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Fairy Falls Cairns – Hidden Waterfall at Crystal Cascades

Fairy Falls Cairns – Hidden Waterfall at Crystal Cascades

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

Fairy Falls Cairns is a small hidden gem just a short 15-minute walk from the popular swimming spot at Crystal Cascades.

Sometimes, it pays to wander off the beaten path. This is definitely true when it comes to the Fairy Falls since most people who visit the Crystal Cascades wouldn’t even know it existed!

In my opinion, it’s a more beautiful waterfall, nestled in a small rainforest nook, complete with drooping vines and a crystal clear waterfall pool.

In this guide, I’ll share with you everything you need to know about visiting Fairy Falls including how to get here and what to expect once you arrive.

Fairy falls crystal cascades cairns
Fairy Falls

How to Get to Fairy Falls Cairns

In order to get to Fairy Falls, you'll need to drive to the Crystal Cascades, located approximately 25 minutes from Cairns city.

Unfortunately, there aren't any public transport options to the Cascades, so you'll need your own transport.

The car park for the Crystal Cascades is located at the end of Redlynch Intake Road. This is where you will need to drive to and leave your car before hitting the secret trail to Fairy Falls. I've pinned the exact location of the car park on the map below.

Also nearby: Stoney Creek Falls

Crystal cascades map in cairns

If you don't have your own car, then I recommend booking a canyoneering tour from Cairns. The one below is one of the best canyoneering experiences in Far North Queensland and runs up the "Crystal Canyon", right near the cascades and Fairy Falls.

Fairy falls crystal cascades baron falls national park cairns
Swimming at Fairy Falls on my first visit

Finding the Hidden Trail to Fairy Falls

The trail to the Fairy Falls is located on the far left side of the car park (as you enter the car park, looking toward the Crystal Cascades walking trail).

There are no signs or markings indicating the path, but you'll see the clearing next to a warning sign for stinging plants.

Continue down this trail through the dense tropical rainforest for no more than 10 minutes until you reach the creek, where the trail bends left. Don't take the deceiving path that leads nearly vertically up a hill. Instead, stay near the creek and continue along until you reach a small clearing.

Here, there is a shallow pool and just above it, is the hidden waterfall.

Fairy falls track at crystal cascades cairns
Fairy Falls Walking Track

Fairy Falls Cairns - What to Expect

It's true, Fairy Falls isn't the most impressive waterfall in Cairns in terms of size or power. However, it's a very scenic waterfall carved into the cliff which flows into a narrow but deep blue pool.

Cairns fairy falls

There is also a large, thick log that seems to have torn down the rapids and wedged itself perfectly into the waterfall. Locals have carved some steps into the slippery bark to help you climb a little higher and admire the waterfall.

Fairy Falls is one of my favourite spots in Cairns to come and unwind away from crowds. The walk is very short and easy, making it one of the best spots in town to cool off in the hot tropical heat.

Fairy falls crystal cascades baron falls national park cairns

Best Cairns Outdoor Experiences

Not sure which outdoor experiences & natural attractions to visit for your next adventure to Cairns?

I've visited Cairns a dozen times, have been on over 20 different tours and worked with countless tour operators. This is a summary of my favourite tours & bookable experiences in Cairns.

Fitzroy island ferry

1. Fitzroy Island Full Day Trip

Fitzroy Island is 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.

Scuba diving on the great barrier reef tour cairns

2. Great Barrier Reef by Catamaran Top-Pick

Visit the outer reef and snorkel or scuba dive at two pristine reef locations. You might even get lucky and meet the local Maori Wrasse like we did in the photo.

Cairns helicopter tour over the great barrier reef

3. 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.

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.

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!

Fairy falls cairns

More Cairns Waterfalls, Hikes & Adventures

I hope that this quick guide to visiting Fairy Falls in Cairns, Queensland has been useful for you. If you liked this spot, make sure to check out some of my other articles for the Far North. I've spent loads of time documenting the best adventures to share with you.

So, go on, I'm sure you'll find something new!

Fairy falls
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.


Tuesday 22nd of November 2022

I've only just found your "blogs" and am now following you. Thank you for showing us nomads places to investigate. It's truly appreciated. Could I just ask for one more bit of information? Could you let us doggie owners whether our woofas are allowed to come please? I don't want my hyperactive whippet to annoy anyone. Annoying me is enough thank you. Bye for now Stay safe, Jo & Bryn the naughty whippet

Olly Gaspar

Tuesday 22nd of November 2022

haha thanks Jo.

Most National Parks don't allow dogs up in FNQ, but I'll start mentioning it in places that they are.

Thanks again and enjoy your travels!