Location: Girringun National Park, North Queensland, Australia
Distance: 600 meters return to the lookout
Duration: 10 minutes return
Grade: 2, easy
Height: 320 m
Elevation: 517 m
Number of drops: 2
Longest drop: 230 m
Blencoe Falls is a segmented waterfall system on Blencoe Creek and is located in the Far North region of Queensland, Australia. Blencoe Creek plunges 90m to the pool below, before cascading a further 230m to the base of the gorge. This is Blencoe Falls, one of the most stunning waterfalls in Australia.
Access is via the dirt road that winds its way up the Kirrama Range. There is a camping area located next to Blencoe Creek and a walking track – Jabali Track – that leads to the Blencoe Falls and Herbert River Lookouts. The views are outstanding!
Blencoe Falls are part of the traditional lands of the Warrungnu, Jirrbal and Girramay Aboriginal people. Take a short 200m stroll to the lookout. Along the way listen carefully; a distant dull rumble becomes a roar as you get to the falls. At the lookout, soak up the sights and sounds of Blencoe Falls as the water races towards the Herbert River. Here, relic hoop pines shrouded in mist can create an eerie feeling. Before you go, take a moment to enjoy the amazing views of the Herbert River Gorge from the timber platform.
You could also challenge yourself to a rope swing, abseil, or a canyoning adventure here if you are both skilled and keen.
If you walk upstream from the falls just past the last campsite, you'll encounter a neat little waterfall. This whole area is quite beautiful and tranquil.
A complicated beginning
The beginnings of the Herbert River Gorge and Blencoe Falls are anything but humble. Several major geological events created the landscape that you see today. About 50 million years ago, movement of the Earth's crust formed the edge of the continent that lies against the Coral Sea and the present-day landforms began to form. An earlier Herbert River flowed towards the west. It is not known when it reached its present east-flowing course.
Continuous erosion caused the Herbert River Falls to retreat by around 40cm every 100 years. As the gorge became longer, it passed tributaries like Blencoe Creek, which were then suspended. This created waterfalls, like Blencoe, which in turn eroded their own gorges.
It is hard to believe that water can create such erosion. During a big flood, the water pouring down the gorge may reach 10 to 20 metres deep. The force of the water penetrates natural cracks, removing rocks at the face of the waterfall. These turbulent floodwaters carry boulders and sand, churning out the riverbed.
Standing tall and regal, hoop pines are a distinctive feature of the landscape around the falls. A long time ago, when the world was warmer and wetter and dinosaurs roamed our land, hoop pines were abundant. Despite dramatic changes in the climate they live in today. Sensitive to fire, they have found refuge in protected gorges and on steep slopes and rocky outcrops.
Blencoe Falls provides a gateway to the Wet Tropics Great Walk. With 110km of walking opportunities, there is something for everyone.
There is a short walk available from Blencoe Falls. The Jabali (whiptail wallaby) walk provides an opportunity for visitors to experience the rugged country of the Australian bush.
- Take care around cliffs, steep slopes and rock faces along the track, and at lookouts.
- Supervise children closely.
- Stay on the track. Do not cut corners or create new tracks.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat and a long-sleeved shirt.
- Never jump or dive into the water.
- Camping is only permitted in designated campsites.
- Use toilets provided.
- Do not chase, scare or feed animals.
- Leave domestic animals at home.
- Take rubbish home with you.
- Enjoy your visit and respect this sacred place.
Remember, this is a national park everything is protected.