Zillie Falls is low-key one of the best waterfalls in Australia. These spectacular falls form part of the Waterfall Circuit along with Millaa Millaa Falls and Ellinjaa Falls in Wooroonooran National Park, Queensland.
Less than 2 hours drive from Cairns, this stunning waterfall is surrounded by lush bush life, offers picnic areas for lunch, and boasts epic views of these cascading falls. A spot that is absolutely not to be missed on your East Coast Australia itinerary!
I have put together this extensive guide of Zillie Falls including how to get there, everything to see and do whilst you’re there, and the best time to visit.
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WHERE IS ZILLIE FALLS?
Zillie Falls is located near the town of Millaa Millaa in Atherton Tablelands in Queensland, Australia.
It’s approximately a 100km drive southwest of Cairns, taking around 1 hour 45 minutes to reach these falls.
When you reach Wooroonooran National Park, the falls are located just east of the Bluff Forest Reserve and it’s the middle set of falls along the Waterfall Circuit.
On the way to the falls
HOW TO GET HERE
There are a couple of options for getting to Zillie Falls Queensland and they are DIY or with a tour.
OPTION 1 – DIY
My main recommendation for getting here will be to drive. It’s pretty remote from other towns so I would definitely recommend hiring a car or making the drive out in your own vehicle.
If you’re staying in Cairns, the Waterfall Circuit is the perfect day out. From Cairns, it’s pretty much three roads all the way to reach this waterfall. The A1, Highway 52 then Highway 25.
Head for Millaa Millaa because as I mentioned, Zillie Falls is on the Waterfall Circuit – you can’t miss it.
There is plenty of free parking spaces at the falls so you’ll have somewhere safe to park your car for an hour or so while you’re off exploring these incredible falls.
Search All → Car Rentals in Cairns
OPTION 2 – ZILLIE FALLS TOUR
If you decide to take a tour, there isn’t one specific to Zillie Waterfall but there is a tour that you can book on Get Your Guide which is a full-day tour from Cairns to Atherton Tablelands.
This guided tour includes return transfers from your accommodation in Cairns and a visit to a number of awesome locations such as Lake Eacham, Josephine Falls, Millaa Millaa Falls, and Zillie Waterfall.
You will get a comprehensive tour of Atherton Tablelands and time to swim at the waterfalls, explore the beautiful rainforest, and get a taste of what Tropical North Queensland has to offer!
Zillie Falls Cairns
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Zillie is a permanent waterfall that is open all year round. The best months to visit are between December and March which is the wet season in North Queensland.
The middle of the day is usually the busiest time to visit so if you’re wanting to avoid the crowds, head out either early morning or later on in the afternoon.
Also, keep in mind that if you’re heading out early morning or later in the day, the roads might be slightly harder to navigate with the lack of light.
ARRIVING AT THE FALLS
When arriving, there is a short walk which is signposted across the road from the car park. It will lead you to the lookout area, providing you with an epic view from the top of the waterfall.
This is as far as the main track will take you, however, keep reading to hear about the Zillie Falls Trail. When wet, this pathway can be pretty muddy and quite slippy. So if it’s been raining, I would suggest taking your boots… especially if you plan on trying to get to the base of the waterfall.
The parking lot
Clear signage at the falls
The lookout at the top of the falls
ZILLIE FALLS TRAIL
As I previously mentioned, the main tourist track stops at the top of the waterfall, opposite the car park.
However, to get down to the base of the falls you’ll see there is a slight opening, which once passed reveals a wider track. This isn’t an official QLD Parks Track as there seem to be no signposting or ribbons in the trees and it’s pretty hard to spot.
If you’re wanting to escape the crowds and view the falls from a different perspective, I would definitely head down here. Due to the trail being a bit harder to find, most people actually miss it.
The trail itself will get you to the base of the waterfall in around 10 minutes, depending on your capability.
Keep an eye out for the local Australian wildlife that might be lurking. There will also be a lot of low-hanging vines and when wet it’s quite a muddy, slippery track. Not to put you off or anything but just something to be cautious of.
RELATED ARTICLE → JOSEPHINE FALLS QUEENSLAND
Photo: Matthew Littlewood
This is definitely the epitome of ‘off the beaten track’ and a way to actually get to the base of the falls, where not many people dare to venture.
A little advice for navigating the trail – you will reach a fork in the track, keep right and you’ll soon know you’re heading in the right direction when you reach a section of old, carved stepping stones. Keep on from here and you’ll reach the base of the falls.
If your main reason for heading down the trail is to swim, I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high. Due to the nature of the shallow water hole and how it’s lined with quite large rocks, it doesn’t make for a great waterfall to swim in.
There are a few shallow rock pools if you just need to cool off from the hike down but swimming here definitely isn’t the main focal attraction. If you’re looking to swim in a waterfall, head to the neighboring Millaa Millaa Falls or Ellinjaa Falls, which are both parts of the Atherton Tablelands Waterfall Circuit.
The trail to the falls
WHAT TO EXPECT
Overall, it’s an epic waterfall and one that is absolutely not to be missed. From the picnic area which is perfect for families, to the cascading falls themselves.
Whether it’s the trail that interests you or simply experiencing a top-down view of the waterfalls, this beautiful waterfall caters to everyone.
If you’re deciding to stay up at the top, you can capture some epic photos of the waterfall and the surrounding bushland. Try to send the drone up to get some birds-eye shots or simply chill in the picnic area and experience some downtime with your friends and family, enjoying some quality food with the acoustics of falling water in the background.
RELATED ARTICLE → WATERFALL CIRCUIT CAIRNS
Photo: Matthew Littlewood
If you’re looking for more of an adventure, head down the trail, keeping an eye out for the extensive Australian wildlife. Keep an eye underfoot, for the muddy slippery tracks and be led by your ears, to the base of the waterfall.
Take a dip in the shallow rock pools to cool off or climb around, behind the falls and explore the depths of the cave. Keep an eye out for the slippery rocks that will no doubt, line your track.
This location is a photographer’s heaven. From the nature surrounding the falls, the rock pools, the textures of the rocks, and of course, the main attraction itself. You really could lose so many hours down here at the falls, experimenting with your camera and really capturing the moment in full.
I really can’t recommend a visit to these falls enough and would highly encourage every one of you to give it a go. See away a day, exploring the surrounding area, soaking up the sun, and really enjoy this lesser-explored part of Australia.
When you’re done, hit the road and head back to your accommodation, stopping at The Falls Treehouse Cafe for some road trip snacks and a great coffee to see you through the drive home.
The shallow rockpool for swimming
Another perspective of the falls
MAP OF ZILLIE FALLS
WHERE TO STAY IN CAIRNS
There are hundreds of accommodation options to choose from in Cairns, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to fit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travelers, and everyone in between.
See the list of Cairns accommodations below that I personally recommend:
LUXURY: PULLMAN REEF HOTEL CASINO
MID-RANGE: CAIRNS RAINBOW RESORT
BUDGET: MAD MONKEYS BACKPACKERS
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN CAIRNS, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
Another option for accommodation in Cairns is to stay in an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals!
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MORE AUSTRALIA TRAVEL GUIDES
The coastline and hinterland areas along the east coast of Australia boast countless beaches, lakes, waterfalls, hikes and many more fun-fuelled adventures waiting to be had!
This is what Australia is all about and what I love to share with you in my detailed destination guides.
Click on the links below to see more related posts:
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- Melbourne: Things To Do In Melbourne
LONELY PLANET AUSTRALIA
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