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About Josephine Falls

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Getting there and getting around

The walking track and upper lookout are wheel-chair accessible. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

The walking track and upper lookout are wheel-chair accessible. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Maps

Josephine Falls is 75 km south of Cairns. Turn off the Bruce Highway 2 km south of Mirriwinni and drive 8 km to Josephine Falls. Access is possible by conventional vehicle.

Access to the top section of the falls is prohibited. Serious injuries and deaths have occurred here. Please observe the signposted restricted access area (PDF, 78K).

Wheelchair accessibility

The toilets, picnic shelter and picnic tables are wheelchair-accessible. Wheelchair access is available to the viewing platform at the top pool. Stairs lead to the bottom pool.

Park features

Josephine Creek. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Josephine Creek. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Josephine Creek starts as a trickle high on the south-east side of the summit of Bartle Frere and ends as a substantial creek flowing into the Russell River. Approximately 7.5 km from the summit of Bartle Frere the waters of Josephine Creek tumble over granite boulders, forming the picturesque Josephine Falls.

People have long been drawn to the natural beauty of the falls. It is not known whether or how the Noongyanbudda Ngadjon-jii used Josephine Falls but early European settlers visited and enjoyed this area, and continue to do so today.

Camping and accommodation

Josephine Falls. Photo: Tourism Queensland.

Josephine Falls. Photo: Tourism Queensland.

Camping

Camping is not permitted at Josephine Falls.

Camping is available nearby at Henrietta Creek in Palmerston, at Goldsborough Valley and at Russell River National Park. Facilities differ at each site. Camping permits are required and fees apply.

If you prefer to rough it, then limited bush camping opportunities exist as part of the Bartle Frere trail. These are ‘hike-in’ sites and the camper needs to be totally self-sufficient. Here too, camping permits are required and fees apply.

Other accommodation

There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around the towns between Townsville and Cairns. These include hotels, motels, bed and breakfast, hostels, farm stays, eco-lodges, caravan parks and commercial camping areas.

For more information see the tourism information links.

Things to do

Water cascades down the falls with powerful, sometimes deadly, force. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Water cascades down the falls with powerful, sometimes deadly, force. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Access to bottom pool. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Access to bottom pool. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Viewing platform allows safe viewing over the falls. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Viewing platform allows safe viewing over the falls. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Walking

A short walk from the car park enables visitors to view Josephine Falls. For the more adventurous, Josephine Falls provides a gateway to the Bartle Frere trail.

Josephine Falls walking track (Grade: easy)

Distance: 1.2 km return

Time: Allow about 30 mins walking time

Details: From the car park the track leads you through lush tropical rainforest, to viewing decks overlooking Josephine Creek and falls. Viewing platforms offer excellent views and opportunities for photography. Wheelchair access is available to the viewing platform at the top pool. Do not enter the restricted access area (PDF, 78K) around the top of the falls. Serious injuries and deaths have occurred here. Penalties apply.

Bartle Frere trail to Broken Nose (Grade: difficult)

Distance: 10 km return

Time: Allow about 8 hrs walking time

Details: The Broken Nose trail is a section of the Bartle Frere trail, departing from Josephine Falls. It is very steep. Read more about the Bartle Frere trail.

Bartle Frere trail—Josephine Falls to Atherton Tablelands (Grade: difficult)

Distance: 15 km one way

Time: Allow about 2 days walking time

Details: This very steep, strenuous walk, the Bartle Frere trail, ascends the summit of Bartle Frere and descends onto the Atherton Tableland. Only very fit and experienced bushwalkers can complete this walk in one day (10–12 hrs). Read more about the Bartle Frere trail.

Picnic and day use areas

Picnic tables, a shelter shed, a coin-operated electric barbecue and toilets are provided in the day-use area adjacent to the carpark.

Things to know before you go

Heavy rainfall can cause rapid rises in creek levels and currents. Photo: Queensland Government.

Heavy rainfall can cause rapid rises in creek levels and currents. Photo: Queensland Government.

Essentials to bring

To ensure a safe and enjoyable visit always bring:
• a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and insect repellent
• sturdy, reliable footwear
• drinking water.

Opening hours

Wooroonooran National Park is open 24 hours a day. Some walks may be closed during the wetter months, between October and May. Additional closures may occur for management purposes including pest plant and pest animal control, and extreme weather events such as flash flooding.

Permits and fees

There are no permits or fees required to visit Josephine Falls, Wooroonooran National Park. Camping is not permitted at Josephine Falls.

Camping permits are required for 'hike-in' camping sites in Wooroonooran National Park and at camping areas in neighbouring parks. Fees apply.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in Wooroonooran National Park.

Climate and weather

Wooroonooran National Park has a tropical climate. Daytime temperatures and humidity can be high at any time of the year and nights can be very cool. Please carry suitable clothing to accommodate all extremes. August to September is generally the driest period, but heavy rain can fall at any time. The cooler months of the year, from April to September, are the best times to visit.

For more information see the tourism information links.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available from local towns including Ingham, Cardwell, Innisfail and Cairns.

Staying safe

Josephine Creek can become a raging torrent. Photo: Queensland Government.

Josephine Creek can become a raging torrent. Photo: Queensland Government.

Josephine Falls is an extremely refreshing place to visit—but it is also potentially dangerous. Flash flooding (rapidly rising water) is common during wetter months. Rapid and unpredictable water level rises have isolated people on the far bank requiring their rescue. The rocks are also exceptionally slippery, the water cold and submerged objects may be in the creek.

For your safety, access to the top section of the falls is prohibited. Please observe the signposted restricted access area (PDF, 78K).

  • Never jump or dive into water—there may be submerged objects.
  • Leave the water immediately if it changes colour or the water levels rise—these are signs of flash flooding.
  • Take care around steep slopes and rock faces along the track, and at lookouts.
  • Supervise children closely.
  • Stay on the track and take care on uneven surfaces, especially in wet conditions.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat and a long sleeved shirt, even on cloudy days.
  • Treat all water before drinking.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

  • Stay on walking tracks and boardwalks at all times. This reduces the risks of injury, prevents disturbance to native plants and animals and reduces erosion.
  • Littering the national park is prohibited, as litter is unsightly and harmful to wildlife. Please take your rubbish with you. Remember that cigarette butts are rubbish too and can contaminate streams.
  • Everything in the park, living or dead, is protected. Please leave everything as you found it and do not disturb native plants or animals.
  • Domestic animals are not permitted in national parks as they can disturb and harm wildlife.
  • Feeding of wildlife is prohibited as it can affect the health of animals and alter the natural population balance. Food scraps can contaminate streams.

See the general guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

Wooroonooran National Park forms part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. It is managed for the purposes of nature conservation and nature-based recreation. The Josephine Falls visitor area was developed and opened to the public in the 1970s.

Tourism information links

Cairns and Tropical North Visitor Information Centre
www.tropicalnorthqueensland.org.au
51 The Esplanade, Cairns QLD 4870
ph (07) 4051 3588
email

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
28 March 2017