Tully Gorge; spectacular Queensland waterfalls and camping

There are more gorges and waterfalls in Queensland than you can poke a stick at, and somewhere along the line you need to pick what is worth visiting, and what you’ll leave for another trip. We thought long and hard about whether to make the drive out to Tully Gorge or not, and in the end decided to give it a whirl, and I’m glad we did.

Tully Gorge and the road
Tully Gorge is a beautiful spot
Great views of Tully Gorge
The views here are nothing short of magnificent
Looking down Tully River
The Tully River is stunning

Where is Tully Gorge?

Tully Gorge is located out of the town of Tully, at a distance of around 45km. It’s a pretty spectacular drive on your way in, and much like Babinda Boulders, has big, beautiful hills and bright green farm land, before getting into the gorge where it changes to big forest trees with the water running down.

Tully Gorge location
Tully Gorge is 45km from Tully, up the Tully Gorge Road

Do you need a 4WD to get there?

No, not at all. The road in is bitumen the entire way, and whilst it is a little narrow in spots its wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other. The camp site is mostly bitumen around too, with a few little holes and a bit of gravel but its all in great condition.

Take it easy on the road though; we had a motorbike come around a blind corner in the middle of the road and nearly hit the front of our vehicle, which would not have ended well for them.

Tully Gorge Hydro power
You can get a 2WD right to the Hydro Power Station at the end of the road

What are the attractions?

Tully Gorge is beautiful in its own right, and the drive through the gorge is worth while on its own. However, there’s a bit of history that you can stop and see, and the two waterfalls that are spectacular.

Koolmoon Creek Falls
Koolmoon Creek Falls are really picturesque
Looking down on Ponytail falls
Ponytail falls are much smaller, but equally as beautiful
Ponytail Falls in Tully Gorge
We loved sitting here and watching the falls

At the end of the road is the hydro electric power station which has very limited viewing options, and the river nearby.

The Tully Gorge Camp site has a day use area with nice access to the river and a pretty good rocky area for you to kick back and soak up the views.

Tully Gorge Hydro Electric Station
The hydro electric station at the end of the road is closed to the public

You can’t get through Tully Gorge

Looking at many maps, you’d be excused for thinking that you can drive right through Tully Gorge and out the other side.

You absolutely cannot, and its obvious why when you get there; the range literally ends, and you’d need a helicopter to get over the top. You can see a lookout from the West side, but don’t expect to be able to drive through the gorge!

Top of Tully Gorge
There is zero access through Tully Gorge

Tully Gorge Camping

Given the distance out of Tully, it makes sense to have some camping options in Tully Gorge, and they’ve done exactly that.

The main campground is a reasonable size, with a pick your own site system in place. There’s a heap of grass, lots of trees and plenty of places to pull in, although I’d imagine it would get quite busy and jammed in when fully booked.

Tully Gorge Camping area
The main camping area near the river
Camping at Tully Gorge
It’s a fairly big area where you pick your own site

These camp sites have fire pits, flushing toilets, cold showers, and water on tap (not suitable for drinking without treating). The camp site is very close to the river, and next to the day use area where you access it.

Our camp site at Tully Gorge
We really enjoyed two nights here

Alternatively, there’s a tent only camping area on the northern side of the river, which you get to by turning off prior to the main road to the hydro power station.

Swimming at Tully Gorge

Whilst this place is quite far inland, and a lot of people do swim here, it has had salt water crocodiles in the gorge, and there are signs not to swim.

Given they white water raft here I’m going to assume the risk is very rare, but we didn’t swim, and I wouldn’t advise you do either without some concrete information.

Tully Gorge near camp
It looks like a nice place to swim, but we weren’t game

White water rafting Tully Gorge

We were lucky to see some white water rafting take place at Tully Gorge, with a high school group gearing up late one afternoon to take off.

The water levels of the river vary hugely depending on the electricity demand further south, and water in more bulk quantities is released as the day gets on, in line with stagnating solar power and cooler temperatures requiring heating (and thus electricity).

As the price of power goes up (due to demand), the hydro station releases more water, which generates more power, and earns them extra money.

This additional releasing of water is often in line with when the white water rafting takes place, and after standing in one spot for about 30 minutes, we were finally rewarded with the rafts coming down.

White water rafting on Tully Gorge
The rafts finally arrived, and we really enjoyed watching them go down
White water rafting at Tully
They finish with a big drop off

Hot tip; every single raft that went down the big drop off huddled at the back of the raft had at least 2, or in some cases the entire crew minus the raft leader fall out, which was entertaining to watch.

Tully Gorge rafting
Those who went down like this were fine
Don't huddle at the back
Everyone who huddled at the back had at least a few people fall out

Is it worth a day trip?

It’s a reasonable drive in, and whilst its probably worth it for a day trip, you get much better value if you camp a night or two. We arrived late one afternoon and spent two nights, which was great to relax a bit.

Camping at Tully Gorge
It’s a fair drive in for a day trip, and camping makes it much more relaxed

Booking the Tully Gorge Camping

You need to secure a site to stay at Tully Gorge, and there is no reception out there, so do it prior.

This is a popular spot, and if I’m honest, the Queensland National Parks booking system is pretty average, so take your time and get it right.

See more on the vlog

If you’re keen to see more, you can check out our YouTube channel:

YouTube video

What does it cost to camp?

We paid $42 for two nights, for 2 adults, one child and one infant, which we thought was reasonable. Of course, if you just visit for the day it costs you zip, which is even better.

Do we recommend visiting Tully Gorge?

This gorge was different again, and the waterfalls were pretty beautiful. I thought it was well worth the drive in and stay, but if you’ve done dozens of other waterfalls in Queensland you might have a different opinion.

Have you been to Tully Gorge? What did you think of it?

Tully Gorge views are magic
We really rated Tully Gorge

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