Hidden at the back of a local suburb is one of the best hidden waterfall gems near Cairns; Here’s the complete guide to visiting Isabella Falls Cairns, 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.
Isabella Falls might not be as impressive as other Cairns waterfalls like Nandroya Falls or Barron Falls. However, the fact that you’ll most likely have it all to yourself is a big perk for those looking to get off the beaten track.
There’s also a steep rope climb to reach the upper waterfall level, making it a great micro-adventure close to town.
I found this waterfall trail when looking for quick adventures close to town. In this guide, I’ll give you a quick rundown of what to expect, as well as tips and advice for getting here based on my experience.
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. I visit every destination I write about & handpick all recommendations.
Where is Isabella Falls?
Isabella Falls is located at the back of Edmonton, approximately 19 km or 20-25 minutes drive from Cairns.
I've pinned the exact location of the waterfall on the map below to make it easy for you to find.
Directions to Isabella Falls from Cairns
From Cairns, go south on the Bruce Highway A1, following signs for Edmonton. Your first right will be onto Mill Road, which you will need to follow through the two roundabouts before turning left onto Walker Road. Follow this road around the bend until it merges with Rainforest Road and then Waterfall Cl.
Park anywhere on Waterfall Cl. You'll find the trailhead to Isabella Falls on the right side of the cul de sac, indicated by a signpost reading "Pathway". Note that this is a residential area, so I recommend leaving your car somewhere that doesn't annoy locals.
Related: Crystal Cascades Cairns
Isabella Falls Track and the Waterfall Levels
The track is a clear, worn track that follows the creek flow from the upper levels of the waterfall. Expect roughly 20 minutes of walking and root scrambling to reach the top level.
There are several levels at Isabella Falls, each offering a relatively small waterfall and shallow pools for swimming.
The first swimming hole is just under one metre deep, but is a great spot to hang out and shower under the refreshing flow of the waterfall.
Just around the corner is a second cascading waterfall that trickles down a vertical wall. There isn't a deep swimming hole here so I'd recommend climbing the eroding hillside to the left which leads to the upper level of Isabella Falls.
This track is very steep and involves 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.
Be careful if you're bringing kids, this section is steep and it looks like the outer sections has been collapsing for some time.
Related: Stoney Creek Falls Cairns
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 the climb really dangerous.
Once you reach the upper level, you can hang out and enjoy the view underneath the waterfall, or climb up the right side to find a shallow pool in the middle section.
The top section is more exposed due to being above most of the tree cover below.
More Cairns Waterfall Guides
I hope that you found this guide to visiting Isabella Falls Cairns useful.
You'll also find more Cairns travel and adventure guides that I've written in the list below. Enjoy!
- 60+ Things to do in Cairns - my ultimate Cairns and FNQ travel resource covering the best activities, hidden gems, and unmissable experiences.
- Cairns Tours - my roundup of the best tours you can book in Cairns and FNQ, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Daintree Rainforest.
- Cairns Packing List - tips on what to pack for a trip to Far North Queensland.
- Top Things to Do in Port Douglas - a comprehensive guide to the sleepy Far North Queensland town of Port Douglas.
- Epic 5-Day Cairns Itinerary - my suggested adventure itinerary if you only have 5 days to spend in Cairns.
- Cape Tribulation Travel Guide - discover where the rainforest meets the reef at one of my favourite places in Australia.
- Cairns Hiking Guide - a huge list of epic rainforest, waterfall, and lookout hikes in Cairns.
- Cairns Waterfalls - a huge list of epic waterfalls that I've visited in Cairns and the surrounding tropics.
- Cairns Islands - discover my favorite Great Barrier Reef islands near Cairns and Port Douglas.
- Magnetic Island Travel Guide - your ultimate resource for visiting "Maggie" near Townsville.
- Best Things to do in the Atherton Tablelands - my guide to one of Far North Queensland's most underrated adventure destinations.
- Accommodation Resources: Discover where to stay in Cairns, the best hotels in Port Douglas and my Cape Tribulation accommodation guide.