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 you can swim under are only a car ride singalong 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.
A Road Trip Away
Springbrook National Park
Feeling the need to escape the glitz of your hotel pool on the Goldy for more natural surroundings? Hop in the car and beeline to the Mount Cougal section of Springbrook National Park. Here, you’ll find the scenic Cougal cascades and rock pools, perfect for swimming in on a sweltering Queensland day. Unfortunately, this rainforest spot isn’t a hidden gem, so be ready to share your water space.
Cedar Creek Falls
Tamborine National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland is home to the stunning Cedar Creek Falls and well worth a jaunt when ticking “waterfall swim” off your bucket list. Naturally, this place goes off when it rains, and the rock pools turn from calm to a natural, bubbling spa great for a distress through water massage. Wink!
Denham Creek Reserve
Pack a picnic, your bikinis and boardies, and veer towards Denham Creek Reserve in Beechmont where you’ll discover a cool (literally) slice of Gold Coast paradise. Cocooned by greenery, hike down the gorge until you come to Lip Falls. Submerge, dry off, eat, repeat.
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: Brooke Darling for Urban List