What to do in Cairns: Uncle Brian’s Waterfalls and Rainforest Tour

So you’ve made the excellent choice to stay at Tropic Days or Travellers Oasis while you’re in Cairns. The friendly staff have checked you in, you’ve settled into your comfortable room. Now what? Today we’re highlighting one of the dozens of great activities that our guests enjoy every week: Uncle Brian’s Waterfalls and Rainforest Tour.

First thing’s first: What is this tour all about? Well, as the name suggests, this tour will get you from the hostel to some of the lush, verdant rainforests that Cairns is known for. This is Far North Queensland, the humid tropics. You’re here for picturesque scenes and natural beauty. And where there are rainforests, there are waterfalls. This tour specifically goes through the Atherton Tablelands, named after John Atherton, a European that showed up in 1877, long after the aboriginals, and settled a town on the fertile plateau.

Next, so what is there to see in these Atherton Tablelands? On this tour, you’ll visit:

The first stop is Babinda Boulders. You’ll take a short walk through the rainforest and get to swim in the crystal clear mountain water.

Next, you’ll visit Josephine Falls: This is a three-stage rainforest waterfall that has the most awesome swimming hole in Australia. There ya go, you’ve seen the rainforest and waterfalls, just as the name of the tour suggests. But is it over? No, we’ve only just begun.

Next, it’s time for a delicious filling lunch and then, the star of the tour…

Milla Milla Falls: It’s listed on the Queensland Heritage Register, so you know it’s an important place. But why? Well first, the obvious: it’s really beautiful! This site is constantly used to promote the area because it’s one of the most photogenic places in Queensland, featured prominently not only in brochures, but even Australian beer commercials

Second, it’s important to the area’s history. This spot was used as a rest stop for the early horse and mule pack teams that travelled along the Palmerston track on their way to and from the Herberton mining field, as a depot for the first land surveyors working in the area, as a camp for workers on the Millaa Millaa railway, and as a quarry for road materials.

Anyways, we’ll leave the rest of the story to your tour guide, but once you’re here, you can take a swim and flick your hair for the gram.

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Peter Andre eat your heart out 🥴

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Next up is Lake Eacham: Lake Eacham is a volcanic crater lake over 60 meters deep and was created by underground pressure that eventually erupted and left a large crater.

Lake Eacham

Lastly, if you visit between April and October, you’ll have a chance to spot a Platypus. Honestly, this is one of the most underrated parts of the area in my opinion. You’re in Australia. Everyone gets to see a kangaroo and a koala, but how many people have had a chance to spot one of these cute little marsupials bobbing up and down along the waterways of the Atherton Tablelands?

So why should you take this tour? If you’re on an Australian road trip, you can certainly go and visit these places on your own. But even if you do, you still might enjoy the tour for a few reasons.

Number one, this is an intimate tour. You won’t be on some big coach bus crammed full of random tourists you’ll never meet or see again. Instead, Uncle Brian’s Tour of the Atherton Tablelands takes place on Gus the bus. You’ll have less than twenty other people with you and your tour guide will take every opportunity to have the whole group talking and laughing together the whole way. You’re staying at a hostel, which means you’re likely drawn to a social experience, and Uncle Brian’s Tour is definitely one of them. This is the kind of tour where the guide will remember your name and you’ll definitely remember your guide.

Speaking of the guides, besides being natural showmen, they’re also incredibly knowledgeable about all the sites you’ll be visiting and the scenes passing by your window. It’s great to see pretty places, but when you understand the story behind them, it definitely makes the experience more significant and memorable.


Next up, this is an affordable day out. Speak to our friendly hostel staff for the current rates, but you’re reading our hostel blog, so this is definitely a backpacker budget-friendly tour. A full day of fun, all the transport and tasty food to fuel the adventure, this day out won’t break the bank and offers great value.

Last, but definitely not least of the reasons you should go on Uncle Brian’s Waterfalls and Rainforest Tour is that this is one of the highest-rated experiences in the Cairns Area. Uncle Brian’s has earned a Certificate of Excellence and this tour has over 100 reviews with an average of five stars. All the people who came before you will tell you, with Uncle Brian’s, you’re in good hands.

If you want to go on Uncle Brian’s Waterfalls and Rainforest Tour, come see us at reception or get in touch with us on the hostel website or Facebook.