Our impressive Sunshine Coast beaches get a pretty good wrap. But they often overshadow our gorgeous hinterland sprinkled with dazzling waterfalls and sensational swimming holes.
We reckon chasing waterfalls is exactly what you should do. And the best Sunshine Coast waterfalls are only a short drive and hike away.
This little hinterland hideout is a favourite among Sunshine Coast locals, so be warned: you’re not going to have this waterfall to yourself. But if you weigh up the easy stroll from the car, the beautiful bush setting, the gentle waterfall, and the rock pools below complete with rope swings, it’s worth battling a little crowd to enjoy a dip at this Maleny swimming hole.
So you like your waterfall chase to involve working up a sweat? We get it! After a bit of a bush walk there’s nothing like seeing a stunning four-metre waterfall surrounded by lush greenery and plunging into a deep waterhole appear before your eyes, and then knowing that you can jump right in for an instant refresh. Skip the beach and hit this waterfall in summer aka the wet season, to see its real power and discover first hand the reason behind its name “Kondalilla”. We’ll give you a hint in the meantime though, it’s the Aboriginal meaning for something that starts with “rushing” and ends with “waters”. Damn!
Conondale National Park
This hunt will take you a little further afield from the bustling coastline of the Sunshine Coast and into the Conondale National Park. Pull up your car, tie up your laces (yep, ditch the thongs unless you want to make friends with LEECHES!), and hike a short 1.5km to the picnic area. Just before the falls lookout head down the stairs where you’ll find the main pool, perfect for a dip or waterfall shower. Loving the scenery? Back up, and set up a tent at the Booloumba Creek campsite.
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.
CONONDALE NATIONAL PARK
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.
You’ve done Kondalilla Falls and Serenity Falls is old news to you too. But have you checked out Baxter Falls in the hinterland? Not only is there a suspension bridge over Baxter Creek—perfect for that “weekend adventure” Insta pic—but it’s not that tough. Totalling up to just over 6kms, start and end at Flaxton Mill Road in Flaxton, before hopping back in the car and bee-lining straight to Little May Espresso’s in Montville for a golden turmeric smoothie.
If you've chased all the waterfalls, stay on the road and check out these amazing roadtrips you can take from the Sunshine Coast.
Image Credit: Lumea Photo for Urban List