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This little country town nestled beneath Queensland’s two highest mountains, Mt Bartle Frere (1622m) and Mt Bellenden Ker (1593m), is approximately 60 kilometres south of Cairns.

Admittedly it doesn’t look like much from the main road so many passing tourists miss it. However, it deserves a stop on road trips between Cairns to Townsville because it is home to one of the most beautiful waterfalls and picturesque creeks in the region.

1.    Babinda Boulders

The Cairns area has many fresh water swim holes but this spot is probably one of the best. Dotted with huge, smooth granite boulders, some submerged in the water, it is so beautiful that it feels like a little slice of undiscovered heaven.

A large section of the creek is perfect for swimming, although the water can be freezing cold depending on when you visit.

Close by there is a picnic area, barbecues, toilets and a children’s playground. A walking track with viewing platforms allows visitors to take in the views of the creek and waterfalls.

Just for extra interest, Babinda Boulders is associated with an intriguing Aboriginal legend. The local indigenous Yidinji tribe believe the Babinda Boulders were formed after a lover’s tryst.

Legend has it that a young and beautiful woman called Oolana intended to marry a wise old respected elder but she fell in love with a young, handsome man from a wandering tribe. When they were discovered he was taken away and Oolana broke free and threw herself into the river where the calm water swirled up and the ground burst open growing enormous boulders. The story goes that her spirit still calls out today for her lover’s return.

2.    Josephine Falls

josephine fallsEqually breathtaking a few kilometres down the road is Josephine Falls. There is a beautiful 750-metre walk through the rainforest which takes you to the first lookout with steps down to the bottom pool.

There is a large rock that many swimmers use to slide down into the swim hole. The next two lookouts are to the top pool and creek view but swimming is not permitted here. And for those wanting to make a day of it here there are toilets and picnic facilities beside the car park.

3.    Kayaking in Babinda Creek

Spending half a day kayaking down Babinda Creek is probably the best way to soak up the gorgeous landscape in this area.

view of babinda kayaksYou don’t need a guide so once Garry at Babinda Kayaks has set you up with a lifejacket and kayak, you are free to paddle away at your own pace and stop whenever you want for a swim or snack.

This photo is taken from the back of Garry’s house where you start the kayaking from.

We took about three hours and then rang Garry to come and pick us up once we reached the bridge at the bottom.

This is such a fantastic activity to do as a group and it really enables you to enjoy the surroundings without the rush of a guide or other tourists. Highly recommended.

NOTE: Extra care must be taken if you go swimming in North Queensland’s fresh water creeks and swim holes during the wet season when water levels can surge dramatically.

Photo thanks to Tourism & Events Queensland.