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White Rock Hike Cairns: Hiking & Walking Guide

White Rock Hike Cairns: Hiking & Walking Guide

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

The White Rock Hike Cairns is an out-and-back walking track leading to “White Rock Lookout” one of the best peak lookout points near Cairns. Views include Cairns, the suburbs, Trinity Inlet, Walsh’s Pyramid and Yarrabah.

Looking for a decent viewpoint hike that is accessible and close to Cairns? The White Rock hike is a moderate walking track just a short drive away which offers in my opinion, one of the best viewpoints you’ll get overlooking Cairns and the surrounding area.

In this quick guide, I’ll detail everything you need to know about getting to the White Rock Lookout trailhead, completing the hike and going through what you might expect on the walk.

Where is the White Rock Lookout

White Rock Lookout is located on the Lamb Range just beside Mount Sheridan. The walking track is within Dinden National Park, beside the Lake Morris Reserve on the mountains overlooking Cairns, which is approximately 10 kilometres to the northeast.

It's easy to see where the name comes from. If you look up to the hills it's easy to spot it sticking out like a, well, big white rock. It's a significant lookout because it is one of the only exposed rocky outcrops on the range which offers views over Cairns and the surrounding suburbs, as well as the entire Trinity Inlet.

White rock hike drone photo
Drone shot of White Rock Peak

How to Get to the White Rock Walking Track

Looking for exact directions to White Rock lookout? Sometimes, getting to the walking track can be a little confusing at first. However, if you follow these directions, you'll find it easy.

Although Cairns is only about 10 km away from White Rock Peak, you'll need to put aside about 20 minutes for the drive. This is because to get to the trailhead, you'll need to drive up the steep and winding, Lake Morris Road, just off the Cairns Western Arterial Road opposite Brimsmead.

Once you get to the Lake Morris Service Road, you'll need to continue up for approximately 10 kilometres. You can monitor the distance by checking the distance markers on the white roadside marker posts.

If you navigate to the pin below, you'll eventually reach a couple of cleared, grassy areas on the side of the road where you can park your car. The White Rock walking track trailhead starts at a large metal gate on the left side of the road, just across from the grassy clearing (just after the 9.5 km marker).

  • Google Maps Pin: "White Rock Lookout Trailhead"
White rock trailhead cairns

The drive up Lake Morris Road will take approximately 15 minutes and includes a few optional lookout stops along the way. One of these includes a newly renovated "Campbells Lookout", which overlooks Cairns but doesn't compete with views on offer at White Rock lookout.

It's also important to note that this service road is a popular cyclist training track. We drove here well before sunrise and had to make way for at least a dozen cyclists. Make sure to keep that in mind and take care around bends.

Don't make the mistake of skimming this section and relying on Google to take you to the "White Rock Lookout" pin. This will attempt to route you to the actual lookout, not the starting point for the walk.

White Rock Hiking Details

  • Hike Distance: 5 km (return on the same track)
  • Duration: 1.5-2 hours
  • Elevation: 315 m elevation gain | White Rock Elevation: 510 m AMSL
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The White Rock hike is a 5 km return, out-and-back trail in the Lamb Range, just above Cairns. This track takes roughly 1.5 hours for the return trip if you're keeping a decent pace.

The track begins as a wide, 4WD road before merging into dense forest with tree roots and uneven ground underfoot. The White Rock walk is steep in some sections, especially the final descent to the White Rock lookout. However, there are no technically difficult sections and anyone with a decent level of fitness can enjoy this hike.

White rock hike cairns

Related: Ivan Evans Walk

Metal Entrance Gate to Pylon

The wide, steel gate marks the start of the White Rock hike. The first section is flat and quickly pops up at the first Pylon, where you will need to turn almost 180 degrees to continue on the track to the right.

White rock trailhead
The steel gate on the left marks the start
Pylon at white rock cairns
Walk right at the pylon

This track is a 4WD access road to the communications tower and is therefore very wide and easy to follow. However, this section is also pretty steep, so be prepared to break some sweat.

White rock hike cairns
4WD access section of the White Rock walking track

After a quick leg burn, you'll come to another pylon and fenced-off communications site. You need to walk around this on the track to the right. The actual White Rock walking track begins behind the fenced-off building and immediately enters into dense rainforest.

White rock hiking directions, pylon on the track
Walk around the fence on the right

The White Rock Bushwalking Track

Once you've gotten off the access road, you'll be on the most enjoyable part of the hike through the forest. This track is scenic as it descends on uneven ground that can get muddy and slippery following heavy rains.

There are orange triangle markers and coloured ribbons in the trees which mark the track to the lookout.

After about 15 to 20 minutes, you will reach a small survey point just before a fork. Onwards is the final descent on the White Rock walking track to the lookout, which is also known as "White Rock Peak".

White rock walking track cairns
Take the left track at the survey point
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.

Descend to White Rock Lookout (Left Track)

It's important to take the left, narrower track to descend the 50 metres to the lookout. This last bit is fairly steep but there are plenty of trees and roots to hold onto as you make your way down.

Steep descent to white rock lookout
Steep last section to White Rock Lookout

The right track at the fork continues very steeply all the way to the water towers at Bentley Park. It's also possible to hike up to White Rock Lookout on this track by driving up on Roberts Road in front of St Teresa's School. However, this route is much steeper and less-walked.

Nearby: Mount Whitfield Hike

Epic Views at White Rock Lookout Cairns

As soon as you break out of the tree line you'll realize where this rock got its name. You'll also realise why it's known as one of the best lookouts in Cairns.

Views span 180 degrees from Cairns to Walsh's Pyramid and the Gillies Range. Just below, you'll have perfect views of the suburbs spanning south of Cairns and a bit further out, an uninterrupted view of the entire Trinity Inlet.

We departed for the White Rock Lookout from Cairns before sunrise. This was definitely worth it as we were treated with an impressive light show as golden morning rays penetrated the Yarrabah mountains to illuminate the valley and distant ranges.

View from white rock lookout cairns
View from white rock peak cairns
Walsh's pyramid from white rock cairns
Yarrabah rain clouds from white rock lookout

Related: Glacier Rock Lookout Hike in Cairns

GPX Map and Track Data

Below I've included a GPX file which I recorded using my Garmin watch. You can download the file below if you want to upload it to your own GPS watch or phone. However, for this lookout hike, I'd suggest just sticking to following the ribbons and information above.

GPX File: Download

My Strava: Visit

Tips to Consider for the White Rock Hike

  • Start early for the best views
  • Bring deet (ticks and leeches can be pests on this track)
  • Bring enough water for 2 hours of walking
  • Screenshot or bookmark this blog as reception is spotty on the Lake Morris Road
  • Maintain distance from the edge at White Rock peak, it is a sheer drop and can be slippery
View from white rock peak cairns

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 Cairns Hikes and Adventure Attractions

I hope that this quick guide to walking the White Rock hike in Cairns has been useful in planning your trip! If you enjoyed this blog post, why not check out some other ideas in the list of guides below?

White rock hike
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

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. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.