A complete waterfall guide to visiting Josephine Falls, one of the most pristine swimming holes near Cairns in Far North Queensland. Find out how to get here, what to expect and how to make the most of your trip to this epic gem in the Wooroonooran National Park.

Josephine Falls is a scenic rainforest waterfall flowing on a beautiful rainforest creek within the Wooroonooran National Park. This beautiful waterfall and swimming spot is a local favourite and definitely one that everybody should check out during their visit to Tropical North Queensland.

In this quick waterfall guide, I aim to answer all of your questions about visiting Josephine Falls from Cairns and the surrounding region. I’ll explain how to get here, what to expect and include photos that I hope will inspire your trip!


Where is Josephine Falls?

Josephine Falls is located within the Wooroonooran National Park, approximately 1 hour (75 kilometres) south of Cairns. Below is the correct google maps pin for the car park providing access to the falls.

The waterfall is fed by the rain captured by Queensland’s tallest mountain, Mount Bartle Frere, which rises to 1622 metres above the waterfall. In fact, Josephine Falls shares the same car park as the trailhead to this rainforest peak!

Google Maps Pin: “Josephine Falls carpark”

Make sure to check out some of my other adventure guides too, including guides to the best waterfalls in Cairns, the best hikes, the best activities and things to dowhere to stay and what to pack!

An Organised Trip: Josephine Falls From Cairns

Unfortunately, there aren’t any public transport options to get to Josephine Falls from Cairns. However, there are some high-quality and reputable tours which include a stop here.

For those with limited time but want to check out some of the best waterfalls in Cairns and the tropical north, then I highly recommend checking out the below options.

Both are some of the best-rated waterfall trips you’ll find, and they both feature a stop at Josephine Falls as well other rainforest waterfall highlights including Millaa Millaa and Dinner Falls.

Full-Day Waterfall Tour: Check price here

Budget Waterfall Swimming Tour: Check price here

How to Get to Josephine Falls (Self-Drive Option)

The journey to Josephine Falls is 75 kilometers southwest of Cairns on the Bruce Highway. To get here, head towards “Bartle Frere”, turning off on Bartle Frere Road. There are signs on Bartle Frere Road indicating the direction to Josephine Falls.

Follow this road to the end and keep going when it forks to the left (now Price Road).

Next, continue on this road as it cuts through the cane plantations and turn right when you see the signs for the waterfall car park (Josephine Falls Road).

It should take roughly one hour to reach the carpark to Josephine Falls from Cairns.

The carpark is very large and accommodates roughly 25 vehicles. Since this waterfall is one of the most popular swimming holes south of Cairns, you can expect it to be quite busy.

At the carpark, you’ll also find several facilities, including a shelter, toilets, picnic tables and coin-operated BBQs.


NEARBY: Windin Falls | Walsh’s Pyramid | Millaa Millaa Falls

The Josephine Falls Track

Hiking Distance: 1.2 km return
Duration: 25 minutes
Elevation: N/A
Difficulty: Very easy

Once you reach the car park, it’s only a short 600-meter walk on a sealed rainforest track separating you from the waterfall.

The track follows sealed bitumen all the way up to the main waterfall, with turn-offs to the Middle Creek viewing platform and the bottom pool. Just below is a map showing the Josephine Falls track for a better idea of the swimming hole and viewing platform locations.

By no means do you need this to get to the waterfall, I’ve just included it as it’s useful to get an understanding of the different spots to check out at Josephine Falls.

Source: QLD Parks

Similar: 22 Awesome Things to do in the Atherton Tablelands

Josephine Falls

Josephine Falls is a series of cascading waterfalls with 3 main drops. The largest waterfall at Josephine Falls is at the end of the track and visitors can admire it from a wide wooden platform named “top viewing platform”.

While not the tallest waterfall in the area, the main waterfall is still an impressive sight. It drops 25 metres down a sharp gully before spilling over a large, wide boulder.

Unfortunately, swimming at the largest waterfall is forbidden as this entire pooled area is classified as restricted. But don’t stress, there are plenty of great swimming holes at Josephine Falls, just a little earlier on the track (closer to the car park)


RELATED POST: Nandroya Falls – Hiking and Waterfall Guide

Swimming Holes & The Waterfall Rock Slide

A little before the main waterfall, there is a sign indicating access to the river. This is known as the Big Pool, and is where you will find the best Josephine Falls swimming holes and even a rock slide!

The main pool is a dreamy shade of aquatic green and is deep enough to swim in (roughly 1.5 metres). There’s also a natural rock slide here which is a fun little bonus to this must-visit Far North Queensland waterfall.


There are also several smaller swimming holes along the creek. So, if the main pool and rock slide is too busy for you, head a little downstream to find some isolated and secluded rainforest secluded swimming holes!

Deaths in Dangerous Flow

In the wet season, the flow can get very unpredictable. Unfortunately, there have been several deaths at this waterfall due to submerged rocks and dangerous current.

There are several warning signs and river depth alarms, so it’s best to be cautious. If you’re concerned, you can check current warnings for all parks here. I’ve visited Josephine Falls countless times now on trips south of Cairns and I’ve yet to see it in full force. However, even in the Dry Season the waterfall, especially the top tier, generally has decently powerful flow. I would only ever consider swimming here if conditions allow.


Commonly Asked Questions About Josephine Falls

Can you swim here? Yes, Josephine Falls is one of the most popular swimming holes south of Cairns. However, as mentioned above, you’ll need to follow directional signs and monitor the conditions.

Can you park a caravan at Josephine Falls? Yes, the car park next to the short walking track is very large and accommodates campers and caravans.

Are there crocodiles at Josephine Falls? No, there aren’t any crocodiles in the freshwaters of Josephine Falls and the adjacent swimming holes. However, crocodiles often wander inland and can be spotted in the brackish waters closer to the sea.

Are there toilets?: Yes there are toilet facilities at the car park adjacent to the waterfall track.

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, as well as a comprehensive Port Douglas Accommodation guide too.

Crystalbrook Riley – If luxury and location are what you’re after, you can’t beat the Crystalrbook Riley. This is the best 5-star resort in Cairns and features absolutely everything you’d expect from a Crystalbrook resort.

Tip: Make sure to head up to Rocco’s Bar at the top of the Crystalbrook Riley for great views over Cairns!

girl sunbathing at Crystalbrook Riley resort in Cairns

Rydges Resort – This hotel offers excellent 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.


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.


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.


More Far North Queensland Adventure Guides

Find this short guide to visiting Josephine Falls from Cairns useful? I’ve spent a long time covering many of the epic things to do around Cairns. You’ll find loads more waterfalls, hikes, lookouts and more on my blog. Below are a few to start off with!

Josephine Falls We Seek Travel

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