Detailed hiking guide to Cannabullen Falls, an epic 70-metre waterfall located deep in the Misty Mountains of the Wooroonooran National Park in Far North Queensland.
Cannabullen Falls is an example of just how raw and underrated the region around Cairns and the Far North really is. The wide, remote trail to Cannabullen Falls is a step back in time— with no more sound than the echoing calls of prehistoric birds and your own muddy footprints, as you traverse through the oldest surviving rainforest on earth.
This guide will detail everything you need to know about hiking to the Cannabullen Falls spillway (top of the falls) and some photos to inspire your hike!
By Olly Gaspar, traveler, travel blogger & photographer for 5+ years with 600+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.
About Cannabullen Falls
After exploring so many epic waterfalls near Cairns and the Tropical North, Cannabullen Falls might be up there with some of the most impressive.
At the end of a challenging hike through dense rainforests and crossing a couple of creeks, you'll reach the top of Cannabullen Falls plunging perfectly down the vertical cliff face into the depths of the rainforest valley below.
Here, I also found several waterfalls and cascading streams flowing all around me in a tight clearing with rocks and tropical vines on all sides.
Unfortunately, the Cannabullen Falls hike doesn't allow for a direct view of the scale of the waterfall. Instead, you'll be led to the spillway where you can watch the flow from above.
Either way, I was quite content with this and truthfully pretty stoked to be able to see this incredible waterfall from its source. The view from the top of the waterfall is absolutely incredible and while similar to what you'll get at Windin Falls, might just trump it in its epicness.
How to Get to the Cannabullen Falls Trailhead
Cannabullen Falls is located in the Misty Mountains of Wooroonooran National Park, approximately 2 hours from Cairns.
You'll need a car to get to the trailhead, and I'd recommend taking a 4WD since the last stretch gets a bit bumpy on an unsealed road.
- GPS Coordinates: 17°39'23.4"S 145°38'27.0"E
From Cairns, you'll need to begin the long mission up the Gillies Range Road and turn south towards Millaa Millaa. From here, take the Misty Mountains Tourist Drive before turning left on Maalan Road.
Continue for approximately 3 km before turning onto Sutties Gap Road.
This road is narrow and after a minefield of cow pats turns into a pretty bumpy 4WD track as you enter the National Park gates. Continue on Sutties Gap Road for about 8 KM until you reach a clearing with a noticeable signpost (at GPS coordinates above).
The Cannabullen Falls Hike
- Hike Distance: 13.8 km return
- Duration: 4 hours return
- Elevation: 436 m total elevation gain (undulating)
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Full hiking details on My Strava
The hike from Sutties Gap Road to Cannabullen follows one of many walks within the Misty Mountains. While this out-and-back hiking trail is easy to follow, there are a few sections where you could make a wrong turn.
There's also no phone reception anywhere along the trail, so I'd suggest having a GPS map with you (you can use the GPS map below if you save this blog to your offline pages).
The trail is also very wide and undulates gently, with only a few short instances of leg-burning climbs. There are also two creek crossings that I had to make so be prepared to take off your shoes or cop a soggy boot.
While most of the Cannabullen Falls hike is a breeze, the last section is a little bit hairy. When you get to it, you'll already hear the waterfall and be greeted by a short but steep descent down a slippery and muddy track. Solid tree roots will help you climb down.
While there is a bit of treefall in some sections on the trail, you shouldn't have any issue finding your way to the falls. Just make sure to follow the direction of the orange and pink tree markers and make turns where signs point to Cannabullen Falls (and remember the way back on these turns).
The Cannabullen Creek Waterfalls
After the 2-hour walk through the mystical Misty Mountains, you can relax and admire the beauty of the Cannabullen Creek waterfalls.
When you pop out to the creek clearing, you can turn right and walk along the banks upstream to get to a beautiful waterfall amphitheatre where there are deep ponds that you can swim in. Before commencing the hike I had no idea that these upper-level stepping waterfalls existed, so this was a treat for me and I took a nice refreshing swim here.
Further downstream is the Cannabullen Falls spillway. You can't really get to the cliff edge on the left side of the stream (the side you pop out on), so don't try.
Since there hadn't been much rainfall and the stream was relatively gentle, I decided to cross Cannabullen Creek further upstream near the stepping waterfalls. This allowed me to carefully walk around on the right banks to get to the cliff's edge.
If you're not good with heights or if the stream is flowing hard, don't attempt this. Also, remember that this blog is an account of my trip, and you shouldn't blindly copy what you read online.
Use common sense and respect the remoteness of this waterfall.
How I Stay Connected Off-Grid
I've been using the Garmin InReach Mini satellite communicator for all serious treks and expeditions since 2020.
It lets me send unlimited SMS anywhere on earth and has an emergency SOS feature that could save your life.
More Photos of Cannabullen Falls
Unfortunately I had crashed my drone the week prior and it was getting repaired. This was immediate heartbreak for me as I arrived to the waterfall because it meant that I couldn't capture the scale of Cannabullen Falls in all its glory.
However, here are some more photos of the waterfalls on Cannabullen Creek that I hope will inspire you to visit this iconic Tropical North Queensland gem!
Update: Tom @Wandering.The.Sky read this guide and sent me the below aerial photo from Cannabullen to share with my readers. Awesome shot!
FAQ About the Cannabullen Falls Hike
How difficult is the hike to Cannabullen Falls?
The hike is fairly straightforward with a total distance of 13.8 km return and an elevation gain of 436 m but does get a bit harder towards the end where there are some steep and slippery sections.
Is it possible to swim at Cannabullen Falls?
es, there are deep ponds in the waterfall amphitheater upstream where you can swim but definitely stay away from the main waterfall as it is a vertical drop of over 70 meters! Always assess the current and water conditions before swimming.
What should I bring for the hike?
I recommend wearing decent hiking shoes that you're willing to take off for the creek crossings, snacks, a GPS map (no phone reception on the trail), and a camera. I always bring a Grayl bottle on every hike to filter water.
Can I see the Cannabullen Falls from the trail?
The trail leads to the top of the falls (the spillway), for a vertical view from above. Direct views of the waterfall's face are not possible from this trail. Here's a good video I found of CK waterfalls walking down to the base.
How do I get to the Cannabullen Falls trailhead?
The trailhead is about 2 hours from Cairns, accessible by car. I recommend a 4WD for the final stretch of the journey on a bumpy, unsealed road. The GPS coordinates are 17°39'23.4"S 145°38'27.0"E.
What are the best times to hike to Cannabullen Falls?
The best times to hike to this one is during the cooler months to avoid the intense heat and humidity that you'll find in Far North Queensland. However, this is in the Misty Mountains with a high elevation so it is cooler than the coast. Check weather forecasts for rain, as conditions can change rapidly.
More Far North Queensland Adventures
I hope that you enjoyed this detailed guide to the Cannabullen Falls hike in Wooroonooran National Park. If you have any questions or trail updates, then please help me and other travelers out by leaving a comment below.
Otherwise, here are some more adventure guides and travel inspiration for Cairns & the Tropical North. I've written hundreds of guides to this region just like this one. Take a pick!
- 60+ Things to do in Cairns - my ultimate Cairns and FNQ travel resource covering the best activities, hidden gems, and unmissable experiences.
- Cairns Hiking Guide - a huge list of epic rainforest, waterfall, and lookout hikes in Cairns.
- Cairns Waterfalls - a huge list of epic waterfalls that I've visited in Cairns and the surrounding tropics.
- Cairns Islands - discover my favorite Great Barrier Reef islands near Cairns and Port Douglas.
- Cairns Tours - my roundup of the best tours you can book in Cairns and FNQ, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Daintree Rainforest.
- Cairns Packing List - tips on what to pack for a trip to Far North Queensland.
- Top Things to Do in Port Douglas - a comprehensive guide to the sleepy Far North Queensland town of Port Douglas.
- Epic 5-Day Cairns Itinerary - my suggested adventure itinerary if you only have 5 days to spend in Cairns.
- Cape Tribulation Travel Guide - discover where the rainforest meets the reef at one of my favourite places in Australia.
- Magnetic Island Travel Guide - your ultimate resource for visiting "Maggie" near Townsville.
- Best Things to do in the Atherton Tablelands - my guide to one of Far North Queensland's most underrated adventure destinations.
- Accommodation Resources: Discover where to stay in Cairns, the best hotels in Port Douglas and my Cape Tribulation accommodation guide.