9 Secret Swimming Holes to Escape Brisbane's Heat

9 Secret Swimming Holes to Escape Brisbane's Heat

Pack those swimmers and hop in the car – nature’s waiting!

By Candice Jackson and Tegan Atkins | 4th February 2016

Hold up! We've updated this article with a bunch of new and exciting swimming holes to discover around Brisbane. Check out the new edit here!

Running low on friends who have pools? Really sick of blowing up that plastic pool only to sit in a puddle of water that is barely enough to cover your whole body (without kicking the face of the other two people crammed within said blow-up pool)? You’re in luck! We’ve put together the best natural pools to visit. Lagoons, swimming holes, rock pools and creeks – we’ve got it all.

You know what they say – our land abounds in nature's gifts of beauty rich and rare. And we can all agree that these FREE swimming holes are great for a refreshing adventurer’s fix as well as being ridiculously Insta-worthy! #nofilter

1. Lower Portals, Mount Barney

Lower Portals, Mount Barney Queensland swimming holes

Lower Portals, Mount Barney. Image: @visitscenicrim on Instagram

If you’re willing to hike more than seven kilometres, you’ll be rewarded with a refreshing cool-down at the beautiful pool along a gorge on Mount Barney Creek. There’s plenty of room to splash around, and large rocks to climb on for a better view of the swimming hole.

From Brisbane: The journey along Mount Lindesay Highway through Beaudesert to Rathdowney will take you a little under two hours.

2. The Gorge, Lake Moogerah

Lake Moogerah swimming holes near Brisbane

Lake Moogerah. Image: @jaymelouise__ on Instagram

Looking for a quiet, hidden and shady swimming hole? Lake Moogerah’s Gorge has you covered, with plenty of rocks and overhanging trees to make you feel like you’ve found your own private natural pool. There’s also a camping site nearby that people often frequent for stargazing!

From Brisbane: Head out to the countryside on the National Highway for around an hour and a half.

3. Cedar Creek, Samford

Best watering holes near Brisbane waterfalls swimming

Cedar Creek, Samford. Image: @phoebunny on Instagram

Cedar Creek is ideal for those wanting to escape the crowded beaches this summer. This area has rock pools of varying depths, watering holes, trickling stream, and no sand to get stuck in your toes – win!

From Brisbane: Take a scenic 45-minute drive north-west.

4. Kondalilla Falls, Montville

Kondalilla Falls, Montville | image: Tourism and Events Queensland | swimming holes near Brisbane

Kondalilla Falls, Montville. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

This one is for when you’re feeling adventurous. You’ll need to walk through a forest, trek across a gully and wander down a hilly terrain to find this slice of paradise. Kondalilla literally translates to “place of rushing water”, so it makes sense that this is where you’d find a tranquil, deep swimming natural lagoon fed by a beautiful waterfall.

From Brisbane: Put Kondalilla Falls Road, Montville into your GPS and enjoy the hour and a half drive.

5. Gardners Falls, Maleny

swinging rope Maleny swimming holes watering holes Gardners falls

Gardners Fall, Maleny. Image: @oliviastelzer on Instagram


While there are a lot of rock pools in the area, you don’t want to miss the main swimming area near the gorgeous waterfall. This playful swimming hole also has two rope swings, so you can harness your inner Tarzan or Mowgli (thumping on your chest and screaming ooo-ah-ah-ah is not a prerequisite, but we’re sure it’s not frowned upon).

From Brisbane: A little more than an hour’s drive north of the city.

6. Currumbin Rock Pools, Currumbin

Currumbin Rock Pools | Image: @j0ely.b on Instagram | swimming holes in Queensland

Currumbin Rock Pools. Image: @j0ely.b on Instagram

This spot is very popular among younger generations and families, with plenty of grassy knolls for picnics, rock ledges for climbing, and shallow rock pools and a main pool for relaxing as the sound of a trickling waterfall takes you away.

From Brisbane: Head for the nearby Currumbin Beach and let your GPS do the rest.

7. Twin Falls, Springbrook National Park

Springbrook Natural Bridge, Gold Coast | Brisbane swimming holes

Springbrook Natural Bridge, Gold Coast

Double the waterfalls = double the fun! A four-kilometre circuit will take you behind two waterfalls and through rock caves in a shaded forest-like landscape, with plenty of places to cool off along the hike. And if you stay until the sun goes down, the nearby Natural Bridge has an amazing display of glow worms.

From Brisbane: Less than an hour’s drive south!

8. Box Forest Circuit, Lamington National Park

Elabana Falls in the Green Mountains, Lamington National Park | swimming holes near Brisbane

Elabana Falls in the Green Mountains, Lamington National Park

Please note, this trek is not for the fitness phobic, with an 11-kilometre circuit (that’s about three and a half hours of walking) taking you from O’Reilly’s to this lush sub-tropical rainforest. Along the walk there are watering holes, cascading streams, waterfalls and plenty of photo opps. If you want to make a day off it, you can have lunch at O’Reilly’s, try the tree top walk 30 metres above the ground or zip down the 180-metre cable flying fox to the forest floor below.

From Brisbane: Just under a two-hour drive south.

9. Rocky Hole, Mt Mee (D’Aguilar National Park)

Rocky Hole, Mt Mee (D’Aguilar National Park) | Queensland swimming holes

Rocky Hole, Mt Mee (D’Aguilar National Park). Image: @tonimurray2 on Instagram

If you don’t own a four-wheel drive, you might need to invite your mate that does: the terrain on the way to this Broadwater swimming hole can be a little rough. The Rocky Hole rock pools are mostly shallow and are surrounded by dry bush, rocky platforms and carved-rock stairs and caves. And look at that swing!

From Brisbane: Take the Mt Mee tourist drive through Dayboro out of Brisbane.


Hero image at top of article: Kondalilla Falls, Montville | Image: Tourism and Events Queensland


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Article by Candice Jackson and Tegan Atkins

This story has been written by a Guest Styler for Style