Clamshell Falls is a waterfall located at the end of the Behana Gorge Waterfall Track in the Wooroonooran National Park near Innisfail & Cairns. Here’s a complete guide to hiking in the Behana Gorge & what to expect at Clamshell Falls.
Are you looking for an easy rainforest hike with plenty of opportunities for a freshwater swim, plus a waterfall at the end? I’ve got you covered with this Clamshell Falls and Behana Gorge waterfall guide.
The Behana Gorge is an epic place to spend a day exploring, swimming, and enjoying the tranquillity of the Tropical Far North’s amazing rainforests. You’ll also get opportunities to spot local wildlife, including the elusive southern cassowary which lives in the Wooroonooran National Park.
Behana Gorge Canyoneering
While you can visit Behana Gorge independently, by far the best way to experience this place is on an epic canyoneering trip!
The Behana Gorge canyoneering tour is the best-rated canyoning tour in Cairns. It's really affordable compared to some of the other water activities in the region and is run by a professional and sustainable local adventure tour company.
The trip includes:
- Waterfall and gorge abseiling
- Walking guide
- All equipment
Where is Clamshell Falls?
Clamshell Falls is located in the Behana Gorge, within the Wooroonooran National Park, approximately 35 minutes south of Cairns. The Wooroonooran National Park is quite large, but the gorge picks up on the northern tip near Gordonvale, just off the freeway, making access quick and easy from Cairns.
- Google Maps Pin: "Behana Gorge Walking Track"
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How to Get to the Behana Gorge Waterfall Walking Track
To get to the Behana Gorge walking track to Clamshell Falls, you're going to need your own car or transport.
The easiest way is to plug in the Google Maps pin above to direct you before you leave since the pin is accurate. However, phone reception is very spotty once you approach the gorge, so best to have it loaded before.
Head south from Cairns on the Bruce Highway and continue for just over 30 kilometres. Shortly after you pass the prominent Walsh's Pyramid opposite Gordonvale, there'll be a sign to turn right on Behana Gorge Road.
Follow Behana Gorge Road for approximately 4.5 kilometres, or all the way to the end of the road. You will know when you're at the Behana Gorge walking track when you notice the large clearing car park with water service fences and a large pipe.
On the way back to the highway, you'll get some of the best views available of Walsh's Pyramid's south face framed by the cane fields on Behana Gorge Road.
Car Rentals in Far North Queensland
Cairns is one of the most popular travel destinations in Australia and car rentals quickly book out! I recommend booking well in advance. I always use RentalCars.com as they compare the widest range of rentals across dealerships in the Far North.
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Behana Gorge Waterfall Track: Hiking Guide
- Hike Distance: 6.6 kilometres
- Duration: 1.5-2 hours
- Elevation: 220 m total gain (undulating)
- Difficulty: Easy
Once you arrive at the pin above, you will find the Behana Gorge trailhead to Clamshell Falls behind a steel gate beside some fenced-off council water property. The track follows the catchment water pipe for 3.3 km on an entirely sealed track.
While it's technically more of a road than a bushwalking track, the rainforest setting, combined with the scenic views of the rapid gorge waters below, makes it an enjoyable hike.
For this hike, you really won't have any problem navigating to Clamshell Falls. Just follow the sealed path beside the pipe as it dips and climbs on an overall rising profile up the length of the Behana Gorge.
On the way, there are great opportunities to swim in gentle forest waterholes along the creek. Although I've only been in winter, I'd assume they'd be pretty busy from Cairns and Innisfail locals in the hot summer months.
RELATED POST: Cairns Hikes: 36 Best Hikes
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Enter the Grayl GeoPress Water Filter & Purifier Bottle! I take this bottle on every hike and use it as my go-to source for filtering water all over the world. I've even used it to drink tap water in India!
// Compare how the GeoPress stacks up against the best water bottle filters on the market.
What to Expect at Clamshell Falls
When you reach the end of the Behana Gorge walking track, you'll notice a small signpost and a large fence that blocks the path. This signifies the entrance to the Cairns Behana Gorge water catchment facility.
To get to Clamshell Falls, you'll need to walk back a few hundred metres on the track, where you'll find a worn trail leading down to the rocks along the creek.
From here, it's obvious as to where to spot the waterfall.
Clamshell Falls is a series of cascading waterfalls that flow down the steep upper reaches of the gorge. Its source is a flowing creek that gathers off the western slopes of Mount Bellenden Ker, Queensland's second tallest mountain. The main pool underneath the waterfall is very deep, and perfect for swimming in on a calm day.
Just remember that the water level can change quickly on Behana Creek and at Clamshell Falls. I definitely wouldn't want to be swimming in any part of the Behana Gorge after a heavy downpour.
50+ More Cairns Bucketlist Items
- Visit the Cairns Islands
- Kuranda Railway & Skyrail
- Rusty's Markets
- Day trip to Cape Tribulation
- ... +51 more things to do in Cairns!
More Nearby: Mount Bartle Frere | Kahlpahlim Rock | Nandroya Falls
Swimming at Clamshell Falls
The best swimming spot at Clamshell Falls is the wide and deep natural pool just below the main waterfall. I couldn't tell you for sure how deep the pool is, but I'd say it's at least 3-4 metres. This makes it perfect for a dip on a hot summer's day, especially after the hike up.
If you continue further downstream on the banks of the creek, you'll also find some crystal clear swimming holes and natural spa pools.
Related: Epic White Water Rafting Trip from Cairns
The Behana Gorge Water Catchment
The large water pipe that follows the length of the Behana Gorge walking track all the way to Clamshell Falls stems from the fenced-off catchment area.
The Behana Gorge Water Catchment is part of the Cairns Regional Council and provides fresh water to the entire greater Cairns area.
Cairns Accommodation Guide – Where to Stay
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.
- Crystalbrook Riley - If luxury and location are what you're after, you can't beat the Crystalbrook Riley. This is the best 5-star resort in Cairns and features absolutely everything you'd expect from a Crystalbrook resort.
- Fitzroy Island Resort - Sleep out on one of the picturesque Great Barrier Reef Islands at Fitzroy Island Resort. Spending the night on the island can work out cheaper than staying in town and means you get more time to explore the reef, coral beaches and rainforest walking trails.
- Gilligan's Backpackers - The best backpacker option for a great vibe in Cairns. Great place to meet like-minded travelers and has facilities including a pool. air-con, a huge shared kitchen, and a great common area!
- Pepper's Beach Club - stay at the best beach resort in the heart of Palm Cove on the Cairns Northern Beaches!
For a bigger list, don't miss my Cairns accommodation guide or as an alternative stay in FNQ, read my Port Douglas Accommodation guide too.
More Cairns Waterfalls, Hikes and Adventures
If you enjoyed hiking in the Behana Gorge to Clamshell Falls in one of Queensland's best National Parks; The Wooroonooran, then make sure to check out some of my other travel guides and articles.
I've spent a long time exploring some of the best waterfalls, hikes, and things to do around Cairns. So, if you're looking for some adventure inspiration, take a look!
Tuesday 28th of September 2021
Hey thanks for such an easy to understand read. Is that hike 6klms return or one way to Clamshell Falls drr me.... cheers Liz
Wednesday 29th of September 2021
Hi Liz, That's 6km return :)