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Zillie Falls, Cairns

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Mon 26 Feb 2024

Zillie Falls is one of the many stunning waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands near Cairns, Australia. This corner of Tropical North Queensland is known for its multitude of lush waterfalls and dense rainforests, all of which are extremely accessible from the vibrant city of Cairns! Whether you book a guided tour or venture out here on your own, there are so many amazing waterfalls to see including Zillie Falls. 

two girls smiling in front of a waterfall


Travel Guide To Zillie Falls, Cairns

Here is your complete travel guide to Zillie Falls, Cairns. Whatever you want to know about visiting this gorgeous cascade, we've got you covered! From how to get there from Cairns, to the walking track up to the falls, to the other highlights of the famous Waterfall Circuit, here are some helpful tips for visiting Zillie Falls. 

Where is Zillie Falls?

Zillie Falls is located on the iconic Waterfall Circuit in the Atherton Tablelands. Part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, the Atherton Tablelands are full of quaint rural towns, volcanic crater lakes, and an abundance of wildlife and rainforest trails. Plus, there are lots of amazing waterfalls!

The Waterfall Circuit is a 17km stretch of road through the rainforest that passes three major waterfalls: Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls, and Ellinjaa Falls. The road itself is named Theresa Creek Road and is fine for all types of vehicles. You don't need a 4WD to get to Zillie Falls! The falls itself is located right on the outskirts of Wooroonooran National Park, about 106km southwest of Cairns. 

girl sitting on a car and pointing at a waterfall


How to get from Cairns to Zillie Falls

The best way to get from Cairns to Zillie Falls is by driving yourself. Driving to Zillie Falls from Cairns takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes. If you don't already have a car, you can rent one in Cairns! Just put Zillie Falls into Google Maps and it should take you straight there.

The drive takes you south from Cairns down the Bruce Highway and inland to the Atherton Tablelands. There are lots of signs, and once you get close to the town of Millaa Millaa you can turn onto Theresa Creek Road until you reach the car park. It's a wide, spacious car park that is free and hard to miss if you keep an eye out. Park up and get ready to explore the beautiful Zillie Falls!

signs pointing to Zillie Falls in the atherton tablelands


Waterfall tours from Cairns

There are a number of top-rated waterfall tours from Cairns, but most of them don't visit Zillie Falls. During these day tours to the Atherton Tablelands, popular attractions like the Curtain Fig Tree, Lake Eacham, Babinda Boulders, and Josephine Falls make an appearance on the itinerary. When it comes to the Waterfall Circuit, most day tours only have time for one waterfall and Millaa Millaa Falls is the most famous. So if you really want to visit Zillie Falls in particular, you'll have to drive yourself.

But if you are looking to book a day tour from Cairns, the waterfalls tours really do show you the best of the Atherton Tablelands, There is so much to see and do there, so tours really optimise your time and ensure you see the highlights. That does mean that smaller, less touristy falls like Zillie Falls get left out. But it's still a magical experience!


How long is the Zillie Falls walk?

From the car park, it's a short 0.1km walk to the Zillie Falls viewing platform. This gives you an elevated view of the falls surrounded by the vibrant green vegetation. For those who want to make their way to the base of the falls, there is an unofficial walking track that brings you down to the forest floor. This trail is unregulated and can be muddy or slippery, so just be super careful and complete this hike at your own risk. 

Because the walk to the bottom of Zillie Falls is not an official trail, there is no sign which makes it easy to miss. You'll have to look for the slight opening in the forest near the viewing platform and follow the steep bush track down into the forest. It should take around 10 minutes to reach the bottom of Zillie Falls. From the bottom, you can marvel at the waterfall in all its glory!

man posing in front of a waterfall


How tall is Zillie Falls?

Zillie Falls is a majestic plunge waterfall that is around 15 metres tall. The cascading water flows down onto impressive boulders and is truly a stunning sight. Because there are lots of rocks at the base of the falls, it isn't the best place for swimming. There isn't really one specific swimming hole like there is at Millaa Millaa Falls, so it's kind of difficult to swim here. But you can still walk around, wade into the shallow pools, and admire the serenity. 

girls posing in front of Zillie Falls near Cairns


Atherton Tablelands Waterfall Circuit and other attractions

If you're heading to Zillie Falls, it's definitely worth completing the entire Waterfall Circuit and visiting the other highlights of the Atherton Tablelands! The famous Waterfall Circuit is home to Millaa Millaa Falls and Ellijnaa Falls, both of which are also beautiful. Make sure you stop at these lovely spots before or after visiting Zillie Falls. 

Also, either on your way down to Zillie Falls or on your way back up to Cairns, there are some cool natural attractions right on the way. Walshs Pyramid is a towering mountain peak that makes for some epic photos and has an amazing hiking trail. Lake Eacham is a volcanic crater lake where you can swim and paddleboard in a tranquil natural setting. Other highlights of the area include the Curtain Fig Tree, the quaint town of Yungaburra, and other waterfalls like Josephine Falls. If you're planning to head from Cairns to Zillie Falls, definitely try to include some other fun stops during your Atherton Tablelands day trip!

girl smiling on the road in front of a mountain


Check out our most popular waterfall day tours from Cairns!

Or live chat with our travel experts if you have any questions about travel in Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands. 

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