With so many days of sunshine and just a tiny window of winter, the Gold Coast is an outdoor sanctuary. Though our beaches are sublime and our creeks are a dream, it’s the rock pools and swimming holes that are gaining most recent attention. Perhaps it’s the journeys through the forests or the exhilaration of a cold fresh water dip; whatever the case, we’re totally digging this GC trend.
So, grab your togs and your BFFs and chase down the Gold Coast’s best swimming holes.
Hardly a secret for locals, but if idyllic azure waters are more your jam than being tumble-rolled in the breakers (after all, that hot new two piece is barely holding on as it is), seek out this stunning sandy spit on Tallebudgera Creek. Find a park north or south of the bridge and enter the leafy nature walk at the southern end of the Burleigh National Park headland. Follow the path for about 300 metres or half way around the point, popping out at a magical beach protected inside the breakwater. Backed by native subtropical rainforest and frequented by the odd bush turkey, if you can sneak in a visit mid-week this gem is pure heaven.
If you’ve ever picked up a bottle of perfectly still or lightly sparkling Mount Warning Spring Water, you’ll know that the falls and creeks flowing off the great Mount Warning peak are worth swimming in. In fact, the water here is so pure that Mount Warning Spring Water (a certified carbon neutral company with a dedication to closing the health gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, we might add) is able to bottle its water right there in Uki, using nothing more than ancient rocks for filtration. Take a splash around in Korrumbyn Creek, which runs parallel to Mount Warning Road, before downing lunch at the Rainforest Cafe.
If you’ve never driven to the very end of Currumbin Creek Road, you’ve never experienced the bliss scene that is the Cougal Cascades. Sitting at the edge of Springbrook National Park —part of the Gondwana Rainforest of Australia World Heritage Area—the cascades are fringed by a safe and densely tropical walking track, which eventually arrives at the 1940’s Dolan Family sawmill. The weekends can get a little busy but don’t let that deter you; Cougal Cascades have plenty of swimming space for everyone.
Currumbin Rock Pools
If you don’t feel like taking the full ride to the end of the road to reach Cougal Cascades, Currumbin Rock Pools can be found a little earlier on the path. Located about 20 minutes west of the township of the same name, these rock pools boast the same leafy surrounds and turquoise waters that make Queensland’s swimming holes worth the drive. It also offers an easier picnic site, with a lush field of grass leading right to the rocky pools. The ever-evolving Currumbin Valley Rock Pool cafe is just across the road, sure to leave those who packed their own picnic filled with serious regret.
Springbrook National Park
But seriously, what adventure skewed round up would be complete without a Springbrook mention? Particularly one with a focus on fresh water goodness. If you’ve only seen Springbrook’s Purling Brook Falls from jittery heights, you may feel a little daunted by the thought of a swim in this region. But rest assured, Twin Falls is but a baby in comparison. Shimmy under this duo of streams and take a well-charged phone: this setting is uber-photogenic.
Araluen Watering Hole
A favourite of the Tallebudgera Valley local crew, Araluen Watering Hole is one of the most expansive swimming holes on offer, guaranteed to get you fully submerged without awkward lean or horizontal body pose. But the real reason this fresh water pool has us squealing for joy? The rope swing. Summer dreams are summed up here. P.S it's so secret, there isn't even a website about it. You're welcome we shared this locals-only secret with you.
Cedar Creek Falls
The rock pools of Cedar Creek Falls form part of the Tamborine National Park, and are the reward of a 30-minute round walk inclusive of quite a few steps. After a substantial soaking and some deep pondering at the lookout, you can balance out your outdoorsy time with a trip to the nearby Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard.
Love anything outdoorsy? Once you’ve hit Gold Coast’s best swimming holes, you’ll want to lace up your hiking boots and tackle these nature walks next.
Image credit: Brooke Darling for The Urban List