Millaa Millaa Falls Then and Now

Millaa Millaa Falls Then and Now

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 03/28/2017

Reading time: 3 mins

Situated on the outskirts of Cairns, Millaa Millaa Falls is an impressive plunge waterfall that can be found on the side of Theresa Creek Road.

The site is now heritage listed after it was added to the register in 2005.

The region surrounding Cairns is packed full of magical waterfalls, and Millaa Milaa Falls is no different. Making up part of the expansive Atherton Tablelands, the site was named after the Aboriginal phrase for the rainforest vine that appears in the area. Today, visitors flock to the area to marvel at the 18.3-metre-high waterfall and to swim in the refreshing pool at its base.

The History of Millaa Millaa Falls

The falls were thought to be discovered during the expansive exploration of the regions around the Herberton mining fields. It was originally thought that Millaa Millaa meant “waterfall”, but that has since been proved wrong. It is now understood Millaa Millaa is a local Indigenous word.

Inspector Alexander Douglas and Christie Palmerston hiked through the rainforest close to the falls in 1882, carving tracks as they went. Palmerston also mapped another, easier route in 1884 which is now known as the Palmerston track. Today these tracks are still there and can be explored by visitors.

Around the Millaa Millaa Falls, there is a clearing that was once used as a rest stop for travellers that were passing through with horses and mule packs. They were exploring the Palmerston track and travelling to the nearby Herberton mining field. The clearing was also put to use as a camp for workers building and maintaining a railway line. It travelled between Malanda and the Millaa Millaa township in the early 1900s.

Millaa Millaa Falls Today

The Falls remains an iconic part of Australia, bringing in thousands of visitors every year. People flock to see its impressive cascading water and enjoy the cool pool at its base. The falls have a lot of cultural relevance, too. They have been featured in a number of movies, documentaries, and television ads.

Throughout the year, Millaa Millaa Falls is the site of many community events. These events celebrate its natural surroundings and the vast, rich history that imbues the area.

Today, you can take a hike along the Palmerston track, explore the base of the waterfall, and swim in the pool to cool off. If you find yourself in Cairns, be sure to make a pitstop at this fascinating and beautiful spot.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.