What is so special about Windin Falls? It could be the sweeping landscape, the infinity pool, the size of the waterfall, the shady walking track or the fact that there are not many people. Whichever way you look at it, Windin Falls is awesome!
- Sweeping landscape
- Infinity pool
- Huge waterfall
- Shaded walking track
- Not many people
- Lots of flora and fauna
Windin falls is located closer to Atherton than Cairns itself, though it is an easy drive from Cairns and well worth the time and effort.
Drive west of Cairns up into the tablelands and head south towards Malanda for roughly 2 hours. Take the Topaz Rd to turn off onto the Old Cairns Track and follow it until you reach a fork in the road just after the Lamins Hill Lookout, both options will take you to the start of this hike as in fact there are 2 ways to go.
Right is slightly longer though I find it more scenic than left. Left will take you to the Eastern track and right will take you to the Western track which is also near the start of the Bartle Frere track.
The two black arrows point to the two-track options. The red arrow indicates the start of the western hike
The track is pretty long with lots of ups and downs but also has lots of flat areas. You will find yourself walking through grassy fields, Aussie bush, rain forest and eventually doing some basic rock hopping. This track really shouldn’t be attempted after rain, actually, it’s probably best you just stay away in wet season altogether.
I once did this hike in the wet season and on the way out we had an electrical storm roll over us. It was raining so hard that the track was a foot deep with water and the lightning was crashing down all around us. Exciting, but honestly it was a little stupid.
This path gets very muddy and you will know about it within the first 5 mins of walking. Mud up here in North Queensland also means leeches, so if you have to do it in muddy conditions then rub eucalyptus chest rub all over your ankles, the leeches hate it.
Track length is around 6km each way and will take a little longer than you would expect. I would suggest allowing 2 hours each way depending on your fitness. Personally, each way is around 1 and a half hours.
The path is pretty well maintained by National Parks and Wildlife rangers so you won’t need a machete for this one. The terrain is well-graded and there are only a couple of sections that have loose rocks.
What to bring
- Chest rub ( for leeches )
- Hiking boots
- First aid kit
Basic hiking gear will suffice here as it’s really nothing too challenging. Just make sure you have enough water in case you get lost. Which would actually be a pretty difficult thing to do.
Yep, there is an infinity pool sitting at the top of this waterfall that sits approximately 70 meters above the river below. This is not for people scared of heights! I cannot stress enough that I advise you to be very careful around here, one slip and you are done. Danger aside, this is absolute A-grade Instagram fodder.
The pool and lookout face south-east through the mountain range which is like no other lookout near Cairns. From the top here you can see 6 mountain peaks on what seems to be 6 separate mountain ranges.
The below image is looking straight down the falls from the top.
Flora and fauna
As you are in a reasonably remote on this hike, you can expect to see some pretty wild plants and animals. The trees here are huge and spectacular often having vines encasing them which just adds to the beauty.
Try to avoid touching the plants because I have seen a few Gympie-Gympie plants not far off the walking track.
The animals you may encounter are snakes, spiders, wild pigs, birds and maybe even a cassowary.
Walk heavily and look ahead. Snakes don’t like large animals and luckily, that’s what we are. Make your presence known before you are close enough to startle them. Snake bites are not common but just remember that the only way to apply first aid to a snake bite is to apply pressure to slow down the blood flow and get to a hospital as quick as possible.
Just don’t climb the trees or rummage through the leaves and you will be fine. Treating a spider bite is the same as a snake bite.
Luckily these things are pretty scared of us. I have encountered a few on this track and it’s always the same thing, they stare you down a little, you make a lot of noise and raise your hands to look bigger, then they run away. Same as snakes though, catching them off guard could end with a nasty attack from their big bacteria covered tusks.
These enormous non-flying birds have some pretty serious weapons but will only attack if threatened. If you encounter one don’t panic, just maintain a visual on it ( with-out starring in its eyes ) and slowly walk backwards. Seems a little extreme for a bird but these are not normal birds. Cassowaries can stand 8 feet tall and weigh over 300kg, with 7-inch claws and the muscle power to put that claw through a human skull, they need to be respected.
Windin Falls Summary
This is one of the more authentic wildlife hiking experiences you can get near Cairns. The walk is a great distance for the moderately fit and the views are stunning. The walking trail is easy enough to complete in joggers or normal shoes if you don’t have hiking boots, though just remember not to try it after rain. This is a hike for the dry season which is generally our winter ( June to September ), the dry season will ensure less to no mud and leeches with the addition of beautiful blue skies and colder temperature.
This is a walk you will not forget and is certainly in my top 5 Cairns hikes list.