The title of this article is not “The 5 Best Waterfalls in Australia” for a couple of reasons. For one thing, if you’re a waterfall lover, your best waterfall may be different from someone else’s. For another, waterfalls are often seasonal: the best one after monsoonal rains may be non-existent in the dry season. However, if you love waterfalls and rainforests and are coming to Australia, you need someplace to start, so here are 5 of the best waterfalls in Australia.
Karijini Falls, Western Australia
In a state that is made up largely of national parks, Karijini National Park is one of the largest. During the rainy season, there are hundreds of waterfalls in this ruggedly beautiful landscape, but during the dry season, you can only count on one: Karijini Falls. Sometimes it is little more than a trickle winding its way languidly down the rust-red gorge in what is believed to be one of the oldest landscapes in the world, but it always flows.
A visit to Karijini Falls is much more than a visit to a waterfall, it is a trip through time back to the Dreamtime. By outback WA standards, access to the falls is easy and can accomplished in a 2 wheel drive vehicle, though 4WD is best. When you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with a refreshing dip in Fern Pool or one of the other swimming holes and you’ll be amazed by the vastness and majesty of the surrounding desert. Karijini Falls may not be the most spectacular waterfall you ever see, but it will be one of the most memorable.
Upper Ebor Falls, New South Wales
If you’re looking for a great touring road and great waterfalls, what could be better than a road called “Waterfall Way”? Waterfall Way, or State Road 78 as it is more mundanely called, runs for a total distance of 105 miles (170 kilometers) between the towns of Armidale and Bellingen in northern NSW. Not all the falls are flowing all the time on Waterfall Way, but the drive is worth it nonetheless, taking you through the tablelands of the New England district of NSW and into the rainforests of the hinterlands of northern NSW and finally to the coast. Along the way, you’ll pass through several state and national forests, have the opportunity to go on innumerable rainforest walks to waterfalls that can’t be seen from the road and the road even passes right over one.
If a “best falls on Waterfall Way” had to be picked, it would probably be Upper Ebor Falls. Actually, Upper Ebor Falls is two waterfalls in one, so is doubly spectacular. Located in Guy Falkes National Park, it’s almost exactly at the halfway point on Waterfall Way and the round trip walk to the falls is only about a mile. Upper Ebor Falls is best viewed in the winter, spring or early summer, but flows all year long.
Mena Creek Falls, Northern Queensland
Northern Queensland is waterfall country. Hot, wet and tropical, it is also a rugged coast. In other words, it’s perfect for finding waterfalls. Along with western Tasmania, it is grossly unfair to pick one that stands out from the rest, so one of the best known and most easily accessible will have to do. The little town of Mena Creek is anything but a bustling metropolis and would probably be unknown or non-existent if it weren’t for its famous falls. Just 50 miles south of Cairns and a mere 5 miles southwest of Innisfail, it is a favorite spot for daytrippers from those larger centers.
Back in 1932, Jose Paronella became enchanted by Mena Creek Falls and built a wonderful home designed to look like a castle in his native Spain near the falls. Today, Paronella Palace has been renovated and is part of the larger Paronella Park. You’ll love Mena Creek Falls, but if it’s a nice weekend and the crowds of families get to you, just take a walk through Paronella Park and there are many smaller waterfalls to enjoy in relative solitude.
Montezuma Falls, Tasmania
There are so many great waterfalls in Tasmania, the only way to pick one that stands out from the others is to pick the highest one. At 341 feet (104 meters), the winner is Montezuma Falls. Located on the wet west coast of Tasmania, if you’re looking for a waterfall that’s sure to be flowing, then head straight to Montezuma Falls and you can’t go wrong.
You will have to work a little for it, though. First you’ll have to find your way to the small town of Rosebery, which is about an hour and a half’s drive south of the relatively large, but still small coastal town of Burnie. About a mile from Rosebery is the even smaller town of Williamsford. From there, you’ll have a pleasant, level hour and a half’s walk to Montezuma Falls. It will be worth the journey, because every step of the way you’ll be surrounded by lush rainforest trees and giant tree ferns and will have a spectacular waterfall in a spectacular setting to look forward to.
MacKenzie Falls, Victoria
The rugged Grampians in central Victoria are best known for their sheer sandstone cliff faces and untrammeled natural beauty. Wherever there are cliffs and rain, there are waterfalls and during the rainier months, dozens of them can be found in the Grampians. Summers, though, are hot and dry and some of the waterfalls are reduced to a trickle while others dry out altogether. No matter how dry it gets, MacKenzie Falls continues to feed life-giving water to the Grampians.
The best time to see MacKenzie Falls is between June and September, when the temperatures are cooler and the rains most frequent. It becomes a torrent during those months. If you’re a rock climber or other adventurer who doesn’t mind the midday heat, you’ll be grateful to have the rock pools beneath MacKenzie Falls to dip into whenever you need to cool off. MacKenzie Falls is an easy 40 minute drive from Halls Gap, the gateway to the Grampians, so summer or winter, if you’re in Victoria, check it out.
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When not writing Rob likes exploring the many way out spots around Australia. If you are interested in exploring some of Australia’s way out and not so way out spots then check out some accommodation options available around Australia to start planning your vacation.