Where to get wet in Queensland

‘After spending the last two months driving VANessa “the cream dream” up the east coast of Australia I have compiled a bunch of my favourite swimming spots in Queensland. With a mix of beaches & freshwater, croc free swimming spots this list should really get you you sweating for an unforgettable swim.’

Purling Brook falls & Warringa pool, Gold Coast.

These stunning swimming holes can be found in the heritage listed Springbrook National Park. The 4km circuit walk via the base of the falls is easily mapped out through thick rainforest. One of two refreshing swims can be had at the base of the falls, the other is at the idyllic Werringa Pool, which is another 2km on. This tranquil spot was where we spent the majority of our time, leaping from the small cascade and kicking back in a natural plunge pool. It’s definitely worth the extra few kilometres walk. 

Bribie Island, Brisbane. 

Whilst Brisbane isn’t renowned for its beautiful beaches (for good reason!) Bribie Island was a very pleasant surprise. This pristine blue water, white sand and reasonably quiet beach was the perfect place to unwind just outside the city. Park up at Woorim beach where you will also find toilet facilities.

Paradise Caves, Noosa.

Up and over the hill from the northern end of Sunshine Beach you will find this absolute rock pool haven! We happened to pick the right time of day when these inviting pools were in all their sparkling glory, but even if you’re not so lucky an awesome cave at the base is definitely worth the rock climb.

Double Island, Rainbow Beach.

Accessible only via 4WD, (I recommend leaving as early in the morning as possible,) this stunning beach had us swimming with turtles and surfing small waves until the unavoidable tide drove us away. One of the most pristine and picturesque beaches I have ever had the pleasure of exploring. A hike up the hill to a little restored lighthouse with panoramic views is also well worth the walk!

Aurelian Falls, Mackay.

Located in the Finch Hatton Gorge, the dusty little Broken River road will spit you out at a carpark after a few tiny river crossings. The 1.6km walk is short but scenic through the thick sub-tropical rainforest, & you will come across a giant, deep swimming hole which is fed by a plunging waterfall. Take a leap of faith from the cliff, & keep in mind that it is also extremely popular.

Cedar Creek Falls, Airlie Beach.

If you’re lucky whilst splashing about in this giant pool, you may spot a freshwater turtle - or - follow the track on the right hand side of the falls to find some stunning private plunge pools up the top of the Cedar Creek Falls. 

Big crystal creek Townsville.

Start with a splash at paradise swimming hole, and pre book a stay here over night. Moving on a little shy 2kms past Paradise you will come to a dirt lot, so park up and then continue by foot following the road beyond the gate about 500m until the signpost directs you to the left. This will bring you out at a spectacular waterhole where hours are needed to explore this spot properly! Don’t be too shy to ride the rock slides down and make a splash, or frolic further upstream to find more pools. The rock slides are insanely fun and you can actually get a fair bit of speed, but expect a little graze or two if your’e like me and are looking for the edge that will give you the most air. For those of you not tempted by the slip ’n’ slide, you can retreat to the tranquil waterfall and splash around in the crystal clear green pool. This, for me, was the ultimate swimming hole in Queensland.

Cardwell spa pools and 5 mile creek, Cardwell.

Nature at its absolute best. Smack bang in the middle of the forest & equipped with its very own river fed bubbling spa bath (formed naturally in the rock) it’s what my bath dreams are made of. If this hot spot is just too busy but you fancy an afternoon dip then head onto 5 mile creek, (only a thirty second drive off the Bruce Highway!!) which is home to a deep bed of water perfect for a cool off on a long drive. Don’t hesitate to jump on in!

Babinda boulders, Babinda.

With a free campsite a stone’s throw away, this was one of my favourite swims to wake up to. The clear green water is surrounded by lush rainforest, and it’s not just a unique swimming hole, but holds great significance to Indigenous Australians with a heartbreaking back story. You can only swim upstream close to the carpark as the stretch of river through the boulders themselves are extremely dangerous, & has claimed many lives.

Josephine Falls, Babinda.

Another natural slip ’n’ slide, albeit a much larger one, a fast flowing water hole and a massive crystal clear green pool… tick tick tick. It is the perfect swimming spot! You could easily spend hours here so be sure to pack a tasty picnic!

Ellenjaa Falls, Cairns.

On the waterfall route near the quaint township of Millaa Millaa, and not so far from the very famous Millaa Millaa falls you will find the less touristy, but still tremendous Ellenjaa falls. Definitely worth the visit and a sweet spot to have a swim away from the crowds whipping their hair back and forth.

Mossman Gorge, Cairns. 

In amongst the world heritage listed Daintree forest you will find this absolute gem. If you’re looking to chill out in a crystal clear pool of water set out in lush tropical forest, enriched with Indigenous Australia history then this place will blow your mind. While some online blogs tell you it’s fine to walk, it’s not. Please pay the very low fee to catch the shuttle bus; where you will be supporting the local Indigenous people who run the centre and conserve the national park. 

‘In sharing these incredible swimming spots all I ask is that you pay the environment with the utmost respect it deserves. Leave only footprints and take only memories and photographs.’

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