Information for travellers
We know how incredible the beaches are on the Sunshine Coast, but the waterfalls are too! If you're looking for something different to do this summer, why not go exploring in the Hinterland and discover some of our favourite swimming holes?
Author: Londoner in Sydney
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland is home to jaw-dropping views, spectacular national parks and plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Next time you're looking for things to do, you might like to pack a picnic and head off on an adventure to some of the best waterfalls in the area.
There's something totally rewarding about hiking to a swimming hole. The anticipation of getting there to cool off and relax in pure serenity is more than appealing for many. If you're only familiar with the Sunshine Coast beaches, let us guide you to some of the best swimming holes in the region.
But, before you go on a hike, make sure you wear appropriate footwear, take mossie repellent and sunscreen, wear a hat, and of course, always take more water than you think you'll need. And whatever you do, enjoy the swimming holes with care.
Gardners Falls is a favourite swimming hole amongst locals in the touristy town of Maleny. This hinterland gem is so beautiful; the best part is you won't have to walk far to reach it!
Located just 300 metres from the car park, you'll practically roll out of your car and into the water of the famous Obi Obi Creek. Continue down to the end of the path, and you'll find the Gardners Falls swimming hole, complete with a rope swing for extra fun!
If you're staying at the nearby Spicers Tamarind Retreat, you'll have private access to this swimming hole as well!
Kondalilla Falls is one of the most popular swimming holes in the Sunshine Coast because of its beautiful setting in the heart of Kondalilla Falls National Park, near Montville. The gorgeous swimming hole is perfectly safe to swim in, even if it sits at the top of the 90-metre waterfall. You can even swim right up to and under the small waterfall at the top of it while enjoying the incredible views.
Visit in summer to cool off after you've hiked a good 20 minutes from the car park. If you're looking for a longer walk, continue to the bottom of the falls and back up again to complete the 4.6km circuit.
If you're brave enough to take a dip in winter, be warned, the water can be pretty chilly!
Kondalilla Falls makes a beautiful day trip away from the city, where you can breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the views from the jaw-dropping Blackall Range.
Gheerulla Falls is just a 2.7km return walk from Mapleton and leads you down to the swimming hole at the base of the falls, which is also part of the Sunshine Coast Great Walk. Although the swimming hole isn't big, make sure you head there after a good amount of rain.
There's a longer walk you could consider, including the Mapleton Falls to Gheerulla Falls walk, which is a 16km return walk between the two falls. Unfortunately, you cannot swim in Mapleton Falls, but you'll have access to three beautiful lookouts along the way.
If you're looking for a quieter waterfall to visit in Kondalilla Falls National Park, why not hike to Baxter Falls. This hidden gem takes around two hours to return, but it's a beautiful walk that passes over a suspension bridge leading to the waterfall's base.
You can choose to do this walk either in the Northern end or Southern end, but both will take around the same time to complete.
Be careful; there's no car park to start the hike so you'll have to park by the side of the road.
Ah! Booloumba Falls is one of the most serene swimming spots on the Sunshine Coast. What keeps most people away from this special place is that you'll need a 4wd to get here. Located in the stunningly beautiful Conondale National Park, it's a 3km walk - perfect for a beautiful
Summer's Day! The walk takes around two hours to complete, but it probably won't come as a surprise that you'll probably want to stay much longer.
Spend the day at Booloumba Falls or park up and stay for the weekend at one of the nearby campgrounds. And of course, make sure you visit the beautiful nearby town of Kenilworth too.
Slightly further up the river from Booloumba Falls is Artists Cascades, another gorgeous swimming hole you need to check out. Again, you'll need a 4wd to get to the start of the 10km hike, but it's totally worth it.
As part of the Conondale Great Walk, this lengthy walk takes around five hours to return. Start early if visiting in Summer and enjoy a cool off in the clean and clear water before heading back on the walk.
While many people head to Yandina for the famous Yandina Country Markets or the well-known Ginger Factory, there's a hidden swimming hole here at Wappa Falls. Located on the edge of Mapleton Conservation Park, Wappa Falls is a stunning spot you can take a dip in to cool off in summer.
You can park up next to the falls and bring a picnic to make a day of it. Just be careful when getting in and don't jump from the rocks as it's not safe.
Many Sunshine Coast locals may not have heard about Robinson Falls, which is located unexpectedly in Nambour! Located in Cilento Bushland Conservation Reserve, the 1km loop track will see you pass by a little waterfall you can technically swim in!
There's a lovely park with a playground and BBQ facilities, too, perfect for a family day out.
Serenity Falls, Buderim Forest Park
Serenity Falls in Buderim Forest Park is no stranger for Sunshine Coast locals! This famous swimming hole located just 2km from the village of Buderim will make you feel like you're a world away in this sub-tropical paradise!
The short 800m walk has access points from Lindsay Road and Quorn Close, which will take you over the magical bridge that overlooks the falls - perfect for a photo opportunity! It's a fantastic spot to bring the whole family; if you're looking to do something different, then go to the beach again.
Kureelpa Falls in Mapleton National Park is another hidden gem to tick off your waterfalls list! The 8.5km circuit starts from the Mapleton National Park day-use area and will take you on an exploration through the incredible national park for around three hours.
The walk to the falls is mostly downhill, so just be prepared to walk back up it again. When you get to the falls, you'll have plenty of small rock pools to choose from for a natural jacuzzi experience! Continue on and complete the circuit or turn back around and go back the way
you came for a slightly shorter walk.
About Londoner in Sydney: Annie & Steve run Londoner In Sydney, a travel blog dedicated to exploring the best hidden gems in Australia. They love hiking, finding hidden waterfalls and discovering unique places to share with their audience.