The stunning pools and sweeping rainforest views at Windin Falls, near Cairns, are a welcome haven when you’re hanging for a swim. The hike is definitely worth it. Especially with the chance to see a Cassowary!


  • A chance to see a freaking Cassowary!
  • A jaw-droppingly powerful waterfall
  • Beautiful contoured valley views
  • Refreshing natural swimming pool
  • Isolated tropical rainforest

Wet Season Adventures

Northern Australia is known for its mangos and hot weather. As perfect as this sounds, as the wet season drags on everyone goes a little bit mad.

Even my friends were thinking ‘What’s Grant doing now? Hiking on holidays! He must be going troppo!’


Windin Falls // A Tropical Tableland Oasis (QLD), Grant Purcell, lookout, valley, view, swimmer


Luckily, I know the only cure for mango madness is a refreshing swim. Alas, in the summer jellyfish and crocodiles combine forces to make sure both the rivers and the oceans are off-limits.

Fortunately, a fresh tableland stream and hundreds of meters of the waterfall can create a secret tropical oasis perfect for swimming.

Are you adventurous enough to try and find it? Or just another bloke at the pub with a big hat and no cattle?

Windin Falls Hike

Windin Falls is remote and not well known, you can expect it all to yourself! It takes a bit of work to get there but it’s totally worth it — 5.5km of hiking sounds easy but the muddy track, puddles, and the undulating path take longer than you would expect.

The Wet Tropics is a World Heritage Site and you can expect to see a huge wealth of vegetation and animal life. Butterflies are everywhere but most importantly keep your eye out for the elusive Cassowary.

We saw tracks and droppings but no such luck with the big bird.


Windin Falls // A Tropical Tableland Oasis (QLD), Grant Purcell, cassowary footprint, wildlife, big bird, animal tracks



After an hour and a half, you will find the path down to the falls. A short, steep descent later, the rushing water and refreshing pools of Windin Falls will be the perfect tonic for your aches and pains.

The valley below is breathtaking, beautiful as the dawn, as dominant as the sun.


Windin Falls // A Tropical Tableland Oasis (QLD), Grant Purcell, arrow, this way, trail marker, tree grafitti


So what are you waiting on? This place has it all.

Essential Gear

  • Hiking boots
  • A towel and swimmers
  • Plastic bag for your boots (they will get muddy)
  • 3L of water — it’s hot in the tropics
  • First aid kit


Windin Falls // A Tropical Tableland Oasis (QLD), Grant Purcell, mud, hiker, puddle, trail, sloppy, wet

How To Get There

Begin the hike at  -17.342647, 145.730898 on Google Maps (Latitude: 17°20’33.5″ S Longitude: 145°43’51.2″E)

Departing just north of Cairns we headed west and up over the Dividing Range before making our way along the tablelands towards Atherton. The drive took around 2 hours.

We turned off Topaz Rd onto the Old Cairns Track. After a short distance, you will reach a fork in the road, take the left-hand fork (straight) and continue on the Old Cairns Track. Do not follow the signs to the Bartle Frere walking tracks. There will be a spot on the right to park your car around 5km in.

This is where the hike begins (and don’t worry, you can’t go too far or you will hit the gate).


Windin Falls // A Tropical Tableland Oasis (QLD), Grant Purcell, gate, hiker, trail head


The trail is wide, clear, and easy to follow. Begin by climbing over the steel gate. The path meanders for around 5.5km. At around 4km you will find two ribbons tied to a tree on the right, one orange, and one white.

Locals recommended not to take this path and we continued for another 1km along the track to find the second path down to the right. Here a large arrow is carved into a tree and the path leads you directly to the top of the waterfall.


  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Animal spotting
  • Photography

Skill Level


Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration

11.5km walk return / 300m undulating / 4-5 hours