With so many waterfalls in Queensland, its hard to know what to make the effort to go and see. Wallaman Falls though, are the highest single drop waterfall in Australia (and much of the southern hemisphere), which you’d think would make them worth of a visit, no?
We decided to make the effort (and it’s a decent drive compared to other waterfalls!), and left our Camper at Cloakeys, which is a beautiful free camp behind a hotel, which has only recently opened and needs some support.
Where are Wallaman Falls?
You’ll find this giant waterfall an hour West of Ingham, around two hours north west of Townsville. You turn off in Ingham, and head out with multiple signs directing you to the waterfall.
What is the drive like to Wallaman Falls?
The start of the drive to Wallaman Falls is like any other scenic Queensland drive, and it reminded me a lot of driving out to Babinda Boulders, with its amazing scenery in the distance.
You soon arrive at the base of the hill though, and see a sign that mentions buses, caravans and trailers not being suitable for the drive up.
From here on, there’s about 10km of fairly steep, bitumen corners and switch backs that take you right to the top, where it levels out, and even goes up and down a bit towards the end.
This bitumen road is in great condition, but its fairly narrow, and if you meet a vehicle coming the other way that is not on their side of the road properly, there’s a good chance you’re going to scrape.
We counted at least 5 vehicles coming down that were way over into the centre of the lane, and it left us straddling the edge of the bitumen road, with sloppy mud, drains or nasty holes off the edge.
Being bitumen, you aren’t able to put it in low range, and we saw some warmer temperatures on the automatic transmission temperatures, but nothing to be overly concerned about.
Can you tow a caravan here?
There’s certainly some irony in the way things are published. The sign at the bottom of the hill states that buses, caravans and trailers are not suitable to be driven up to Wallaman Falls. However, the national park booking allows you to book camper trailers, so clearly someone is muddled up.
Just before the hill starts is a reasonable sized gravel area where you can unhitch your van and leave it, and lots of people were doing this.
If you have a suitable tow vehicle (and your automatic transmission temperatures can handle it), you could quite comfortably tow a camper trailer, small boat or even a hybrid up here.
You could also tow a caravan, but there’s a high risk that you’d meet someone coming around a sharp corner who isn’t over quite far enough, and they’d run into your van. I wouldn’t tow anything bigger than a hybrid up here, purely out of respect for other people, but there’s always someone who’s willing to push the friendship.
If you do, and you’re planning on camping at Wallaman Falls, make sure you’ve got a site that suits, as most are not set up for trailers!
Camping at Wallaman Falls
There’s a fairly picturesque, but small camp site just beyond Wallaman Falls, which you need to book online through the Queensland National Parks site.
Most of the sites here are walk in, but there’s a couple that suit vehicle based camping, and even small trailers.
We decided not to stay here to avoid towing our camper up, and whilst it’s a nice spot, Cloakeys was also great, and we don’t really regret it.
Wallaman Falls Lookout
The drive up the hill takes you to a turn on the right, which ends at the Wallaman Falls Lookout Car Park. This has toilets, picnic tables and is a short walk to two lookouts, which are absolutely stunning.
You can also head down the walk a few hundred metres to see the Gorge Lookout, which is easy enough, and quite pretty too.
Walking to the bottom of Wallaman Falls
If you’re keen for a serious leg walk out, you can do a 3km return walk to the base of the Wallaman Falls. The sign states this is a difficult walk, and its not dishonest in any way.
There are some aluminium steps, and lots of rocks that have been made into steps, but for the most part it’s a very unformed track, and its slippery, with non stop switch backs.
The walk is one of the most scenic that we’ve ever done, and you get down very quickly, but be prepared for a serious workout coming back up again.
I did it with our nearly 7 year old son who absolutely loved it, but the next day he was complaining about having ‘sore legs above the knee’, and had no idea what it was from.
We moved really quickly, and made it down in 30 minutes, and back up in 38 minutes, but the sign suggests 2 – 3 hours total, and we were knackered by the time we got back up, and passed a number of people who were taking it much slower.
Are Wallaman Falls really worth the effort?
With most of the Queensland Waterfalls being quite quick and easy to get to, is it really worth the extra drive, and the walk if you want to get to the bottom? Yep, its a resounding yes from us. These are magnificent, and the walk was well worth doing.
I will say that we thought Blencoe Falls were better, but they are even harder to get to, and that’s probably why. Wallaman Falls have a big reputation, and its well deserved. Make the effort; you won’t be disappointed.