Visiting Barron Gorge safely
Getting there and getting around
Upper (tableland) section
From Cairns, travel north along the Captain Cook Highway. Turn onto the Kennedy Highway, which winds up the coastal mountain range, and take the turn-off to Kuranda. Alternatively take the scenic railway that runs from Cairns to Kuranda or the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway from Smithfield, north of Cairns.
From Kuranda, drive 3.5km along Barron Falls Road, following the signposts to the Barron Falls car park. This is the access to the Barron Falls lookout, which is also a stop on the scenic railway line. Wrights lookout (and the start of McDonald track to Surprise Creek) is a further 1.4km along the road from the car park.
The upper section of the park can also be accessed from Speewah Conservation Park, a starting point for long-distance walks. From Kuranda, travel a further 6.5km along the Kennedy Highway, turn left into Speewah Road and follow the signs to Speewah Conservation Park for 5.2km.
Lower (coastal) section
From Cairns, drive 16km north along the Captain Cook Highway and turn left onto Cairns Western Arterial (Kamerunga Road) at the roundabout.
To access Lake Placid and the lower Barron Gorge, drive 2.5km then turn right onto Lake Placid Road. Continue 1.5km to Lake Placid or take the Barron Gorge Road turn-off and drive a further 3km into the gorge. This scenic road ends at the bridge to the Barron Gorge Hydro-Power Station.
To access Stoney Creek, from the roundabout on the Captain Cook Highway drive 3.5km along the Cairns Western Arterial (Kamerunga Road) and turn right onto Stoney Creek Road. The Smith track trailhead is on the left, 1km from the turn-off. Follow the road for 2.1km through the residential area to the car park and the start of the Garndal Garndal Stoney Creek walk and the Douglas track trailhead.
Din Din Barron Falls boardwalk, lookouts and toilets are suitable for wheelchair access with assistance. The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway has wheelchair-accessible facilities.
Take some simple precautions to ensure a safe, enjoyable visit:
- Keep on the walking tracks and boardwalks at all times.
- Always carry water, wear hats, sunscreen and sturdy footwear.
- Stay clear of the edge of the gorge and steep rock faces, and take care on uneven, slippery track surfaces, especially when wet.
- Be aware that stinging trees are found alongside many walking tracks. They grow to 4m high and have large, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Do not touch this plant as it may result in a very painful sting.
- Cassowaries are potentially dangerous. Avoid unnecessary risks and help protect cassowaries—be cass-o-wary
- Poison fire coral fungus is known to be found in the Stoney Creek catchment. Do not touch this fungus as it can be extremely dangerous to touch and potentially lethal if ingested.
Estuarine crocodiles live in waterways of the lower section of the Barron Gorge National Park. Estuarine crocodiles are potentially dangerous. Never take unnecessary risks in crocodile habitat. You are responsible for your own safety—always be crocwise in croc country.
For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.
Before you visit
Essentials to bring
To ensure a safe and enjoyable visit always bring:
- a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and insect repellent
- sturdy, reliable footwear
- drinking water
- rubbish bags.
Barron Gorge National Park is open 24 hours a day.
Permits and fees
Permits are required for commercial or organised activities. View permits and fees for further information.
Domestic animals are not permitted in Barron Gorge National Park.
Climate and weather
Barron Gorge National Park has a tropical climate. In summer, maximum temperatures range from 27°C to 33°C with high humidity. Between December and April, there are frequent heavy downpours of rain and the possibility of thunderstorms and tropical cyclones.
Although you can visit the park all year round, the cooler, drier months of the year (from May to September) are the best times to visit. The weather is warm with reduced humidity and average maximum temperatures of 26°C.
Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.
For more information see the tourism information links.
Fuel and supplies
Fuel and supplies are available nearby at Kuranda, Smithfield, Cairns and Mareeba. For more information see the tourism information links.
- Safety advice during bridge upgrade and track repairs: McDonald track, Barron Gorge National Park 17 March to 30 September 2023