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Camping closures

All camping areas in Queensland national parks, state forests and recreation areas are closed from 26 March 2020 until further notice. Check Park Alerts for more information.

About Emerald Creek

Getting there and getting around

From Cairns, take the Kennedy Highway towards Mareeba (60 km). Just 3 km before Mareeba turn left onto the signposted Tinaroo Creek Road. Follow Tinaroo Creek Road for about 3 km and then turn left into Cobra Road. After 2 km of bitumen the road is unsealed for the final 6 km. This road is steep in places and can be boggy when wet. It is unsuitable for caravans and trailers.

Wheelchair accessibility

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities or tracks at Emerald Creek.

Reserve features

Emerald Creek Falls, Queensland. Photo: Tourism Queensland.

Emerald Creek Falls, Queensland. Photo: Tourism Queensland.

Emerald Creek rushes out of the rainforest-clad heights of the Lamb Range and down into open eucalypt woodland. Here the waters of the creek tumble over granite boulders, forming the picturesque falls that plunge into placid pools.

Bottlebrush trees sprout from between the rocks, their red flowers giving a splash of colour to the scene in season. Smooth-barked water gums lean over the creek, the trunks of some interestingly twisted by the battering of floodwaters.

Near the creek, look for dragonflies and damselflies. These captivating insects are a common sight around sunlit sections of the creek. You may even see the giant petalurid dragonfly, the largest dragonfly in Australia.

Camping and accommodation


Camping is not permitted at Emerald Creek, Dinden West Forest Reserve although you can camp at nearby Davies Creek and Dinden national parks.

Other accommodation

There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Cairns and the Atherton Tableland. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Things to do

Walk the track to the falls. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Walk the track to the falls. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Enjoy the view of the falls at the lookout. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Enjoy the view of the falls at the lookout. Photo: Tamara Vallance.


There is one walking track in Dinden West Forest Reserve.

Emerald Creek Falls walking track (Grade: moderate)

Distance: 1.9 km return
Time: allow about 1 hr walking time
Details: From the car park, the track leads upstream through dry sclerophyll forest characterised by eucalypts, acacia and grevilleas, with some pandanus trees in moister gullies. The track ends at a lookout that provides views, not only of the falls, but also back along the valley and across the northern Atherton Tableland.


Cool down after the walk in Emerald Creek. There are large flat boulders and sandy reaches to sit on and enjoy the scenery. Take care on slippery rocks in and near the creek.

Picnic and day-use areas

Picnic tables and toilets are provided in the day-use area near the carpark. The site is set among tall gum trees beside Emerald Creek and is an ideal picnic spot.

Viewing wildlife

Emerald Creek is home to a variety of plants and animals. See lizards, birds and insects either near the creek or among the forest of smooth-barked water gums, ironbarks, bloodwoods and bottlebrush trees.

  • See the description of the forest's natural environment for more details about Emerald Creek's diverse wildlife.

Things to know before you go

Essentials to bring

To enjoy your time at Emerald Creek, remember to bring:

  • a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and insect repellent
  • drinking water
  • rubbish bags

Opening hours

Emerald Creek, Dinden West Forest Reserve is open 24 hours a day. Parts of the park are occasionally closed for seasonal, planned burns. See park alerts for up-to-date information.

Permits and fees

Permits are required for commercial or organised activities. Contact us for further information.


Dogs are allowed provided they are on a leash.

Climate and weather

The shady day-use area and a cool creek make Emerald Creek a nice place to visit year-round. The drier, cooler months of May to November are the best times but heavy rainfall can occur at any time. After rain the roads can be impassable and the water level in the creek can rise rapidly and without warning. For more information about the region's climate, see the tourism information links.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available from local towns such as Cairns, Atherton and Mareeba. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

Emerald Creek is a refreshing place to visit but make sure that safety is a priority.

  • Be aware of slippery rocks when in and near the creek.
  • Never jump or dive into the water—the creek is shallow and there may be submerged objects.
  • Supervise children closely.
  • Stay on the track and take care on uneven surfaces.
  • When riding, wear appropriate safety gear and be realistic about your cycling abilities.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat and a long sleeved shirt.

For more information, read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the reserve

  • When walking, stay on walking tracks at all times—this reduces the risk of injury, prevents disturbance to native vegetation and reduces erosion.
  • When riding, stay on formed roads—mountain bikes are not permitted on the walking track or in off-track areas.
  • Rubbish bins are not provided—take your rubbish with you when you leave.
  • Leave everything as you found it and do not disturb native plants or animals.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks, reserves and forests.

Reserve management

The 5335 ha Dinden State Forest was gazetted in 1990, 4295 ha of which was converted to Dinden West Forest Reserve on 3 June 2011. The reserve is managed for the purposes of nature conservation and nature-based recreation.

Tourism information links

Kuranda Visitor Information Centre
Coondoo Street, Kuranda QLD 4881
ph (07) 4093 9311

Mareeba Heritage Museum and Tourist Information Centre
345 Byrnes Street, Mareeba QLD 4880
ph (07) 4092 5674

Atherton Visitor Information Centre
Corner Silo Road and Main Street, Atherton QLD 4883
ph (07) 4091 4222

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us
Last updated
23 October 2019