up shop for the day, you’ll always be able to find a corner to enjoy on your own.
At the end of the path (it’ll take you about an hour!), you’ll come face-to-face with the often overflowing Clamshell Falls. What a sight!
The drive into Behana Gorge will bring you face-to-face with Walshs Pyramid, home to the Yidinji people and the story of Bunda Djarruga Murrgu, the scrub hen who incubated her eggs on the peak of the pyramid-like mountain and kicked her eggs off to surrounding bushland.
One of those eggs landed in what is now known as Behana Gorge.
For 22 years the local community of Aloomba fought against plans to mine natural granite in the gorge. As a result of their success, we can swim and play by the river. Thank you Aloomba!
Behana Gorge is a great place to take the kids, as the small pools all the way up to the Falls are nice and still. You can enjoy the awe and majesty of water plummeting into the gorge, without fear of being swept away.
Please exercise appropriate caution if you’re swimming — slide in and feel around at the bottom to make sure there are no submerged rocks.
Read more: Staying Safe Around Swimming Holes
- Comfortable shoes for walking
- A luxurious picnic to enjoy (but skip the glass!)
Read more: Remember to leave no trace!
How To Get There
Behana Gorge is an easy 30 minute drive from the centre of Cairns. The 3.5km walk is on a sealed undulating road, with some steep sections, following a water pipe.
To get down to the water involves a bit of a rock scramble, but if you crouch down and waddle your way down like a penguin, you’ll be right.
It’s a beginner walk, but you’ll need a good working knowledge of wild swimming risks. The current can be stronger than it looks, and often you can’t see the bottom of the waterholes. Don’t go diving in without first checking the depth!
Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration
3.5km each way / 194m elevation / less than 1 hour each way
Photography by @mitch.cox