Visiting Josephine Falls safely
Josephine Falls is 75km south of Cairns. Turn off the Bruce Highway 2km south of Mirriwinni and drive 8km to Josephine Falls. Access is possible by conventional vehicle.
Access to the top section of the falls is prohibited. Serious injuries and deaths have occurred here. Please observe the signposted restricted access area .
The toilets, picnic shelter and picnic tables are wheelchair-accessible. Wheelchair access is available to the viewing platform at the top area. Stairs lead to the bottom pool.
Danger—unpredictable water conditions
Conditions at Josephine Falls can be extremely dangerous. Flash flooding (rapidly rising water) can occur at Josephine Falls at any time of the year. Even when conditions at Josephine Falls are sunny and dry, rain in its upper catchment can cause water levels at Josephine Falls to rise rapidly, without warning.
People (even strong swimmers) regularly become isolated in the middle of the creek or on the far bank and require rescuing—endangering their lives and those of others.
People have died here, others have been seriously injured!
Always be aware of:
- strong water currents (even when the surface looks calm)
- unpredictable water conditions (flash flooding can occur without warning)
- slippery rocks
- submerged objects.
For your safety exercise extreme caution at all times.
Josephine Falls is an extremely refreshing place to visit—but it is also potentially dangerous. Flash flooding (rapidly rising water) is common during wetter months. Rapid and unpredictable water level rises have isolated people on the far bank requiring their rescue. The rocks are also exceptionally slippery, the water cold and submerged objects may be in the creek.
For your safety, access to the top section of the falls is prohibited. Please observe the signposted restricted access area .
- Never jump or dive into water—there may be submerged objects.
- Leave the water immediately if it changes colour or the water levels rise—these are signs of flash flooding.
- Take care around steep slopes and rock faces along the track, and at lookouts.
- Supervise children closely.
- Stay on the track and take care on uneven surfaces, especially in wet conditions.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat and a long sleeved shirt, even on cloudy days.
For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.
Essentials to bring
To ensure a safe and enjoyable visit always bring:
- a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and insect repellent
- sturdy, reliable footwear
- drinking water.
Wooroonooran National Park is open 24 hours a day. Some walks may be closed during the wetter months, between October and May. Additional closures may occur for management purposes including pest plant and pest animal control, and extreme weather events such as flash flooding.
Camping is not permitted at Josephine Falls.
Camping permits are required for 'hike-in' camping sites in Wooroonooran National Park and at camping areas in neighbouring parks. Fees apply.
Domestic animals are not permitted in Wooroonooran National Park.
Climate and weather
Wooroonooran National Park has a tropical climate. Daytime temperatures and humidity can be high at any time of the year and nights can be very cool. Please carry suitable clothing to accommodate all extremes. August to September is generally the driest period, but heavy rain can fall at any time. The cooler months of the year, from April to September, are the best times to visit.
For more information see the tourism information links.
Fuel and supplies
Fuel and supplies are available from local towns including Ingham, Cardwell, Innisfail and Cairns.
- Safety advice: heavy rain impacts Josephine Creek and Falls, Wooroonooran National Park 24–25 May 2022
- Temporary minor parking disruptions: Josephine Falls day-use area, Wooroonooran National Park 26 May 2022
- Temporary restricted access to western trailhead due to roadworks: Bartle Frere trail, Wooroonooran National Park 4 April to 3 June 2022