The Millaa Millaa waterfall circuit is a popular tourist destination in Tropical North Queensland. It features 3 picturesque falls that are easily accessible for all ages and all fitness levels.
All 3 falls, Ellinjaa Falls, Zillie Falls, and Millaa Milllaa Falls, are aesthetically pleasing. But you don’t have to put in the leg work for nice pictures. For some travelers, this is a total win! If you’re like me, you might want an extra sprinkle of adventure.
As promised in my review of the Millaa Millaa waterfall circuit, here is an alternative waterfall circuit that’s just 20 km away that you can’t miss if you are hungry for a little more adventure to earn your waterfall views.
The Nandoya Falls circuit is a 6.6km path through lush, dense rainforest. The walk has some up and downs with a few river crossings, and you’re rewarded with great views of the 60 m drop fall roaring through a wall of rock. There aren’t dozens of other people fighting for a photo and, because of the longer walk, you feel fully immersed in the nature of Tropical North Queensland.
How to get there: Parking for Nandroya falls isn’t obvious. Look for “Henrietta Creek Campground”, and then you will find the trail head.
For added adventure: Take a dip! There’s something thrilling about swimming next to 60 m waterfall pounded down.
For 2 and 3…..
Continuing on the alternative waterfall circuit, head down Palmerston Higher 3.1 km to get to the trail heads for Wallicher Falls and Tchupala Falls. There isn’t a designated parking area, but there are a couple of pull off areas where you can park on each side of the road. Keep a keen eye out for the “walking trail” sign, as it isn’t super obvious.
Head down the walking trail until you see a fork in the road. Each direction will lead to the other two falls on this alternative waterfall circuit.
Take a left at the fork to get to “Wallacha” falls (the sign and google seem to have a discrepancy in the name). The 500 m path takes you past stunning flora to reveal a postcard worthy waterfall.
For added adventure: If you want a closer look, continue along the path until you get to a river. Accept your fate of soggy sneakers and wade through to the path on the other side. Continue down to get a closer view of the falls. To be honest, the view isn’t fantastic. But hey, why not see it for yourself?
WARNING: There are leeches everywhere! We looked down and saw the little suckers crawling all over our sneakers and up our socks. After a leech latched onto me on a Daintree Rainforest stop, I did some research to find that they are harmless. Phew! Nevertheless it is annoying prying them off your shoes.
Head 500m back to the fork and veer down towards the 3rd fall on this alternative waterfall circuit: Tchupala Falls. The shorter 360m track winds through dense jungle to reveal a stunning fall pounding through the greenery.
For added adventure: There is a further walking trail down with a clear “do not enter” sign, as it was destroyed during a recent cyclone. The right thing to do would be to follow the rules. We however, opted for the wrong thing. The stairs going down had some serious damage, but it’s not impossible to navigate. The overgrown greenery strewn about made me feel like I was in Indiana Jones, and the thrill of taking a path less traveled got the feel-good chemicals pumping. The bottom revealed another striking fall that was nothing short of exquisite. The added thrill of knowingly breaking the rules only made the view for satisfying.
Nandroya, Wallicher, and Tchupala Falls all take a bit more adventure and daringness to get to. The reward? No loud people competing for photos and the satisfaction of earning the views.
While you should certainly check out the Millaa Millaa circuit (it’s too easy not to!), this alternative waterfall circuit is perfect if your looking to explore the paths less traveled.