About Wallaman Falls
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 largely came from 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 above.
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, Stony Creek (a tributary of the Herbert River as well as the watercourse of Wallaman Falls) was said to flow year-round thereby making the falls permanent.
I believe that we happened to witness the falls in high flow considering we showed up shortly after what appeared to be some remnant thunderstorms had passed.
Furthermore, our visit in mid-May occurred just as the Wet Season pretty much ended and the Dry Season began.
Indeed, Julie and I considered Wallaman Falls as one of our favorite waterfalls in Australia.
We liked it so much that it placed high in our Top 10 Australian Waterfalls page.
Certainly, we weren’t the only ones who enjoyed this waterfall as this place was quite popular thanks to the relative ease-of-access from its roads and its well-developed walking tracks.
As if Wallaman Falls itself wasn’t reason enough to make a visit, we learned that the rainforest in the vicinity happened to be some of the oldest remaining in the world.
Its pre-historic existence was such that it was once part of a larger entity when Australia, South America, Asia, and Africa consituted the supercontinent known as Gondwanaland.
In fact, this rainforest’s heritage motivated the creation of Girringun National Park, which also went by the name Lumholtz National Park.
Experiencing the Wallaman Falls Overlooks
Our visit began with the overlooks directly across the gorge from the Wallaman Falls.
These lookouts stood merely a few paces from the car park (see directions below).
From these elevated vantage points, we appreciated the full extent and context of the falls.
It also made us appreciate how far we would need to walk in order to get closer to it.
In any case, we witnessed Wallaman Falls from these viewing spots at both 9:15am and just after 12pm, where the midday sun produced rainbows across the waterfall’s base.
Hiking to the Base of Wallaman Falls
Once we had our fill of the overlooks of Wallaman Falls, we then went on a 4km return walk descending somewhat moderately into the gorge towards the base of the waterfall.
As we hiked this descending track, we noticed a change in the vegetation from drier subtropical tablelands at the top to the muggier and more lush rainforest deeper into the gorge.
While in the rainforest layer, we then noticed signs indicating the presence of poisonous plants, which motivated us to remain on the wide and well-groomed track while avoiding contact with any of the vegetation.
It turned out that we didn’t have too much trouble with the hike leading down to the base of Wallaman Falls, but we knew that the hike back up would make us tired, hot, and sweaty.
When we got to the gorge floor, the rainforest started opening up and revealing the impressive Wallaman Falls once again.
While the falls didn’t look quite as tall given the forced perspective of looking up from its bottom, we enjoyed the cool mist providing momentary relief from the tropical heat as well as the double rainbows that it produced.
Overall, Julie and I spent about 3 hours away from the car, but we really took our time on the hike while lingering for a long time at every opportunity to stop to really savor the experience.
Wallaman Falls resides in the Girringun National Park. 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.
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.