Mena Creek Falls is a scenic waterfall located beside the tourist attraction of Paronella Park within a small country town on the Cassowary Coast, just 19 km from Innisfail.
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, I made an effort to visit Mena Creek Falls on a Cassowary Coast road trip from Cairns on my mission to photograph and document all the amazing waterfalls in Cairns. After my visit, I recommend it as a worthwhile addition to the itinerary, even if you’re not up for visiting 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! In this guide, I’ll detail everything you need to know to visit this waterfall with some tips and useful information.
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. I visit every destination I write about & handpick all recommendations.
About Mena Creek Falls & Paronella Park
- Waterfall height: 6 metres
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 7,500 tropical plants and trees to create the now thriving rainforest.
He also built a hydroelectric 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.
Tip: Visit Paronella Park from Cairns
Paronella Park & Mena Creek Falls are included on this top-rated nature tour from Cairns, which also stops at Millaa Millaa Falls & Lake Barine.
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).
Car Rentals in Far North Queensland
Cairns is one of the most popular travel destinations in Australia and car rentals quickly book out!
I've missed out on cars before & recommend booking well in advance. I always use DiscoverCars as they compare the widest range of rentals across dealerships in the Far North.
How to Get to Paronella Park - Self-Drive from Cairns or Innisfail
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 to Cairns or the Atherton Tablelands.
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 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).
- Google Maps Pin: "Mena Creek Falls" or "Paronella Park"
Visiting Paronella Park
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.
To save time & skip the line, you can pre-book a refundable ticket online at the same price using Get Your Guide.
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 which is a great place to capture photos.
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.
- 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.