One of the less visited waterfalls in the Wooroonooran National Park, Tchupala Falls is worth a visit if you’re in the area. It’s reached via a relatively short bushwalk, which also takes you to a viewpoint over the Wallicher Falls. The walking track approaches the waterfall from upstream, and you can hear the falls from some distance away, before the first glimpse through the dense rainforest
The walking track ends at a fenced lookout, which is directly in front of the waterfall (although the view is partly obscured by trees). The falls are formed by Henrietta Creek dropping over a wide rock shelf, in multiple cascades.
From the lookout there is a track that goes to the base of the falls; it was damaged in 2006 by Tropical Cyclone Larry, and has remained closed since then. It’s still possible to scramble down the track, if you are determined to get closer to the waterfall.
Getting to Tchupala Falls
Both Tchupala Falls and Wallicher Falls are fairly easily reached via a bushwalking track that starts on the Palmerston Highway. The trailhead is signposted but very hard to see from the road – as there is no phone reception in the area, it’s advisable to note the starting location before you enter the national park (Google map reference). There is plenty of parking along the wide shoulder. After you about 200m, the track reaches a fork, with one track going east to Tchupala Falls, and the other continuing north to Tchupala Falls. It’s about 1.1km (return) if you are just visiting Tchupala Falls, or 2.1km for both waterfalls.
The waterfalls are within the Wooroonooran National Park, which is about a 1:30min drive to the south of Cairns via the Bruce Highway. You can visit Tchupala Falls as part of a Waterfall Loop day trip from Cairns, which includes a number of waterfalls and swimming holes.
Best time to visit
As with all the waterfalls around Cairns, the best time to visit is December to March, when the flow of water is at its peak.
- World of Waterfalls – Wallicher Falls and Tchupala Falls
- QLD Parks – Wooroonooran National Park sketch map [PDF]
Visit Waterfalls and Swimming Holes around Cairns and Far North Queensland for more spectacular falls and picturesque swimming holes.