There is something truly stunning about natural swimming holes. Maybe it’s that you usually have to try a little harder to reach them than a beach, therefore you really feel like you’ve EARNED your swim. Not to mention that generally means there are fewer people around. Maybe it’s that they’re almost always in the middle of stunning natural scenery and totally zen. Maybe it’s the unique photo ops. But probably it’s all of these things.

To prove my point, have a gander at these 13 absolutely beaut natural swimming holes residing in sunny Queensland.

1. Lake McKenzie, K’Gari National Park

The stunning national park spanning almost the entire length of Fraser Island was renamed a couple of years ago to K’Gari, meaning ‘paradise’. And paradise it is, especially if you stop for a dip in the fairly large body of water that is Lake McKenzie. The white sandy shores and the brilliant blues of the water are alluring enough, but you also get cute little Short-Necked turtles.

2. Cardwell Spa Pools, Cardwell

Cardwell remains fairly quiet when it comes to out of town tourism, but locals know the secret bliss of this small town. Part of that is the very unique Cardwell Spa Pools and their bright blue water, which is thought to be that colour thanks to the surrounding eucalypt trees. Let me tell you, IRL the contrast of the water and white, twisting tree roots is something to behold.

3. Behana Gorge, Cairns

How about taking a dip at the base of a few rushing waterfalls? You’ll find natural water slides here, carved by years of moving water, as well as the chance to go canyoning (with a tour group of course). Unlike many waterfalls that wax and wane with the weather, Behana Gorge stays full and flowing basically all year, making it a favourite among Cairns locals.

4. Lawn Hill Gorge, Boodjamulla National Park

Boodjamulla National Park, also known as Lawn Hill, is the outback gem of your wild Australia dreams. It sits onn the border of Queensland and Northern Territory, so I’m not kidding about the outback part. You’ll need to prepare yourself for a 4-wheel drive adventure without phone reception, but just look at the gorgeous gorge running through it. Not many places around Australia with that kind of setting guys.

5. Nandroya Falls, Palmerston

The Atherton Tablelands is a beautiful part of Queensland chock-a-block with scenic natural swimming holes hidden amongst ancient rainforests. But none embodies this tropical paradise more than Nandroya Falls. The whole circuit these falls are on is fairly flat and very beautiful, with scenic views of the small gorge, rockpools, and fast-flowing rapids.

6. Babinda Boulders, Cairns

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In the jungle…????✨

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It seems weird to call natural boulders aesthetically pleasing, yet the boulders spotted around the water at Babinda Boulders are very much aesthetically pleasing. Nature did a real job arranging this decor, which is probably why influencers love themselves a cheeky Insta pic taking a dip in this spot just outside of Cairns.

7. Lake Eacham, Crater Lakes National Park

Ever swum in a volcano before? Well ok, technically Lake Eachem is a crater formed by a twin volcanic explosions many moons ago, but it’s still cool. It’s also crystal clear water. No joke you can see right to the bottom. You’ll also find plenty of wildlife. Various bird calls fill the air, and sightings of musky rat-kangaroos and turtles aren’t uncommon.

8. Cedar Creek, Samford

Back closer to Brisbane, we have Cedar Creek and the multitude of swimming spots it provides on it’s winding journey. Expect rockpools, waterfalls – and perhaps most importantly – plenty of picnic areas. Because for some reason swimming makes you super hungry? I’m sure there’s some science-y answer to this.

9. Gardners Falls, Maleny

I really cannot stress enough how much I will never get sick of natural swimming holes in the middle of rainforests. Gardners Falls is another incredible option if you’re travelling closer to the Sunshine Coast. The swimming holes start smaller, then increase in size and depth as you go along so you’ll find the right spot to swim for your preferences!

10. Kondalilla Falls, Montville

While we’re in the Sunshine Coast, we can’t not mention Kondalilla National Park. You’ll find many waterfalls and rockpools perfect for swimming. Wander through open rainforest to get to Baxter Creek Falls (featured above) or bask in elevated views of the valley from the top of Kondalilla Falls themselves.

11. Serenity Falls, Buderim Forest Walk

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Welcome to the jungle ????????

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I mean, just look at that photo. If that doesn’t look like a magical fairy pool, I don’t know what does. You don’t ahve to swim in Serenity Falls to enjoy the beauty, a bridge lets you enjoy it from above. But look how bright the blue is. And how clear that water is. As if you could, or would want to, resist.

12. Booloumba Creek, Conondale National Park

Conondale National Park has a lot of natural beauty to offer. When you’re done exploring the lush rainforests and eucalyptus forests, you can take a dip beneath waterfalls or in calm, boulder-dotted creeks. Heck, get yourself to Booloumba Creek and you can even swing yourself into the refreshing water below from up in a tree.

13. Curtis Falls, Mout Tambourine

Can you even with these extreme jungle fantasy vibes? Depending on the time of year you visit, the Curtis Falls with either be a dramatic cascade or a gentle curtain over big basalt rock columns to the swimming hole below. Whatever the time of year, they’re always beautiful and the perfect spot for a refreshing swim.

Image: Instagram / [@kaity_albiez]