A swimming hole makes an enticing destination for a day trip or a calming backdrop to an overnight stay. Rachel Lewis is the Joint Founder of Wild Swimming Australia, an online guide to Australia’s incredible variety of outdoor swimming locations. Check out her top ten wild places for a natural dip.
Wild swimming has always been an essential feature in the (admittedly short) history of microadventures. It’s the perfect way to cool off en route if you’re reaching your destination on foot or by pedal power.
Another integral part of a microadventure is that it pushes our boundaries a little. What better way to do that than stepping off the land into water, letting go of the rope swing or even pushing on past the dreaded bellybutton freeze?
Here is our list of ten wild swimming locations which are easily accessible from Brisbane. Some would do for a day trip whilst others are a little further afield and are perfect for an overnight stay and extended/repeated dips on a sunny weekend. Many are even right next to an established campsite.
1. Kondalilla Falls
The pool above Kondalilla Falls could be the perfect swimming hole: long enough for a proper swim and fed by a small waterfall at the far end, this majestic swimming hole is surrounded by trees, native flora and rocks which are plenty flat enough for picnics. Whilst relatively tame as a standalone adventure you can choose to pair it with walking a part of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk which allows you to camp at or even tackle the whole four day walk which passes several other swimming holes including Lake Baroon.
2. Booloumba Creek
This area of the Conondale National Park is wriggling maze of pristine waterways, making it a wild swimming heaven. Camp at Booloumba Camp #1 and you will find yourself waking up right next to a turquoise clear pool surrounded by a beach of rainbow pebbles. It is a serious hike to Booloumba Falls (where there is another beautiful pool) from here but you can drive to the falls car park for a more manageable walk. There are countless other swimming spots in the area so it’s an ideal spot to head to if you’re after wild swimming adventures near Brisbane. Time to explore, explorers!
3. Lake Moogerah and the Gorge
Some deeper sections along Reynolds Creek, about an hour from Brisbane, are easily accessed from the quaint, privately run Gorge Campground near Aratula. There is also a designated swimming area at the picturesque Lake Moogerah which is located a little upstream.
4. Keyhole Lagoons
There are so many great swimming holes on North Stradbroke Island but The Keyhole Lagoons, which span 4.5km and consist of a chain of freshwater lagoons and lakes, might be our favourite. The Island is great to explore by bike as it is fairly flat. Bikes go free on the ferry or can be hired on the island.
5. Fairy Pools
The coastline of Noosa Heads is littered with amazing swimming spots when there is no swell but the Fairy Pools are something else. Nestled in the rocks around the point from Granite Bay, these sponge and coral-bottomed rock pools guarantee an incredibly beautiful and sheltered spot to swim in most conditions. They are accessed by walking through the Noosa Heads National Park where it’s not unusual to see koalas and where the variety of bush and coastal walking trails will keep you well occupied for the day.
6. Cedar Creek
A series of beautiful plunge pools awaits you below Cedar Creek Falls in the Tambourine National Park. There are several walking trails in the park, including two to other waterfalls. However, swimming is only permitted in certain areas to protect glow-worm populations and other wildlife.
7. Serenity Falls
With not a boat motor or bug trap in earshot, this is the kind of serenity Darryl Kerrigan could never have dreamed of. The only sounds are the waterfall hitting the large pool below and plenty of birdsong. It’s a short walk (with a bit of scrambling) down to the falls so this is the ideal day-trip swimming adventure.
8. Currumbin Rock Pool
This is a not-so-secret secret spot just twenty minutes drive inland from Currumbin Beach. It’s a large pool which is popular with families and has several levels of rock jumps. If you want to feel like you really deserve your swim, cycle the 40km loop from Currumbin Beach to Currumbin Rock Pool and back with a refreshing dip at either end. A large chunk of the ride is along the tree-lined and picturesque Currumbin Creek Road.
9. Minyon Falls
A visit to this swimming hole is definitely as much about the journey as the destination. You’ll be travelling on foot to the base of the falls through the incredible rainforest trails of the Nightcap National Park. Once there you will find a shallowish but swimmable pool at the bottom of an impressive waterfall and overlooked by a formidable cliff made of rather ominous-looking columns of rock.
10. Rocky Holes
Rocky Holes is a beautiful series of swimming holes along Neurum Creek, around a ninety minute drive from Brisbane. There is an unsealed road joining Rocky Holes with Bulls Falls (a short walk to the lookout will reveal more tantalising pools) and Neerum Creek Campground, where you can enjoy some peaceful bush camping for the weekend.
The area around Brisbane is teeming with far too many swimming holes to mention here. We hope this list will inspire you to head out and explore the wild swimming adventures near Brisbane with a spring in your step and the glimmer of distant water in your mind.
Photos by Andy Lewis