Although it’s beach weather all year round up in tropical north Queensland, that doesn’t mean it’s always safe to swim at the beach, thanks to marine stingers, including the potentially fatal Irukandji. So during stinger season, try these swimming holes instead.
1. Crystal Creek
This is probably the best known swimming hole north of Townsville and there are a few different places you can access the creek including the Rockslides and Paradise Waterhole. Either location has enough room to take a picnic and spend a whole day exploring and cooling off. There are also a few roadside fruit stalls to check out on the way home too.
2. Little Crystal Creek
If Crystal Creek is too crowded, go for a short drive up the range into Paluma Range National Park. It’s usually slightly less crowded up here and there are a few different swimming holes around the picturesque old bridge over the creek.
3. Jourama Falls Rockslides
At the base of the enormous Jourama Falls are a series of swimming holes and rockslides. Jourama is actually closer to Ingham than Townsville and although it does get a little crowded, there are 15-20 different pools to swim in, if you’re willing to search up and down the creek a little bit.
4. Alligator Creek
I get it, the name isn’t promising. You’re avoiding the ocean which might contain stingers by swimming somewhere that’s named after alligators. You’ve got nothing to fear though, alligators aren’t even native to Australia.
Alligator Creek swimming hole is located in the Mount Elliot section of Bowling Green Bay National Park and is the only one on this list to the south of Townsville (there’s also a fantastic waterfall here to check out if you have the time for the 17Km round trip).
5. Head back to the beach and swim in the stinger nets
Ok, so you’re right to be annoyed. I promised 5 swimming holes and I’ve only delivered 4. But for those of us who were raised at the beach, sometimes freshwater just doesn’t cut the mustard. Stinger nets are located along The Strand and at Pallarenda throughout the summer months, for when you just have to have a proper swim in the ocean.