About Murray Falls
Murray Falls was a pleasant cascade in Girramay National Park, where the Murray River tumbled over 20m on smooth and rounded bedrock that literally surrounded the falls while forming plunge pools that may feature turtles.
While this river shouldn’t be confused with the endangered Murray River that was part of the Murray-Darling River basin, which is “Australia’s breadbasket”, the waterfall was one of the easiest we’ve visited.
Indeed, the main lookouts for the waterfall were a short 300m jaunt from the campground area, where there was actually a lookout car park right in front of the start of the walk.
That said, on one of our visits, we started from a lower day use car park where there’s a swimming hole on the river, but the campground was accessed over some steps leading up to the toilet facility there.
That only added about 400m (200m each way) to the overall walk, which was still a short and quick visit in the grand scheme of things if that’s the only way you’re experiencing Murray Falls.
We visited this waterfall twice – once in May 2008 and again in early July 2022.
On that first visit, we spotted a turtle chilling out at the plunge pool near the bottom of Murray Falls, which was not accessible for swimming (that’s why they had the day use area further downstream).
We didn’t spot a turtle around here on our second visit, which happened to be during some persistently rainy weather.
One thing worth mentioning was that the mosquitoes here were quite abundant and relentless during our rainy early July 2022 visit (I didn’t recall them being that bad in May 2008).
That kind of hastened our visit as we didn’t want to be sitting ducks for them (especially at these fronta overlooks).
It took us around 30-45 minutes to just do the main lookouts on each of our visits – once in May 2008 and another in early July 2022.
The Optional Yalgay Ginja Bulumi Walk
One thing that struck me about our first visit to Murray Falls was that I noticed some kind of railing perched high up above the brink of the waterfall.
We didn’t have time to figure out how to get up there on that visit, and for years, it had always made me wonder where that trail was.
Well, it took us 14 years (in early July 2022) when I finally had a chance to figure that out, and it involved doing the 1.8km Yalgay Ginja Bulumi Walk.
That walk began near the campground entrance (one of the reasons why it wasn’t obvious how to get there), but there’s an interpretive sign that made it pretty obvious that I was in the right place.
Then, the track went through the forest as it ascended moderately to the point that the vegetation started to thin out.
Eventually, once I was mostly above the rainforest canopy, the trail then eventually veered towards the Murray River where there were metal steps leading to the lookout.
At this lookout, I got a partial sideways look at Murray Falls, which wasn’t great compared to the main lookouts below.
However, this lookout was really for the panoramas and the surrounding scenery, which actually wasn’t great on my early July 2022 visit due to the persistent rain and low clouds covering up most of the scenery.
Overall, this walk took me about 60-75 minutes (though 90 minutes was suggested), which might be something to consider if you’re looking for a little more quiet and to extend your visit to Murray Falls.
Murray Falls resides in the Girramay National Park near Cardwell, Queensland. It is administered by the State of Queensland Department of Environment and Science. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
Murray Falls was just north of Cardwell (where we were staying on our first visit in May 2008).
From that town, we took the Bruce Hwy (A1) north for about 21km, and then we turned left (there’s a signpost indicating this) onto Bilyana Rd.
Next, we followed this road for about 19km to its end (it changed names a couple of times as Middle Murray Rd then became Murray Falls Rd).
Near the end of the drive within Girramay National Park, there was a fork in the road, where the road on the left went to the day use car park and the road on the right went to the campground.
Both routes are fine for visiting Murray Falls, but if the intent is just to visit the waterfall, then going to the right towards the campground is best because there’s a small car park just for the short walk to the lower lookouts.
The day use car park on the left fork has immediate access to a swimming hole on the Murray River well downstream from the no-swimming area around Murray Falls.
There’s a 200m path linking the day use car park and the toilet facility of the campground that includes a set of steps.
Overall, this drive would take a bit over 30 minutes.
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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