Featured image: The jaw-dropping Jarramali Spa. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland
You won’t find them in a five-star resort, but these epic freshwater spa pools in Tropical North Queensland are perfect for a dreamy dip. Crafted by nature, they’re off the beaten track — meaning you might just have their rugged beauty all to yourselves. And remember, it’s always swimming weather in TNQ!
1. Jarramali Spa
Topping our list is the jaw-dropping Jarramali Spa, poised on the edge of a remote sandstone escarpment near the township of Laura (west of Cooktown). The take-me-there soak can only be accessed as part of the Jarramali Rock Art Tours Indigenous experience, lead by Traditional Owner and Western Kuku Yalanji man, Johnny Murison. The highlight of this small group adventure is a guided tour through the 20,000-year-old Magnificent Gallery at one of the Quinkan Rock Art sites (but a splash in the spa comes a close second).
2. Clamshell Falls
Like a hike? Head half an hour south of Cairns to the Behana Gorge where a 3.2km rainforest trail will take you to the giant granite boulders, waterfalls, and freshwater swimming holes of the Clamshell Falls.
3. Zoe Falls
For an even bigger challenge (with awesome rewards) check out Zoe Falls on Hinchinbrook Island, off the coast of Cardwell. Accessible via the national park island’s famed 32-km Thorsborne Trail, the natural spa pool at the top takes in incredible views of the island and Zoe Bay. Daily visitor numbers are capped at 40, making a trip to this unspoiled Great Barrier Reef gem even more special as a couple’s adventure.
Swimming your way around Tropical North Queensland? See also, the Cardwell Spa Pool: a geological phenomenon 2.5 hours south of Cairns. This seasonal creek-turned-swimming hole is a favourite amongst Insta-hungry travellers thanks to the magical mix of rocks, minerals and water which change the colour from bright blue through to a soft turquoise and mystical milky blue depending on the sunlight and time of day. A short drive from Cardwell, the pool is usually at its best from May – September, following the summer rains. Hey, that’s right about now!
Dreaming of a Tropical North Queensland adventure? See our 8 romantic ideas in the Daintree here