Wild swimming //
Cool off in the Green Caldera.
When the weather heats up it’s time to discover the stunning lakes, crystal clear creeks, spectacular waterfalls and refreshing swimming holes of the Scenic Rim.
Wander in the Scenic Rim is located on the grounds of The Overflow 1895, centrally positioned at the hub of the mountain range that forms the namesake of the region. It’s the ideal base camp for a day trip into the wilderness. This region is huge, so we recommend allowing a day for each point of the compass. Take your time – there are people to meet and treasures to discover along the way. We’ve compiled the best swimming spots in SE Queensland for you to explore.
Mapping it out.
Jump to a Google map with all of the featured destinations by clicking the button below.
1. Cedar Creek Falls, Mt Tamborine
- Spectacular waterfall after rain
- Clean, fresh water year round
From Cedar Creek Falls Lookout, descend through eucalypt forest and dry rainforest to the rock pools below. There are many steps on this walk, so be prepared for an uphill climb on our return. Climb over the rock face and take a dip in the refreshing, icy-cold water. Popular with locals and tourists alike, these swimming holes – the only ones on the mountain – are well worth it. These falls are truly spectacular after a good downpour, and you can swim right under them to feel the water cascading all around you. Even in the dry season the falls still pour fresh, clean mountain water into the lagoon below. This very beautiful and popular spot will be busy during the summer months so we suggest you get there early.
76 Cedar Creek Falls Rd, Tamborine Mountain National Park. Find out more here.
Trip: 47 km, 47 min from Wander in the Scenic Rim
Distance: 1.1km return to the Falls
Time on the trail: 30 min
2. Christmas Creek Falls
- Site of a historic plane crash rescue
- Begins one of the few hikes in the Lamington National Park
Beautiful pools in a pristine stream, fringed by the rainforest of the Lamington National Park. This drive south of Beaudesert is worth the trip. Limited parking has been created before the end of the road on the right hand side of the dirt track. Don’t drive to the end of the road, as this area is private property. Public access is via the sign-posted track and it’s only a short walk from the gate.
Christmas Creek Rd, Christmas Creek. Find out more about the creek and its history here.
Trip: 56 km, 47 min from Wander in the Scenic Rim
3. Flanagan Reserve
- Inspiring mountain views
- Easy access and grass area for picnics
Flanagan Reserve is wrapped in a natural bush setting by the foothills and mountains of Mt. Barney National Park. The 200m swimming hole is located within 12 hectares of camping grounds and is fed by the pristine Upper Logan River. Although a popular swimming spot in the summer, this world heritage listed site is one you will remember forever.
Facilities include toilets and a kiosk. Entry is free to day visitors however all guests must register on arrival.
135 Flanagan Reserve Rd, Barney View. Find out more here.
Trip: 58 km, 50 min from Wander in the Scenic Rim
4. Lower Portals
- Clean, cold water
- Amazing rock formations
If you’re looking for a short hike with a long cool rest for your troubles, the Lower Portals at the base of Mount Barney is just what you need. The hike to Mount Barney’s Lower Portals starts in the forest, where you’ll go up and down through eucalypt and grass trees until you reach the river. After crossing, the views only get better. Walk past the warning sign near the end of the track and after climbing through the rocks you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the gorge. Enjoy the swim and go back the same way.
Lower Portals carpark, Mount Barney QLD 4287. Find out more here.
Trip: 63 km, 55 min from Wander in the Scenic Rim
Distance: 7 km return (the swimming hole is half way)
Time on the trail: 3 hrs
Skill Level: Moderate. Rough track with long, steep sections.
5. Waterfall Creek
- Secluded, permanent waterhole
- Short walk from the car park
Waterfall Creek is a quiet and secluded swimming spot near a remote bush camping area. It’s a permanent water hole beneath spectacular rock walls and the waterfall runs after rain. While cooling off, you may even spy the endangered Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby on the rocky outcrops that abound here. Please note there are no toilets at this waterhole.
Waterfall Creek Reserve Camping Ground, Waterfall Creek Rd, Maroon. Find out more here.
Trip: 53 km, 50 min from Wander in the Scenic Rim
6. The Gorge
- Long, deep water hole in a beautiful bush setting
- Perfect for floating downstream in the shade
The Gorge swimming hole is without a doubt one of the most stunning hidden water holes in the Scenic Rim. Located within a private camping hideaway, this quiet and shady spot features a 200m-long swimming hole on Reynolds Creek. It’s around 1.5m deep in most parts and there’s an even deeper pool upstream. To access the camping ground, the owners request a gold coin donation. Drive up to the wooden building on the left and ask to speak with the owner to organise access for the day.
51 Gorge Rd, Charlwood. Find out more about the region here.
Trip: 40 km, 34 min from Wander in the Scenic Rim
Good to know.
Sunscreen and insect repellent can pollute the water. To help protect the health of waterways please wipe down to remove any sunscreens or insect repellents. Not all swimming holes have access to toilets so make sure you plan ahead.
The places we have suggested are all-natural creeks and waterholes and as such are likely to contain hazards. It’s highly recommended to wear water shoes or old runners in natural waterways. They make it easier to walk on stones in the water and you’ll reduce the risk of cuts and grazes from underwater hazards. It goes without saying to always check the depth of the water and look out for submerged objects before jumping in to any pools. To learn more about enjoying our natural waterways safely, check out this article from We Are Explorers.
If you know of a great place or meaningful experience in the Scenic Rim, please reach out and let us know. We are always on the look out for ways to travel with purpose.
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