The Best Hikes in Cairns
The outdoors is there and it’s free exercise! Get your nature fix and get out and enjoy the best hikes Cairns has to offer!
1. The Arrows
Located in the Cairns inner suburb, Edgehill, the Arrow hikes are very popular and for good reason. Choose from the Red Arrow, the Yellow Arrow, the Blue Arrow or the Green Arrow depending on the challenge you’re after and the time you have!
A favourite of all the Cairns hikes is the Red Arrow. A 20-30 minute hike through the cool and leafy rainforest, this walk is a quick but effective morning or afternoon exercise. You are rewarded with a view of the Cairns airport runway at the top where you can sit and watch the planes take off and get your breath back. Full of steps and steep in some places, have at least an average fitness level before hitting the Red Arrow. This is the most popular of all the Arrows, with locals flocking here morning and afternoon!
Once you reach the top of the Red Arrow follow the clearly marked arrows (in the colour you desire) to continue onto the other Arrow hikes in this area.
The Yellow Arrow is the most recent addition out of all of the arrows. Follow the markings from the top of the Red Arrow, this hikes winds down the other side of the hill, giving a different perspective to Cairns and is an easy descent. The track also goes past small creeks and ample trees on your way back to your original starting point. Make sure you leave a good hour free for the Yellow Arrow!
The Blue Arrow is the longest of all the arrows and makes a decent hike through the Cairns rainforest and bush. A rough trail, that is easy to follow, takes you on the 5.5km round hike. The Blue Arrow is best attempted in the morning, as it takes a good 3 hours so you will want to return well before dark!
2. Nandroya Falls
Located off the Palmerston Highway in the Atherton Tablelands, this leisurely hike takes you through some of the more beautiful parts of Wooroonooran National Park with a jaw dropping 50m tall waterfall waiting for you at the end. Choose either the 1.5km or the 3.5km trek to the Nandroya Waterfall, and reward your efforts with a swim underneath the falls! Don’t forget your camera, swimmers and closed in shoes as this hike is prone to a few leaches. Nandroya Falls is definitely one of the more impressive sights in Tropical North Queensland!
3. Glacier Rock
Glacier Rock has it all – the rainforest, the open skies, the Instagram worthy view and even a cool swim spot to cool off afterwards! Park at Stoney Creek carpark and walk into Stoney Creek. Follow the clearly marked signs and start your ascent to Glacier Rock. Walk through the cool rainforest, shaded and beautiful. A large mango tree marks about half way and is a great lookout. Take a drinking break, walk behind the mango tree, climb the rocks and look out over the tree tops before continuing on. Continue up and over the train line (if you time your walk you can even catch a glimpse of the train snaking it’s way up to Kuranda twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon). Enjoy the open blue skies before venturing back into the rainforest and finishing the hike. The view from the top is well worth the effort to get up – don’t forget to bring your camera and look out over Cairns and the Barron River!
On your descent don’t forget to stop at Stoney Creek and reward your efforts with a cool and relaxing swim! Leave at least 2 hours for this hike!
4. Walsh’s Pyramid
Walsh’s Pyramid is not for the faint hearted but is definitely one to tick off the Cairns Bucket List! At 922m tall, Walsh’s Pyramid is the highest freestanding natural Pyramid in the world and located in Gordonvale just south of Cairns CBD. For those up to the challenge, remember to bring plenty of water, good hiking shoes and most definitely your camera as the view from the top is not one to be missed! Start early and leave an entire morning at least – it will take about 2-3 hours to reach the top and about 2 hours to get back down again – plus however long you spend at the top soaking in the amazing view!
Get your hiking shoes on, load up on plenty of water, don’t forget your camera and enjoy the beautiful hikes available in Cairns, Far North Queensland!
Written by Sarah Latham