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.
Where is Isabella Falls?
Isabella Falls is located at the back of Edmonton, approximately 19KM 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 onto 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”.
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 a 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.
Be careful if you’re bringing kids, this section is steep and it looks like the outer sections has been collapsing for some time.
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 treecover below.
Cairns Accommodation Guide – Where to Stay
Planning a trip to Cairns and wondering where to base yourself? Below I’ve listed some of the best options near Cairns Esplanade. I’ve also written a comprehensive accommodation guide to Cairns, so make sure to check that out too before you book!
Also, if you’re looking to stay in Port Douglas, I’ve got some tips on finding great accommodation deals there too.
LUXURY RESORT WITHOUT THE PRICE TAG – Rydges Resort
This hotel offers the best bang-for-buck. In terms of an epic stay for a decent price! The location is perfect, close to the esplanade and features include three swimming pools, two tennis courts, a jacuzzi, a fitness centre and even an award-winning restaurant.
Best 5-Star Luxury Without the Price Tag: Pullman Reef Hotel Casino
If luxury and location are 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! If nightlife is your thing, don’t go past this one.
Check price & availability at Pullman
Stay on the islands: Fitzroy Island Resort
If you’d rather sleep out on one of the picturesque Great Barrier Reef Islands, look no further than the Fitzroy Island Resort. While you can get out here on a day trip, I highly recommend spending the night so you get more time to explore the reef, coral beaches and rainforest walking trails.
Check price & availability at Fitzroy Island resort
Best Budget Hostel With a Pool – Gilligan’s Backpackers
The best backpacker option for a great vibe in Cairns is Gilligan’s Backpackers. That’s because this one has a swimming pool, AC, a complete kitchen and a great common area to meet other travellers.
Check price & availability at Gilligan’s
More Cairns Waterfall Guides
I hope that you found this guide to visiting Isabella Falls Cairns useful. For more Cairns blogs, check out this full list of things to do in Cairns, or check out this comprehensive Cairns waterfall guide.
You’ll also find more Cairns waterfall blogs in the list below. Enjoy!
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