Widest Waterfall in Australia – Millstream Falls

Millstream Falls is reputedly the widest single drop waterfall in Australia.

It is situated less than 5km from Ravenshoe (Queensland’s highest town) on the Atherton Tablelands in Australia’s tropical north, or… as the sign below points out:

  • 718km as the crow flies from Mt Isa
  • 1,376km from Alice Springs in the red centre
  • 1,704km from Coober Pedy in South Australia, or
  • 1,780km from Darwin in the Northern Territory ;)

Ravenshoe

The Millstream Valley was created more than 3 million years ago when the 300 million year old rhyolites & granites were eroded forming an ancient landscape of rugged hills and deep valleys.

Millstream Falls Ravenshoe

Between 3 and 1.2 million years ago Windy Hill, near Ravenshoe (where the wind turbines now stand) was created by a basalt volcano, (as seen in the diagram above) and it is this weathered black basalt rock that has created the rich agricultural soils of the Ravenshoe area.

Wind turbines ravenshoe

Periodic volcanic eruptions poured 3 lava flows into the rivers partly filling Millstream and other ancient valleys.

Millstream Falls

The oldest of these flows forms the base of the falls today and the youngest flows (1.24 million years old) form the upper slopes of the valley (where the car park is now situated).

Millstream Falls

 As each lava flow cooled, the contractions formed vertical cracks and produced columns, which are visible in the cliffs and rock surfaces above the falls.

Millstream Falls

Erosion by the river then cut through the lava flow layers and cooling columns creating this sharp drop over which the water today cascades.

Millstream Falls ~ Australia's widest Waterfall

As the area is in the rain shadow of the eastern dividing ranges, the woodland here is dry and open and so dominated by eucalypts. A contrast to the rainforest that can be seen only kilometres away.

Image: Eucalypt

The walk down from the carpark at the top of the valley edge (where there is a picnic area and compost toilet) is via a paved narrow track that steadily descends through this open forest past beautiful eucalypt trees, some of which have glorious tactile trunks shedding their bark.

Australia's widest waterfall

While the walk down is the easy part -

The climb back up afterwards is worth the effort!

I hadn’t heard a lot about these falls – And unless you’re familiar with their name it would be easy to drive right past the brown national park sign that simply points to Millstream Falls off the Kennedy Highway – So if you’re driving that way, keep your eyes peeled!

Have you already been there?

Or what is the largest or widest or highest waterfall you’ve seen?

 

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10 thoughts on “Widest Waterfall in Australia – Millstream Falls

  1. I haven’t been to Millstream Falls, which — I realise this is a terrible confession, considering the falls are not all that far away! — but I have seen Barron Falls near Kuranda in full flow during the Wet Season. Very impressive!

    • I’m super envious of your seeing Barron Falls in full force after wet season rains – I’ve only seen photos of that and it truly looks amazing!
      I would imagine seeing the full width of Millstream Falls flowing at the end of the wet would be pretty interesting too –
      Maybe next wet? ;)

      • Yes! Millstream would really be a wonderful sight. The 2011-12 Wet was nowhere near as rainy as the one before (which was kicked off by Cyclone Tasha), but we’ll see how 2012-13 goes. The Far North in the Wet is something worth experiencing — if only once!

        • I’ve spent a few wet seasons in Darwin and the Northern Territory Top End, but not where there are waterfalls where the full wrath of what has fallen from the sky can be visually experienced :)

  2. Hello there
    I thoroughly enjoyed your post on the Millstream Falls – as part of our annual wintering in FNQ this July we made our way up to Cooktown visiting the falls on the drive up from Mount Surprise. They looked just as you pictured them – wide fast and furious. But oh that trudge back up the hills was a killer!

    We saw the Barron Falls one year when we took the Kuranda Rail Train – only a trickle of water tho. That same year as we came down the Bruce on our way to Townsville we veered off at Ingham and drove out to the Wallaman Falls. Such a worthwhile joourney – we were well rewarded by the view when we finally got to the area.

    Take care
    Cathy
    Cathy recently posted..Who got a surprise at Mt Surprise!!My Profile

    • What a wonderful life you have Cathy travelling Australia following the sun!
      So many wonderful things to see and do though you could spend a lifetime travelling Oz and still not run out of places to go :)

      Just popped over to read your post on the surprise you got at Mt Surprise – The bush isn’t for the feint hearted haha!!

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