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How to Visit Barron Falls From Cairns: Complete Guide

How to Visit Barron Falls From Cairns: Complete Guide

Barron Falls is one of the largest waterfalls near Cairns and Kuranda, with a massive 125 meters of cascading water forcing its way down the deep Barron Gorge in Far North Queensland.

Barron Falls (indigenous name: Din Din Falls) is one of the most popular Cairns waterfalls to visit and one of the tallest waterfalls in Far North Queensland.

This is an impressive waterfall with a very scenic short hike to the main viewpoints, and definitely worth the trip, no matter the weather. In this guide, I hope to answer all your questions about Barron Falls, including how to get here from Cairns, what to expect, and how to make the most of your trip!

Cairns skyrail edge lookout over barron falls
Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

Video: Full Force of Barron Falls

You might have seen photos of Barron Falls with almost Niagra Falls-like force. However, this only occurs for a short period after heavy rainfall in the wet season.

I’ve visited Barron Falls countless times and have photographed it in its various stages of flow, and I’ll include photos from several trips below.

Below is a short video that I put together showcasing the full force of Barron Falls during a big flood.

Where is Barron Falls? - Barron Gorge National Park

Barron Falls flows on the mighty Barron River, which begins in the Atherton Tablelands and has carved a dramatic gorge through the Lamb Ranges, known as Barron Gorge. This gorge has its own National Park designation titled "Barron Gorge National Park".

While there are a few different ways to admire this megalithic waterfall, the most popular option is via a gorge viewpoint known as "Barron Falls lookout", near the township of Kuranda, approximately 31.3 kilometres from Cairns CBD.

Below I've pinned the exact location of the car park providing access to the Barron Falls lookout track.

Google Maps Pin: "RAINFOREST CANOPY WALK & BARRON FALLS LOOKOUT"

Barron falls map
Barron falls, cairns australia

Visiting Barron Falls From the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

After driving to Barron Falls and taking the Scenic Rail, my personal favourite experience was the Skyrail, since it offers the most unique view of the falls.

This is also one of the most convenient options to explore Barron Gorge and the surrounding World Heritage Listed rainforest.

The Skyrail Cableway departs from Smithfield, but you can book tickets online that include transport and hotel Pickup from Cairns Esplanade or the CBD.

Skyrail rainforest cableway overlooking barron falls near cairns, australia

The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway slides 7.5 kilometres over and above the rainforest canopy for a unique perspective of Barron Falls. This trip includes a couple of stops, before finally finishing in the rainforest village of Kuranda.

You'll also get to stop at The Edge lookout, the most epic view you'll get of Baron Falls from a unique glass walkway. Below I've linked to a combined deal for the Scenic Rail & Skyrail, which makes a perfect self-guided itinerary.

Barron falls from the skyrail

Related: Epic White Water Rafting Trip from Cairns


How to Get to The Din Din Barron Falls Lookout From Cairns (Self-Drive)

Unfortunately, there aren't any buses or regular public transport options heading directly to the Barron Falls lookout. However, you can take the 123 bus from Lake Street to the Skyrail base station, then take the Skyrail up to the top of Barron Falls.

Otherwise, the only other way to get here is to drive.

Driving to Barron Falls takes roughly 45 minutes from Cairns.

Start on the Captain Cook Highway, heading north. Then, turn onto Kennedy Highway, which continues north to Smithfield and then winds up the mountain through to Kuranda.

Just past the small township of Kuranda, you'll see signs indicating the way to the waterfall. This takes you down through some lush rainforest, onto Barron Falls road and eventually to the waterfall and walking trail car park.

You'll want to go to the spot labelled on Google maps as "RAINFOREST CANOPY WALK & BARRON FALLS LOOKOUT", in all caps for some reason.

Barron falls from above
Car in the rainforest near cairns

Car Rentals in Far North Queensland

Cairns is one of the most popular travel destinations in Australia and car rentals quickly book out!

I've missed out on cars before & recommend booking well in advance. I always use DiscoverCars as they compare the widest range of rentals across dealerships in the Far North.

Barron Falls from Port Douglas

Those staying in Port Douglas can also reach Barron Falls by booking the Scenic Rail tickets on Get Your Guide in order to get transport included.

If you'd prefer to self-drive to Barron Falls from Port Douglas instead, you can do so by heading south to Smithfield and following the directions listed from Cairns above. Expect a 1 hour and 15-minute drive from Port Douglas.

Barron gorge far north queensland, australia
Barron Gorge National Park

The Kuranda Scenic Railway

As an alternative, travelers can visit the waterfall by taking the Kuranda Scenic Railway. This is a famous train journey through the World Heritage rainforest, with stops at the Barron Falls lookout.

The journey begins in Cairns (Freshwater) and finishes at the Kuranda Scenic Rail Station, a convenient place to start exploring the markets and trails of Kuranda Village.

However, when planning a day trip to Kuranda, it makes more sense to book the Skyrail up, and the Scenic Rail back down to Cairns. This will be the easiest and cheapest way in terms of included transport.

Kuranda scenic railway through the rainforest
Kuranda Scenic Railway
Barron falls

The Barron Falls Lookout & Rainforest Canopy Walk

  • Hiking Distance: 500 metres return
  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Elevation: N/A
  • Difficulty: Very easy

The Barron Falls lookout is a large, fenced clearing beside the Barron Falls railway stop. While you can get here on the Scenic Rail, it's also accessible via a short boarded walking track in the rainforest canopy.

Following the directions above, you'll find a large car park providing access to this elevated walkway. The walk is a unique experience as you follow a raised boardwalk high above the rainforest floor. This provides a unique view of the ancient rainforest without disturbing the native plants and animals.

Barron falls rainforest canopy walk
Woman on at barron falls boardwalk in far north queensland

After just a few hundred metres, you'll arrive at the Barron Falls lookout. This lookout is on the southern side of the Barron Gorge, meaning you'll get to watch the force from a distance. Below is a photo that I took from this viewpoint when the falls were in full flow!

Woman at barron falls lookout near kuranda
Barron Falls lookout in the rainy season

Tip: Make sure to check out Wrights Lookout nearby as well! Here you'll get a great view over the Barron Gorge all the way down to the Northern Beaches!

There is an old lookout track leading from a gap in the rail in the right corner near the Barron Falls station. This is a pretty dangerous trail as it is decommissioned and fairly slippery. However, it leads all the way down to the base of the falls. I wouldn't recommend taking this trail for most people.

View of barron falls from the scenic rail lookout
View from the Barron Falls lookout in the dry season

Visiting Barron Falls From Cairns: What You Need to Know

Barron Falls Height: 125 meters

Depending on the season and weather patterns, Barron Falls is either a gentle giant or a forbidding beast. As you can probably see from some of my photos, there hadn't been much rain on the dry season occasions.

However, I have seen this waterfall in the rainy season and this is definitely the best time to visit Barron Falls.

Barron Falls is a 125-metre waterfall with a tiered flow spilling over several cascading drops over basalt rock. The average yearly flow is about 30 cubic meters per second, with quite a bit of water!

The cascading waterfall is fed from the Barron River, which is one of the largest rivers near Cairns. It begins deep in the mountains near Mount Hypipamee and empties into the Coral Sea.

Barron falls, cairns
Barron Falls - one of the icons of Queensland!
Barron falls in the wet season
But it's a different beast in the wet season

Barron Falls in Flood (Wet Season)

From the months of December through to March, Tropical North Queensland enters the wet season. If you're lucky and visiting during this period, you might catch a glimpse of Barron Falls in flood!

I've only seen it absolutely roaring once, and you'll see the photos throughout this blog post and from the video at the top.

Barron falls in the wet season

You can also check out a Barron Falls live cam to check the waterfall flow in real time.

Barron falls in the wet season

The Edge Lookout

Additionally to the main lookout above, the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and the Scenic Rail will take you over to the other side of the gorge, stopping at The Edge Lookout.

The Edge Lookout is a relatively newly constructed lookout area as of May 2019. It is a steel and glass structure that stretches out roughly 160 meters over the Barron Gorge.

This allows you to look down onto the impressive waterfall from a see-through glass surface.

Edge lookout in kuranda near cairns

Can You Swim at Barron Falls (Din Din)?

Okay, the question of swimming at Barron Falls is a no-brainer, unless you want to be shot 125-metres down the Barron Gorge! But, while you clearly can't swim at this waterfall, it is possible to ditch the crowds at the lookout and check out the waterfall from above.

While there were no signs saying that we couldn't, I'm fairly certain that accessing the top of the falls is not permitted. Therefore, I'm not recommending that you follow what I did.

I walked down Weir Road, which is on the left on the way to the Barron Falls lookout. At the end of this road, I turned right and walked along the railway to the large catchment area.

Here I found some large rocks and small cliff jumps into deep water further upstream from the waterfall. But, I only found it safe on this occasion as the water was very tame.

I also didn't even think about getting too close to the waterfall edge as the Barron River can be extremely unpredictable. However, I did get some unique perspectives of the waterfall from above and behind.

Barron falls aerial photograph
Mighty Barron Falls from above

Where to Stay In Cairns

Visiting Cairns? The best places to stay are near the Cairns Esplanade or on the sunny Northern Beaches. Below are the top 4 options for varying budgets.

Alternatively, check out my Port Douglas accommodation guide for more ideas on where to stay in Far North Queensland.

Girl sunbathing at crystalbrook riley resort in cairns

1. Crystalbrook Riley Luxury

If luxury and location are what you're after, you can't beat this 5-star resort right in the heart of Cairns Esplanade.

Fitzroy island wharf

2. Fitzroy Island Resort Mid-Range

Sleep out on one of the picturesque Great Barrier Reef Islands! Staying at Fitzroy often works out cheaper than staying in town & means you get more time to explore the reef, beaches, and rainforest walking trails.

Gilligans backpacker resort

3. Gilligan's Backpackers Budget

The best backpacker option for a great vibe in Cairns. Great place to meet like-minded travelers & features a pool, air-con rooms, a huge shared kitchen, & a great common area.

Peppers beach club four mile beach port douglas

4. Pepper's Beach Club Palm Cove

Stay at the best beach resort in the heart of Palm Cove on Cairns's Northern Beaches!

FAQs About Visiting Barron Falls

How far is Barron Falls from Cairns?

Barron Falls is located near the village of Kuranda in the Barron Gorge National Park. This is approximately 35 minutes from Cairns or 1 hour and 10 minutes from Port Douglas.

Can you swim at Barron Falls?

No, you can't swim at this waterfall. However, there are plenty of viewpoints to admire it from afar. Instead, you can take a swim at one of the many other Cairns waterfalls and swimming holes like the Crystal Cascades, Stoney Creek Falls, or Fairy Falls.

How do you check if Barron Falls is flowing?

Barron Falls always has a little flow, even during the Dry Season. However, to check the flow in full force, it's best to check the live cam available on the Skyrail website during the Wet Season.

Barron falls lookout near kuranda

More Cairns & Kuranda Waterfalls, Hikes & Adventures

Did you enjoy Barron Falls? I knew you would.

But let me tell you that this one is just the tip of the iceberg! Cairns is one of the best outdoor adventure destinations on this earth. To prove it, I've spent a year documenting and photographing all of the best hikes, waterfalls, and islands to help you enjoy this slice of tropical paradise.

So, before you head off, make sure to check out some of my other guides below.

Barron falls waterfall guide
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel journalist & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

Your feedback & updates are crucial to keep my guides factual & current. Got new info or updates? Drop a comment below or contact me directly.

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