Top 8 swimming holes on the east coast

Babinda Boulders, courtesy of Tourism QueenslandWe’re going to let you in on a secret – Australia’s swimming holes are just as spectacular as the beaches, especially as you won’t have to fight for a space in the water.

We pick our eight favourite swimming holes along the east coast (including some with great camping areas).

Let us know your favourite swimming holes in the comments, and remember to stay safe while swimming.

Polly McQuinn’s Weir, Victoria

Like at all good waterholes, there’s a rumour going around that the swimming hole at Polly McQuinn’s Weir is bottomless. While this might not be the case – and really, we don’t want to say one way or the other – it is certainly deep enough to allow you to jump off the surrounding rocks into the pool.

Located near Strathbogie Ranges in the High Country, this area is famous for being the Kelly gang’s hiding place, and is not that far from the town of Glenrowan.

We’re not sure whether Ned ever stripped off his metal armour and took a dip in the weir or the nearby river, but he was missing out if he didn’t.

Made up of a few small pools, this swimming hole is well worth a visit, even if you aren’t a bushranger.

Blue Pool, Victoria

Blue Pool camping area has more of a claim to fame than just being the only campground with a toilet in Briagolong State Forest. It’s also, as its name suggests, situated next to the fantastic swimming hole of Blue Pool.

You’ll find this site in East Gippsland, a bit over two hours’ drive from Melbourne. It has a quiet beauty that’s more suited for relaxed swimming than the rush and tumble of the coast. But the secret is out about this waterhole – it’s one of the most popular spots in the park on a hot day.

Five Mile Swimming Hole, Queensland

It seems a particularly cruel twist of fate that some of the most spectacular beaches in the world are too dangerous to swim at. But there are some croc- and stinger-free swimming spots in north Queensland, if you just know where to go.

Cedar Creek rockpools, courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Cedar Creek rockpools, courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Five Mile Swimming Hole is a croc- and stinger-free swimming spot only a few kilometres south of Cardwell just off the highway, with ladders and rope swings leading to the water.

There’s no camping at this site, so make sure to soak up all the time you can at this serene spot. The site has good facilities, including a picnic and barbecue area, which means even if you don’t want to get wet it’s a nice place for a stop-off.

Hepburn Pool, Victoria

hepburn pool VHR 1865 by 3461, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

hepburn pool VHR 1865 by 3461, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Hepburn Springs might be better known for its mineral springs water, but once upon a time Hepburn Pool was the famous water of this region.

This enchanting swimming hole was built into the existing Spring Creek in the 1920s and hosted the Victorian Swimming Championships in the 1930s. Over time, the pool slowly fell into disuse.

Revived by volunteers in the ’90s, the pool still has an old-world charm about it that might just have you reaching for your bloomers.

Cedar Creek rockpools, Queensland

Curtis Falls, Cedar Creek, courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Curtis Falls, Cedar Creek, courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Situated in the Gold Coast hinterland is nature’s version of Wet ‘n’ Wild Water World. The Cedar Creek rockpools are a series of cascades and rockpools in Tamborine National Park, and can be reached on the spectacular Cedar Creek Circuit walk.

These rockpools are favourites with the locals, and there are plenty swimming holes to choose from. The rapids can get a little hairy, so always stay safe when swimming.

Karloo Pools, New South Wales

Glassy Green by Winam, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Glassy Green by Winam, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Royal National Park is Australia’s oldest national park, and this grand old dame is a familiar friend to many Sydneysiders. But this friend has been hiding a secret – the spectacular swimming hole of Karloo Pools.

The swimming spot is situated in the middle of the national park, and is made up of three pools. You’ll have to trek along the Karloo walking track to reach them, which is a sure way of working up a sweat to wash off. There are falls nearby, so be careful of the ebbs and flows of the water.

Babinda Boulders, Queensland

Babinda Boulders, courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Babinda Boulders, courtesy of Tourism Queensland

The spectacular Babinda Boulders almost look as if they were dropped into the ground by giants a millennium ago. Situated between Cardwell and Cairns, these swimming holes are another croc-free area to cool down in within northern Queensland.

There’s something magical about the pools that flow around these huge granite obstacles. Make sure to read up on the Aboriginal legends surrounding the pools before visiting the area.

You’ll find directions from Babinda to the boulders, which are only a few kilometres away from the town. It’s important to be cautious while swimming in the pools and avoid any turbulent waters.

Bents Basin, New South Wales

It might not be Bondi Beach, but Bents Basin has an appeal all its own, not least that it offers people who live in western Sydney a place to cool down without having to trek to the beach.

This delightful swimming hole is an interlude off the Nepean River on the way to Warragamba Dam, halfway between Camden and Penrith. It’s a large patch of water, which means that – unlike Bondi – you won’t need to fight for a swimming spot.

There’s a large campground on the shores of the basin with facilities including hot showers, drinking water and barbecues. If you are in the area, make sure to visit Warragamba Dam for a glimpse of Sydney’s water supply. It’s quite a view.


  • Greynomad Travelling

    You did not mention the Dormant Volcano on the Atherton Tableland Lake Eacham…..