Crystal Cascades - Things To Do In Cairns | Cairns Tours

Crystal Cascades

Crystal Cascades is a freshwater swimming hole in a secluded tropical rainforest area, 25 minutes’ drive from Cairns city centre. Popular with locals, this delightful swimming hole is one of Cairns best kept secrets.


In one of the most stunning areas of Tropical North Queensland, Crystal Cascades – so named for its sparkling clear water – is fed by Lake Morris, the main water supplier to Cairns. Set in a deep gorge, Crystal Cascades is a series of water holes and waterfalls in a section of Freshwater Creek. Shaded by rainforest canopy and surrounded by boulders, this hidden paradise is not regularly frequented by tourists, as it can only be reached by driving your own car – no public transport services the area.

The waters of Crystal Cascades are cool and refreshing – very inviting during Cairns’ hot summer months. With picnic tables in the area, a toilet block nearby, gas fired barbecues and ample room to enjoy a picnic or BBQ; it’s no surprise that locals make good use of the area.

From the car park, a paved track meanders through dense rainforest for approximately one and a half kilometres to a series of steps that lead down to the pools and waterfalls. Perhaps one of the first things you’ll notice upon arrival at the area is the large schools of fish, which swim up quite close to people in the pools. They’re happy to share their water with visitors, who often feed them. Eels also reside in the pools, but are shy in nature and tend to keep away from the general frivolity. Ideal for snorkelling, the Crystal Cascades offer an intimate encounter with local marine life.

Unless a local tells you about this delightful area, you accidentally stumble across the road sign leading to the falls, or you’re lucky enough to have read this article, Crystal Cascades will remain a delightfully secret spot that sees local families flocking to it in the summer months.

A little further up the creek is the largest swimming hole known by locals as ‘No Fear’. From the cliff beside the rock pool, many have jumped into the water hole below. Sadly, this is not a safe activity and many have been injured by the submerged rocks, invisible from above. Numerous accidents have resulted in warning signs being placed around the area, advising people not to jump into any of the pools from rocks and boulders. It is wise to pay close attention to the warnings.

A range of unique fauna resides in the area, but they are generally shy. All, that is, except for the goannas, who might wander out to look for food. They won’t hurt you, but they’ll snatch your food if they get a chance.