With myriads of waterfalls to explore in Atherton Tablelands, the little ones may not sound that attractive. Don’t judge them by their name: Little Millstream Falls are worth the detour on your Cairns Waterfall Circuit. Find out why.
1. Little Millstream Falls are only 500 metres away from Big Millstream Falls
As Big Millstream Falls is known for being Australia’s widest single-drop waterfall, you don’t want to miss it. So if you’re already in Ravenshoe, then only takes 15 minutes to drive from Big Millstream Falls to Little Millstream Falls.
During the wet season, we could see at least three waterfalls converging in the gorge and plunging into the pool. They looked very different to other waterfalls we saw during our road trip away from Cairns so they’re definitely worth the short detour.
2. Little Millstream Falls are not as busy as more famous falls in the region
There are many waterfalls to visit in the region near Cairns and hard choices must be made. Little Millstream Falls don’t make it to most travellers’ list. You cannot see them all. I don’t think they get taken off the list because they lack charm as the falls are beautiful. But they’re not as easy to access as other falls near Cairns.
Tours don’t stop at Little Millstream Falls. As they are a bit further away from Millaa Millaa Falls, reputedly Australia’s most photographed waterfall, they don’t attract crowds.
The path to Little Millstream Falls is often described as steep and challenging. There are many other waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands that are easier to access for visitors not keen on making efforts. We are experienced hikers and did not find it particularly difficult. However, you have to be careful when you step on the rocks as they aren’t always stable and can be slippery. On a hot day, some will find the way up quite tiring.
At Little Millstream Falls, you’ll get a chance to enjoy the waterfalls quietly and take photos without people getting in the way. I’ve even read that you may spot a platypus if you’re quiet enough. I wouldn’t get my hopes up for this though. Platypuses are shy and hard to see in the wild if you’re not in one of these best places to find a platypus.
3. The short walk allows seeing the falls from different angles
You will start seeing the falls from the path as you go down from the parking. Once you are at the same level as the top of the falls, you can admire them and the gorge from the top of a cliff on the side. The path then goes down to the pool for a view from lower.
It’s rare to be able to view falls from different angles in such a short walk (about 700 metres).
4. There is a swimming hole to cool down after the short walk
Cooling in a swimming hole at the end of a track is tempting after walking in Tropical North Queensland, one of the most humid regions in Australia. I’ve read online a few people recommend the place for swimming and there’s even a rope for more fun jumping in the water. Unfortunately, the end of the pool was covered by plants when we visited so it wasn’t very inviting.
I recommend checking if swimming is still allowed before you go on your trip. Heavy rainfalls can sometimes make swimming holes dangerous with debris and current.
Responsible travel tip: Did you know your sunscreen can pollute the water and harm animals? The best way to protect your body from the sun is to cover it with long sleeves and pants. If you do have to use sunscreen, choose a mineral one (like zinc) to avoid harmful substances (see the full list here) and apply it at least 20 minutes before entering the water.
Have you been to Little Millstream Falls? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where are Little Millstream Falls?
Little Millstream Falls are not accessible from the same parking as Big Millstream Falls. They are about 15 minutes away by car. Our GPS was good to take us to the motorcycle club (Wooroora Road) but didn’t indicate the dirt road on the right just after the turn so keep your eyes open for the sign and don’t go too far.
The dirt road to access the parking isn’t long and wasn’t a problem at all with a normal car. Then, you’ll have to walk for about 700 metres to reach the falls, but you will be able to spot them earlier on the path.