A complete guide to visiting Millstream Falls & Little Millstream Falls – two separate and very underrated National Park waterfalls located in the Atherton Tablelands Region near Ravenshoe, Queensland.
Millstream Falls National Park has to be one of the most underrated places to visit near Cairns and Tropical North Queensland. This is especially true if you’re a waterfall fan.
Big Millstream Falls and Little Millstream Falls are two different waterfalls that are just 500M apart along The Millstream watercourse. Although they are close, the two access car parks for each waterfall are at separate locations. This was initially the most confusing part about visiting these waterfalls for me.
In this quick guide, I’ll outline how to get to both waterfalls, what to expect and I’ll also include a few photos that I hope will inspire you to hit the road!
About Millstream Falls National Park
Millstream Falls National Park is located on the western edge of the World Heritage Area. You’ll find it near the township of Ravenshoe in the Tablelands Region.
“The Millstream” as the watercourse and source of both waterfalls is named, was formed more than three million years ago through the erosion of 300 million-year-old rhyolites and granites. This created the rugged, hilly landscapes and valleys in the Millstream Falls National Park.
This National Park varies greatly from the nearby wet tropical parks and the vegetation is much drier and dominated by eucalypts.
The Jirrbal people are the traditional owners of this land and both Millstream waterfalls are rich in indigenous cultural history and storytelling.
You can read more about Millstream Falls National Park’s nature, culture and history here.
Getting to Millstream Falls National Park from Cairns
Millstream Falls National Park is located approximately 121 kilometres (roughly 2 hour’s drive) from Cairns. The easiest way to find your way is to plug “Ravenshoe” into Google Maps.
If you prefer directions, you’ll want to take the Bruce Highway south from Cairns towards Gordonvale. From here, take a right near Walsh’s Pyramid onto the steep and winding Gillies Range Road.
Follow this road all the way up to the Tablelands, past Yungaburra and follow signs for the Kennedy Highway near Atherton. Next, drive south on the Kennedy Highway, passing Dinner Falls and Mount Hypipamee until you reach the small town of Ravenshoe.
Once you’re at Ravenshoe, you’re only a few minutes away from both waterfall car parks. I’ve pinned the car park locations for both below.
The best way to get to Millstream Falls National Park and to freely explore this region is by car. If you’re in town and looking for a cheap car rental, check out RentalCars.com, which works a little bit like Skyscanner to find the best deals on car rentals in Queensland.
Although the drive is a little far, I highly recommend spending at least a big day trip exploring this region. In my opinion, the Tablelands are one of the rawest and most underrated regions in Far North Queensland. There are so many waterfalls, hikes, lookouts and adventures to be had here that it’d be a massive shame to miss. If you’re travelling in Cairns, make sure to add the Tablelands and Millstream Falls to your itinerary.
Big Millstream Falls
Big Millstream Falls is reputedly Australia’s widest single-drop waterfall and a Tablelands attraction definitely worth visiting. The waterfall plunges steeply down basalt lava columns into a wide freshwater pool.
Unfortunately, there is no direct access to the base for swimming. However, there is a short 680 metre (return) walking track that leads to a lookout point with good views of the waterfall.
This walking track is sealed and it takes no more than a few minutes to reach the lookout.
Big Millstream Falls Lookout
At the lookout point, you’ll get the best views possible of the waterfall. If you look to the right, you’ll notice that there is a second plunging flow hidden behind the rocks.
There is also a short, 1 KM walking track from the Big Millstream Falls car park which winds through an area used by the 2/28th Battalions of the Australian Army during WWII.
How to get here
From Ravenshoe, continue on the Kennedy Highway for just over 5 KM until you see a sign for “Big Millstream Falls” on Millstream Falls Road to the right. The car park is found at the end of this short road, which can be accessed by any vehicle type.
Google Maps Pin: “Big Millstream Falls”
Little Millstream Falls
Although Little Millstream Falls is obviously smaller than its bigger, downstream brother, it’s still an impressive waterfall and in my opinion, a better waterfall to visit if you only have time for one.
I say that because this waterfall track winds down all the way to a wide, deep pool at the base of the falls. The waterfall itself is also a trio of plunging streams which creates a scenic little oasis amidst the dry eucalypt and red-dirt landscape.
How to get here
Getting to Little Millstream Falls is initially a little more confusing than the previous waterfall. I’m sure I’m not alone when at first, I assumed that both waterfalls were accessible from. the same car park. However, this is not the case.
Although it’s is only 500 M upstream from Big Millstream, you’ll have to drive back around to Ravenshoe and take a right on Tully Falls Road. Next, take the first right onto Wooroora Road and continue past the motorcycle club on the right. Soon, you’ll see a signpost for “Little Millstream Falls” on the right. It’s not a big detour at all and only takes about 10 minutes if that.
This short road to the car park is dirt with a few bumps. But, don’t worry you’ll manage even in your average 2WD sedan or hatchback. There is loads of space to park your car at the end of this short road. If you’re looking to do some hiking, there are even some trails leading from here into the Misty Mountains.
The permanent track down to the waterfall is signposted and easy to spot. It’s only about 700 M return to the base of the pond, and you’ll get plenty of vantage opportunities along the short track.
Google Maps Pin: “Little Millstream Falls Car Park” (don’t navigate to the “Little Millstream Falls” pin).
Swimming at Little Millstream Falls
After snapping a few photos and enjoying the view, we decided to take a quick swim at the end of the track. This large catchment area is deep and very wide which makes it a perfect spot to cool off on a hot summer’s day.
Make sure to keep quiet and an eye out for platypus who live in the river.
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!
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 HOTEL: 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.
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.
BEST BUDGET HOSTEL WITH A POOL – Gilligan’s Backpackers
The best backpacker option for a great vibe in Cairns is Gilligan’s Backpackers. This one has a swimming pool, AC, a complete kitchen and a great common area to meet other travellers.
More Waterfalls Near Cairns and the Tablelands
I hope this guide to visiting Big Millstream Falls and Little Millstream Falls has inspired you to explore this hidden gem in Queensland’s Tablelands. For more adventure activities around Cairns check out this complete guide to Things to do in Cairns and Surrounds.
If you’re a fan of waterfalls, I’ve written several more guides to some of the best in the region, which you’ll find below. Otherwise, check out this guide to the Best Waterfalls in Cairns and Surrounds.
If you have any updates or questions, don’t forget to leave a comment below. Enjoy!
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