The best natural springs in Australia
Local falls [from grace]
There are hundreds of myths and legends about waterfalls and their healing powers – probably because, when you’re a kid, they seem like a logistical miracle. Just sit around in your swimmers and stare in hungover bewilderment like, “but HOW does the water never RUN OUT?”
We can’t vouch for magic, but we can vouch for medicine. Something about being in nature, soaking up sunshine, swimming in the cool water, helps to clean up the mess that is your tragic hungover life.
Plus, you’ll be less FML if you accomplish some sightseeing that day.
Here are 7 of Australia’s most impressive waterfalls:
Australia's epic falls
Jim Jim Falls, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
World Heritage Kakadu National Park in the NT is pretty much every Australian stereotype rolled into one big eff-off slice of heaven. Jim Jim Falls flow from monsoonal rains, and as well as his lil sister Twin Falls around the corner, is a major drawcard. If you’re heading here between November and March, you’re sweet, because that’s when they have most of their oomph. If you are braving it during dry season (April to October), you can still swim in the pool at Jim Jim’s feet, but you can’t get there unless you have 4WD wheels. If mum and dad are in town to bankroll your hangover expedition, you can actually book chopper or plane flights via Kakadu Air, North Australian Helicopters and The Scenic Flight Company and check them out Aladdin-style.
Wangi Falls, Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory
This waterfall is always a good time. You can access Wangi Falls super easily and at any time of year (although, sometimes she dries up downstairs and you can’t go swimming). On one side, you’ve got a half-crescent rock face waterfall, and on the other, you’ve got supple peach-coloured sand. The area even has free wifi, so bragging via Instagram should be a cinch. If you find yourself in a hangover emergency, luckily a campground is nearby with toilets, showers, barbecue facilities, a souvenir shop and café. When you’re feeling less fragile, try the mango cheesecake.
Josephine Falls, Cairns region, Queensland
This baby is an Instagram superstar already. With its sexy granite boulder formation and strange-yet-stunning turquoise water, Josephine Falls is one of the top selfie sites in Far North Queensland. It's a tiered cascade waterfall, which means swimmers can gently slip and slide their way over smooth rock faces from pool to pool, like a freakin’ waterpark carved by Mother Nature herself. Josephine Falls are part of the scenic Wooroonooran National Park (an easy one hour drive from Cairns), and are fed by rains on Queensland's highest peak, Bartle Frere. You don’t have to stray more than 700 metres (766 yards ) from the car park to find the picnic area, so pack yourself a breakfast of [former] champions.
King George Falls, the Kimberley, Western Australia
With its red rugged ranges, dramatic gorges and hairy wilderness, this area is pretty much the Russel Crowe of the Aussie outback. The 80 metre (include measurement in feet) high cliffs of the twin King George Falls aren’t too shabby either, carved out by a billion years of rushing water. This place is sort of in the middle of nowhere, so this journey is not for the faint-hearted hangover. Plus, you’ll need to be prepared to splurge on this one a little bit, because you can’t access it unless it’s with an organised cruise through a tour company from Broome – make this one a must-see when your parents or banker fling are on board. If you’ve managed to swindle this, hook up your cruise via The Great Escape Charter Company, Kimberley Quest, Aurora Expeditions or Ponant . FYI: the North Star Cruises vessel, True North, has a helicopter on board.
Wattamolla Falls, Sydney, New South Wales
Wattamolla is an Aboriginal word meaning “place near running water”, which is pretty much spoiler of the century. Inside the Royal National Park, about a 50 minute drive from Sydney, is where you’ll find the seven metre (23 foot) Wattamolla Falls. You can picnic at the top near the rock ledge, so pack yourselves a little Hair of the Dawg [HYPERLINK], and knock back some frothies in the shade of the cabbage tree palms. The blue lagoon at the foot of the falls, is known for its safe and calm nature, so it won’t matter that you’re a little slow on the uptake today and you can chill out.
Natural Bridge and Morans Falls, Gold Coast region, Queensland
The Gold Coast have a few bangers in World Heritage rainforest, but the Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park is right up there. Like something out of a fairytale, it literally falls over a basalt cave. If you take a guided nocturnal tour of the area with a tour company (e.g. Viator or JPT), you’ll get to see the colonies of glow worms and microbats, plus if you’re lucky, luminous fungi and fireflies lighting up the cave. This site won’t require a lot of planning, so don’t freak out – you can access it easily from the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road car park. If you’re feeling up to an adventure extension, make a stop at O’Reilly’s rainforest retreat, near Morans Falls, in Lamington National Park. It’d be pretty devo to miss the sunset from the lookout of the falls, so trek through the subtropical rainforest of booyongs, figs and brush box which you’ll find just down the main road from O’Reilly’s.
Erskine Falls, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
There’s a lush seaside town (aka designer Disneyland) called Lorne, where you’ll find spas, surfing, arts, bushwalking, fashion and food, but most importantly, Erskine Falls - a 30 metre (98 foot) waterfall . It falls down into fern-filled rainforest which will wash away your sins. If you’re already on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, don’t WASTE it. There are fishing villages, shipwrecks, rainforests and national parks. Plus, Bells Beach and the phallic – I mean, famous – limestone spires of the 12 Apostles.