Atherton Tablelands’ best waterfalls and swimming spots

The Atherton Tablelands are blessed with many stunning waterfalls and swimming spots surrounded by lush rainforest.

Travel and lifestyle writer Sara Mulcahy packed up her kids and dog and moved to Far North Queensland two years ago and has been exploring everything this incredible part of Australia has to offer ever since.

Here are her favorite swimming holes around Mareeba.

Emerald Creek Falls

About 20 minutes southeast of Mareeba, Emerald Creek Falls is in the Danbulla State Forest. The road is mostly unsealed so you need a 4WD (or nerves of steel) to get there. There’s a walking track that passes a series of waterfalls, cascading over huge granite boulders and forming a number of picture-perfect swimming holes. Dogs are allowed, too.

Emerald Creek Falls
Emerald Creek Falls. Picture: Mark Sexton

Millaa Millaa Falls

Easier to get to than Emerald Creek Falls is Millaa Millaa Falls, between Mungalli and Malanda. They are often tagged as the most photographed falls in Australia, having played backdrop to a number of ad campaigns – from airlines to shampoo. The single-drop waterfall cascades into a plunge pool surrounded by lush rainforest, and there’s a grassy picnic area nearby.

Millaa Millaa Falls on the Atherton Tablelands
Millaa Millaa Falls on the Atherton Tablelands. Picture: Neale Maynard

Granite Gorge

We love a quick pit stop at Granite Gorge on our way north. This is privately owned land, so there’s a small fee to get in. Kids can feed the eager rock wallabies, play with Monty (he’s a python) and there’s a lovely swimming hole where they can jump off the rocks into the deep water.

Granite Gorge. Picture: Sara Mulcahy
Granite Gorge. Picture: Sara Mulcahy

This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of

About the author


Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.


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