About Attie Creek Falls
Attie Creek Falls was a waterfall that Julie and I first learned about based on a recommendation by the friendly hosts at the Mudbrick Manor accommodation nearby.
Prior to their recommendation, we didn’t even know about this waterfall so it was truly a case of visiting an attraction based on local knowledge without any prior planning.
This happens from time to time in our years of chasing waterfalls around the world, which is why you often want to leave some room in your itinerary for unexpected finds like this.
Of course, that first visit happened in May 2008, when Attie Creek Falls seemed to be an obscure 25m thin waterfall situated in a forest behind the coastal town of Cardwell.
When we came back in early July 2022, the falls seemed to be as popular as ever, and the forest it was in now seemed to be part of the Cardwell Forest Reserve.
Maybe that might have explained why I noticed much more signage for the road to get there as well as interpretive signage that I noticed at the trailhead that I had never seen before.
Although what you see in the photo above is the tallest and main part of Attie Creek Falls, there was also another harder-to-see drop so it’s technically taller than what the pictures show.
Indeed, Attie Creek also featured a cascade and swimming hole near a picnic area further downstream, which makes for another opportunity for a dip to cool off from the humidity of this part of the Cassowary Coast in Queensland.
Experiencing Attie Creek Falls
Although the trail to Attie Creek Falls as well as its trailhead (see directions below) seemed to have been updated and/or re-routed, it was still a mostly uphill hike to get there.
Immediately from the cul-de-sac at the trailhead, there was a trail fork though none of the signage here said which way was to the falls.
To save you the confusion (and disappointment as I overheard other visitors leaving after picking the wrong path), you’ll want to go uphill to the actual waterfall, which means you want to go right.
It turns out that the path on the left went past some picnic tables and led to a low-flowing cascade with a plunge pool beneath it (about 100m from the start).
The moderately uphill trail proceeded for about 500-600m to the end, where steps were put in place at its steepest parts.
This was a pretty straightforward trail, and the only tricky part was the rocky outcrop right on the fringes of Attie Creek Falls’ plunge pool, which can get quite slippery, especially when wet.
Nevertheless, this much quieter plunge pool (probably because you have to sweat a bit for it) was also suitable for a swim, and made for a nice and relaxing spot.
When no one is around and the pool is calm, Attie Creek Falls can be seen reflected in the pool, which made for nice pictures.
Overall, I spent about an hour away from the car, which included the main falls as well as checking out the swimming hole at the end of the left branch.
Timing Attie Creek Falls
A couple more things I want to mention is that the mosquitoes seemed to be abundant and relentless during my early July 2022 visit.
In fact, they didn’t seem to be as bad back in May 2008 on my first visit so I wondered if Attie Creek getting more unseasonable rain in the Dry Season had something to do with exploding the mozzie population.
Either way, I’d recommend covering up or bringing bug repellent to keep them at bay (though this might not be that helpful if you intend to swim).
Another thing is that each time I’ve seen Attie Creek Falls, it happened to be in low (but still satisfying) flow.
The second visit happened during a persistent La Nina rain storm that caused flooding further down the coast in New South Wales.
So that tells me that if you really want to see the waterfall in a higher flowing state, you’ll probably have to come right in the Wet Season (in the midst of the Australian Summer).
However, that might make this place less swimmable due to fast currents (though I suspect the lower swimming hole might be the better spot under such conditions).
Attie Creek Falls resides in the Cardwell Forest Reserve near the town of Cardwell, Queensland. It is administered by the Cassowary Coast Regional Council. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.
From the small Hinchinbrook Island neighbouring town of Cardwell, we took about a 15-minute drive to get to the picnic area and car park for the falls.
More specifically, from the Cardwell Visitor Centre, we went south a couple of blocks to Brasenose St.
Turning inland on Brasenose St, this street left town and headed into the Cardwell Forest Reserve where the road became unpaved (they seemed to be old logging roads).
Roughly 3.6km inland from the Bruce Highway (A1), we turned left at a sign for Attie Creek, which then took us another 2km to its end.
There was a wide cul-de-sac at the end of this unpaved access road, which provided plenty of parking (especially in light of this place’s increasing popularity over the years).
I definitely recalled this drive being a bit more adventurous on my first visit (in May 2008) due to the relative lack of signs.
In any case, this drive should take no more than 15 minutes or so.
For context, Cardwell was 53km (over 30 minutes drive) north of Ingham, 94km (over an hour drive) south of Innisfail, 165km (2 hours drive) north of Townsville, and 182km (over 2 hours drive) south of Cairns.
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