9 Of The Gold Coast’s Best Waterfalls And Rock Pools For Swimming
When you think of swimming in the Gold Coast, you’d be excused for turning your thoughts to the beautiful Pacific Ocean and its expansive golden sands. You’d also be forgiven for imagining row after row of resort pools, fun-filled water play areas, and waterslide adventure at Wet ‘N’ Wild or Whitewater World.
But can we let you in on a secret? The Gold Coast is home to an endless array of spectacular waterfalls and wondrous waterholes that are just magic to swim in. So pack your swimmers and dive into an organic experience amongst some of nature’s best landscape. You’ll be amazed what you find…
Currumbin Rock Pools
A fifteen-minute drive from the beach takes you to Currumbin Rock Pools, a much-loved, favourite haunt of Currumbin locals. The drive alone makes the visit worth it, which follows the creek inland through the lovely, lush Currumbin Valley.
Pool depths here vary, so whether you’re after a spot for preschoolers to paddle or you’re envisioning giant leaps off the rocks, you’ll find a pool that’s perfect. Pack a picnic, enjoy the grassy banks and soak up the sun – you can even bring some snags for the BBQ!
Purling Brook Falls
The Purling Brook Falls in Springbrook National Park are spectacular, and providing you’re willing to walk, the falls flow into incredible creeks that are magnificent for swimming in. The Falls themselves tower at over 100 metres in height, and an elevated path through the open eucalyptus forest will take you to an amazing view point. From there the path descends into a subtropical gorge where you can view the Falls from below. After crossing a new suspension bridge that’s strategically placed for excellent photo opportunities, the track will lead you to plenty of great swimming spots.
Also in Springbrook National Park is Twin Falls, which punctuate the sub-tropical landscape with their mightiness. The walk begins from either Tallanbana picnic area or the Canyon lookout, and you can enjoy looking at the continuously changing scenery as you make your way along the track. Expect to see trees more than 1500 years old, interesting rock formations, very steep cliffs, an abundance of wildlife, and breathtaking views. At the base of the falls lies a large rock pool that’s perfect for a refreshing swim after a relaxing 4km walk.
Framed by Burleigh Heads National Park on one side and Palm Beach on the other, Tallebudgera Creek is where everyone who enjoys swimming, picnicking, kayaking and fishing come together. The waters in the creek are known for their relative calm, making the spot hugely popular with young families. For those preferring a surf, the nearby beach offers plenty of opportunity to catch a few waves. And, after a swim, why not grab a bite to eat at the Tallebudgera Surf Lifesaving Club, which offers great daily specials, salads, grills and seafood?
Take a drive through Currumbin Valley and step back in time when you visit an old 1940’s saw mill underneath the commanding Mount Cougal. Explore the creek which flows into rock pools created from the force of the water for over a thousands of years. The walk to the mill is short and offers a small viewing platform of the cascades. Further down you’ll find the pools, and while there’s no path to guide you, the pools are accessible if you don’t mind a bit of a climb. Just be sure to pack some good walking shoes.
Cedar Creek Falls
One of the most delightful walks in the Tamborine area is the Cedar Creek Circuit (3.2km), which explores the creek’s various cascades, rockpools, flora and fauna. This section of the park is easily reached via Tamborine Mountain Rd, with the turn off to Cedar Creek Falls Rd being just past the information map stopping bay. Home to a ton of picnic tables, be sure to pack a lunch. Once you’ve enjoyed a bite to eat, you can make your way down the track for a swim. The track is sealed, making it good for children – but leave the stroller at home as there are lots of stairs.
The Elabana Falls make up a part of a beautiful set of falls and swimming holes set along Canungra Creek in Lamington National Park. Breathtaking and serene, the falls are layered in stages, each one with its own unique flow and surroundings. Being shaded, the water is cool – you’ve been warned! But after a long walk on a hot day, it can be hugely refreshing. If you’re lucky, you may even spot the Lamington Cray, which is bright blue in colour and roams the forest floor.
Araluen Swimming Hole
This scenic little pot of gold is a secret between Tallebudgera Valley locals, so we hope we’re not stepping on toes by letting the secret out! Tucked in the foothills of Springbrook National Park and close to the corner of Araluen Road and Tallebudgera Creek Road, you’ll find a fresh water hole for splashing, a rope swing for airborne fun, and a grassy field for picnicking.
Love Heart Waterhole
About a 35-minute drive from Nerang lies Killarney Glen Waterfall and a heart-shaped waterhole that’s absolutely picturesque. On the way there you’ll pass the Government’s Kokoda Training facility – in fact, a large part of the Lower Beechmont area is a military training zone. With this in mind, be prepared for signs about live ammunition! After applying some mozzie repellant, follow the track down for about 30 minutes to the waterfalls. Here you will find a few areas to swim, and more than likely you’ll see some adventurous types jumping into the love heart-shaped pool. Not a place for toddlers, but a great spot for older kids and the young at heart.