The area around Cairns is one of the two wettest regions in Australia (the other being the west coast of Tasmania around Strahan), receiving about two metres of rain a year. Although most of the rainfall is in the Wet Season (December to February) when the waterfalls are most spectacular, the creeks and rivers run all year. Most of the waterfalls and swimming holes are easily reached, sometimes via a short walk, although a small number require a more challenging bushwalk to reach.
Reached by an 8km (return) bushwalk, the picturesque Big Mowbray Falls is quite secluded. Above the waterfall is a shallow swimming hole and some small cascades.
The Mossman Gorge Swimming Hole is a popular spot along the Mossman River. It's reached by a 400m walk along a paved track from the shuttle bus stop.
A hidden waterfall reached by an unmarked track from the Crystal Cascades carpark, Fairy Falls is a picturesque cascade and a secluded swimming hole.
About an hour from Cairns, the Emerald Creek Falls offers both an impressive lookout over the Upper Falls, and some spectacular swimming holes at the Lower Falls.
The Henrietta Creek waterhole is a small swimming hole along the creek, below the campground.
A popular destination from Cairns, Babinda Boulders offers a number of spectacular swimming holes. A short walk to Devils Pool gives you good view of the cascades and rock formations along Babinda Creek.
A series of picturesque cascades and beautiful swimming holes, the popular Josephine Falls is reached by a paved walking track (1.4km return)
Wallicher Falls is a wide waterfall along Henrietta Creek in the Wooroonooran National Park, reached via a short bushwalking track.
Reached via a short bushwalking track, Tchupala Falls is a segmented waterfall along Henrietta Creek in the Wooroonooran National Park.
A powerful and impressive waterfall in Wooroonooran National Park, Nandroya Falls plunges 50m into a rainforest-fringed swimming hole.
A small waterfall along the Nandroya Falls walking track, the photogenic Silver Creek Falls drops about 10m into a shallow pool.
Reached by a short but steep paved trail, Ellinjaa Falls is a picturesque waterfall that drops 15m into a shallow pool.
One of three waterfalls along Theresa Creek Road, Zillie Falls plunges 30m into a narrow valley. A viewing platform is at the top of the falls.
One of the most spectacular and most-visited waterfalls around Cairns, Millaa Millaa Falls is surrounded by rainforest and has a beautiful swimming hole at the the base.
Malanda Falls (Tutamonlin) is a wide waterfall with a popular man-made swimming pool beneath the falls. Located just over an hour south of Cairns, it's very easy to get to.
Davies Creek Falls is a picturesque waterfall in the Dinden National Park, about an hour from Cairns, Above the falls is a spectacular infinity pool or waterhole, perched above a sheer cliff.
Along Freshwater Creek near Cairns is a series of swimming holes and cascades. The furthest waterhole along the 1.5km track has a pair of picturesque waterfalls.
One of the largest waterfalls in Far North Queensland. Barron Falls is most spectacular during the wet season (Dec-Mar). Multiple vantage points provide a view over the rugged Barron Gorge and falls.
Mulligan Falls is a picturesque waterfall with a deep swimming hole on Hinchinbrook Island. It's accessed by the multi-day Thorsborne Trail, or by boat with a 2.5km walk from the beach.
Accessed by the multi-day Thorsborne Trail or by boat, Zoe Falls is a picturesque cascade and swimming hole on Hinchinbrook Island.