A complete guide to visiting Dinner Falls Cairns and Mount Hypipamee Crater in Tropical North Queensland’s Tablelands Region. Explore the prehistoric rainforest landscape and take a swim in one of the best natural swimming spots in the Tablelands.
Whether you’re planning a day trip from Cairns, or you’re exploring the Tablelands, a trip to Mount Hypipamee Crater and Dinner Falls is a great bet.
The trip makes a good half-day trip which includes a scenic swimming spot and a sight of the famous crater lake at the end of a short rainforest loop. In this quick guide, I’ll detail everything you need to know about visiting Dinner Falls Cairns and the Mount Hypipamee Crater, as well as what you might expect.
Best Cairns Outdoor Experiences
- Fitzroy Island Full Day Trip - the closest (and cheapest) Great Barrier Reef Island to visit from Cairns. Check out the world-famous famous Nudey Beach and hike to the island summit // Fitzroy Guide
- Daintree & Mossman Gorge Trip - visit the oldest rainforest in the world in the Daintree National Park. Visit Cape Tribulation, Mossman Gorge and get an included cruise.
- Great Barrier Reef by Catamaran - visit the outer reef and snorkel or scuba dive at two pristine reef locations.
- Scenic Helicopter Flight - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Great Barrier Reef from above on a scenic helicopter flight from Cairns city.
- ... 7 more top-rated tours here
Travel tip: By far, the best islands for snorkeling in Cairns are the Frankland Islands (pristine reef). There is only one boat trip allowed to stop on these islands and you can book this directly with BackpackerDeals + use code OLLY5 to get $5 off.
Mount Hypipamee National Park
Both Dinner Falls and the Hypipamee Crater can be accessed on a short loop walk in the Hypipamee National Park.
This park sits at 900 m+ on the southern Evelyn Tableland in the Hugh Nelson Range. Due to its altitude, the Hypipamee National Park is a hotspot for high-altitude birds and possums.
There are also signs for Cassowaries, so keep an eye out.
How to Get to Dinner Falls and the Hypipamee Crater
Mount Hypipamee is located approximately 1.5 hours drive from Cairns and about 20 minutes from Atherton. The waterfall and crater car park is easy to follow using Google Maps to the pin below.
From Cairns, you'll have the option of taking the shorter, but much more winding Gillies Range Road past the Crater Lakes towards Malanda and onwards to Mount Hypipamee National Park.
Alternatively, a longer (yet similar duration) drive can be taken by driving North on Bruce Highway and onto Kennedy Highway towards Mareeba, passing Kuranda on the way. From Mareeba, it's an extra 45-minute drive to the crater and waterfall car park following the Kennedy Highway south.
Dinner Falls and Crater Loop Walk
- Hike Distance: 1.2 km loop
- Duration: 30-40 minutes
- Elevation: Mostly flat with some short sections of slight gradient
- Difficulty: Easy
Once you arrive at the Mount Hypipamee car park, you'll see a large sign next to the scrub which details the short loop to the crater and Dinner Falls.
There are two walking tracks in this national park; the short 800 m return walk to the Mount Hypipamee Crater, or the 1.2KM Dinner Falls loop track.
I'd recommend taking the loop track, since this way you'll get to see Dinner Falls, as well as the Mount Hypipamee Crater on a relatively easy track. The walking track is well-marked, wide, and easy to navigate, albeit a little bit steep in some sections. Overall, this loop walk is very easy and can be attempted by anyone.
Nearby: WINDIN FALLS
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!
Dinner Falls and Mount Hypipamee National Park Map
Related: Tchupalla and Wallicher Falls
The Hypipamee Crater
The first stop on the walking track is a viewing platform just above the Hypipamee Crater, approximately 400 m from the car park.
From here, you'll get clear views of the sheer granite walls which plunge into the 70M-deep crater lake.
The Hypipamee Crater is really a diatreme (volcanic pipe caused by a gaseous explosion), which was discovered in 1879 when a gold-prospecting party accidentally fell into it.
It is now protected within the National Park and is a unique ecosystem that is home to a particular fresh-water shrimp species that may be found nowhere else on earth.
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Dinner Falls Cairns - Waterfall Levels and Swimming Spots
From the Hypipamee Crater viewing platform, turn around and take the immediate left trail heading down the valley. This track forms the Dinner Falls loop, where you'll spot the several tiers of the waterfall along the way.
The first tier on the track is blocked by a steel barricade with warning signs not to enter. This spot doesn't offer any opportunity for a swim, so it's best to just take a look and move on.
The second tier of Dinner Falls is the most impressive, and also the best swimming spot. The wide, 12M high waterfall cascades down in multiple streams into a 1.5M deep pool. This pool has been propped up by concrete walls on the edges, which helps maintain the depth.
Continuing up the Dinner Falls loop track, you'll soon reach the second swimming spot. This one is a little shallower and the waterfall slightly smaller. However, it's still a great spot to hang out, especially if the larger level is too busy.
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.
More Cairns & Tablelands Waterfall and Travel Guides
I hope this guide to visiting Dinner Falls Cairns and the incredible Mount Hypipamee Crater as been helpful in planning your Tropical North Queensland adventures.
For more ideas and travel inspiration, check out this list of best Things to do in Cairns, or start with this Ultimate Guide to the Best Cairns Waterfalls or best Cairns hikes. You'll also find more nearby waterfalls in the list below.