Located in the Mowbray National Park to the north of Cairns (and just south of Port Douglas), the Big Mowbray Falls is quite a picturesque waterfall. A relatively long (8km return) bushwalks means it’s fairly secluded, and you’re likely to have the waterfall to yourself. You’ll reach the top of Big Mowbray Falls, where you can see part of the cascade.
You get a better view by clambering about half way down, where a large rock that juts ut gives you a view of the entire waterfall, and the pool at the base of the falls.
Although fairly steep (and dangerous if the rocks are wet), you can carefully pick a route down the side of the waterfall. (It’s possible to reach the bottom, but gets steeper beyond the half-way point.) The waterfall has a drop of about 25m – although the total height of the tiered Mowbray Falls is 220m, with an average width of 12m.
Above the falls are a number of small cascades and swimming holes which are not very deep – but provide a nice spot to cool off.
Getting to Big Mowbray Falls
The waterfall is reached via the Bump Track (which is a wide service trail) and then a more challenging bushwalking trail, with the last few hundred metres being a steep descent to the Mowbray River. The Bump Track has a trailhead on both Black Mountain Road in Mowbray (which provides the shortest access to Big Mowbray Falls) and Conolly Road. Allow about 90min from Cairns or 40min from Port Douglas to reach the start of the Bump Track on Black Mountain Road (the last few kilometres is unsealed).