Skip links and keyboard navigation

Bushfires

For the latest information on national parks and forests' closures stay up to date with Park Alerts

About Goldsborough Valley

Getting there and getting around

Mulgrave River. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Mulgrave River. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Maps
From Cairns

Travel 24 km south of Cairns to Gordonvale and turn right onto the Gillies Highway. Continue along the highway for about 6 km and turn left at the signposted Goldsborough Valley turn-off. Cross Peets Bridge and continue for 16 km through farms and cane fields to the Goldsborough Valley camping and day-use areas. The last 5 km of this road is unsealed but well graded, although it can be slippery in wet conditions. It is suitable for conventional vehicles with caution. Drive slowly and watch for wildlife and oncoming traffic. It is not recommended for caravans, buses or trailers.

From Atherton

Drive through Yungaburra and down the Gillies Highway. Turn right at the signposted turn-off to Goldsborough Valley, then follow the directions as above.

The road into Goldsborough Valley may be closed during the wetter months (November to April) or after heavy rain.

See Queensland Traffic for information about road and travel conditions.

Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Wheelchair accessibility

Wheelchair-accessible toilets are provided.

Park features

Kearneys Falls. Photo; Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Kearneys Falls. Photo; Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Nestled below the rugged Bellenden Ker Range, Goldsborough Valley protects stunning lowland rainforest along the scenic Mulgrave River. The clear flowing water and deep pools of the Mulgrave River support a healthy freshwater ecosystem.

This area is the traditional country of the Dulabed Malanbarra Yidinji Aboriginal people. The Dulabed Malanbarra Yidinji people have an intimate knowledge of the rainforest and the seasonal availability of local bush foods. They have a strong and continuing connection to the area today. Read more about the traditional culture from a series of signs in the camping and day-use areas.

Many recreational opportunities are available at Goldsborough Valley. Learn more about Aboriginal culture on the Wajil walk (a short walk to the base of Kearneys Falls). Walk or mountain bike in the footsteps of early prospectors on the historic Goldfields trail. Enjoy canoeing in the picturesque Mulgrave River. Camp in the surrounds of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and enjoy the natural environment.

Read more about the nature, culture and history of Goldsborough Valley.

Camping and accommodation

Goldsborough Valley camping area. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Goldsborough Valley camping area. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Camping

The Goldsborough Valley camping area is beside the Mulgrave River. Toilets, barbeques, fire rings, picnic shelters and tap water are provided—treat water before drinking.

Camping permits are required and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

Other accommodation

A range of accommodation is available in and around Cairns and also on the nearby Atherton Tableland. These include hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, caravan parks and commercial camping areas. For more information see the tourism information links.

Things to do

Kearneys Falls viewing area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Kearneys Falls viewing area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Day-use area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Day-use area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Interpretive signs explain traditional plant uses. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Interpretive signs explain traditional plant uses. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Walking

Wajil walk (Grade: easy)

Distance: 1.7 km return

Time: Allow about 1–1.5 hrs walking time

Details: The walk begins at the camping area and winds through lowland rainforest to the base of the scenic Kearneys Falls. The walk is mostly graded, with sections of stairs and a short boardwalk at the end with good views of the falls. Discover the unique culture and stories of the Dulabed Malanbarra Yidinji Aboriginal people through signs along the walk.

Goldfield trail (Grade: moderate)

Distance: 19 km one way

Time: Allow about 7–9 hrs walking time

Details: Follow the footsteps of the gold prospectors on the historic Goldfield trail. The trail starts at the far end of the camping area and follows the Mulgrave River. Passing out of the valley the trail climbs to a saddle in the Bellenden Ker Range and then descends to follow Babinda Creek, finishing at the Boulders Scenic Reserve near Babinda. The trail is long and crosses moderately steep terrain. The section of trail between Goldsborough Valley and the East Mulgrave causeway
(8 km) is also used by mountain bikers. Walkers need to arrange for transport at the other end of the trail.

See the Goldfield trail web page for more information.

Picnic and day-use areas

The serene and shady day-use area, near the camping area, on the bank of the Mulgrave River provides picnic tables, barbecues, wheelchair-accessible toilets and tap water. Treat all water before drinking.

Fishing

Fishing is permitted in the Mulgrave River. Fisheries regulations apply—information on bag and size limits, restricted species and seasonal closures is available from Fisheries Queensland.

Viewing wildlife

Many birds and butterflies may be seen in Goldsborough Valley. Buff-breasted paradise-kingfishers Tanysiptera sylvia migrate from New Guinea between October and April. Australian brush-turkeys Alectura lathami and orange-footed scrubfowls Megapodius reinwardt can be seen scraping the forest floor for leaf litter to build their large mound nests. Look for flashes of colour as butterflies, such as the Cairns birdwing Ornithoptera euphorion, flutter by.

At night listen for the distinctive call of the lesser sooty owl Tyto tenebricosa multipunctata—a piercing descending whistle like a falling bomb. The 'toc' call of males of the tapping green-eyed frog Litoria genimaculata may also be heard in the night.

By the river you may see eastern water dragons Physignathus lesueurii. These large, shy lizards can be seen sitting on tree limbs overhanging the river. When disturbed they will drop quickly into the water and disappear.

The river is home to numerous freshwater fish, such as rainbowfish Melanotaenia spp. and flyspecked hardyheads Craterocephalus stercusmuscarum. Be aware that bullrouts Notesthes robusta—well-camouflaged freshwater stonefish with venomous spines—live in the river and can inflict a painful wound. Seek medical attention if stung.

See the description of the park’s natural environment for more details about the Goldsborough Valley’s diverse wildlife.

Other things to do

Cycling

Mountain bike along the Goldsborough Valley end of the Goldfield trail. Bike riding is restricted to an 8 km section of the trail from the Goldsborough Valley camping area to the East Mulgrave causeway. Permits are not required to ride mountain bikes along this section of the Goldfield trail.

Mountain bikes are not permitted on the East Mulgrave causeway and on the 11 km section of the trail between the causeway and the Babinda Boulders Scenic Reserve.

For more information, see cycling.

River access

There are a number of access points to the Mulgrave River from both the camping and day-use areas. Be aware that the water is often fast flowing and the river banks and rocks can be slippery.

Canoeing conditions are best between March and May—at other times the water may be flowing too fast, or water levels may not be high enough to allow safe passage.

Things to know before you go

Camping area has picnic and toilet facilities. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Camping area has picnic and toilet facilities. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Essentials to bring

  • Be self-sufficient in food, water and first-aid supplies.
  • Bring water containers and water treatment equipment.
  • Bring sunscreen, hat, suitable clothing, insect repellant and sturdy footwear.
  • Bring a screened tent or mosquito nets for protection from insects. Biting flies, known as marsh flies, March flies or horse flies, are often present in the tropics during the warmer months (August to April).
  • Carry rubbish bags to take your rubbish away with you—bins are not provided.

Opening hours

Wooroonooran National Park is open 24 hours a day. The Goldsborough Valley section may be closed after heavy rain, particularly in the wetter months (between November and April). Additional closures may occur for management purposes, including pest plant and pest animal control.

Permits and fees

Camping permits

Camping is permitted only in the Goldsborough Valley camping area. Camping permits are required and fees apply. A camping tag with your booking number must be displayed at your campsite.

Other permits

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

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in Wooroonooran National Park.

Climate and weather

Goldsborough Valley has a tropical climate. The best time to visit is between May and September when daytime temperatures are cooler and conditions are generally drier. During the wetter months (November to April) it is mostly hot, wet and humid with temperatures often above 30 ºC.

For more information see the tourism information links below.

Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available from Cairns, Gordonvale, babinda, Innisfail and towns on the Atherton Tableland. For more information see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

Kearneys Falls. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Kearneys Falls. Photo: Rob Ashdown, Queensland Government

Stinging tree. Photo: Queensland Government.

Stinging tree. Photo: Queensland Government.

  • For your safety, access to Kearneys Falls, including the rock pools at the bottom of the falls, is not allowed.
  • Never jump or dive into the water.
  • Take care when walking near the river—the river banks and rocks can be slippery.
  • Be aware of rapidly rising water levels after heavy rain.
  • Stay on the tracks and boardwalk and take care on slippery surfaces, especially in wet conditions.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat and a long-sleeved shirt, even on cloudy days.
  • Wear protective clothing and insect repellent to protect yourself from scratches, stings and bites. Biting flies, known as marsh flies, March flies or horse flies, are often present in the tropics during the warmer months (August to April).
  • Treat all water before drinking, including tap water.
  • Be aware that stinging trees are found alongside tracks. They grow to 4 m high and have large, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. The leaves, stems and red fruits are covered with tiny silica hairs that inject toxins when touched, resulting in a painful sting that can persist for months. If you are stung, and symptoms are severe, seek medical advice.
  • Bullrouts (freshwater stonefish) live in the river. Wear shoes when wading or swimming. If stung, seek medical attention.
  • Take care around cassowaries—these large birds are potentially dangerous. Stay well away from any cassowaries sighted and never feed them. Be cass-o-wary.
  • Detour around snakes—never provoke them.

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

Looking after the park

Help the Traditional Owners and rangers to preserve the natural and cultural values of the area. Please aim to leave no trace of your visit.

  • Camp only in the designated camping areas.
  • Use toilets provided.
  • Wash at least 50 m from all watercourses. Use gritty sand and a scourer instead of soap to clean dishes, and scatter washing water so that it filters through the soil before returning to the watercourse.
  • Do not scare, chase or feed animals.
  • Leave pets at home—domestic animals are not permitted in national parks.
  • Use gas or wood barbecues and fire rings provided. Do not collect firewood within the park.
  • Rubbish bins are not provided. Do not bury rubbish—take it with you when you leave.
  • Everything in the park, living or dead is protected. Please leave everything as you found it.

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

Park management

Wooroonooran National Park is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. All sections of the park are managed for the purposes of nature conservation and nature-based recreation.

Wooroonooran National Park is managed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, in collaboration with the Wet Tropics Management Authority and Traditional Owners.

Tourism information links

Babinda Information Centre
www.babindainfocentre.com.au
Corner Bruce Highway and Munro Street, Babinda QLD 4861
ph (07) 4067 1008
email 

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

Further information

Contact us

Last reviewed
21 August 2019
Last updated
28 March 2017