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Tully Gorge Lookout & Falls – Complete Guide (2024)

Tully Gorge Lookout & Falls – Complete Guide (2024)

Tully Gorge Lookout is one of Tropical North Queensland’s best-kept secrets, featuring an amazing viewpoint over the ancient rainforest of Cardwell Range.

While the Tully Gorge waterfall lookout was once a Queensland icon, its fame has slowly dwindled to once again become a hidden gem, only really for those who really want to make the effort to reach this incredible place.

If you’re weighing up whether or not to make the mission out to Tully Gorge— do it! The short walk makes it very easy to access and the reward for the long drive is worth it ten-fold. In this guide, I’ll detail how to get to Tully Gorge, what to expect at the Tully Gorge lookout and include some photos that I hope will inspire your visit.

Tully gorge queensland
Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, traveler, travel blogger & photographer for 5+ years with 600+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

About Tully Gorge

Tully Gorge is a 293-metre rocky gully carved by the Tully River as it runs downstream from the densely forested Cardwell Range.

Located within the Tully Gorge National Park, the Tully Gorge Falls lookout was once a Queensland destination icon.

However, in the late 1950s, the Tully River was dammed further upstream for the Kareeya Hydro Power Station. Consequently, Tully Falls has been reduced to a mere trickle and only holds a solid flow following very heavy rain.

However, for me at least, the Tully Gorge lookout viewpoint was more of an attraction than the waterfall anyway. The view is mind-blowing and one that truly humbles you.

Tully gorge lookout cairns

How to Get to Tully Gorge

So, how do I get here? First of all, don't mistake the Tully Gorge lookout for the township of Tully. The gorge is accessed from the Tablelands, and not from the coast south of Innisfail.

From Cairns, expect at least a 2-hour 15-minute drive up the Gillies Range Road, past Millaa Millaa and Malanda en route to Ravenshoe, QLD's highest town. From Ravenshoe, you'll need to take a right onto Tully Falls Road (near Little Millstream Falls) and follow it all the way until you see the very obvious sign and turn-off for Tully Gorge.

This road is newly sealed, so you can get here in your average 2WD sedan or hatchback without any trouble.

However, the road is long and narrow without any phone reception, so make sure to plug in the pin above before you set off.

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.

Tully Gorge Falls Lookout

As soon as you arrive at the Tully Gorge lookout, you can park your car in the wide clearing and walk directly over to the fence, which is the old Tully Gorge Falls lookout. Usually, the waterfall is all dried up, so your best bet is to take the short 800-metre waterfall track to your right.

Tully gorge falls lookout

At the end of the track, there is a sign signifying the turn-around point. However, since there had been no rain, I wanted to reach the top of the gorge for a better view. I walked left here, through some shrubs and onto the worn, rocky plateau above the drop.

Tully gorge rainforest walk

My Experience at Tully Gorge

It's pretty incredible to think that the rocky platform above the gorge was once the spillway for one of QLD's most powerful waterfalls. Instead, the rocks are now a skeleton of carved-out channels and deep rock pools.

I arrived for sunrise in hopes of catching the sun rising behind the mountain but instead was rewarded with a beautiful sea of cloud.

I knew this wouldn't last long, so I grabbed a seat and waited for it to clear.

As I sat alone, I watched in awe as the fog drew back its misty curtains to reveal a Jurassic landscape of raw, ancient beauty. As the rocky island slowly emerged from its nightly blanketed slumber, the gentle sound of flowing rivulets and the echo of a single bird's cry were the only sounds to commemorate this familiar morning clearing.

I wondered how many times this theatric performance had played itself out, unchanged and unhindered for millennia— and I was only present for one sitting, a single drop in time's eternal stream.

Tully gorge lookout
Hiker with garmin inreach satellite device

How I Stay Connected Off-Grid

I've been using the Garmin InReach Mini satellite communicator for all serious treks and expeditions since 2020.

It lets me send unlimited SMS anywhere on earth and has an emergency SOS feature that could save your life.

Swimming at Tully Gorge

I think it's important to note that QLD Parks definitely doesn't recommend people walk out to the cliff or spillway or swim in the natural infinity rock pools near the edge. However, if you look online, I'm sure you'll find hundreds of photos of people doing just that. Due to the 700 metre altitude, it was a little bit cold when I visited in the early hours so I didn't take a dip.

Remember, like anything in life, for any risk you take, just remember to use your own judgment, monitor conditions, and most importantly, use common sense.

Swimming at tully gorge rock pool

More Photos From the Tully Gorge Lookout

Unfortunately, I crashed my drone a week prior and I'd sent it in for repair. So, as I snapped DSLR photos from near the spillway, I was kicking myself at the epic drone opportunities missed. If you have a drone, Tully Gorge lookout would definitely be the place to capture some truly epic aerials.

Either way, I was pretty happy with the photos I captured of my morning at Tully Gorge. Below I've included a few more that I hope will inspire you to go out on the long mission to this incredible slice of Australia!

Tully gorge waterfall lookout infinity pool
Tully gorge on a misty morning sunrise

Don't Miss: More Epic Tropical North Queensland Adventures

Did you enjoy this guide to visiting Tully Gorge and the Tully Gorge Lookout? Be sure to check out some of my other blogs and guides below for more epic Far North Queensland adventure inspiration.

Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel blogger & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 600 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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I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you.

Yes Or No Spinner

Thursday 20th of October 2022

I love this blog! I'm from the area and I've never been to the lookout. I'm going to have to check this out!

Mike

Wednesday 20th of January 2021

Thanks Olly for your reply. I also called the Tully Tourist Info office and they advised that even though it's only a short distance, it's impossible to get to Tully Falls Road from where you visited, therefore it's down and back on the same road from Millaa Millaa. Thanks again for your story. MIke.

Olly Gaspar

Wednesday 27th of January 2021

No worries Mike, I thought it looked pretty dense and steep. Good luck on the trip!

Mike

Thursday 14th of January 2021

Hi, inspirational report so I'll be riding from Millaa Millaa to the falls in a few months and wondering if it's possible, notwithstanding the 700 meter drop to get across to the Tully Gorge Road so I can ride back to Tully.

Olly Gaspar

Thursday 14th of January 2021

Hey mate,

The only way I know to get to Tully Gorge Lookout is to take Tully Falls Road, which is accessed from the Tablelands near Ravenshoe. I didn't see any other access roads or paths leading anywhere else from the lookout, and I don't think it connects with Tully Gorge Road from the waterfall itself. You might be able to follow the river up, but it undulates and I'd say this could be pretty dangerous, especially this time of year so I wouldn't do it myself.

Confusing I know, but as far as I'm aware, the only way to get to and from Tully Gorge Lookout is by taking Tully Falls Road, which you could ride to from Millaa Millaa.

suzanjack

Saturday 3rd of October 2020

Thanks for the wonderful share. Your article has proved your hard work and experience you have got in this field. Brilliant. I love it reading.