Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
list an event      1 million Australian readers every month      facebook

5 Best Secret Swimming Holes in South East Queensland

Home > Brisbane > Outdoor | Nature | Lists | Escape the City | Walks
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published April 28th 2016
Don't tell anyone about these 5 little visited secret spots
5 Best Secret Swimming Holes in South East Queensland

Swimming holes in South East Queensland are not well advertised. There are lots of natural places around Brisbane and South East Queensland where you can head to swim. Finding the perfect swimming spot is a great way to relax and cool off with the whole family. Here are 5 great secret, little known, or infrequently visited swimming holes that are absolutely fantastic. Some are easy to reach and others require a hike.

Cronan Creek's Secret Falls
Cronan Creek's Secret Falls


For other natural swimming spots check out this list as well as this one.

Note: There are dangers in swimming in rivers, creeks and waterways. The main danger comes from the false sense of security that comes from the calm and flat water and the fact that they are not patrolled by lifeguards. When swimming in creeks and waterholes, keep an eye on the current before entering the water, be aware that there may be hidden rocks, logs and other submerged objects and avoid jumping or diving into any river or waterway.

The Meeting of the waters - Warrie Circuit, Springbrook National Park

This swimming hole is less of a secret, but is less visited as it is around the middle of the 17 km Warrie Circuit Hike at Springbrook National Park. This is one of the most beautiful hikes in South East Queensland, which takes you from the cliffs edges down into the valley, under a few waterfalls and back up the cliffs again.

The Meeting of the Waters on the Warrie Circuit at Springbrook National Park
The Meeting of the Waters on the Warrie Circuit at Springbrook National Park


Given the location of the swimming hole, you are going to hike the Warrie Circuit to get here. There is little point in walking to the swimming hole and then coming back.

The Meeting of the Waters is somewhere down in that valley
The Meeting of the Waters is somewhere down in that valley


If the water level is a little low, a tired and hot hiker can just relax in one of the smaller rock pools. Some of these are much deeper than the main pool.

There are also little rock pools at the Meeting of the Waters
There are also little rock pools at the Meeting of the Waters


Whether you go for a swim or not, you might as well soak your feet for a while and enjoy the location. On the hike this is the main place to stop and have lunch.

The Meeting of the Waters is a popular place for hikers to at least cool off their tired feet
The Meeting of the Waters is a popular place for hikers to at least cool off their tired feet


Flat Rock on the Barron Pocket to Kondalilla Falls hike

Flat Rock is a secret little swimming hole that people tend not to visit because it requires either a 12 or 14 km hike to get there, and there is a much easier to access to the popular Kondalilla Falls swimming hole nearby. Most people visit it while doing the Baroon Pocket to Kondalilla Falls hike, and because that is a 20 km return hike, they usually don't stop to swim.

Flat Rock has a lovely swimming hole that few people visit
Flat Rock has a lovely swimming hole that few people visit


I would recommend starting the walk at the Northern Recreation Area at the Baroon Pocket Dam. From here it is about 6 km to Flat Rock.

The start of the walk to Flat Rock from Baroon Pocket
The start of the walk to Flat Rock from Baroon Pocket


The first 2 kms is uphill but along a well maintained path to the Baroon Lookout. From there you head downhill on rougher paths to Flat Rock.

The start of the walk is easy, but becomes steeper later
The start of the walk is easy, but becomes steeper later


You can't miss Flat Rock as it is a great big flat rocky area next to a swimming hole. Even if you don't want to swim, it is a great place to stop for lunch. Of course you have to hike back up the ridge to the start of the walk.

The swimming hole at Flat Rock
The swimming hole at Flat Rock


You can also do the walk from Kondalilla Falls. This is a little bit longer, but also easier, except for the last section of the return which requires walking up to the top of Kondalilla Falls.

Cronan Creek's Secret Falls

There are little waterfalls, rock pools and swimming holes everywhere. Many are not accessible by tracks, but you can guarantee that someone has rock hopped up and down every creek in the state and that someone knows about them. One of these is a waterfall on Cronan Creek at Mt Barney. I don't know the name of these falls as I can't find the name on any of the maps I have looked at. I just call it Cronan Creek's Secret Falls.

The falls at Cronan Creek
The falls at Cronan Creek


The Cronan Creek Track is a beautiful 13 km return hike that starts in open countryside and heads into rainforest. The hike starts at the Yellow Pinch Car Park in the Mt Barney National Park, which is also known as the start of the South Ridge Track to the summit of Mt Barney.

The start of the walk is through open countryside
The start of the walk is through open countryside


Even on a hot day the hike is not that exposed as you quickly go from open countryside into the rainforest, where there is plenty of shade. While the track makes its way uphill, there is no place where it is steep. This is one of the nicest walking tracks I have been on.

Transitioning into the rainforest part of the walk
Transitioning into the rainforest part of the walk


The main annoyance of this hike is the numerous creek crossings. Some are shallow enough that you can wade through them in boots without getting your feet wet, but some are deep enough that you need to take off your boots and wade through the water.

One of several creek crossings on the path
One of several creek crossings on the path


The track just ends without any particularly interesting destination. However near the end keep a look out for a little pile of stones. Some hikers have recently told me someone has removed these stones, however from experience, many walkers will just go past them without realising it. These indicated the best place to leave the track and do a short rock hop up the creek to the falls. If you go past them to the end of the track you will be above the falls. Some people climb down the cliff to the swimming hole, but it is better to skirt around the edge where it is easy to make your way to the creek.

The little cairn indicating where the falls is, can be easy to miss
The little cairn indicating where the falls is, can be easy to miss


Once down to the creek it should be a short walk to the falls where there is areas with shade, others with sun and of course the wonderful swimming hole.

Rock hopping the final part of the path
Rock hopping the final part of the path


Boonoo Boonoo National Park

By and far the best swimming holes in the region even though it is just over the border in New South Wales. Boonoo Boonoo National Park and the neighbouring Bald Rock National Park are often ignored by Queenslanders, yet are not that far away.

The rock pools at Boonoo Boonoo National Park
The rock pools at Boonoo Boonoo National Park


Boonoo Boonoo National Park's main feature is the Boonoo Boonoo Falls. From the car park it is a short walk down a bitumen covered path to the falls lookout. While the view of the falls is not perfect, you do get a fantastic view down the canyon.

Boonoo Bonoo Falls
Boonoo Bonoo Falls


Even if you just want a swim, it is only a short diversion to the lookout. Definitely worth visiting.

The lookout at Boonoo Boonoo
The lookout at Boonoo Boonoo


Just above the falls are a series of rock pools that are popular with locals and visitors. There are two main large swimming holes, plus additional little holes above these.

The little rock pools at Boonoo Boonoo
The little rock pools at Boonoo Boonoo


Overall Boonoo Boonoo National Park is a pleasant place to visit. It includes a wonderful campground, a 14 km return walk along the river to the falls and back, and numerous little swimming holes along the river.

The river itself has lots of little swimming spots, especially at the camp grounds
The river itself has lots of little swimming spots, especially at the camp grounds


The region is also interesting and visiting Boonoo Boonoo can be part of a trip to Bald Rock, Tenterfield or other nearby locations.

Killarney Glen Falls

This little known swimming hole is becoming more and more popular as people discover it. Located on Army property in the Gold Coast Hinterland, the original owners of the property pushed for the Army and the Government to keep this area open to hikers and swimmers and after decades it has been reopened.

Heart shaped swimming hole at Killernary Glen
Heart shaped swimming hole at Killernary Glen


This area has 6 permanent waterfalls and the jewel is the heart shaped swimming hole. The start of the walk is on Beechmont Road (Killarney Glen can be found on Google Maps, but don't confuse it with the South East Queensland Town of Killarney.) The area is owned by the Army and is on the Canungra Army Base. The track is closed for a few days every month for army activities, but it is almost always guaranteed to be open on weekends and school holidays.

From the car park it 20 minute walk to the swimming hole. The heart shaped swimming hole can be entered by jumping off the cliffs or swimming up from the lower creek.

It is also worthwhile walking up and down Back Creek. While the area is a 'secret' it is actually a well known local secret. Which means on a hot day many people go to visit the swimming hole and then tell their friends. We found some more secluded and much less busy swimming holes down stream.


Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  36
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Every loves a nice swimming hole
Your Comment
Went today. This is such a cool spot, thanks so much. We had a somewhat cold but great swim in the heart pool. Just beautiful. Thanks Roy, Susan.
by Susan Jackson (score: 2|761) 1137 days ago
Put Killarney Glen into google maps. Maybe it won't be in your cars GPS, but Google has you covered. The start of the walk is just off Beechmont Road. You can usually spot the start of the walk by the cars parked on the side of the road when the car park is full. If you are driving from the north you will see a sharp switchback in the road and the car park is just before that. There is only a small sign for Killarney Glen, so it is easy to miss it.

Another landmark to look for is Marian Valley Shrine. There are two access roads to Marian Valley. If you are driving from the north they will be on your right. After you pass the first access road on your right you will the entry to Killarney Glen on your left. If you go past the second access road to Marian Valley, then you have gone too far.
by Roy Chambers (score: 2|732) 1142 days ago
How easy was it to find Killarney Glen? We went a few months back but couldn't see a sign on the road? We then ran out of time so said we'd come back another day. Your photo reminded me we need to do that but I'd prefer more definite directions before I set off this time to find this secret swim spot : )
by Susan Jackson (score: 2|761) 1144 days ago
Yeah this is my secret spot Its close by where my family is buried can anybody try help me to visit and access to the private cemetery who I'm looking for might be close by with a white pitched fence should 2 burials of a male and a female that she later died in the late 1800's or 1900's that relates to my family tree research purposes that I'm doing on with my cultural ancestry
by wakka (score: 0|2) 466 days ago
Articles from other cities
Featured
Foodi Photoh Classie
Top Events
Popular Articles
Categories
Lists
Questions