Apr 01, 2023
The Sunshine State is famous for world class beaches and theme parks, however, there are lesser known, but equally as enchanting reasons to visit - we’ve rounded up the best Queensland Swimming Holes to dive into - so pack your towel and togs, we're heading off the beaten path!
Read on to discover the best waterfalls, beaches, rockpools and other swimming holes in the Sunshine State.
Sunshine Coast Waterfalls and Swimming HolesThe Sunshine Coast is simply brimming with beautiful waterfalls, rockpools, swimming holes and magical places to explore. Read more about the best Sunshine Coast swimming holes in our article.
Serenity FallsYour classic Sunshine Coast waterfalls include Gardener Falls, Kondalilla Falls and Wappa Falls (all of which are postcard-worthy and offer excellent swimming hole options), but Serenity Falls is our top choice as it's not only five minutes from the main strip of Buderim and a short 300m walk, but there's a stunning bridge to view the falls from, as well as somewhere to put down a towel and take in the enchanting scenery.
Main Parking / Access: Quorn Cl, Buderim QLD 4556
Alternative Access: Harry’s Lane off Lindsey Road. Follow the boardwalk 600m which takes you to the falls.
Serenity Falls | Image by @elisehalina via Instagram
Booloumba FallsThese falls are less frequented due to their tricky location but are well worth the journey making them our top secret Sunshine Coast waterfall and swimming hole.
Main Parking / Access: Booloumba Falls Carpark
Heading north, turn left onto Goades Road from Maleny-Kenilworth Road
Boolumba Falls | Image by @radleywhite via instagram
Noosa Fairy PoolsThis famous spot is found in Noosa National Park along the coastal walk between Tea Tree Bay and Hells Gates. It’s best enjoyed at low tide when the pools are more visible. To make a day of this adventure, do the entire coastal walk and enjoy the scenery of Devils Kitchen, Alexandria Bay, Dolphin Point lookout and Boiling Pot lookout before rewarding yourself on Hastings St afterwards.
Main Access / Parking: Noosa National Park Carpark, 60-62 Park Rd, Noosa Heads QLD 4567
Alternate Access: Parkedge Road, The Esplanade or Sea View Terrace, Sunshine Beach
Top Tip: If you are visiting during a busier period, you can park anywhere along Alexandria Beach such as The Esplanade or Sea View Terrace, Sunshine Beach and start your walk from the beach or Parkedge Road and take the Alexandria Bay Walk track until it meets the coastal walk.
Gold Coast Waterfalls and Swimming HolesThe Famous for Fun Gold Coast boasts the well-known theme parks, incredible dining, and world class beaches. The lesser known part of the Goldie include the incredible swimming holes peppered across the hinterland and creeks. Read on to discover the best places to dive in.
Check out our article on the Best Gold Coast Beaches with calm swimming conditions for more Gold Coast swimming holes.
Tallebudgera CreekThis is the classic Gold Coast swimming hole for locals and visitors lucky enough to happen by or be tipped off. The water is a permanent emerald featuring a backdrop of Burleigh Headland, there are several beaches and nooks to enjoy, and the creek boasts calm water so it’s perfect for younger children and those who don’t swim often.
Tallebudgera Creek (Beach in front of Neptune Royal Surf Life Saving Club) - Flagged Swimming Beach
This is the main area of Talle Creek, boasting a patrolled beach with flags and life guards watching over the glistening water.
Main Access / Parking: Tallebudgera Creek Park, Gold Coast Hwy, Palm Beach QLD 4221
Top Tip – The water is also at its most visually pleasing at high tide. Get in early to this Gold Coast swimming hole as it is popular among the locals, or try one of the below spots.
Tallebudgera Beach | Image by @craig__obrien via instagram
Murlong ParkThis calm cove of Tallebudgera Creek offers another long stretch of sand framed by parklands with playgrounds and BBQ areas as well as a completely netted swimming area.
Main Access / Parking: Murlong Crescent, Palm Beach QLD 4221
Echo BeachWhile this is certainly not a hidden or secret spot, you reach it by walking along the Burleigh Headland Ocean View Track. It’s a stunning spot with rocky outcrops that add to the scenery.
Main Access / Parking: There is some parking in front of the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre at 1711 Gold Coast Hwy, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220.
Alternate Access: Burleigh Heads along Goodwin Terrace and walk the coastal track to Echo Beach.
Currumbin WaterfallsCurrumbin Rockpools and Waterfall is a well known and popular spot for good reason, it is a stunning spot with a large swimming area and plenty of flat rock to lay your towel down. Currumbin Waterfalls always delivers a great insta-moment, so it’s easy to store this day in your memory bank and social account.
Main Parking / Access: Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Valley QLD 4223 – follow this road to the end.
Cougal CascadesCougal Cascades is slightly further down the same road and boasts less foot traffic and a beautiful tumbling waterfall to enjoy and swim beneath.
Main Parking / Access: Currumbin Creek Road, Currumbin Valley QLD 4223 – follow this road to the end.
Cougal Cascades | Image by @kendallbaggerly via instagram
Long Tan ParkA true locals only secret! If you are a late riser, it’s a particularly busy day, or you simply prefer to adventure off the beaten park, the swimming hole at Long Tan Park is a stunning and quiet spot for a swim, picnic and place to relax.
Main Parking / Access: Currumbin Creek Rd & Bains Rd, Currumbin Valley QLD 4223
Cairns, Port Douglas and Palm Cove Waterfalls and Swimming HolesTropical North Queensland is a region famous for its beautiful warm weather year round, rainforests and beaches that lead out to the Great Barrier Reef. So it is little surprise that there are hidden gems peppered throughout the tropical rainforests. Read on for our top places to swim, stinger, crocodile and rip free!
Crystal Cascades CairnsThis secluded freshwater swimming hole is nestled in the magical rainforest boasting a series of small waterfalls that flow into large pools framed by dramatic granite boulders and the tropical jungle beyond.
Main Parking / Access: Redlynch Intake Rd, Lamb Range QLD 4870. It is approximately a 1.2 kilometre walk from the car park along a well-maintained road.
Josephine Falls CairnsJosephine Falls is often referenced among the most beautiful and spectacular swimming holes in Tropical North Queensland. It’s been used in many advertising campaigns meaning you can truly expect a ‘postcard’ experience.
Main Parking / Access: LOT 1 Josephine Falls Walk, Bartle Frere QLD 4861. It is approximately a 700m walk to the falls.
Josphine Falls Cairns | Image by @tanyaalice via instagram
Mossman GorgeOne of the most famous and photographed swimming holes in Tropical North Queensland, Mossman Gorge grew in popularity due to its pristine clear water and beautiful tropical surrounds.
Main Parking / Access: There is a shuttle from the Mossman Gorge Centre at 212 Mossman Gorge Rd, Mossman Gorge QLD 4873
Mason’s Store, Cape TribulationThis is the definition of a ‘secret spot’. Driving up towards Cape Tribulation you will pass Mason’s Store. As well as souvenirs, groceries and crocodile pies, they also hold another secret – a beautiful freshwater swimming hole down a short trail behind the store.
Main Parking / Access: 3781 Cape Tribulation Rd, Cape Tribulation QLD 4873
Mossman Gorge | Image by @little.gypsies via instagram
Babinda BouldersYou can expect stunning scenery, beautiful photos and the perfect place to take a dip at Babinda Boulders. All this you would have anticipated, however, there is an ancient Aboriginal tale about the area that is mesmerising. There was a daughter of a tribe who fell in love with a man from another tribe. They attempted to run away together, but she was betrothed to another man from her own tribe. The runaway lovers were caught and torn apart, so the daughter threw herself into the boulders never to be seen again. The story goes that she calls like a siren to young men to dive into the waters she now claims as her own to a terrible fate.
The principle of the story? Only swim in the signed areas! There are severe currents that can drag you under the water.
Main Parking / Access: 1 Munro St, Babinda QLD 4861
Babinda Boulders | Image by @lewisblackburnadventure via instagram
Big Crystal Creek, TownsvilleNestled in Paluma Range National Park, Big Crystal Creek is just as it sounds – an enormous swimming hole with mesmerising crystal clear water. It also boasts a natural slip and slide, luscious little waterfall as well as several more smaller swimming holes nearby making it a must visit Townsville swimming hole.
Main Parking / Access: 183-291 Spiegelhauer Rd, Crystal Creek QLD 4816
Brisbane Swimming Holes
Cedar Creek SamfordA relatively unknown spot, Cedar Creek is a rugged and beautiful set of cascading rockpools and small waterfalls. If one spot is full of locals, it’s easy just to head downstream and find a quieter slice of hinterland paradise.
Main Parking / Access: The end of Cedar Creek Road, Cedar Creek QLD 4520
Even More Queensland Swimming Holes
Zoe Falls, Hinchenbrook IslandHinchenbrook Island near Orpheus Island, north of Townsville boasts a range of breathtaking scenery from beaches and mountain ranges to rainforest walks and more, so it is no surprise it is also home to one of Queensland’s best swimming holes. Zoe Bay is found a short 900m walk from Zoe Bay through the rainforest.
Main Parking / Access: Zoe Falls are a 900m (1.8km return) walk from Zoe Bay. Zoe Bay is accessible by land via the Thorsborne Trail or by sea kayak or boat launched from Cardwell, Lucinda.
Zoe Falls, Hinchinbrook Island | Image by @ashleighbridget via instagram
Rock Pools at Carnarvon GorgeInvigorate yourself post Carnarvon National park exploration with a dip at the rock pools. It is the only place in Carnarvon Gorge dedicated for swimming, but remains a peaceful spot to enjoy a relaxing swim and to appreciate your surrounds.
Main Parking / Access: Carnarvon Gorge Rd, Carnarvon Park QLD 4722. The rock pools are a 3.6km return walk from the Carnarvon Gorge visitor area or 600m return walk from the rock pool car park.
Carnarvon Gorge Rock Pools | Image by @meandmytravelbugs via instagram
Lake Eacham, Crater Lakes National Park (Atherton Tablelands)Situated in Crater Lakes National Park, you have probably guessed that this Atherton swimming hole was created by volcanic activity. Massive underground explosions from the superheating of groundwater formed this now stunning volcanic crater or maar for visitors from near and far to enjoy. Now it is a peaceful spot to enjoy a dip and walk around the 3km track that encircles the lake. You can also drop in a kayak or canoe onto the calm waters – be sure to keep your eyes peeled for turtles and schools of fish!
Main Parking / Access: Lakes Dr, Lake Eacham QLD 4884
Lake Eacham | Image by @lijey_d via instagram
Lake McKenzie, Fraser IslandLake McKenzie is to lakes what Whitehaven is to beaches – this postcard perfect spot needs no filter and sports year-round perfect blue and calm waters to swim and kayak on as you please.
Lake McKenzie FactsThe only pollutant in the water is sunscreen.
It is located 100m above sea level.
The sand is pure silica (the same stuff you’ll find on Whitehaven beach) which gives it it’s white hue and non-heating properties.
It is a ‘perched lake’ meaning it only contains rainwater – it is not fed by streams and does not connect to the ocean, while the sand bottom stops it from draining.
The purity of the lake prevents sea life.
Main Parking / Access: Lake McKenzie Road, Fraser Island QLD 4581 – you’ll find your Fraser Island swimming hole right in front of the car park!
Lake McKenzie | Image by @tainemaloneyphotography via instagram
Lawn Hill National Park | Boodjamulla National ParkIf you haven’t heard of Lawn Hill National Park before, you are not alone. Located near the border of Queensland and the Northern Territory this swimming hole is truly in Queensland’s outback! Of course, the imagery of red sandstone walls and emerald waters has been enough to convince over 40,000 people to pack their bags and hit the road 540km north west of Mt Isa to take in its glory in person – so it’s definitely a worthwhile trip.
Main Parking / Access: Wills Road, Lawn Hill QLD 4825 – 4WD Only!
Lawn Hill National Park by | Image by @haggisspringrolls via instagram
Cardwell Spa PoolsThis idyllic Queensland swimming hole is a naturally fed, seasonal creek that shot to Instagram stardom in 2016 due to its ethereal blue colouring and luscious backdrop. While locals have been enjoying the spot for many years, it’s now a popular road trip destination and stop between Cairns and Townsville to cool off and snap some amazing pictures.
Fun Fact – the blue colouring is due to the high levels of magnesium and calcium picked up from the sedimentary rocks.
Main Parking / Access: Brasenose St, Cardwell QLD 4849. 2.5 hours south of Cairns and 2 hours north of Townsville.
Cardwell Spa Pools | Image by @therawphoto via instagram
Considering chasing waterfalls? Talk to our team at Discover Queensland on 1300 788 553 to book your holiday complete with your top Queensland swimming hole recommendations!