Babinda is a small sugar town located directly on the Bruce Highway approximately 60 kilometres South of Cairns (view map). Its stunning location is shadowed by Queensland’s two highest mountains; Mt Bartle Frere (1622m) and Mt Bellenden Kerr (1593m), which form part of the World Heritage listed Wooroonooran National Park. Crystal clear mountain streams, pristine rainforests and spectacular waterfalls portray Babinda as a hidden paradise often overlooked by travellers as just another North Queensland township. Our main attractions of the Babinda Boulders and Josephine Falls are arguably two of the most beautiful attractions of the Far North.
Art Deco Heritage listed buildings, fascinating Aboriginal legends, beautiful beaches, great fishing, natural wetlands, proximity to the amazing Frankland Island group and Great Barrier Reef and free camping areas with facilities are just a few more reasons Babinda should not be missed. Babinda is also the consistent winner of ‘Australia’s Wettest town’ title where rain is a celebration and the life force behind this amazing destination.
Take a dip in the cool mountain water of the Babinda Boulders, this pretty reserve has a picnic area, safe swimming area, campground and signposted walks. Downstream the creek settles to offer a unique experience to swim or kayak in the clear waters with sandy beaches to spot fish, turtles and even platypus.
Drive further to the peaceful village of Bramston Beach. The beach has a stinger net and a small range of accommodation including caravan park, motel, B&Bs and holiday homes. Bramston Beach is a popular fishing spot; anglers can expect to catch bream, grunter, whiting and possibly a jumping cod from the beach, at the right time of year. From Bramston Beach you can access the Russell River National Park with a 4WD to camp or fish.
In the Babinda township itself, you will find Art Deco buildings, a historic hotel, friendly shops and services as well as the Babinda Information Centre. The Babinda Air Raid Shelter is Queensland’s most intact World War 2 public air raid shelter and now serves as a brightly painted toilet block.
The heritage-listed Babinda State Hotel was built from rainforest timbers in 1917 by the Queensland Government as part of a policy to stop sly grogging by monopolising and ending the liquor supply. The hotel was the sole government enterprise established during this period of Labor government to turn a profit.
The Boulders is a popular cool swimming and picnic area in the tropical rainforest in the foothills of Bartle Frere (Chooreechillum), at 1622m, Queensland’s highest mountain. The Boulders area is named for a series of huge outcrops of granite boulders found along Babinda Creek amongst volumes of sparkling, cascading, cool, clear mountain water.
With an exceedingly high average annual rainfall of 4614mm, the surge of water in the creek as it thunders through the Boulders adds to the wild beauty of the region. The creek is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest with a myriad of trees, ferns, vines, fungi, moss and lichen.
The main park contains covered picnic areas, barbecues, children’s play equipment, toilets and changing rooms as well as plenty of open grassed areas. A sealed well-maintained walking track leads downstream to the main Boulders viewing area.
As you drive along The Tropical Coast from Innisfail, turn off the Bruce Highway at Mirriwinni to explore Eubenangee Swamp National Park. This wetland is world renowned with more than 190 bird species. Waterbirds are prolific, birds of prey circle overhead, the vulnerable crimson finch can be seen in the grasslands and crocodiles are sometimes spotted in the Alice River.
Travel south from Cairns to Mirriwinni (68km). Two kilometres past Mirriwinni, turn right into the signposted road to Josephine Falls. The car park is a further 8km along this road. From the car park follow a signposted 600m walk to the clean, clear waters of Josephine Creek that tumble off the slopes of Mt Bartle Frere.
Platforms allow safe views of the falls. Wheelchair access is available to the viewing platform at the top pool and stairs lead down to the bottom pool.
The water is surprisingly cold, and this has produced an unusually cool microclimate. You will be able to observe the Atherton Palm as well as the moisture-loving potato fern.
No dogs are allowed in this National Park, and camping at the falls is prohibited.
Caution and common sense are required during our wet season. There is the potential for flash flooding to occur, as well as sudden increases in water levels.
Nevertheless, when the temperatures and the humidity are high, the falls are refreshingly cool and beautiful, and an excellent spot for a picnic. Don’t miss it!