Last Updated on April 9, 2021 by Travels with Kids
Quinninup Falls is one of Western Australia’s most Insta-worthy and popular waterfalls! Here we cover everything you need to know to do the Quinninup Falls hike. As a bonus, we have thrown in how to get to the nearby Meekadarabee Falls!
In general terms, Quinninup Falls is located in Willyabrup, which is very near to Yallingup and about 30km north of Margaret River. It’s a short hike of about 4 kilometers in total. About 2km there and another 2km back. We didn’t find it hard at all. However, I guess it depends on your experience, as more than a few reviews describe it as ‘physically challenging.’
Remember that the Quinninup Falls are only a 10-meter high waterfall (so that’s not actually very tall). Also, it only flows in winter and early spring, and even then the flow is not massive! In short, if you want to do some Margaret river walking trails, do this one when the falls are flowing. If you are visiting in the drier months, why not consider one of the other short Margaret River hikes.
How To Get To Quinninup Falls
We’d read quite a lot of stories on the internet about people having troubles getting to Quinninup Falls, or using their GPS’s and getting lost. We did our research and didn’t get lost. We put Moses Rock Road Carpark into our GPS.
It was about 4 km from the Caves Road turnoff to the Moses Rock Carpark. We actually spotted a small informal carpark immediately opposite where the Cape to Cape Track crossed the Moses Rock Road and parked there. Thus saving walking up/down the hill to the formal Moses Rock carpark.
Quinninup Falls Hike Details
Total Length Of Hike: 4km (2km each way) for a total hike of 2.5 miles.
Time Required: About 45 minutes each way if you are fit or longer if you are not fit/ have children.
We took 2.5 hours in total, with 2 children aged 10 and 6, one infant in a carrier, and one 75 year old. We ate snacks at the waterfall and explored the beach a bit!
When walking the Quinninup Falls track, the important trail markers are the Cape to Cape ones. In fact, you will see them for the bulk of the trail. The kids loved them because when you see them you are going the right way!
The first part of the walk is pretty flat, running along the top of the coastal escarpment, through heath vegetation. There is one big sand dune (you will know it when you get there). Then, shortly after (about 1.5 km in), the Quinninup Falls track diverts from the Cape to Cape track, veering strongly to the East (or in the opposite direction to the ocean) and is slightly uphill to the falls. Not very steep. Going back UP the big sand dune is a bit of a challenge! Especially with the loose sand moving underfoot, but totally do-able if you go slowly!
We did the hike in July 2020 and had read a lot of information online about the hike being wet and soggy in winter. However, they have done a lot of maintenance on it and it is not bad at all! (See pictures). The waterfall only flows during the winter and spring months so that is really the only smart time to do this hike. But watch out for snakes during late Spring, Summer, and Autumn.
The day we did the hike there were about 5 other groups either going to or coming from the falls. It was a busy walking trail by our estimation!
Is Quinninup Falls Dog Friendly
No, it is not. On the day we were there a man had a dog and we politely pointed out that it was a National Park – he said he didn’t know.
Quinninup Falls is located in the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park and in National Park land. No dogs, horses, or other pets are allowed. There are dog exercise beaches at Dunsborough, Yallingup, Gracetown, Prevelly, and Augusta.
What To Take On Your Quinninup Falls Hike
- Water! Even though this is a short walk it is important to carry water.
- Snacks can be helpful, especially with kids.
- Hat & sunscreen – even in winter.
- Dress appropriately as the weather on the coast can change dramatically over a short period.
Other Things To Consider When Doing Margaret River Walking Trails
In addition to the items above, you should also:
- Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Allow plenty of time to enjoy your walk. Be aware of what time the sun sets.
- Take all your litter home. This includes toilet paper should you need to relieve yourself on the trail (carry a small plastic bag for this purpose). White flags (eg, toilet paper) are gross!
- Never light a ground fire – and use BBQs where provided.
- Pets are not allowed in National Parks.
What Are Other Things To See Around Quinninup Falls
Quinninup Falls is located in Willyabrup, and the closest small town is Yallingup, famous for its surf break. We have covered all the attractions in Yallingup including places to eat at The BEST Things To Do In Yallingup WA.
If you are looking for a great place after your hike to Quinninup Falls, then we recommend Black Brewing Co is located almost directly at the end of Moses Rock Road. It is about a 6 minutes drive from the carpark. Guess what we did on the day of our Quinninup Falls hike? Headed straight to Black Brewing for some hot chips and coffees! For our full review of the vast range of Margaret River Breweries check out Best Margaret River Breweries which includes a more comprehensive review of Black Brewing co.
Other Margaret River Waterfalls – Consider Visiting Ellensbrook Homestead & Meekadarabee Falls
If you like walks, history, and waterfalls, then you might like to visit Meekadarabee falls (spelled on Google Maps as Meekadarribee Falls). The waterfalls themselves are extremely modest but the experience of visiting Ellensbrook Homestead is well worthwhile.
Unfortunately, the Ellensbrook Homestead was closed on the day we came to visit. However, all the same, we enjoyed walking around the picturesque homestead and reading the signs outside. We imagine Ellen Bussell arriving at this remote place at 16 years old, recently married and making a life there.
Grace Bussell, known for her role in the rescue of the survivors of a shipwreck off this same coast was Ellen Bussell’s daughter. We’d read the story of Grace & Sam Isaac’s rescue many times, so the place was particularly interesting for my kids.
After walking around the homestead we enjoyed wandering along the brook, and found that we were actually on the Cape to Cape Track. The Meekadarabee Falls is marked by a sign telling the legend of Mitanne and Nobel, star-crossed aboriginal lovers who lived at the falls. After their deaths, it is said that their spirits are joined, living in the cave behind the waterfall.
There was a little bit of water cascading around the cave, and given there aren’t a lot of waterfalls in the southwest. This is a nice place to visit.
Ellensbrook at Mokidup is located on Ellen Brook Road. It is about 4km into Ellensbrook Homestead from Caves Road.
What Is The Cape To Cape Track
The Cape to Cape Walk Track is one of Western Australia’s most famous long-distance walk trails. It runs for 123 kilometers along the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge. It starts at the lighthouses of Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse near Dunsborough and ends at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse near Augusta. The Cape to Cape Track is famous for its amazing coastal scenery, which must be amongst the most dramatic in the world. In addition, there is fascinating geology of cliffs, caves, headlands, and rock formations.
Compared to some other famous walk trails, like in the Andes of Peru or Nepal, there are not a lot of very steep hills. You are walking at sea level, so you don’t need to deal with altitude complications. On the other hand, walking on some of the beach stretches can be very tough when they are soft.
Most people take about 7 days to complete the whole Cape to Cape Walk Track. The daily hiking ranges between 14 km on the first day and 21 km on the longest day. The best months to hike are March to May when the weather is cooler. A good time is also September to November when the wildflowers are in bloom and the weather is warming up and hopefully, it is not too wet underfoot!
If you are interested in doing the Cape to Cape track you should check out our posts on the starting city Dunsborough. Best Things To Do In Dunsborough WA will give you a great idea of what not to miss and great accommodations in Dunsborough.
Margaret River Walking Trails
If you are interested in the Margaret River hikes, then seriously, the best thing you can do is get your hands on the free “Short Walks Cape to Cape” which outlines a wide range of variations, distances and includes maps! It also includes a guide to explain which dog-friendly walks are, and where to keep your dog on a lead due to 1080 baiting. I couldn’t find a date for the publication. However, it has to be about 10 years old based on the names of some of the government departments!
Cape Naturaliste To Sugarloaf Rock
This is a 3.5 km easy walk on sealed surfaces and boardwalks that starts and ends in the carparks of the Naturaliste Lighthouse and the Sugarloaf Rock. It is not a loop walk so if you don’t feel like walking back to your car you will need to get someone to pick you up!
Bunker Bay Loop
In comparison, the Bunker Bay Loops is a 3.6km loop and suitable for most ages and fitness levels. It starts and ends at the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse. We met a mother and daughter team who had just done this walk last time we were in Bunker Bay. They said the views were truly stunning! Also that the hike followed around the cliff edges of Cape Naturaliste had spectacular views out across Geographe Bay.
Canal Rocks To Wyadup / And Injidup Beach
This was on our list of walks to do last winter. We wanted to walk from Canal Rocks to Wyadup and be able to take in some of the truly spectacular scenery that occurs in that section of the Margaret River coastline. It’s 4km and of medium difficulty. Once again, not a loop so you either have to walk back or get someone to pick you up! The other option would be to continue on to Injidup Beach (home of the Insta famous Injidup Spa) which is 2.5 km from the Wyadup Carpark and follows a rocky path over the cliffs and has spectacular views towards Cape Clairault.
Margaret River Trails
There are a number of options around Margaret River town itself like the 15k m return hike to Ten Mile Brook Trail. This is a dual-use trail so we were thinking of taking the kid’s bikes for our next Margaret River weekend and riding out there.
The Margaret River Heritage Trails are a series of short loop walks that are signposted at the Rotary Park. You can head downstream under the river bridge or you could walk 1 km upstream along the Ten Mile brook Walk/Cycle Trail. The old Margaret River Bridge is very picturesque and makes for some great photos. This is a lovely way to connect with the forest nature of Margaret River and suitable for kids.
Other Waterfalls In The South West Of Western Australia
If you haven’t already guessed, we love waterfalls and will always go that extra mile to seek out a beautiful waterfall.
Beedelup Falls, Beedelup National Park, Pemberton
At about 10 meters high, Beedelup Falls is very attractive for quite a few months of the year with a good flow of water making a lovely waterfall sound, and running over several rocky cascades. The whole area is usually beautiful and green, with some stunning karri trees and lots of birdlife.
The easiest way to get to Beedelup Falls is from a 300-meter walk trail from the car park. There is a very fun suspension bridge that swings over Beedelup Brook and a series of steep stairs around the waterfall. For those with accessibility issues, you can see the falls from a viewing platform which you can reach with a wheelchair or pram.
If you are looking for something a little longer, the Beedelup Loop Walk offers walk trails from Beedelup Falls to the Karri Valley Resort (or vice versa). It is 4.5k m if you do the whole thing, or you can choose which section you would like to do.
For other things to do in Pemberton, see Best Things To Do In Pemberton WA.
Fernhook Falls, Mt Frankland South National Park Walpole
In the middle of winter, after rain, the power of Fernhook Falls is seriously awesome. The roar of the water powerfully charging over the granite boulders creates an amazing amount of froth. The falls feel very fearsome in winter. In Summer the water flow in the Deep River is much less. Sometimes it is a trickle, but at that time Rowell’s Pool is very tranquil and the kids have even swum near the canoe launching site. However with much caution!
The falls don’t thunder over a high vertical drop. They more roll over a wide area. So, for us happy snappers, there are lots of angles and little nooks where you can take good snaps. The water may not drop a great height, but after rain, in winter and spring, the horizontal expanse of the main falls and surrounding rapids can be a delightful sight. A delightful sound too; one not often experienced in the WA bush.
In the Deep River and Frankland River near Walpole in winter have a very high amount of froth. This is the result of tumbles over the rocks, it churns up the saponin, forming froth and bubbles which pile up in spaces between the rocks and float serenely on the surface of Rowell’s Pool. You can see the same effect in winter at Circular Pool near the Giant Tingle Tree.
There are a number of boardwalks that are approximately 500 m long. They give you great views of Fernhook Falls from a safe distance.
There are two ways to access Fernhook Falls:
From Walpole – Take the North Walpole Road. Then turn onto Beardmore road for 34k m and make a day trip by also visiting Mt.Frankland.
A Detour from the Southwest highway – it’s 8km in from the highway on Beardmore Road. It is a gravel road that can be quite slippery! Drive with care.
Is it worth the detour? Regardless of whether the falls are in full flow or just a trickle, this is a lovely spot in the middle of the Walpole wilderness. You have a sense of being in the middle of no-where and really “feeling” the bush. For us, that makes it worth a stop. If you are looking for a spectacular waterfall, it’s not necessarily that amazing, but there is still plenty of interest.
For other things to do in Walpole see TOP Things To Do In Walpole Western Australia.
The Verdict – Quinninup Falls & Other Short Margaret River Hikes
We’ve provided here everything we did at Quinninup Falls. Plus, we have included our honest assessment of whether it is really worth the hike! The answer: yes, it is worth it in winter because the falls are quite pretty, and this section of the Cape to Cape is spectacular. In summer, or when the Quinninup Falls are not flowing, we would suggest considering one of the other short Margaret River hikes as a better option. As always, if you have anything to add, please do drop us a message in the comments.
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