Cairns & Port Douglas hiking guide to Spring Creek Falls (Black Rock Falls) in Mowbray National Park, Queensland. Find out how to get here, what to expect and photos of the hike & waterfall!
Are you looking for an awesome, hidden-gem waterfall hike north of Cairns or close to Port Douglas? Located just a short drive from the coast in the Mowbray National Park lies Spring Creek Falls, also known as Black Rock Falls, a towering, cascade waterfall with a series of incredible swimming holes that is perfect for a quick adventure.
Apart from the locals, there aren’t many that know about this gem. As a result, the chances are high that you’ll get to enjoy this epic waterfall hike to yourself! In terms of the actual mission to the falls, there isn’t a clear track and instead, you’ll need to make your way upstream along Spring Creek. In this blog post, I’ve detailed my route to the falls and included a few photos to help you on the way!
How to Get to Spring Creek Falls
Spring Creek Falls is located deep in the Mowbray Valley, just a 20-minute drive from Port Douglas. If you're making the trip from Cairns, expect a journey of just over an hour on one of Queensland's most scenic drives, following the Captain Cook Highway North.
Whichever direction you're coming from, you'll need to navigate to Spring Creek Road. This road is accessible via Trezise Road off the Captain Cook Highway, just 15 kilometres south of Port Douglas.
Below I've pinned the exact GPS Coordinates for the Spring Creek Falls trailhead to help you navigate.
- GPS Coordinates: 16°34'44.4"S 145°29'02.6"E
Also Nearby: Hartley's Creek Falls
The Spring Creek Falls Hike - Mowbray National Park
- Hike Distance: 6.3 km return
- Duration: 2.5-3.5 hours return
- Elevation: ~300 m overall gain
- Difficulty: Moderate
The walk up to Spring Creek Falls doesn't follow a set track but instead winds up the length of Spring Creek to the upper waterfalls. While there are sections where you'll notice a worn track, you'll likely end up skipping, hopping, scrambling and crawling over the rocky banks on a random course all the way to the waterfall.
\If you have trouble finding your way, I've also attached a GPX file below showing my route. Just keep in mind that after heavy rainfall and especially in the wet season, this hike can become very dangerous.
While you will likely cross the creek several times, I didn't need to take my shoes off once as there are shallow sections throughout most of the creek run.
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Step-by-step Rundown of the Hike
Starting off, the first section of the Spring Creek Falls hike follows a wide 4WD access road to the river bank. It's very difficult to get lost as you'll have the creek as your reference for the entire walk.
However, I'd suggest sticking to the right side of the creek to start off. Also, keep an eye out for ribbons on the trees which indicate the best routes around annoying rocky sections. These ribbons also indicate the best places to cross.
You will also notice that there is a fair bit of treefall on this hike, so it's more of a total body workout than a gentle stroll!
Once you arrive at a large clearing with the first obvious deep swimming hole, stick to the right of the creek. The creek then begins to climb up the mountain and the boulders start to get bigger. You might need to cross over the flow a few times in this last stretch.
However, when you get to the very steep section in front of the most significant cascade yet, head right and climb up the roots of the steep slope to the right. From here, it's just a few more minutes until you reach Spring Creek Falls.
Avoid the temptation of calling it quits early and settling for one of these smaller waterfalls or swimming holes. Spring Creek Falls (Black Rock Falls) is easily worth the reward and a sight to behold! Don't worry too, you will know you've arrived when you see the huge cascade in the rugged amphitheater pictured below.
More: Cairns Hikes: 38 Best Trails
Here's a useful GPX file that shows the route I took on the way to Spring Creek Falls in Mowbray National Park.
GPX File: Download
My Strava: Visit
Stay in Port Douglas!
Port Douglas, just a short hop from Cairns makes for an ideal alternative (or addition) with great accommodation options such as:
- Top Resort: Sheraton Grand Mirage
- Mid Range: Oaks Resort
- Budget: Global Backpackers
- ...+10 more in this Port Douglas Accommodation Guide
The Spring Creek Falls Waterfall
As I mentioned above, there aren't any ifs or buts about whether you've arrived at the main waterfall. Spring Creek Falls, or Black Rock Falls, is a towering cascade that flows down a near-vertical cliff face of at least 50 metres!
Below the waterfall is a deep swimming hole which is an excellent reward after scrambling around all those boulders. This makes it a perfect place to chill out and have a swim. I wouldn't worry about crocs here either— it'd have to be one adventurous reptile to make its way all the way up to this waterfall!
More Epic Cairns Tropical Far North Queensland Adventure Guides
I hope that you enjoyed this guide to Spring Creek Falls in Mowbray National Park, Port Douglas. If you're looking for more waterfalls, hikes and epic adventure guides in Far North Queensland, why not check out some of my other blog posts below.
Otherwise, for some inspiration, check out my guide of the best things to do in Cairns and surrounds or this waterfall guide to Far North Queensland.
Tuesday 29th of March 2022
Thank you for writing this blog post! My partner and I just made the trek up to the falls and this article was great help.
I just wanted to stress to anyone wanting to make this trip that there really is no path. Once you get off the 4WD dirt road, you just have to follow the creek up. There is lots of rock climbing, and I would only do it if you have good ankles and wrists.
It is a hard trip up, but don't give up. When you reach the small falls and the smooth cliff face, keeping going! It's not as tough as it looks, and you're so close to the falls at the end! Definitely bring your togs because the swim is worth it.
We went in late March and it was very hot, so bring lots of water. Mosquitoes were hell so bring insect repellent too. I recommend going earlier in the morning. We went from 8:30 to 11am and had the whole place to ourselves, but some people were arriving as we were leaving.
This is definitely worth doing if you want an adventure that isn't touristy like mossman gorge. This really is a hidden gem and would recommend to anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.
Tuesday 29th of March 2022
Glad you had a good trip out to Spring Cree Falls Gen!