Yes, the Gold Coast's beautiful beaches are a top spot for a swim, but did you know the stunning South Eastern pocket is also home to many hidden freshwater swimming holes? Tucked away in the Hinterland, deep in sub-tropical rainforest, these natural rock pools are much-loved by locals and now you're about to be in on the secret too.
Wander off the beaten track and plunge into these six secluded swimming holes on the Gold Coast.
Currumbin Rock Pools
Found down a magical, fairytale-esque road in the Currumbin Valley are the Currumbin Rock Pools, a hidden gem where you'll find locals jumping in from the rocks above, complete with picnics on the grassy shore and lazing comfortably in the mini rapids. It's the perfect spot for families to spend the day wading about and enjoying the very best a freshwater swimming hole could offer.
Once you're done, it's a short ten-minute drive back to Currumbin and the coast, making this Gold Coast's most easily accessible swimming hole.
Where: Currumbin Creek Rd, Currumbin Valley
Image: Gold Coast City Council
Another Currumbin Valley beauty, Cougal Cascades is 20km inland from Currumbin Beach and it's somewhat of a natural wonderland. A sealed, 1.6km walking track winds through the subtropical rainforest from the carpark and you'll be met with towering trees, a friendly local creature or two and of course, a spectacular freshwater swimming hole.
You'll need to boulder hop down the creek bed to reach the water and you can either perch on top of the flowing stream or jump into the turquoise waters below. Both magical options. Don’t forget drinks and snacks, as there aren’t any shops out this way but it’s a 25-minute drive back to the restaurants and cafés of Tugun, Currumbin and Palm Beach.
Where: End of Currumbin Creek Rd, Currumbin Valley
Cedar Creek Falls
One of Mt Tamborine's most popular destinations, Cedar Creek Falls can be found a short 15-minute walk from Thunderbird Park. You'll stroll through an open canyon, past rock pools and with the region's native animals (think kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and plenty of Australian birdlife) as your backdrop to find one of the most incredible waterfalls you've ever laid eyes on.
There are a few natural swimming holes along the way, and picnic spots if you want to stop for a snack. It's always a little bit fresher up on the mountain so pack something warm to wear after your dip.
Where: Follow the signs from Thunderbird Park. Corner Tamborine Mountain Rd and Cedar Creek Falls Rd, Tamborine Mountain
The Gold Coast is home to yet another stunning natural destination, Lamington National Park, home to a myriad of must-see spots including Elabana Falls – one of the most iconic (and most photographed) waterfalls around.
Beginning at O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat the track to Elabana Falls is a moderate 7km hike that will take you past many incredible views until you end up at the ever-flowing Elabana Falls swimming hole. The short waterfall flows into a pool that is practically begging you to take a dip in its cool, calm waters.
Where: Main Border Track, O'Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Lamington National Park
Found on the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk, Warringa Pool is probably the most peaceful of all the swimming holes, sheltered deep in the rainforest. There’s a smaller pool at the top which flows into a larger pool at the bottom and honestly, why not try both?
There are a couple of options on this track, within the World Heritage-Listed Gondwana Rainforest including a right turn to check out the incredible Purling Brook Falls (which you absolutely should). But Warringa Pools is the lesser known of the two destinations and far more pleasant for a relaxing dip. Heavenly in fact.
Where: Being hike at 57 Gwongorella Parade, Springbrook
Springbrook National Park is one of the Gold Coast's most awe-inducing natural destinations packed with sprawling greenery, towering waterfalls, plenty of walking tracks and of course, a natural swimming hole or two. Twin Falls is found along the Twin Falls Circuit, which you can access from either the Tallanbana picnic area or Canyon Lookout.
It's a relaxing, picturesque walk and you’ll find yourself gazing up from behind waterfalls and taking in the huge canyon beyond. Take a cleansing dip in the pool beneath the waterfall along the way and return refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to face the world.
Where: Twin Falls Circuit, Springbrook National Park, Springbrook
So what are you waiting for? Pack a picnic and set out exploring the Gold Coast hinterland so you can be splashing in these freshwater swimming holes ASAP! On a hot summer's day, it's the most refreshing feeling to immerse yourself in the bracingly cold water. And if you want to continue your adventures, you'll want to read about Top 7 Waterfalls To Visit on the Gold Coast and Gold Coast's Top 10 Natural Chillout Spots.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
Destination Gold Coast acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region.
We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout Southeast Queensland.