Cannabullen Falls is an epic 70-metre waterfall located deep in the Misty Mountains of the Wooroonooran National Park in Far North Queensland. This guide will detail everything you need to know about hiking to the Cannabullen Falls spillway and some photos to inspire your hike!
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.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that a hike with a reward at the end is so much more well, rewarding. And, the rewards don’t come much better than this. The end-point of the hike opens up to an incredible natural theatre. Waterfalls and cascading streams flow all around you in a tight clearing with rocks and tropical vines on all sides. At the very end of the flow is the main event, the 70-metre Cannabullen Falls spillway, plunging triumphantly into the depths of the rainforest valley below.
After exploring so many epic waterfalls near Cairns and the Tropical North, Cannabullen Falls might be up there with some of the most impressive.
The 70-metre giant is a perfectionists waterfall. Its stream plunges perfectly down the vertical cliff face at the end of a beautiful tropical rainforest valley.
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.
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 on to 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 below).
Below I’ve pinned the exact location of the Cannabullen Falls hike starting point to help you easily navigate.
VISITING CAIRNS? READ: The Ultimate Packing List
The Cannabullen Falls Hike
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 you will need 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).
GPX File: Download (Don’t use for primary navigation)
My Strava: Visit
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.
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.
Extra: Cairns Waterfall Tours
|Most-booked waterfall tour from Cairns||$115||Josephine Falls, Millaa Millaa, Dinner Falls, Crater Lakes|
|Cheapest Atherton Tablelands Waterfall Tour||$107||Josephine Falls, Millaa Millaa, Dinner Falls, Curtain Fig Tree|
|2D1N Waterfall and Atherton Camping||$251||Barron Falls, Lake Eacham, Overnight Camping, Peterson Creek (platypus viewing), Curtain Fig Tree, Josephine Falls|
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 from Wandering.The.Sky read this guide and sent me the below aerial photo from Cannabullen to share with my readers. Awesome shot! You can check out more of his work on his Instagram.
More Far North Waterfalls & Hikes
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, if you’re up for more adventures in the Tropical North, make sure to check out some of my other hiking and waterfall guides below. For Cairns, check out this adventure guide to the best things to do!
MY CAMERA AND PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT
- Mirrorless Camera: Canon R5
- Drone: DJI Mavic Pro 2
- 360 Action Camera: Insta360 One X2
- Landscape Lens: Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L
- All-Round Lens: Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L
- Telephoto Lens: Canon RF 100-500mm f/f/4.5-7.1 L
- Long Action Pole: Insta360 Invisible Pole (BulletTime)
- Landscape Lens Filter: Hoya Circular Polarizer
- Camera Backpack: F-Stop Tilopa
- Favorite Photography Accessory: Peak Design Capture Clip
For a list of all my recommended photography gear (including what I use and why) check out my guide to camera gear for travel.