Five Waterfalls Near Brisbane You Can Swim Under
Don't stick to the rivers and lakes that you're used to.
Sometimes, you should go chasing waterfalls. What beats splashing about in a natural swimming pool, underneath streams of rushing water? Not much, especially in the middle of Queensland's hot, sticky summer.
Living in the city may limit your opportunities to enjoy such aquatic experiences, but delights await if you're willing to go for a drive. Luckily, our national parks offer some of the best waterfall swimming in the country. Here are five watering holes that are more than just the rivers and the lakes you're used to — and all are just a short road trip from Brisbane.
TWIN FALLS, SPRINGBROOK NATIONAL PARK
About 100 kilometres south of Brisbane, including a winding drive off of the Pacific Motorway, Springbrook National Park is large, sprawling and home to many-a-spot to wet your feet. Since its famous Natural Bridge closed its waters to swimmers due to dangerous conditions, Twin Falls has become the park's favourite place to take a dip. And what a place it is. Walking a four-kilometre circuit will get you there and back — hiking over rocks, tramping through jungle-like landscape and even stepping behind the waterfalls. Once you see them, you won't be able to resist jumping in.
CEDAR CREEK FALLS, TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN
In the heart of the Gold Coast Hinterland, Tamborine Mountain's most popular spot can be enjoyed from above or below — or both. After venturing along Mount Tamborine Road and then Cedar Creek Falls Road, a quick walk takes you either up to the lookout, where you can see the falls cascading into rock pools, or down to the only swimming holes on the mountain. When the water is really flowing, you'll feel like you're in a natural hot tub, without the heat. Picnic tables are nearby for those making a day of it, but be warned: if the weather is nice, they'll be busy.
KONDALILLA FALLS, MONTVILLE
Heading north, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland boasts many treasures — and not just of the wintry variety. You might be more familiar with making the journey up the Bruce Highway to Montville to snuggle up in the cold, but you can also frolic in the nearby swimming spots when it is warmer. Located within Kondalilla National Park on the Blackall Range, the falls are named for an Aboriginal word meaning 'rushing waters.' In that, they deliver. The main attraction plunges 90-metres down into a rainforest valley. But, after a steep 45-minute walk to loftier heights, you'll find a rock pool with its own four-metre falls, as well as an adjacent picnic area.
BOOLOUMBA FALLS, CONONDALE NATIONAL PARK
Montville isn't the only quaint mountainous town with gushing streams close by — Maleny matches its neighbour for exciting experiences. You'll take a similar two-hour drive up from Brisbane, this time heading towards Kenilworth until you get to Conondale National Park. From there, it's a 1.5-kilometre walk, taking you from the designated picnic area to the stunning Booloumba Falls. Even if that sounds like a fair trek, traversing the distance is worth it to reach the falls, accompanying rock pools and the sights of The Breadknife rock formation. Just be sure to look out for leeches on the way.
JC SLAUGHTER FALLS AND SIMPSON FALLS, MOUNT COOT-THA
What's this — waterfalls in Brisbane? And just a stone's throw away from the CBD? Yep, it's true. Located in the Mounth Coot-tha Reserve, both JC Slaughter Falls and Simpsons Falls are located just a 15–20 minute drive out of the city. But there is one catch: swimming under these falls will depend on how much rain we've had lately. If wet weather has cast shadows over the city (which is fairly likely during summer), there should be just enough water for these falls to live up to their name. Regardless of recent precipitation levels, both sites are still ideal for barbecues and picnics. Plus, from the lookout to the botanic gardens, there are plenty of other things to do while you're in the Mount Coot-tha region.
Top Image: Kondalilla Falls by Jesse Lindemann via Tourism and Events Queensland
Published on September 23, 2021 by Sarah Ward