Tchupala Falls and Wallicher Falls are two waterfalls located in the tropical Wooroonooran National Park.
Although they’re not as popular as other waterfalls in the area, they offer bang-for-buck for the adventure lover, who’ll get two waterfalls on the same hike!
How to Get to Tchupala Falls and Wallicher Falls
To get to these incredible waterfalls, you’ll need your own car. While there are several guided tours that run tours from Cairns to Wooroonooran National Park and the surrounding waterfalls, I don’t know many that visit these particular waterfalls.
It’s a fairly long drive from Cairns and the waterfalls should take about one and a half hours to reach. However there are many other falls in the area, so it’s well worth a day trip.
Head down Palmerston Highway in Wooroonooran National Park and stop at a small bend just past Henrietta Creek Campground in the Palmerston (Doongan) area. You’ll notice a sign that points to hikes and a waterfall. There is a small section of dirt for you to park your car.
Below you’ll find the pin for the location of the trailhead. It’s very easy to miss, and mobile reception isn’t too great in the area. I’d suggest configuring the route to Tchupala Falls and Wallicher Falls before you get too far into the National Park. Keep an eye out for a sign near Henrietta Camp Ground and Gooligans Picnic area and you can’t go wrong.
You can also download a map of the surrounding area Here to help you orientate yourself for the waterfall hikes.
The Waterfall Trailheads
Once you park your car, you’ll notice a trailhead sign indicating the start of the track. Both waterfall tracks branch off the same starting trail, with Wallicher Falls to the left, and Tchupala to the right after approximately 100 meters.
Tchupala Falls Track – What to Expect
If you only have time for one waterfall, then I’d definitely recommend Tchupala Falls. We found these waterfalls by chance after exploring nearby Nandroya Falls and we were completely blown away.
The track winds right after the turn, following a trail through dense tropical rainforest and up a steep ridge. After approximately 600 metres, you’ll reach the top level of Tchupala Falls, which is a wide rainforest waterfall fed by the Henrietta Creek.
Closed Waterfall Trail
Tchupala Falls actually has three major levels, each as incredible as the last. Unfortunately though, due to the devastating power of the waterfalls in the wet season, the path is closed.
There are several signs telling travelers not to continue down to the lower levels, however, after reviewing the conditions, we decided to explore anyway.
The trails were completely abandoned, and it seemed they had been like that for years. The old rails are now covered by thick vines and the carved rock steps swallowed by dirt and moss.
Tchupala Falls – The Lower Levels
The track down to the lower waterfall levels was very slippery and steep. However, after reaching the bottom, we took time to admire the sheer power and beauty of the place. There were waterfalls on each side and steep limestone cliffs covered in thick vines and rainforest flora.
I am in no way encouraging anybody to hike on closed trails. The flowing rivers can be extremely unpredictable and dangerous. You’ll need to take extreme caution and make your own judgments.
Wallicher Falls Track – What to Expect
If you have time, then it’s also worth checking out Wallicher Falls on the same track. Instead of turning right at the first fork, turn left and continue on for about 1 kilometer. Soon, you’ll reach a lookout point where you’ll get great views of the powerful Wallicher Falls.
Unlike Tchupala Falls, Wallicher Falls is only a single-level waterfall. However, it’s still very impressive and I would imagine it to have some serious power in the wet, rainy season.
If you want a closer view, then you can walk down the steep track just in front of the viewing platform.
Continuing On For the Palmerston Track
From Wallicher Falls, you can continue hiking all the way around to Gooligans Picnic Area and Henrietta Creek Campground. The track is a little long, and you won’t see any more waterfalls along the way. However, you could certainly spend an entire day walking the loop and checking out Nandroya Falls and Silver Creek Falls on the way.
Make it a Waterfall Chasing Day-Trip in Wooroonooran National Park
On our trip to Wooroonooran, we spent an entire day checking out over 6 different waterfalls in the area. You’ll find the links below to three of my favorites. If you want to read the full waterfall guide for Cairns, you’ll also find that link here.
READ THE FULL WATERFALL GUIDE: 13 BEST WATERFALLS NEAR CAIRNS
Millaa Millaa Falls
Millaa Millaa is only about from Tchupala Falls and Wallicher Falls. It’s also one of the most popular waterfalls in Australia due to its impressive shape and perfect plunging flow.
READ THE FULL BLOG POST: Millaa Millaa Falls – Incredible Waterfall in the Atherton Tablelands Near Cairns
My personal favourite waterfall near Cairns is Nandroya Falls. The hike is a little longer but you’ll be rewarded with an epic waterfall in a large rainforest clearing.
READ THE FULL BLOG POST: Nandroya Falls, Wooroonooran National Park – Cairns
Mungalli Falls is a bit of a strange one. It’s located inside an outdoor education facility. However, visiting the waterfall is free to guests. It’s also conveniently located close to the main highway, so it’s worth stopping by to check it out.
READ THE FULL BLOG POST: MUNGALLI FALLS – ATHERTON TABLELANDS, CAIRNS
Cairns Accommodation Guide – Where to Stay
BEST BUDGET HOSTEL WITH A POOL FOR $19 A NIGHT – MAD MONKEY BACKPACKERS
The best budget backpacker option in Cairns is Mad Monkey Backpackers. This one has a swimming pool, AC, a complete kitchen and even free bike hire to take you around Cairns. There are also three locations across Cairns, but we thought that the village was the best.
BUDGET HOSTEL CLOSEST TO THE ESPLANADE FOR $26 A NIGHT – YHA CAIRNS CENTRAL HOSTEL
If you’re looking to stay close to Cairns center, then you can’t beat YHA Central. It’s only a 5-minute walk to the esplanade and situated right near pubs and supermarkets. There’s also a pool and two spas, with a free breakfast included.
SLEEP ON A BOAT IN CAIRNS HARBOUR – BOATEL CAIRNS
If you’re looking for a unique stay in Cairns, then you can’t get much more unusual than staying at a “boatel”. It’s located 1 KM from Cairns and only a 6-minute walk from Cairns Rainforest Dome. The boat has free WiFi, AC, a bar and even a TV in the room.
Stay Near Wooroonooran National Park with AirBnB
Another great option for places to stay closer to the Wooroonooran National Park is to use Airbnb. Since there are so many great waterfalls near Cairns, it will definitely help to have a base closer to the rainforest to be able to explore them all.