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10 Of The Most Magical Swimming Holes In And Around Brisbane

Jordan Clayden-Lewis Jordan Clayden-Lewis

two women in a swimming hole
Summer is well and truly here, and so is the humidity that comes with it. Just outside of the city, you’ll find some of the best swimming holes in Australia. And since we’re expected to cop a fair bit of rain this summer thanks to the rainy weather pattern, La Niña, these natural freshwater pools should be filled up—ready for you to take a dip.

1. Lower Portals

Location: Mt Barney National Park

After a 1.5-hour drive from Brisbane and a sweaty hike, you’ll find the crystal-clear beauty of Lower Portals. Surrounded by granite boulders, these stunning rock pools are perfect for either a hike-and-swim day trip or you can camp overnight at the Lower Portals remote bush camping area (which you’ll need a permit for).

2. Bottlebrush Pool

Location: Crows Nest National Park

A well worth it 2-hour drive from Brisbane, this hidden swimming hole in Crows Nest National Park welcomes you with amazing swimming and picnicking opportunities. The national park itself is a choice spot for gorge and waterfall views, and the scenic drive through the Brisbane Valley will wow you on the way there.

3. Bunya Riverside Reserve

Location: Bunya

If you’re looking for a natural swimming hole that is super close to the city, then this is the one for you. Just a short 30-minute drive from the CBD, Bunya Crossing Reserve is perfect for a swim on a hot day. There are plenty of grassy patches for a picnic near the swimming hole too, so why not make a day out of it?

4. Enoggera Dam

Location: The Gap

Also a short half-hour drive from the city, Enoggera Dam is the perfect swimming spot to grab the floaties and relax on the water for the day. Nestled in the magical D’Aguilar National Park, this refreshing dam is an escape into nature without having to travel too far from Brisbane. It’s also heritage-listed, and you can see why. It’s stunning!

 

5. Currumbin Rock Pools

Location: Currumbin Valley

The Gold Coast doesn’t just have beautiful white-sand beaches. A short drive into the hinterland and you’ll find plenty of amazing nature walks, waterfalls, and swimming holes. Currumbin Rock Pools is one of them, boasting turquoise waters nestled in leafy bushland. Make a day out of it by frying up some snags on the barbecues provided. If you’re looking to catch more in the area, you can drive a further five minutes to the Cougal Cascades, which is a waterfall you can swim in.

6. The Gorge Lake Moogerah

Location: The Scenic Rim

If you’re looking for a spot to escape the crowds, this secret swimming spot near Lake Moogerah is the perfect spot to camp right next to a swimming hole. The Gorge camping area sits on the refreshing Reynolds Creek, at the base of the towering Mt Edward. If you want to camp, you’ll need to bring your own drinking water and there are no powered sites.

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7. Cedar Creek Rock Pools

Location: Mt Tamborine

Want the chance to swim under a waterfall, letting the freshwater spray onto your head like a shower? The Cedar Creek Rock Pools at Mt Tamborine is a choice spot for a day out. The 1.1km return walk features cascades, rock pools, flora and fauna, making it one of the best walks in the region. Why not visit one of the Mount Tamborine wineries while you’re in the area?

8. Kondalilla Falls

Location: Montville

Deep inside Kondalilla National Park in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, you’ll find the magical Kondalilla Falls, which plummets 90 metres into the eucalypt rainforest below. It’s a dramatic view on its own, of course, but it’s also one of the most epic natural swimming holes near Brisbane. As this spot can get quite busy during summer, we recommend getting there early. I’m sure the early wake-up won’t be a problem for most as well, especially since it’s been getting hot well before 9 am lately.

9. Rocky Hole

Location: D’Aguilar National Park

Accessible from the Mount Mee forest drive, the short but steep walk to Rocky Hole will lead you to a series of picturesque rock pools, all perfect for cooling off on a hot day. You might even spot turtles, eels and crayfish in the creek. Be sure to stop at the small platform along the walk to the rock pools to admire views over the creek and waterholes. This spot is about a 1.5-hour drive from Brisbane.

10. Cedar Creek Falls

Location: Tamborine Mountain

As one of the Gold Coast hinterland’s most popular summer swimming spots, Cedar Creek Falls has it all—multiple waterfalls, cascades, and lush swimming holes. This waterfall can be accessed along a 1.4km walking trail. You’ll catch timeless views of the falls from above at the first lookout on the trail, all the while surrounded by towering eucalypts and tropical tree ferns and palms. Even at the peak of summer, the water can be quite chilly, but it’ll be a refreshing dip either way. Since most of the creek is shaded, why not take a picnic lunch with you at one of the most stunning waterfalls in the Gold Coast hinterland.

Hot tips:

While exploring the beautiful swimming holes around Brisbane is a great way to enjoy summer, there’s still an element of safety that should be considered when visiting these swimming spots:

  • When it comes to crossing creeks, if the water is high after prolonged rainfall and looks too rough to cross, it’s usually a sign that you shouldn’t risk it.
  • Wear shoes with good grip (proper hiking shoes/boots), especially if you’re walking along rocks. Take extra care if you’re walking barefoot on slippery rocks to enter a swimming hole.
  • Please please please check water depth before jumping off any rope swings.
  • Check the water quality. If for some reason any of these waterholes are looking super gross or murky and have insects floating in them like a big bowl of soup, you might want to give swimming a miss.
  • Check the weather. This is an important one. Some swimming holes can become particularly dangerous after heavy rainfall (La Niña, need we say more?) so try and plan your trip for a non-rain day so that you don’t get caught in any flash flooding.

 

Other than that, enjoy these magical swimming holes near Brisbane!

Escapes Wellness & Nature