Complete waterfall guide to visiting Mungalli Falls in the Atherton Tablelands above Cairns in Far North Queensland. Includes everything you need to know to visit this little-known waterfall in the Outdoor Education Centre.

Mungalli Falls is a great waterfall located in the Atherton Tablelands, approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes from Cairns. There are multiple levels to explore, with the tallest having a 75-meter cumulative drop. This makes it one of the largest in the area!

However, this one is a little different from the other waterfalls near Cairns since it is located within a Wilderness Retreat Complex. Don’t worry though, the owners of the land allow visitors to check out the waterfall free of charge!


How to Get to Mungalli Falls

In order to get to Mungalli Falls, you’re going to need your own car or transport. If you’re coming from Cairns, it’s a fairly long, 100-kilometer drive through the Atherton Tablelands. You can direct your GPS to the pin below.

On the Palmerston Highway, you’ll need to turn right onto Junction Road. This is a dirt road that continues for approximately 2 kilometres before reaching the Mungalli Falls Outdoor Education Centre.

You are free to leave your car in the car park and walk through the wooden-decked cafe to the road leading to the falls. Immediately on your right, you’ll see the first waterfall cascade.

Keep walking down this road for 15 minutes, passing some balance obstacles until you reach a dead-end cul-de-sac. Here you’ll see a sign indicating the direction towards the main level of Mungalli Falls.

What to Expect at Mungalli Falls

By far, the most impressive level at Mungalli Falls is the bottom level. While it’s not a vertical drop, the flow can create a powerful scene, especially in heavy rainfall.

It’s said that the cumulative fall of this section is 75 meters. However it looked a little shorter, perhaps 60 meters would be a little more accurate. Regardless, it’s an impressive waterfall and definitely worth a visit if you’re heading to Millaa Millaa anyway.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much opportunity for a swim at this waterfall, since access to the bottom is blocked off.

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Spotting Platypuses and Glow Worms at Mungalli Falls

We were also told that you could see glow worms around the base of the waterfall. However, if they were there, it was too bright to see them when we were there.

Locals have also mentioned that wild platypuses live in the rivers in and around the waterfall. If you manage to spot one, you’re one lucky visitor.

If there was a gold-standard for Australian wildlife spotting, then a wild platypus would definitely take the cake. If you didn’t manage to spot one at Mungalli, a little tip is to go to Yungaburra, which is also in the Tablelands. There is a little lookout over Petersons Creek here where you can often spot a wild platypus!

Mungalli Falls Weather and Climate

Mungalli Falls and the general Millaa Millaa area sits at an altitude of 800+ meters in the North Queensland wet tropics. This creates a unique climate that is sometimes up to 10 degrees cooler than the coast.

The tall surrounding peaks of Wooroonooran National Park, including Queensland’s tallest mountain; Mt Bartle Frere, create dense rain clouds which cause constant downpours year-round. As a result, the waterfalls in the area always have decent power and flow.


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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.


Don’t Miss the Surrounding Waterfalls

Looking for more waterfalls near Cairns? Don’t miss Australia’s most photographed waterfall; Millaa Millaa, or my personal two favourites; Nandroya Falls and Tchupala Falls.


More Cairns Waterfalls & Adventure Articles

If you enjoyed this quick guide to visiting Mungalli Falls, make sure to check out some of my other travel guides. I’ve written extensively about travel and adventure in and around Cairns, so I’m sure you’ll find something new!

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2 thoughts on “Guide to Mungalli Falls – Atherton Tablelands/Cairns”

  1. We only saw the first section of the waterfalls and thought that was it and were disappointed. Will have to go back and walk a bit further next time we are exploring the Tablelands area again

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