Mena Creek Falls lies beside the tourist attraction of Paronella Park within a small country town on the Cassowary Coast, just 19 KM from Innisfail. Read this complete guide to visiting Mena Creek Falls.
When I first heard about Mena Creek Falls, I was under the impression that it was within the private property of Paronella Park. However, the truth is that both the base of the waterfall and the viewpoint from above are accessible to the public for free at all times.
Therefore, visiting Mena Creek Falls on a Cassowary Coast road trip from Cairns is a worthwhile addition to the itinerary, even if you’re not up for visiting the Paronella Park.
The waterfall at Mena Creek Falls is a single-tier waterfall plunging off of the 7-million-year-old basalt column and into a vast, rainforest-enshrouded freshwater pool. However, it’s not known as a good swimming spot due to the 3-metre crocodile that calls it home!
About Mena Creek Falls and Paronella Park
Mena Creek Falls gets its fame from the adjacent castle, built by José Paronella in the 1930s. According to the story, José’s dream was to build a castle after emigrating to Australia in the early 1900s from Spain to work the cane farms.
Apparently, José purchased 13 acres of scrub next to Mena Creek for only £120 in 1929 and spent the next decade building his castle and planting over 7500 tropical plants and trees to create the now thriving rainforest. He also built a hydro-electric plant from the waterfall flow, which was able to power the entire park. It was the first of its kind in North Queensland.
He opened his dream castle (Paronella Park) to the public in 1935 and it’s still one of the most-awarded tourist stops in Queensland.
There is a suspension bridge that connects the grassy park on the side of the waterfall to Paronella Park. While you have to pay an admission fee to enter the park, anyone can check out Mena Creek Falls from the grass or the walking track to the base of the falls.
Where is Mena Creek Falls?
The township of Mena Creek sits tucked behind the Basilisk Range, on the western side of the Bruce Highway, approximately 19 kilometres from Innisfail, 46 kilometres from Mission Beach and 110 kilometres from Cairns.
This small country town is well known for its waterfall namesake, which is found just off the main road (Innisfail-Japoon Road). This winding country road is sealed and weaves its way through the rich cane-field countryside, joining two access points on the Bruce Hwy (at Innisfail and Silkwood).
How to Get Here
Getting to Mena Creek Falls requires access to a vehicle since there are no tours or public transport options.
Therefore, this waterfall pit-stop is a perfect scenic route detour on an East Coast trip, whether heading south from Innisfail or north from Mission Beach.
Since there are two access points, directions will depend on whether you’re coming from the north or the south.
From Innisfail head south on the Bruce Hwy and take a right onto Boogan Road. Follow this road until it reaches a T-intersection in the tiny township of South Johnston. Take a left here and follow this road until you reach Mena Creek Falls on your right.
Heading north on the Bruce Highway, head for Silkwood. Turn left at the petrol station (Silkwood Japoon Road) and follow this until the intersection beside Silkwood State School. Turn right here, cross the bridge then, turn left. Follow this road until you reach Mena Creek Falls (there are signs to Paronella Park).
Tip: If you’re looking to rent a car in Far North Queensland or the Australian East Coast, I’d recommend using RentalCars.com to compare the best deals and offers. This works similarly to Skyscanner, only for rental cars rather than flights. For long-distance and budget campers, I’ve had great experiences with Spaceships vans.
What to Expect at Mena Creek Falls
If you’d just prefer to check out a roadside waterfall on a pit-stop, then Mena Creek Falls is perfect. We only spent the better part of an hour exploring the waterfall, since warning signs for crocodiles didn’t make us too enthusiastic about swimming here.
Regardless, we enjoyed our time snapping some shots from the top of the waterfall and from the suspension bridge. We also took the short rainforest track found next to the bathrooms opposite the grassy park area beside the fall. This leads to a viewing platform underneath Mena Creek Falls.
Tips for an Epic Tropical North Queensland Trip
Finding Good 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.
Where to Get Deals on Tours and Transport
You already know that I prefer independent travel. In saying that, sometimes the best and cheapest way to get things done is to just book a tour or package. For Australia, I always use Klook, Viator and Get Your Guide.
Finding a Car in Australia
Having a car or camper is the best way to travel Australia. You can compare rental car deals on RentalCars.com, or use Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and CarSales to purchase a car for longer trips.
Don’t Forget Adventure Travel Insurance
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.
Visiting Paronella Park
Entry Price: $48
Preferring natural hikes and adventures, the castle and rainforest park didn’t seem like something I was too interested in. In saying that, I understand that a lot of people visiting Mena Cree Falls will also want to explore the old castle and garden.
You can enter the park at the ticket office just around the bend from Mena Creek Falls. Here, you’ll get some information about the park before being on your way to explore the labyrinth of castles, bridges, tunnels, secret staircases, and fountains built by Jose Paronella.
You can pay at arrival or, for more convenience, just book an admission ticket on your phone using this link.
More Things to do near Innisfail and the Cassowary Coast
I hope that you’ve enjoyed the guide and photos from Mena Creek Falls and Paronella Park in the incredible Far North Queensland. For more ideas on hikes, waterfalls and other adventures in the area, check out the list below.
Otherwise, for a quick list, check out this guide to the best waterfalls in Cairns and surrounds, best hiking trails or this comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Cairns and the Tropical North.
MORE PHOTOS OF MENA CREEK FALLS
MY CAMERA AND PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT
- Mirrorless Camera: Canon R5
- Drone: DJI Mavic Pro 2
- 360 Action Camera: Insta360 One X2
- Landscape Lens: Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L
- All-Round Lens: Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L
- Telephoto Lens: Canon RF 100-500mm f/f/4.5-7.1 L
- Long Action Pole: Insta360 Invisible Pole (BulletTime)
- Landscape Lens Filter: Hoya Circular Polarizer
- Camera Backpack: F-Stop Tilopa
- Favorite Photography Accessory: Peak Design Capture Clip
For a list of all my recommended photography gear (including what I use and why) check out my guide to camera gear for travel.
Why not save this guide to Mena Creek Falls & Paronella Park – Complete Guide for later? While you’re at it, if you follow We Seek Travel on Pinterest, then you’ll be able to stay in the loop with all the new travel guides and blogs.