Emerald Creek Falls is a great getaway to enjoy the cool waters under the Australian sun.
There are a few things to do at Emerald Creek including a walking trail, swimming holes, peaceful spots to have a picnic and of course enjoying the Emerald Creek Waterfall. It is surrounded by green bushes and giant boulders making for some great photography.
Emerald Creek Falls is also a great place to visit if you are coming from or intend to check out Granite Gorge in Mareeba as part of a day out.
How to get to Emerald Creek Falls
Address: Emerald Creek Falls, Mareeba, 4880, QLD, Australia
Emerald Creek Falls is 73 km from Cairns and will take you about 1 hour 15 min in total to drive by car.
You will have to drive through Mareeba which is one of the other main destinations before getting there. You will take National Highway 1/ Captain Cook Highway to Tinaroo Creek Road in Mareeba.
Mareeba is 14 km away from Emerald Creek Falls and from here it will take you around 20 min. The directions from there are straight forward; from Mareeba, you will keep driving on Tinaroo Creek road until the next turning towards Cobra road.
Continue to drive on until you see a signpost towards Emerald falls and Henry Hannam, take the Emerald Falls Road to turn where you will continue onto a dirt road until you come to the free public car park at Emerald Creek.
The journey there is quite scenic and we enjoyed the views on the way.
The best part was this amazingly well-organised banana field on one side of the dirt road leading up to the creek. It was all put into perspective as we flew the drone up into the air getting an aesthetically pleasing shot of the fields with the opposite side densely populated with palm trees.
Upon arrival at the creek you will notice there are free toilet facilities also near the free public car park.
If you prefer to take a tour we would advise asking in advanced the local operators in Cairns or Mareeba.
There is no public transport to get to Emerald Creek Falls.
The Emerald Creek is open 24 hours and only closed for situations like planned burning. We wouldn’t advise anyone going at night for obvious reasons.
The best time to visit
Since Emerald Creek Falls is within tropical Queensland, the weather is pleasant all year round. We visited during the summer months (Dec – Feb) in December, but we wouldn’t recommend it as it can get scorching hot.
The best time would probably be anytime outside these months as the weather is less hot and you can enjoy the walks but also not too cold to swim.
Emerald Creek Falls walking track
As you arrive at the entrance you will see that you can do an Emerald Creek Falls walking trail which is a 1.9 km return walk. The walk is of average difficulty but it does take some climbing over some boulders and up and down some fairly steep stairs.
The walk has hardly any shade so if you’re as crazy as us walking in the summer heat, make sure you wear a hat and bring plenty of water. We’re not sure if it was the time of the year or if it happens all the time, but there was an annoying buzzing sound from literally thousands of insects in the trees so just a heads up.
Regardless of this, the scenery and landscape you witness on the walk is quite nice, the large boulders, green bushes and the sound of the waterfall and streams are welcoming signs of nature. Most of the area is quite dry and dusty which makes for an interesting contrast to the creek and water flowing in other parts.
Also, be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife on the walk such as lizards and birds.
There comes a point where you can take a path towards the falls look out or to the bottom of the falls, where you can swim.
We didn’t go to the falls lookout because honestly speaking, we couldn’t be assed. The weather was hot and we were dying to swim so we took the route towards the bottom of the falls.
Blue arrows guide you towards the bottom of the falls and you will have to hop over a few boulders, just be careful because they can be slippery.
All the hiking and hopping will be worth it as you see the water crashing down into the pool for you to enjoy.
Swimming in Emerald Creek Falls
The water at the falls is cold and refreshing. It is the perfect temperature to cool off from the heat.
The waterfall comes crashing down at a good rapid speed and the sprinkles of water in the air are a nice feeling.
We enjoyed ourselves here for 1-2 hours just swimming in the natural pool and sunbathing on the boulders. We would advise you to bring your own snacks and something to lie on because the rocks will be hot.
Some people dove off the top and it is deep enough to do this. However, the path to get up there from the bottom of the waterfall is quite difficult. We wouldn’t recommend doing it as we didn’t ourselves but we can’t stop you adrenaline junkies out there.
If all that wasn’t enough there is even a natural slide to plunge into the pool. We have fun sliding down it as well as a kid with their parents. Fun all round.
Around the waterfall are other little swimming holes to enjoy in case it is busy when you are there, just have a wander around back where you came from following the water flow in-between the rocks.
Don’t forget those snacks! We packed our own lunch and ate at the waterfall. If you prefer, there are also picnic tables at the entrance of the creek.
Granite Gorge in Mareeba is another great nearby destination; we visited before coming to the falls. You can feed the rare Mareeba rock wallabies from the palm of your hand and see other lovely wildlife.
We also heard of another waterfall worth checking out, Davies Creek Falls. It is an approximately 35 min drive from Emerald Creek Falls, if you do go please let us know how it is in the comments below.
- Wear a hat and sunscreen because there isn’t much shade
- Bring plenty of water
- Wear trainers or sandals that fasten, the rocks can be really slippy
- Bring a towel, the rocks are too hot to sit on
- Bring snacks so you can spend plenty of time there
- Have fun, you can slide, jump and swim at this waterfall
Is Emerald Creek dog friendly?
Yes, as long as you keep your dog (or in Australian – Doggo) on a lead!
How long is the walk to Emerald Creek Falls?
From the beginning of the track to the bottom of the waterfall it will take approximately 45 min.
Is Emerald Creek Falls safe for kids?
Yes! But please be cautious if visiting when it has been raining, the boulders can get slippery.
Is Emerald Creek Falls dangerous?
Apart from the slippery rocks, no. If people wish to jump off boulders and cliff edges that are on them.
Is camping allowed at Emerald Creek?
No camping is allowed at Emerald Creek Reserve.