Wallaman Falls

Girringun (Lumholtz) National Park / Hinchinbrook Shire / near Ingham, Queensland, Australia

Rating: 4.5     Difficulty: 2.5
Wallaman Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Wallaman Falls was certainly the one waterfall that Julie and I were determined to see during our visit to Queensland in May 2008. Our anticipation was largely based on the literature proclaiming this waterfall to be the largest single-drop waterfall in the country as Stony Creek had a sheer drop of 268m. But after having seen the falls for ourselves, we could definitely say that it certainly met our lofty expectations as you can see from the photos on this page. Moreover, we were able to admire this Australian natural wonder from across the gorge (as you see pictured above) as well as from its base, where we found ourselves amidst some of the most ancient rainforests left in the world (and why Girringun National Park [also known as Lumholtz National Park] was created).

Our visit began with the overlooks directly across the gorge from the falls. These were merely a few paces from the car park (see directions below). From this overlook, we were able to appreciate the full extent and context of the falls, and it also gave us an appreciation of how far we would need to walk in order to get closer to it. In any case, we were able to view the falls from this vantage point at around 9:15am as well as just after 12pm. During our return to the overlook at midday, that was when we were able to appreciate rainbows arcing across the base of the falls.

Wallaman Falls As for the misty base, we had to take a 4km return walk descending somewhat moderately into the gorge. The way down wasn't an issue, but the hike back up was long, hot (it did get a little humid down there), and tiring. During the descent, we noticed signs indicating the presence of poisonous plants so we made sure to stay on the track without touching any vegetation as much as possible (for we weren't quite sure exactly which ones were neurotoxic and which ones weren't). Fortunately, it was fairly easy to do that because the track was wide enough and not so overgrown that rubbing elbows with the poisonous plants would be an issue.

Speaking of the vegetation, I learned that Girringun (Lumholtz) National Park contained some of the oldest rainforests on earth, because it was part of the original rainforest when Australia was part of the supercontinent known as Gondwanaland (where Australia, South America, Asia, and Africa among others were all part of the same landmass). It was pretty cool to be hiking amongst such heritage as the track descended from the drier subtropical tablelands at the top into the muggier and more lush rainforest below. We could see this difference in the vegetation as the trees had more moss surrounding them and the vegetation just seemed more green than the more shrubbier varieties we saw earlier on in the walk.

Once we were at the end of the walk, the viewing decks were located where vegetation was open enough to allow for unobstructed views (though we were also getting blasted by the mist of the falls). The falls didn't look quite as tall from down here, but I reckon that had more to do with forced perspective than anything else. Even as Julie and I arrived to the base of the falls at around 10am on a sunny morning, we were blessed to have timed our visit to see impressive double rainbows in the swirling mist. Overall, Julie and I spent about 3 hours away from the car, but we really took our time on the hike while also lingering for a long time at every vantage point that we were able to get of the falls.

Wallaman Falls would flow its strongest in the Wet Season (the Australian Summer) and would gradually diminish its flow as the Dry Season wore on. Nonetheless, it was said that Stony Creek (a tributary of the Herbert River as well as the watercourse of Wallaman Falls) flowed year-round thereby making the falls permanent. I believe that we happened to see the falls in high flow considering we were there shortly after what appeared to be some remnant thunderstorms had passed. Our visit in mid-May occurred just as the Wet Season was about over and the Dry Season began.

Indeed, Julie and I considered Wallaman Falls to be one of our favorite waterfalls in Australia (let alone Queensland), and this was certainly reflected in our Top 10 Australian Waterfalls page. Certainly, we weren't the only ones who enjoyed this waterfall as this place was quite popular as well thanks to the relative ease-of-access from its roads and its well-developed walking tracks.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

This was our first look at Wallaman Falls from the main lookouts prior to embarking on the 4km walking track to its baseThis was our first look at Wallaman Falls from the main lookouts prior to embarking on the 4km walking track to its base
The spray from the crashing Stony Creek at the base of Wallaman Falls produced double rainbows while also cooling us off a bit from the heat and humidity of the ancient rainforestThe spray from the crashing Stony Creek at the base of Wallaman Falls produced double rainbows while also cooling us off a bit from the heat and humidity of the ancient rainforest
This was a view looking downstream from Wallaman Falls into the gorge carved out by Stony Creek as the watercourse would eventually join the Herbert RiverThis was a view looking downstream from Wallaman Falls into the gorge carved out by Stony Creek as the watercourse would eventually join the Herbert River
Even though Julie and I didn't do the trek across Hinchinbrook Island, we did base ourselves in Cardwell when we visited Wallaman Falls, and we got this view of the island from townEven though Julie and I didn't do the trek across Hinchinbrook Island, we did base ourselves in Cardwell when we visited Wallaman Falls, and we got this view of the island from town
When we first showed up to Wallaman Falls, it was still partly cloudy and a little overcastWhen we first showed up to the falls, it was still partly cloudy and a little overcast

Looking towards the gorge caused by Stony Creek before making our descent to the base of Wallaman FallsLooking towards the gorge caused by Stony Creek before making our descent to the base of the falls

Following the signs directing us to the walk to the base of Wallaman FallsFollowing the signs directing us to the walk to the base of the falls

That's me going past the Jinda Walk signThat's me going past the Jinda Walk sign

Starting the walk to the baseStarting the walk to the base

The walking track started descending on a combination of steps and dirt, but notice how grassy and dry the vegetation looked up hereThe walking track started descending on a combination of steps and dirt, but notice how grassy and dry the vegetation looked up here

Julie descending the steps to go deeper into the ancient rainforestJulie descending the steps to go deeper into the ancient rainforest

Julie continuing to descend deeper into the gorgeJulie continuing to descend deeper into the gorge

We couldn't tell if these plants were of the toxic stinging variety, but we certainly weren't going to find out if we could help itWe couldn't tell if these plants were of the toxic stinging variety, but we certainly weren't going to find out if we could help it

Now we were deep in the rainforest where the vegetation looked a lot more lush than those we saw at the start of the trackNow we were deep in the rainforest where the vegetation looked a lot more lush than those we saw at the start of the track

The forest got greener the lower we wentThe forest got greener the lower we went

Julie getting closer to the base of Wallaman FallsJulie getting closer to the base of the falls

Our first look at Wallaman Falls from its baseOur first look at Wallaman Falls from its base

There were double rainbows at the base of Wallaman FallsThere were double rainbows at the base of the falls

The full arc of the late morning rainbow was a little off to the side of the base of Wallaman FallsThe full arc of the late morning rainbow was a little off to the side of the base of the falls

Julie checking out Wallaman Falls from its baseJulie checking out the falls from its base

Back at the upper lookouts where we could now see a bright rainbow arcing across Wallaman Falls' baseBack at the upper lookouts where we could now see a bright rainbow arcing across the waterfall's base

Contextual look at Wallaman Falls and rainbowContextual look at Wallaman Falls and rainbow

More focused look at Wallaman Falls and rainbowMore focused look at Wallaman Falls and rainbow


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Fixated on the falls from the upper overlook


Bottom up sweep of the falls starting from the rainbow at the base and ending at its top


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From Ingham, we left the Bruce Hwy (A1) heading west at McIlwraith St then turning right onto Tully St before turning left onto Lannercost St, which became the Ingam-Abergowrie Rd. Going this route bypassed the town centre of Ingham, which had some road construction and traffic during our visit.

We followed the Ingam-Abergowrie Rd (passing alongside some massive sugarcane fields) for about 8.5km before turning left onto Stone River Rd in the town of Trebonne. We then followed Stone River Rd for about 5.6km before turning right onto the Venables Crossing Rd then another left onto Lannercost Extension Rd before making another right onto Wallaman Falls Rd.

We followed Wallaman Falls Rd for about 32km, which involved driving on a narrow and well-graded gravel road. There were plenty of blind turns as the road entered forest, and there were also plenty of signs warning of potential crossings of endangered cassowaries (a type of aggressive giant flightless bird with a bracchiosaurus-type head). We then followed the signpost to take the turnoff on our right (Lookout Rd), which ultimately led to the car park for the overlooks and walking tracks.

Overall, the drive to the falls from Ingham was 52km taking about an hour. For additional context, Ingham was 53km (over 30 minutes drive) south of Cardwell (where we were staying), 113km (90 minutes drive) north of Townsville, and 235km (3 hours drive) south of Cairns.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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Aerial Video of Wallaman Falls 
Here https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TyUl0Iz9SFQ you'll find a short aerial video of the Wallaman Falls.

Wallaman Falls, August 2010 
We visited Wallaman Falls as part of our around-Australia trip in 2010. Definitely worth the visit, and it was also a nice place for an overnight camp. …

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