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
- How to Get to the White Rock Walking Track
- White Rock Hike Cairns – What to Expect
- Epic Views at White Rock Lookout Cairns
- GPX Map and Track Data
- Tips to Consider for the White Rock Hike
- More Cairns Hikes and Adventure Attractions
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.
Car Rentals in Far North Queensland
Cairns is one of the most popular travel destinations in Australia and car rentals quickly book out! I recommend booking well in advance. I always use RentalCars.com as they compare the widest range of rentals across dealerships in the Far North.
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"
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.
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White Rock Hike Cairns - What to Expect
- Hike Distance: 5 km (return on 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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
Related: 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.
Related: GLACIER ROCK LOOKOUT HIKE 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
50+ More Cairns Bucketlist Items
- Visit the Cairns Islands
- Kuranda Railway & Skyrail
- Rusty's Markets
- Day trip to Cape Tribulation
- ... +51 more things to do in Cairns!
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
Cairns Accommodation Guide – Where to Stay
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.
- Crystalbrook Riley - If luxury and location are what you're after, you can't beat the Crystalbrook Riley. This is the best 5-star resort in Cairns and features absolutely everything you'd expect from a Crystalbrook resort.
- Fitzroy Island Resort - Sleep out on one of the picturesque Great Barrier Reef Islands at Fitzroy Island Resort. Spending the night on the island can work out cheaper than staying in town and means you get more time to explore the reef, coral beaches and rainforest walking trails.
- Gilligan's Backpackers - The best backpacker option for a great vibe in Cairns. Great place to meet like-minded travelers and has facilities including a pool. air-con, a huge shared kitchen, and a great common area!
- Pepper's Beach Club - stay at the best beach resort in the heart of Palm Cove on the Cairns Northern Beaches!
For a bigger list, don't miss my Cairns accommodation guide or as an alternative stay in FNQ, read my Port Douglas Accommodation guide too.
More Cairns Hikes and Adventure Attractions
I hope that this quick guide to walking the White Rock hike 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.
Otherwise, a great starting point is this mega-post to the best tours to do in Cairns or this guide to the best hiking trails in Cairns.