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Best Natural Swimming Spots Near Brisbane

Home > Brisbane > Outdoor | National Parks | Lists | Escape the City | Walks
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published January 22nd 2016
A list of the best swimming spots in South East Queensland
Best Natural Swimming spots near Brisbane

For many people summer means it is time to find a great place to cool off. While heading to the beach is one option, it is also possible to find swimming holes in the many national parks and natural reserves around South East Queensland. Below is a selection of some the popular swimming spots, along with a few little secrets places worth checking out.

Summer is the perfect time to find a swimming spot for a dip
Summer is the perfect time to find a swimming spot for a dip


Cedar Creek Falls Rock Pool

One of the best swimming spots in South East Queensland is located in Mt Tamborine. This great swimming spot at the bottom of the Cedar Creek Falls is just a short walk down from the car park and barbecue areas.

Cedar Creek Falls at Mt Tamborine
Cedar Creek Falls at Mt Tamborine


Kids do jump from the rocks, despite the numerous signs. The main hassle is that on a hot weekend or public holiday, finding a car park is next to impossible, and that includes the extended car park by the road. I recommend arriving early or late in the day for a swim here.

Cedar Creek
Cedar Creek


Cedar Creek

Just to make things confusing there is a Cedar Creek in Mt Tamborine and a closer one at Samford just north of Brisbane. This Cedar Creek has numerous swimming holes and rock pools to swim in . The swimming holes are accessible from the end of Cedar Creek Road and just past Andy Williams Park (where ther is toilets and Barbecues).

Samford Valley seen from Jollys Lookout
Samford Valley seen from Jollys Lookout


There is more than one swimming hole, so you can walk up along the creek until you find the perfect spot for a dip. It is a great way to finish up a trip to the Samford Valley.

Lake Enoggera

Lake Enogerra has only recently opened up to swimmers and kayakers. However that never stopped the local kids, who still ignore the designated swimming area to jump off the dam wall. Other Brisbane lakes plan to open up as well, but Enogerra is the closest, has public transport, a cafe, zoo and a range of walking tracks.

The designated swimming area at Enoggera Reservoir
The designated swimming area at Enoggera Reservoir


There is heaps of parking here and being a lake, even on a hot day with a huge crowd, there is plenty of room in the water. At the moment Enoggera lacks picnic or barbecue facilities, but there is a lovely green slope to spread out your blanket.

Enoggera Resevoir has a nice green bank to spread a blanket for a picnic
Enoggera Resevoir has a nice green bank to spread a blanket for a picnic


Kondalilla

The Kondalilla swimming hole is at the end of a short hiking trail. While not large, it is a great place to cool off. It is only a short walk down to the falls from the car park following the Picnic Creek Circuit , but you can also walk the 4. 7 km falls walk to view the lower falls, build up a little bit of a sweat and then jump in the swimming area below the small upper falls.

Kondalilla,Falls Swimming Spot
Kondalilla,Falls Swimming Spot


While only a small swimming hole, it is a very popular spot with families on hot days. Best to arrive before lunch if you want to swim before it gets to crowded.

The walking track at Kondalilla Falls
The walking track at Kondalilla Falls


Lower Portals, Mt Barney

One of the best swimming spots in South East Queensland, is the Lower Portals Swimming Hole at Mt Barney. Getting there requires walking 4 kms through fairly open bushland up and down a series of ridges.You also need to cross two creeks and go through the portals. The portal is a hole in a rock that you climb through to the swimming spot. Though you can also skirt around the portal if you want, it is not hard and a lot of fun making your way through the rock.

The lower portals swimming hole
The lower portals swimming hole


After all that adventure a dip in the pool is well worth it. At the far end is a small waterfall and a rock ledge to climb out on a sun bake. Unfortunately you then have to walk back to your cars along the same sweaty track.

Ascending through the portal at the Lower Portals
Ascending through the portal at the Lower Portals


Gwongoorool pool

The beautiful rainforest at Binna Burra is full of streams and falls, but it can still be hard to find a place to swim. One of the easiest swimming spots to access at Binna Burra is the Gwongooorool Pool. Starting at the lower car park near the Visitors Centre it is only 3 kms down to the pool.

Gwongoorool Pool at Binna Burra
Gwongoorool Pool at Binna Burra


This wonderful pool is fed by mountain streams and is filled with cool clear mountain water. Definitely worth the short walk for a great swim. There is also lots of space to sit by the pool and enjoy a picnic.

The path down to the Gwongoorool Pool
The path down to the Gwongoorool Pool


Box Forest Circuit at O'Reilly's

The Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park is normally called O'Reilly's after the O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat. The Box Forest Circuit has no one single swimming hole as the half the walk follows the creek and there are numerous rock pools at the base of cascades and water falls you can go for a dip in.

The Cascades on the Box Forest Circuit
The Cascades on the Box Forest Circuit


Box Forest Circuit is an easy 11 km walk but it takes longer than you would normally expect because most people stop to admire the scenery along the way, and there is a lot of scenery. Definitely one of the best little walks in South East Queensland.

One of the many waterfalls on the Box Forest Circuit
One of the many waterfalls on the Box Forest Circuit


Cronan Creek's Secret Falls

A hot summer day means that you will be sharing the perfect swimming spot with hordes of other people unless you know a secret spot to visit. Cronan Creek at Mt Barney as a little falls worth visiting if you know how to get there.

The falls at Cronan Creek
The falls at Cronan Creek


The Cronan Creek track is a 13 km walk that crosses several streams and goes from open bushland to rainforest. Just before the end of the track (which really leads nowhere) you will see a little pile of rocks that indicates where to get off the main track to rock hop a short distance up to the falls. Note: If you come to cliffs as you head down to the creek then you are above the falls. Simply backtrack a little way down where it is easier to walk to the falls.

Hikers at the start of the Cronan Creek Track
Hikers at the start of the Cronan Creek Track


Blue Lake, North Stradbroke Island

If you prefer a dip in fresh rather than salt water, there are two lakes on North Stradbroke Island. Of the two lakes, Brown and Blue Lakes, Blue Lake is the better lake for swimming. This lake has remained stable for thousands of years, providing a unique island swimming opportunity.

Photo of Blue Lake courtesy of Wikicommons (Shiftchange)
Photo of Blue Lake courtesy of Wikicommons (Shiftchange)


To get to Blue Lake you need to drive along the sandy roads up to Blue Lake National Park and walk about 2.7 kms to the lake. Because you need a car to get here and a lot of visitors don't bring a car with them, it is often far less crowded than the beaches, even on a busy day.
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