Well, summer is officially here and we’re dreaming of escaping to somewhere seriously beautiful for a refreshing dip – can you blame us? It goes without saying that Queensland is famous around the world for its golden-sand beaches, but there are plenty of other scenic spots that seem made by Mother Nature for swimming. Swap the surfboard for some hiking boots and discover these eight hidden gems on your next Queensland short break.
Related article: Amazing Australia: Our must-see spots
Mothar Mountain Rock Pools – Woondum National Park
When you’re trekking through Woondum National Park (about 45 minutes south of Gympie), you’ll be happy to stumble across this little gem. Hidden away in dense bushland, the glassy waters of the Mothar Mountain Rock Pools look straight out of an Aussie outback daydream – especially after a night of heavy rain.
Follow the trail through the Woondum National Park (about 20 minutes from Gympie’s Central Business District) for nature’s own day spa, complete with atmospheric soundtrack.
Mossman River – Daintree Rainforest
Situated in the ancient Daintree Rainforest, the Mossman River is an Australian icon for good reason. The river (about five minutes from the little town of Mossman) flows over giant granite boulders, creating beautifully invigorating freshwater swimming holes.
There are plenty of things to do in the area, but try river drift snorkelling for an amazing experience. Basically, you’ll drift along the river through the rainforest, looking out for tiny creatures under the water’s surface. Keep an eye out for fish and the occasional turtle.
Lake McKenzie – Fraser Island
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this postcard-perfect spot was a beach, but this Fraser Island gem is actually a lake. Blessed with pristine white sands, forest surrounds and some of the clearest water (they’re so clean that even Prince Harry couldn’t resist a drink when he visited this year) you’ll ever see, Lake McKenzie will stop you in your tracks.
After a day spent floating in the lake’s crystalline waters, we wouldn’t blame you if you’d want to stay forever. Luckily, there are camping sites to complete the Aussie holiday idyll.
Champagne Pools – Fraser Island
Another spectacular Fraser Island icon, the Champagne Pools on Seventy Five Mile Beach are just as romantic as their name suggests. A treasure trove of shallow rock pools formed by volcanic rocks, this unique spot is perfect for sunny, summer days.
Lazing about in the pools’ waters is incredible relaxing but there’s a thrilling experience to be had here, too. Waves from the nearby ocean crash over the rocks – an amazing photo op if you time it right – and create a fine mist that’s oh-so refreshing.
Buderim Falls – Buderim Forest Park
Deep in the 45-hectare Buderim Forest Park (less than five minutes north of central Buderim) you’ll find a relaxing little spot with calm waters and a picture-perfect waterfall. It’s so relaxing that the unofficial name of ‘Serenity Falls’ has stuck for good.
If you’re not busy swimming and enjoying the shade of the rainforest canopy, there’s a picturesque elevated wooden boardwalk for the perfect selfie. There are also barbecues and picnic tables in the area, so you can easily make a day of visiting Buderim Falls.
Twin Falls – Springbrook National Park
If your idea of the perfect swimming hole features two waterfalls and three levels of rock pools then you need to discover Springbrook National Park’s Twin Falls. A popular track, the 4km Twin Falls Circuit is a bit of a Queensland bucket-list item and leads you to pristine waters.
About 90 minutes south of Brisbane, Twin Falls is also known for its rock caves – just try and not feel like Indiana Jones when visiting here.
Josephine Falls, Wooroonooran National Park
If you like your swimming holes a little on the action-packed side, Josephine Falls is for you. A natural waterpark located in the Wooroonooran National Park (about an hour’s drive south of Cairns), the falls are home to slippery granite rocks that act as waterslides.
The walk to Josephine Falls is also a memorable experience itself. Known for its large variety of butterflies and tropical birds, the park is blessed with the sort of scenery that will have you weak at the knees. Like, for real.
Rocky Hole – Mt Mee
For craggy rock formations peeking out of still waters, take a day trip out to the D’Aguilar National Park’s Rocky Hole (about 90 minutes north of Brisbane). Only accessible by an unsealed road (which also leads to Bulls Falls and the Neurum Creek Camping Grounds), these beautiful rock pools are a must-visit for a 4WD adventure.
With a few deep spots, Rocky Hole has mainly shallow water, making it perfect for peacefully drifting about and looking up at the sunny skies above. An Australian countryside cliché? Possibly, but it’s a lovely one you’ll have a hard time resisting.
Thinking of a romantic getaway or short break? We’ve got plenty of romantic stays for you…
Image credits: Tourism and Events Queensland, Darren Jew, Matthew Taylor Thomas, Colyn Huber Lovegreen Photography, Jules Ingall, www.weekendnotes.com and www.mbrit.net