Location - Wooroonooran National Park, North Queensland, Australia
Distance - ~100 m return
Duration - allow 1 hour to fully enjoy and swim
Difficulty - Grade 2
Josephine Falls is a stunning waterfall located in Queensland, Australia, fed by rains from Bartle Frere, the highest peak in the region. The falls and surrounding swimming holes are known for their crystal clear waters and have been featured in numerous television commercials. The local Aboriginal people, the Noongyanbudda Ngadjon (noong-yan-budda-nud-jun), hold a strong spiritual connection to the area.
There are restricted swimming areas at Josephine Falls for safety reasons, so it is important to follow all signs and regulations. There is also a 1.2 km walking track with viewing platforms offering excellent views and opportunities for photography. The track is graded as easy and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. Wheelchair access is available to the viewing platform at the top of the falls, but it is important to stay out of the restricted access area around the top of the falls as serious injuries and deaths have occurred there.
How to get there
To get to Josephine Falls, take the Mulgrave Road west from Cairns and then south towards Townsville. The road will become the Bruce Highway, also known as Highway 1. Drive approximately 75 km from Cairns to Mirriwinni, then follow the signs for Mount Bartle Frere for about 8 km to reach the falls. There is a large car park and a 700-metre rainforest walk to the falls, viewing decks, and a swimming area on a paved track suitable for prams and wheelchairs.
Josephine Falls is a great place to spend a full day or just a few hours, with picnic facilities and barbeques available. There are also several hiking options, including a 1.2 km walk to the top of the falls, a 10 km round trip hike to Broken Nose, and a 15 km one-way hike to the Atherton Tablelands over the back of Mount Bartle Frere - Queensland's highest peak. The latter hike is only recommended for very fit hikers with plenty of time, as it can take two days and there is a risk of getting caught out by incidents or bad weather.
Swimming at Josephine Falls is generally safe, but it is important to follow all safety instructions and regulations. Snakes may be present on the walking tracks, so it is important to watch where you step. The area is also home to a variety of butterflies and tropical birds.
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