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Isabella Falls Cairns is Now Closed

Isabella Falls Cairns is Now Closed

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.

Hidden at the back of a local Cairns suburb is Isabella Falls, a multi-tiered waterfall just 20 minutes from the CBD.

Isabella Falls has long been a local secret known to few as an excellent waterfall and swimming hole located just a short hop from Cairns. However, as of May 2024, this waterfall is now closed.

I found this waterfall trail back in 2020 when looking for quick adventures close to town and wrote this blog post about my experience visiting it when it was open. The post below serves as my personal diary of visiting these falls and remain unchanged from when visiting was allowed.

I urge all travelers to respect council rules and not visit this waterfall.

UPDATE: Serious injury and death have occurred at this waterfall and the local council has closed this waterfall. There is now a large sign at the entrance saying that you should not continue. I strongly urge all travelers not to visit this waterfall and to follow local council guidelines.

The information in this blog post is for research and general informational purposes only. By using this website, you accept full personal responsibility for any harm or damage you suffer as a result of your actions arising out of or in connection with the use of the website or its content.

Otherwise, consider a safer local waterfall like Crystal Cascades or Fairy Falls.

Sign saying that isabella falls in cairns is now closed
Image sent to me by concerned local

Where is Isabella Falls?

Isabella Falls is located at the back of Edmonton, approximately 19 km or 20-25 minutes drive from Cairns.

Map of isabella falls in cairns

Getting to Isabella Falls from Cairns

From Cairns, I travelled south on the Bruce Highway A1, following signs for Edmonton. My first right was onto Mill Road, which I followed through to the two roundabouts before turning left onto Walker Road.

Next, I followed this road around the bend until it merged with Rainforest Road and then Waterfall Cl.

I found plenty of parking all along Waterfall Cl. The trailhead to Isabella Falls is on the right side of the cul de sac, indicated by a signpost reading "Pathway".

Note that this is a residential area, so I left my car off the street in a place that wouldn't annoy locals.

Remember, this waterfall is now closed. So, if you're looking for alternatives, I would suggest you read my guide to Cairns' waterfalls or join in on a full-day waterfall tour instead.

UPDATE: Remember, this waterfall is now closed! I advise everyone reading this not to visit the waterfall.

Isabella Falls Track and the Waterfall Levels

When I visited back in 2020, I followed a clear, worn track along the creek that flows from the upper levels of the waterfall.

It took me roughly 20 minutes of walking and root scrambling to reach the base of the top tier.

There were several levels at Isabella Falls, each offering a relatively small waterfall and shallow pools where I went swimming (in calm conditions).

The first swimming hole was just under one metre deep, but was a great spot to hang out and shower under the refreshing flow of the waterfall.

Isabella falls cairns

Just around the corner is a second cascading waterfall that trickles down a vertical wall. There wasn't a deep swimming hole here so I used the rope to get up the eroding hillside to the left which led to the base of the upper level of Isabella Falls.

Isabella falls
Isabella Falls level 2

This track is very steep and involved a bit of root scrambling. Some local legends have secured some ropes to help you on the way up to the waterfall which I found helpful to get up.

Rope climb at isabella waterfall cairns

Remember, be careful. This section is steep and it looks like the outer sections have been collapsing for some time.

Update: I'm not sure where the injuries have occurred at this waterfall. As far as I'm aware, that information isn't publicly available. I didn't put these ropes up and now that this waterfall is closed, please don't follow anything that I did in this diary entry from 2020. You are completely responsible for your own actions and this blog post is only here for research and as a personal diary.

Upper Waterfall Level

The upper level of Isabella Falls Cairns is a three-level cascading waterfall that I'd say is close to 50 metres in height. The flow was gentle when I visited, but I could imagine that this waterfall would pump after a heavy downpour, making it potentially very dangerous.

Once I reached the upper level, I relaxed and enjoyed the view underneath the waterfall.

The top section is more exposed due to being above most of the tree cover below.

Isabella falls cairns qld
Top-level at Isabella Falls

Despite the sad events, I have kept this blog post up to share my experience and to provide general information from what I've learned from the community.

I'm deeply saddened by the deaths here and I hope that all adventurers can visit Far North Queensland's open and natural attractions safely. As a publisher, I am not responsible for your actions or safety, only you are. Don't underestimate the flow or the slippery nature of waterfalls.

If you are looking for more inspiration or ideas for things to see and do in the region, check out my list of guides below.

Isabella falls cairns
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.


Wednesday 17th of May 2023

Is this walk dog-friendly?


Tuesday 12th of May 2020

i grew up in cairns and never knew about this waterfall! great guide thanks