Here on the Gold Coast, our swimming days are numbered to about 360 per year.
We’re pretty much a watery wonderland with some lush rainforest thrown into the mix for good measure. Want a waterfall to swim under? We’ve got it! Picture-perfect rock pools to plunge into? Can do! But along with our stunning natural attractions, come the crowds.
For those days when your metre-by-a-metre patch of sand is inundated with tent-toting, sand-kicking beach invaders, jump in the car for an adventure. We’ve hunted down six gorgeous swimming spots in driving distance of the Gold Coast that only a local would know.
Doesn’t it just sound secret? And creative? And like it totally cascades down some rocks? So much meaning in one little name. Hidden in the lush Conondale National Park near Kenilworth, Artists Cascades deep-in-nature location means that to reach it you’ve got to trek a total of about 5km each way. Which means a whole lot of people just bailed out of ever seeing this one of the best secret swimming spots on the Sunshine Coast. For those who are still keen for a mission, park up at Booloumba Creek Day Use Area and get your walk on—the picturesque waterhole that awaits you is worth a bit of a hard slog.
Thanks to the motorway that zooms from Maroochydore to Noosa, this long stretch of beach in between is often THE place to laze and swim, if your idea of a secret spot is only sharing the water with a few other bodies. Yaroomba is one of our fave spots to park up for the day, minus the crowds of nearby Coolum Beach. With a headland at the northern end of the beach and Pandanus palms separating the coastline from RL, you’ll only find this patch of paradise on purpose or by the most well-timed accident.
Sounding more like a bush pub then a swimming spot, Harry’s Hut is tucked up the Noosa Everglades. One of the only places you can drive to by car along this special waterway. Yes, you will be sharing your swimming time, but only with people who know their stuff. If you hunt down this spot on four wheels, kayak, or canoe (which you totally can, FYI), then you deserve to do a “go big or go home” bomb off the wharf. We should probably point out that “some” people say there’s bull sharks up these ways, but who knows if that’s actually true or not. How ‘bout you let us know, okay?
Probably one of our fave beaches (that’s not on the Gold Coast), purely because it’s small and undiscovered compared to neighbouring Kings and Moffat Beach, Shelly Beach is easily one of the top secret swimming spots within driving distance of the GC. It’s exposed, so don’t expect super calm waters, but its ruggedness is what makes it beautiful. Screw perfection! For super seclusion, enter the beach at the north end by parking on Beachside Court.
There’s a few reasons people might not swim at Noosa National Park’s Winch Cove, just short of A-Bay. There’s no flags. There’s not many people bar the surfers at Granites. And it’s kinda rough. But with roughness comes diamonds, and this is a jewel among Noosa’s packed-out beaches.
Buderim’s best but not-so-well-kept secret swimming spot has got to be Serenity Falls. Explore Buderim Forest Park—make sure you wear swimmers under that active wear—and finish off with a dip in the rock pool. Best bit? You can re-enact those Decore shampoo commercials under a waterfall. Insta-famous video right there!
Photo Credit: Melissa Findley