The stunning pools and sweeping rainforest views at Windin Falls are a welcome haven when wet season has you hanging for a swim. You might even see the second heaviest bird in the world on the hike in. 


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

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

Wet Season Adventures

Northern Australia is known for 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!”

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

Windin Falls

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 big bird.

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

Windin Falls // A Tropical Tableland Oasis (QLD), Grant Purcell, cassowary poo, animal droppings

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. 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

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).

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.

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

The starting point.

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

Orange and white ribbons to the right of me here mark an alternate route. Continue straight for another 1km from here to find the tree below.

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

The way down to the falls (please don’t carve into trees).


  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Animal spotting
  • Photography

Skill Level


Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration

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


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