Summer!!! The most reminiscent of seasons, summer conjures up all kinds of memories that often stay with us until the end of days. As the Australian band, Thirsty Merc worded it ever so eloquently in their iconic seasonal anthem, “Summertime”,
“Take me back to the sweet times, the hot nights, everything is going to be alright in the summertime. Baby, in the summertime, that is where I’ll be.”
Images of bodies flocking to the beaches in their bikinis and boardies, surfers of all ages hitting the waves, kiddies getting slip, slopped and slathered in sunscreen by their folks under giant umbrellas on a humid sweat-drenched day before taking a dip to avoid the impending doom of the gathering storm is an iconic image of summer in Australia.
But while Australia has some incredible beaches that are known the world over, cooling off on an insanely hot day where even doing nothing in the shade renders you a sweaty, soggy (moist) mess, they aren’t the only place to dehumidify.
So folks, listen up. If you don’t wish to be washing sand out of places where no sand has the right to go, here are some incredible places to go swimming in the wild where it’s a little bit more scenic than the friendly, neighbourhood swimming pool as well as a few that are oceanside. (But they’re really good, I promise.)
- If it’s beaches you crave, check out my guide to the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast beaches and their proximity to other local attractions.
Kondalilla Rock Pool
Kondalilla National Park in the scenic hinterland of the Sunshine Coast is a spectacular destination for exploring ancient rainforests. There’s gushing waterfalls, beautiful gorges and breathtaking lookouts.
It’s also home to a gorgeous wild swimming hole fed by a small waterfall and is the prelude to the stunning Kondalilla Falls of which this national park is named after. It also comes with a view overlooking the lush Obi Obi Valley.
Centrally located along the track to the namesake falls, with it splitting into a circuit wherein you arrive back at the waterhole means two things.
One, you can do a gentle stroll through the rainforest and perspire a but then cool off in the pool before completing the rest.
Or two, complete the hard yards to the bottom of Kondalilla Falls where the humidity and the 300 steps will turn you into your own damn waterfall of gushing sweat and B.O before cooling off in the pools fresh, welcoming, paradisiacal waters. (Word to the wise, go anti-clockwise, so you don’t have to trudge up the stairway to heaven on the way back!
Whether you choose to stroll to the bottom of Kondalilla moist but refreshed or borderline turn yourself into a puddle and take a dip on the way back, or go to the pool and not the base of the falls, or do the whole circuit and no bathing, a visit to Kondalilla National Park, with its numerous waterfalls and lookouts will always be beautiful, rewarding and unforgettable.
As Australia is a land known for it’s long, golden, sandy beaches, you can bet that they are prime real estate for the coastal towns. That generally means they’ve been made very easy to get to, often a short stroll from the road or accommodation.
But if you’re looking for a mini adventure through the bush to get to a beautiful secluded beach, then Alexandra Bay is perfectamundo for you.
Situated in Noosa National Park, this long stretch of pristine golden sand is only accessible by foot and numerous tracks enable you to navigate your way to the parks many breathtaking features. (Kind of like those books where you choose the next page).
For the most scenic adventure, the coastal route is the definite way to go, and the southern entrance is the cream of the crop. Not only is it the quickest way to get to this hidden coastal paradise, but the south headland of the beach is also home to the spectacular rugged piece of coastline that is the Devil’s Kitchen.
While your here, extend your journey to the northern headland and you’ll find yourself at Hell’s Gates, an even more incredible section of rugged coast. (Neither to be confused with each other as Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen…)
Do note that the long, beautiful, isolated Alexandra Beach is not patrolled making your Pirates Of The Caribbean island shipwreck beach adventure feel even more wild and authentic. (Don’t drown. Don’t want to get that authentic!)
If you find yourself out at Ipswich, a popular place to take the family, the kiddies and or the puppy for a snack and a swim is the picturesque Colleges Crossing on the banks of the Brisbane River.
The parklands have picnic tables, BBQ’s and a boat ramp to launch your kayak and is a beautiful and spacious place to wander into the water and dilly dally the afternoon away playing in a natural watercourse.
Just a short drive from the picturesque town of Maleny in the rolling hills of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland lies a pretty little waterfall that is the perfect getaway for those steaming hot, sweaty armpit summer days.
You can choose to cool off your legs in the shallow areas before the waterfall or explore the deeper plunge pool, or you can go a little further downstream to where it might be a little quieter as this little slice of paradise gets pretty busy on those hot days at high noon, baby.
Fernvale, Somerset Region
A great place to take a dip in the Brisbane River while you’re out in the Somerset region is at Twin Bridges.
Located just north of Fernvale along the Brisbane Valley Highway, the river’s fed by Lake Wivenhoe and is an idyllic place to stop and engage in a little wild swimming.
It’s not only a great place to bathe in a natural watercourse, but its gentle slope makes it an ideal place to launch a kayak and cruise on down the friendly river at a sweet, slow space.
And to add icing to that already sweet cake, you can also extend your stay and park riverside overnight and watch the day bleed into nightfall or wake your weary ass up early and see breaking dawn.
Either way, it’s a pretty location that’s easy to get to and is a lovely way to spend a few hours in a serene, natural environment.
Another beautiful natural swimming location in the region of Ipswich is Kholo Bridge. Unlike Colleges Crossing that’s equipped to the T with BBQ’s, benches, fields and playgrounds, Kholo Bridge has none of those Christmas tree trimmings.
It’s right by a bridge, and the rest is nature taking its course, so it’s a great place if you want your wild swimming to be just that: wild.
A popular activity to do here is jumping off the bridge into the cold frigid waters below. It’s a decent drop, but it’s exhilarating, especially for the kids. There are often people there daring to see if their friends will take the plunge, so you’ll know where it’s safe to jump to see if you’re cunning enough to take the leap.
(If not, I think there is a gap in the railing which is where people jump from on the northern end on the right if coming from the south, but be sure to check the depth of the water before you go in and check in case a log or something is lodged there for some reason.)
Fernvale, Somerset Region
Hiding away behind the backstreets of Fernvale lies another wild swimming location further down the gentle stream of the Brisbane River.
Unlike Twin Bridges which is pretty much straight into the drink, Savages Crossing is a flatter part of the river which means that you can take a wander and find a little slice of paradise all for your lonesome.
There’s also lots of tall grass surrounding the gravel areas where you access the water so you can be in a hidden place where you can go about your frolicking without prying eyes.
Situated just before the creek empties into the ocean, the sheltered waters are an inviting deep crystalline blue and accessible by golden sandy beaches on both the north and south shore.
If you’re inclined to get uber sweaty before washing off your condensation, you’re in luck. Right next door on the north shore is the hidden little rainforest that is Burleigh Head National Park.
Who would have thought there would be a rainforest in the middle of the city! This remnant rainforest is not only much cooler than the surrounding landscape (not that it’s going to save you when the mercury elevates), but it also has breathtaking views of the azure creek in question and the stunning coastline that lays beyond it.
Swimming at Tallebudgera Creek or walking the adjacent Burleigh Heads National Park makes for a fantastic outing, but combining the two makes for an unforgettable Gold Coast experience that is the best of both worlds.
Cedar Creek Falls
Mt Tamborine, Gold Coast
Mt Tamborine is a beautiful, quaint mountaintop town hidden in the hinterland of the Gold Coast and is the perfect place to take a day trip or have a weekend away from it all.
Numerous walks across the mountain lead to lookouts and waterfalls, but for an incredible place to cool off, the fresh, clean, mountain-fed waters of Cedar Creek Falls is the go-to.
Located on the lower part of the mountain on the north side, Cedar Creek Falls is a short, easy walk that takes you alongside the creek, past a few waterfalls and plunge pools before arriving at the swimmable plunge pool at the base of one of the cascades.
It’s a scenic little adventure through gorgeous scenery and relaxing in the natural infinity pool in this picture-perfect environment is a fantastic way to experience Mt Tamborine.
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