Hartleys Creek Falls is a cascading waterfall located at the end of a gentle walking track near Wangetti, north of Cairns.
Are you looking for a quick waterfall hike and adventure near the Northern Beaches of Cairns? Hartleys Creek Falls might be precisely what you’re after.
This waterfall is somewhat of a “local secret”, hidden at the back of Wangetti near the well-known Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. Don’t worry though; there aren’t any crocs lurking at Hartleys Creek Falls, so you’re free to swim and cool off at the waterfall after the short but rewarding hike.
Cairns: Essential Travel Resources
Find Cheap Flights
Still in the planning stage of your trip? Currently, the best and easiest way to find cheap flights are to use Skyscanner. This works by comparing all of the available fares across every airline to help you compare flights in one place.
Finding the Best Deals On Accommodation
Whether you’re looking for hostels, hotels, guest houses, or resorts between Booking.com and Agoda, you’ll always get the best deals. I always search using the map feature to find accommodation in the best locations. Sometimes, if I want to stay in a place a little longer, I’ll use Airbnb.
TIP: For the best hostels, I usually compare reviews on Hostelworld, then check other booking sites to compare prices and deals.
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If you’re reading this blog then you’re more likely to be seeking epic cairns adventures over poolside sips. By far, my two favorite companies for the most comprehensive adventure travel insurance is World Nomads and SafetyWing. If you’re on the fence, you can read the comparison article.
Where is the Hartleys Creek Falls Track?
Hartleys Creek Falls is located in Wangetti, just off the Captain Cook Highway, only 15 KM from Palm Cove or 43 KM from Cairns. Hartley’s Creek Falls is accessible by a broad and easy walking track found just off the highway.
How to Get Here
To get to the Hartleys Creek Falls trailhead from Cairns, you’ll simply need to head north on the Captain Cook Highway towards Wangetti. If you’re driving from Cairns, expect at least a 40-minute drive.
The Hartleys Creek Falls trailhead access is located just 500 metres past Hartleys Crocodile Adventures, near the “Hartleys Creek Retreat”. If you’re using google maps, just type in “Hartleys Creek Retreat”, and you’ll arrive just next to the trailhead.
There is a large clearing in front of the retreat where you can park your car. The trailhead access is just to the left of the front gate to the retreat and is signposted.
The Hartleys Creek Falls Track
Once you’ve found the trailhead using the information above, the rest is fairly straightforward. Begin by passing the fenced-off retreat and commence on a gentle climb for approximately 1.5 KM. The track is wide and easy to follow, undulating sporadically through the native scrub. The length of the trail follows the banks of Hartleys Creek all the way to the waterfall without needing to make any turns.
While there are some dips and steep sections, overall, the Hartleys Creek Falls track is very gentle and can be completed by anyone with an average level of fitness.
At roughly the halfway point, you’ll arrive at a clearing with access to a waterhole section of Hartleys Creek. Although it looks like a great camping spot, it’s unfortunately not permitted. However, if you’d like a quick dip, then this spot is perfect and makes for a very scenic rest stop.
After roughly 3.5 KM, you’ll arrive at the rocky banks leading to the waterfall. Turn left here and follow the sign to arrive at Hartleys Creek Falls.
What to Expect at Hartleys Creek Waterfall and Swimming Hole
As soon as you arrive at Hartleys Creek Falls, you can see why it’s such a local-favourite. It’s easily accessible, the hike is enjoyable and rewarding without being too difficult, and the swimming hole is perfect!
The waterfall itself cascades gently down the steep rock face for approximately 16 metres (my estimate) into a vast freshwater basin. The pool underneath the falls makes for the perfect swimming hole on a scalding, tropical summer day. It’s possible to climb up the lower boulder beneath the waterfall and jump into the deep pool below. It’s difficult to tell how deep it is, but I couldn’t reach the bottom after jumping off around the edge of the waterfall.
After passing the crocodile attraction just up the road, it’s difficult to the thought of crocs to the back of your mind. However, rest assured there are no crocs here (at least there hasn’t ever been a sighting).
ALSO NEARBY: Spring Creek Falls
Cairns Accommodation Guide – Where to Stay
BRAND NEW HOTEL WITH A VIEW – OAKS HOTEL
This brand new hotel opened in September 2020 and is already rated as one of the best places to stay in Cairns! The location is right on the esplanade and features balcony rooms with a rooftop restaurant and cocktail bar.
BEST 5-STAR LUXURY HOTEL: PULLMAN REEF HOTEL CASINO
If luxury and location is what you’re after, you can’t beat the Pullman. It’s rated Cairns’ best hotel and features restaurants, a pool, live music gigs and even a casino!
BEST BUDGET HOSTEL WITH A POOL – MAD MONKEY BACKPACKERS
The best budget backpacker option in Cairns is Mad Monkey Backpackers. This one has a swimming pool, AC, a complete kitchen and even free bike hire to take you around Cairns. There are also three locations, but we thought that the village was the best. They also organise plenty of things to do in Cairns straight form the hostel.
BEST VALUE HOTEL – RYDGES ESPLANADE RESORT
This hotel offers the best bang-for-buck. In terms of an epic stay for a decent price! Location is perfect, close to the esplanade and the reviews are excellent.
More Cairns Waterfalls and Hikes
I hope that this quick guide to visiting Hartleys Creek Falls in Cairns has proved useful in planning your waterfall adventures! For more must-do waterfalls and hikes near Cairns, take a pick from my list below. Otherwise, why not start with this guide to the best waterfalls in Cairns and surrounds, or this guide to the best things to do in Cairns.
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