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 go 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.
Like most hikes near Cairns, you’re going to need your own means of transport to reach the trailhead. If you’re travelling to Cairns and don’t have your own car, I’d recommend using RentalCars.com. This is a price comparison site that works similarly to Skyscanner.
How to Get to the White Rock Walking Track
Getting to the White Rock walking track can be a little confusing at first. However, if you follow these directions, you’ll be fine.
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).
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 Hike Cairns
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.
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.
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.
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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.
Cairns: Essential Travel Resources
Find Cheap Flights
Still in the planning stage of your trip? Currently, the best and easiest way to find cheap flights are to use Skyscanner. This works by comparing all of the available fares across every airline to help you compare flights in one place.
Finding the Best Deals On Accommodation
Whether you’re looking for hostels, hotels, guest houses, or resorts between Booking.com and Agoda, you’ll always get the best deals. I always search using the map feature to find accommodation in the best locations. Sometimes, if I want to stay in a place a little longer, I’ll use Airbnb.
TIP: For the best hostels, I usually compare reviews on Hostelworld, then check other booking sites to compare prices and deals.
Book Tours and Transport Online To Save Money
You already know that I prefer independent travel. In saying that, sometimes the best and cheapest way to get things done is to just book a tour or package. For Australia, I always use Klook, Viator and Get Your Guide.
Finding a Car in Australia
Having a car or camper is the best way to travel Australia. You can compare rental car deals on RentalCars.com, or use Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and CarSales to purchase a car for longer trips.
Don’t Forget Adventure Travel Insurance
If you’re reading this blog then you’re more likely to be seeking epic cairns adventures over poolside sips. By far, my two favorite companies for the most comprehensive adventure travel insurance is World Nomads and SafetyWing. If you’re on the fence, you can read the comparison article.
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GPX Map and Track Data
Below I’ve included a GPX map 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.
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
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.
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