CAIRNS – ATHERTON TABLELANDS WATERFALLS

On my 5th day in Australia, I jumped into a car with 13 others to go chasing waterfalls!

Our first stop was Babinda Boulders, located about an hour south of Cairns. We spent just under an hour walking around and taking in the beautiful scenery.

After driving for another 30 minutes we found ourselves at Josephine Falls and it was UNBELIEVABLE! At temperatures over 30°C, we were ecstatic to see streams that weren’t preoccupied by crocodiles and we could actually go for a swim! With sliding waterfalls and swinging vines, Josephine Falls was by far the most gorgeous playground I had ever played in! We spent most of the afternoon chasing eels in the water and soaking up the sunshine before it was time to head to our next stop: Millaa Millaa Falls!

Millaa Millaa Falls is most famous for the Herbal Essence commercial that was filmed there. Tourists from all over the world make the journey to the falls to flip their hair back in the water and it’s the funniest thing to watch! Thankfully we had the freedom to stick around until the tours had left and we had the falls all to ourselves!

Next it was time for Lake Eacham – a magnificent crater lake formed by molten magma thousands of years ago! The clear, blue waters surrounded by lush rainforest made the ideal setting for our last stop. The lake offered the perfect temperature for an evening swim and complimentary pedicures by the little fish! As the sun went down, we BBQ’d on the beach and reminisced on what a beautiful day we’d just had, with 14 strangers we didn’t know a few days ago.

That’s the beauty of traveling. It brings people  from all over the world together over one sole purpose of exploring this unreal planet we live on. I can’t thank these “strangers” enough for their kind hearts, adventuring souls, and their playful inner child, for making my fifth day in Australia a beautiful memory I’ll never forget.

Honourable Mentions

  • Best car playlist: Jennifer
  • Most stable swinging in a vine: Ashley
  • Best stream leaper: Chris
  • Most hilarious/inappropriate name created for the group by: Heiko
  • Best dad jokes: Lewis
  • Most improved in English: Gerrinder

TRAVELING TIPS FOR ATHERTON TABLELANDS WATERFALLS

  • Organize your own tour! It only cost us $25 per person (compared to $109-$190 depending on the tour company) for the entire day! That included car rental, gas, 4 magnificent stops, and a sunset dinner!
  • When you enter Josephine Falls, enter right instead of left to avoid the crowds. Make sure to check out the waterslides at some point though as they are too much fun!
  • There are outdoor BBQ’s at Lake Eacham, free to use for the public. The nearest grocery store is in a small town called Yungaburra about a 10 minute drive from the lake. We lucked out with the best gourmet patties, however because the store was so small it didn’t carry a lot of items we were looking for. I’d recommend buying groceries beforehand if you’re planning on a BBQ.
  • This tip goes out to using any public BBQs in Australia: as you are expected to clean the BBQ afterwards I’d highly recommend using tin foil to cook your food on – makes cleaning so much quicker and easier.
  • To get back to Cairns from Lake Each, you have to take Route 52 which is a very steep and windy road stretching over 17 km. Make sure you have a trustworthy driver (thanks Harry!) and if you get car sick I’d recommend taking motion sickness pills beforehand for sure!
  • All stops mentioned above are in a loop leaving from Cairns and retuning to the same spot in 4 hours (total drive). We really enjoyed the way we did the loop but thought if we did it backwards we might have had less crowds at each stop (as we’d be going opposite of the day tours), avoid driving on Route 52 at night, and have direct sunlight for Millaa Millaa Falls.

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