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Tchupala Falls & Wallicher Falls – Cairns Waterfall Guide (2023)

Tchupala Falls & Wallicher Falls – Cairns Waterfall Guide (2023)

Tchupala Falls and Wallicher Falls are two beautiful rainforest waterfalls located in the tropical Wooroonooran National Park in Far North Queensland, Australia.

Although they’re not as popular as other waterfalls in the area like Josephine Falls or Nandroya Falls, these two waterfalls offer bang-for-buck for the adventure lover, who’ll get two waterfalls on the same short, scenic rainforest hike!

I discovered this waterfall for the first time in 2018 and have been back several times since. This guide will give you a thorough walkthrough of how to get to these twin waterfalls, what to expect, and some useful information to prepare you for your trip.

Wallicher falls, henrietta creek, far north queensland, australia
Wallicher Falls
Tchupalla falls, henrietta creek, far north queensland, australia
Tchupala Falls
Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

Best Cairns Outdoor Experiences

Not sure which outdoor experiences & natural attractions to visit for your next adventure to Cairns?

I've visited Cairns a dozen times, have been on over 20 different tours and worked with countless tour operators. This is a summary of my favourite tours & bookable experiences in Cairns.

Fitzroy island ferry

1. Fitzroy Island Full Day Trip

Fitzroy Island is the closest (and cheapest) Great Barrier Reef Island to visit from Cairns. Check out the world-famous famous Nudey Beach and hike to the island summit.

Scuba diving on the great barrier reef tour cairns

2. Great Barrier Reef by Catamaran Top-Pick

Visit the outer reef and snorkel or scuba dive at two pristine reef locations. You might even get lucky and meet the local Maori Wrasse like we did in the photo.

Cairns helicopter tour over the great barrier reef

3. Scenic Helicopter Flight

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Great Barrier Reef from above on a scenic helicopter flight from Cairns city.

Travel tip: By far, the best islands for snorkeling in Cairns are the Frankland Islands (pristine reef). There is only one boat trip allowed to stop on these islands and you can book this directly with BackpackerDeals + use code OLLY5 to get $5 off.

About Wallicher Falls and Tchupala Falls

Wallicher Falls (also spelled Wallacha) and Tchupala Falls are located quite close together and are both fed from Henrietta Creek. These falls share the same trailhead, which splits in a Y-junction near the start of the trail.

While not the most popular waterfalls in the Cairns region, they are certainly very beautiful. The rainforest trail is also very scenic, and you'll likely have both of these falls to yourself!

Tchupala falls, far north queenl

How to Get to Tchupala Falls and Wallicher Falls

To get to these epic waterfalls, you'll need your own car. While there are several guided tours (above) that run tours from Cairns to Wooroonooran National Park and the surrounding waterfalls, I don't know any that visit these particular waterfalls.

Expect a roughly 1.5-hour drive from Cairns, following the Palmerston Highway through the Wooroonooran National Park on the way to Millaa Millaa and the Atherton Tablelands.

You'll want to continue into the Palmerston (Doongan) area, passing the popular Mamu Tropical Skywalk and Crawfords Lookout. If you keep your eyes peeled to the right side of the road, you'll notice a small sign that points to the hike and waterfalls. Additionally, there's a small pull-over space here to park your car.

If you make it to the Henrietta Creek Camp Ground (the start of the Nandroya Falls hike), then you've come too far. Head back roughly 2.5 kilometers and you'll see the sign.

Below you'll find the pin for the location of the trailhead. Again, 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.

Tchupala & wallicher falls map

You can also download a map of the surrounding area to help you orientate yourself for the waterfall hikes.

Car in the rainforest near cairns

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.

Hiking Trail to Wallicher Falls and Tchupala Falls

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.

Hiking to tchupala falls

Tchupala Falls Track - What to Expect

If you only have time for one waterfall, then I'd probably recommend Tchupala Falls. We found this waterfall trail by chance for the first time in 2018 after exploring nearby Nandroya Falls and we were completely blown away. My personal favorite was Tchupala Falls, but considering the close distance, you may as well check both out!

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 Henrietta Creek.

Tchupala falls in far north queensland
Top level of tchupala falls
Grayl water filter bottle

Get Clean Drinking Water on Your Hike

I take the Grayl GeoPress Purifier Bottle on every hike and use it as my go-to source for filtering water all over the world. I've even used it to drink tap water in India!

Compare how the GeoPress stacks up against the best water bottle filters on the market.

The 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 now 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 are swallowed by dirt and moss.

Walking in the wooroonooran national park, australia
Waterfall hiking trail near the atherton tablelands
Standing beneath the bottom falls at tchupala waterfall

Tchupala Falls - The Lower Tiers

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.

Tchupala falls, waterfalls in cairns, best cairns falls, cairns attractions, to do
The bottom level of Tchupala Falls
Tchupala falls second tier
Tchupala Falls - the second tier

The 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.

Wallicher falls in the wooroonooran national park, cairns
Best viewpoint on the Wallicher Falls Track
Wallicher falls in the wooroonooran national park, cairns

Continuing On 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.

Rainforest walking track in far north queensland
Rainforest walking track to wallicher falls and tchupala falls, queensland
Rainforest creek on the palmerstone track in far north queensland, australia

Where to Stay In Cairns

Visiting Cairns? The best places to stay are near the Cairns Esplanade or on the sunny Northern Beaches. Below are the top 4 options for varying budgets.

Alternatively, check out my Port Douglas accommodation guide for more ideas on where to stay in Far North Queensland.

Girl sunbathing at crystalbrook riley resort in cairns

1. Crystalbrook Riley Luxury

If luxury and location are what you're after, you can't beat this 5-star resort right in the heart of Cairns Esplanade.

Fitzroy island wharf

2. Fitzroy Island Resort Mid-Range

Sleep out on one of the picturesque Great Barrier Reef Islands! Staying at Fitzroy often works out cheaper than staying in town & means you get more time to explore the reef, beaches, and rainforest walking trails.

Gilligans backpacker resort

3. Gilligan's Backpackers Budget

The best backpacker option for a great vibe in Cairns. Great place to meet like-minded travelers & features a pool, air-con rooms, a huge shared kitchen, & a great common area.

Peppers beach club four mile beach port douglas

4. Pepper's Beach Club Palm Cove

Stay at the best beach resort in the heart of Palm Cove on Cairns's Northern Beaches!

More Photos of Tchupala & Wallicher Falls

Below are more photos that I've taken of these two epic rainforest waterfalls on my several trips. I hope that they inspire you to visit too!

Tchupalla falls, wallicher falls track in wooroonooran national park, far north queensland, australia
Hiking in wooroonooran national park
Wallicher falls, queensland
Hiking in far north queensland rainforest

More Cairns Waterfalls, Hikes & Adventure Guides

I hope that you enjoyed this quick guide to visiting Tchupala Falls and Wallicher Falls in the Wooroonooran National Park. For more travel guides and adventure inspiration, check out some of my other blogs for Far North Queensland below.

Tchupala falls and wallicher falls in far north queensland
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel journalist & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

Your feedback & updates are crucial to keep my guides factual & current. Got new info or updates? Drop a comment below or contact me directly.

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