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LOCATION: Behana Gorge

Photos courtesy of Cairns Canyoning

Behana Gorge is one of the Cairns spots that is still quite a local secret, if you search the internet you will find it, but not many tourists make their way down there. Between our family and friends at Barefoot it would have to be one of Far North Queensland’s top spots.

Behana Gorge, it’s still a local secret

There is a stunning walk for about two and a half kilometres to get to Clamshell Falls and it has everything you could wish for in the Wet Tropics, fantastic flora and fauna, numerous refreshing swimming spots along the way, and one of the most glorious of waterfalls at the end with plenty of places to jump in the water.

The Gorge and falls is about 35km south of Cairns, just past Gordonvale and the Pyramid hike. One of the reasons it is not on the tourist route is that not many companies run tours there. I can only think this is because some spots in the regions the locals like to save for themselves. It is also about a 45 minute hike to get to the falls through undulating terrain that reaches a maximum altitude of about 220m, so it will get that heart beating a little. On the positive side, the track is fully sealed all the way up to the falls which makes it a bit easier. The other reason it might not be on the tourist map is there are no facilities at this spot, so you need to make sure you are fully self sufficient for the day taking enough food, sunscreen and insect repellent along (and there are no toilets). You can always refill your water bottles from the freshest of running water along the way.

When you walk along the path you will notice a huge pipe on the side of the path, and this is because Behana is part of the Cairns water catchment area. This also means there is always a heavy water flow every day of the year. This comes with a caveat, don’t go for a swim here if there is lots of rain or forecasts for heavy falls. It can get out of control very quickly and is fed by the slopes of Queensland’s second highest mountain range, Bellenden Ker. However as the track is completely sealed it could be worth the walk in the wet to see just how out of control the falls really can get.

Each time we go for a hike up to Clamshell Falls, we always see many locals chilling in the water, but also finding many spots to jump a few metres off the rock face into the water. In most areas here the water can get to 3 or 4 metres deep so it is tempting for the daredevils out there, just be careful to check the depth of the water before jumping. If you are going to live on the edge, do it safely.

For those who are looking for a secluded place to go for a swim, this is the answer. Admittedly, if you go to the main swimming hole there will be many locals around. But, if you climb and rock hop a little further through the region you will be surprised by some sensational secluded swimming spots to satisfy the senses.

The only way to really get a relaxing day at Behana Gorge is either by hiring a car and driving there yourself. However, if you are looking for adventure and the thrills and spills of one of the best days out, you can book a tour with Cairns Canyoning. This really is an amazing day out, and the safest possible way to push your limits (as far as you want, no pressure). The day inlcudes hiking, abseiling and cliff jumping (if you want to), it is all 100% safe and you will be looked after by experts in the industry. This tour is organised so even an absolute beginner can partake in the activities as they have all the safety equipment and some legendary instruction. It’s a cracker of a day out and with twelve people maximum, it means you will always get personalised service.

So as you can see, Behana Gorge and Clamshells falls has it all, chilled swimming, a hike, good jumps, nature a plenty and even an adrenaline shot for the outdoor junky in need of a hit. Also there is one of the best views of the Pyramid on the drive on the way in.

Talking of the pyramid, if you are super fit and looking for a hike to push yourself on, start the morning (early) with a hike up the pyramid, and finish with a relaxing soak at Behana, but keep it to yourself, it’s still a local secret.

Photo credit: Photos courtesy of Cairns Canyoning