The best waterfalls in Queensland you can swim in
If there’s one thing Queensland does well, it’s beaches. Hard facts. But, did you know we’re also totally nailing freshwater swimming spots as well, especially when it comes to waterfalls—aka, nature’s absolute best swimming pool?
There’s something to be said for spending a day waterfall hopping in a totally secret swimming spot, so we pulled together this list of the best waterfalls in the state. If your fave isn’t on this list, don’t fret: we list out our guides to each region’s best as well so you’re well and truly covered.
Ready to jump in? Let’s go.
The Ones Down South
Looking for the best waterfalls near Brisbane? Look no further.
Cedar Creek Falls
Where: Samford, just outside Brisbane
These rock pools are short drive outside Brisbane, which means they’re perfect for exploring on your city break. To find the falls, head out along Mt Samson Road and onto Cedar Creek Road. Perfect for the whole family, you’ll find waterfalls, picnic spots and calm waters to laze away the day by.
Where: Maleny, Sunshine Coast
Gardeners Falls is one of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland’s hidden havens. You’ll find this guy at the end of a short, level walk from the car park so it’s perfect for every fitness level. The water cascades down different pools—so you can choose your own private pool. Not bad, not bad.
Where: Montville, Sunshine Coast
Whether you’re up for a dip or just a view, Kondalilla Falls is the one for you. Follow the track from the car park through the lush rainforest, past tranquil rock pools and to the base of the falls, which doubles as the perfect antidote to tropical heat. The circuit track around the falls will take you from the lookout to the pools, so it’s a nice loop to explore. You can also swim in the pool above the falls, like nature’s own infinity pool! This spot can draw a crowd in summer, so be prepared to share the space with locals.
Currumbin Rock Pools
Where: Currumbin, Gold Coast
Queenslanders are spoilt when it comes to our selection of freshwater swimming spots, so for one to make the cut on this list, you know it must be good. Enter, Currumbin Rock Pools. These pools sit 12km behind Currumbin Beach in the Currumbin Valley. The pools are perfect for setting up shop for the day with a speaker, some good tunes, a picnic and a crew of your best mates. The pools here vary from shallow to deep, so they make for the perfect chance to explore.
The Ones In The Middle
When you think outback, you don’t really think waterfalls and desert oasis, but these are some of the best spots to swim in Central Queensland.
Where: Carnarvon Gorge, Central Queensland
If you’ve been to Carnarvon Gorge you’ll know it’s a hiker’s dream: endless trails, breathtaking scenery – we told you, it’s a dream. With days spent hiking, it’s only fair that you’ll need a pretty decent swimming spot nearby. Naturally, Carnarvon Gorge delivers in spades, with the rock pool. You’ll find it a short walk from the car park, and it’s fresh, mountain-sourced water makes for one of the most refreshing swims you’ll ever have.
Finch Hatton Gorge
Finch Hatton Gorge, tucked away in Eungella National Park, is one of Mackay’s best-kept local secrets. This freshwater swimming spot is uber refreshing: think, cool, mountain-fed brooks, shade provided by the rain forest canopy… it’s heavenly. The walk to get to this waterfall and pool requires a bit more fitness than others, but it’s well worth it.
Where: Byfield National Park, just outside Yeppoon
Byfield National Park is one of our best-kept secrets. So too is its best swimming hole, Stoney Creek. You’ll find this spot a short drive out of Yeppoon. Expect a roomy campground nestled alongside the creek. To access the creek, it’s a short and relatively easy 1km trek. Water-wise, expect sparkling turquoise blue, calm waters lined with soft pebbles. See the picture above? That’s real life.
Where: Blackdown Tablelands, Central Queensland
You’ll find Rainbow Falls about half way between Rockhampton and Emerald in the Blackdown Tablelands National Park. The walk to these falls is a little longer than others, but so worth it – trust us! You’ll follow a 2km trail down to the falls – remember, you need to walk back up again – so it’s a 4km round trip all up. If you’re not here to swim, you can bring the kids along with a shorter walk to the lookout sans the trek.
The Ones Up North
Where: Cairns, Tropical North Queensland
If you’re looking for a waterfall near Cairns, Josephine Falls is a must. You’ll find this spot an hour’s drive south of Cairns in the Tablelands. Josephine Falls is a popular spot for swimming with the locals that spans across three tiers of fresh-water bliss. Think cool, mountain-fed waters, smoother granite boulders (hello, natural water slide!) and even a rope swing at Middle Creek. If you’re a photographer, check out the epic views from the top pool.
Millaa Millaa Falls
Where: Wooroonooran National Park, Tropical North Queensland
The Waterfall Circuit is the jewel in Tropical North Queensland’s crown. Think a circuit through lush, tropical rainforest stopping at five of Queensland’s best waterfalls – sounds dreamy, right? The Insta-moment on the circuit is, of course, Millaa Millaa, which looks straight out of a desktop background. Pro tip: The falls are fringed by a large lawn that’s perfect for an afternoon picnic. Naturally, you should probably do the circuit and soak up each of the waterfalls, but Millaa Milla is our favourite.
Where: Hinchinbrook Island, Townsville
Looking for the most epic natural infinity pool you’ve ever seen? Head to Zoe Falls, pronto. You can also opt to swim in the pool at the base of the waterfall that you’ll find around 900m from Zoe Bay for a dip without the hike. But, if you’re here for the views and the infinity pools, you better be prepared to work for it. You’ll find the infinity pools along the Thorsborne Trail in one of its most challenging sections – it gets kinda vertical here, people! But look at that view—worth it!
Where: Atherton Tablelands, Tropical North Queensland
To find Windin Falls – an area infamous on Instagram – you’ll need to follow the Old Cairns Track across the Gillies Range, so be prepared to spend two hours hiking each way. Pack snacks. Once at the falls, you’ll be treated to views out across the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics Rainforest. You’re welcome for all the likes you’re about to get.
Looking for more waterfalls to chase in Tropical North Queensland? They’re right here.