Rock pools are a fun way to enjoy time out in nature on a hot summer day. We’re lucky to have quite a few rock pools near Brisbane to choose from. Here’s a list of my favourite rock pools near Brisbane, divided into two categories: those that are easy to access and those that require more effort!

I’ve ordered them according to the driving time from Brisbane CBD. But before reading the list of rock pools near Brisbane, I suggest you read the following short safety tips about swimming in rock pools.

Cedar Creek (Samford)

Is it safe to swim in rock pools?

Always follow the signs and local advice when you visit a rock pool.

Even if rock pools look inviting, it’s not always allowed to swim there. Sometimes, they try to protect a fragile habitat (like the glow worms at Curtis Falls or the rare frogs at Protesters Falls). Sometimes, urban developments and stormwater drains contaminate the water, making the water unsafe for humans.

Responsible travel tip: Did you know your sunscreen can pollute the water and harm animals? The best way to protect your body from the sun is to cover it with long sleeves and pants. If you do have to use sunscreen, choose a mineral one (like zinc) and apply it at least 20 minutes before entering the water. 

Always check the weather warnings.

Rock pools can become dangerous during and after a storm. Water levels can rise quickly. Storms can also bring debris or contaminant. Again, always follow local advice.

Jumping in rock pools

Jumping in rock pools is never recommended as there can be submerged rocks and trees or the water may not be as deep as you think. If you do decide to jump, make sure you check what’s underwater first and know the techniques to stay safe.

Easy to access rock pools near Brisbane

1. Cedar Creek Rock Pools (Samford)

From Brisbane: 50-minute drive

Access: easy short walk

Cedar Creek Rock Pools near Brisbane (Samford)

Cedar Creek near Samford has a series of rock pools that are easy to access from the road. There’s a popular picnic area with facilities at Andy Williams Park, next to the creek. You’ll find a few waterholes a bit further up the creek. If you want to avoid the crowd, you can walk up the creek to more rock pools, all the way to Cedar Creek Waterfall.

2. Cedar Creek Falls (Mount Tamborine)

From Brisbane: 1-hour drive

Access: easy short walk

There are a few waterfalls in Mount Tamborine, but Cedar Creek is, as far as I know, the only where it is allowed to swim. These rockpools get very busy on a hot day during school holidays or on weekends. The car park is often full. The short walk down to the rockpools offers stunning views of the creek. Cedar Creek rock pools are often crowded and too busy, so they’re not my favourite rockpools near Brisbane.

3. Gardner Falls

From Brisbane: 1h20 drive

Access: easy short walk

Gardner Falls is a popular spot in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. A short walk from the car park will take you to the Obi Obi Creek where you can swim and enjoy small waterfalls.

4 and 5. Currumbin Rock Pool and Cougal Cascades

From Brisbane: 1.5-hour drive

Access: easy short walk

Currumbin Rock Pools and Cougal Cascades are ideal for families. At Currumbin Rock Pool, the car park is next to the creek and there are facilities to make it easy to organise a picnic. If you drive a little bit further up the road along the creek, you’ll get to Springbrook National Park and the beautiful Cougal Cascades. It’s an easy walk on a bitumen path in the forest to the lookout.

6. Rocky Hole (D’Aguilar National Park)

From Brisbane: 1.5-hours drive

Access: 4WD only

A few well-maintained stairs go down from the car park to the rock pools. The small cascade makes the place very picturesque. It’s a great place to try bouldering on the natural rocks. It’s a 15-minute drive from The Gantry picnic area, where you’ll find walks like Somerset Lookout. Unfortunately, the road is recommended for 4WD only. We did it with a 2WD in dry weather back in 2014, but the quality of the track has probably changed since.

Rock pools near Brisbane you can hike to

7. Northbrook Gorges

From Brisbane: 1h15 drive

Access: 6-kilometre return walk

Woman swimming in Northbrook Gorge - Rock pools near Brisbane

I was surprised to find a place like Northbrook Gorges so close to Brisbane. We had a lot of fun going up the creek and swimming in the rock pools.

8. Twin Falls (Springbrook National Park)

From Brisbane: 1.5-hour drive

Access: 4-kilometre circuit

Springbrook National Park hosts stunning waterfalls. Twin Falls are quite special as you can walk behind the two falls and – at the right season – swim in the pool at the bottom.

9. Warringa Pool (Springbrook National Park)

From Brisbane: 1.5-hours drive

Access: easy 4-kilometre circuit

Warringa Pool is located on one of the most famous hikes in Springbrook National Park, Purling Brook Falls Circuit. Most groups visiting the area seem to only check out the famous falls – which are stunning and a must-see – and skip Warringa Pool only one kilometre further.

10. Kondalilla Rockpool (Sunshine Coast)

From Brisbane: 1.5-hour drive

Access: 2.4km return walk

A short walk will take you to the rock pools at the top of Kondalilla Falls. It’s worth walking the full circuit. Well-maintained stairs will take you down to the bottom of the impressive 80-meter falls.

11. Mount Barney Lower Portals

From Brisbane: 2-hour drive

Access: 7-kilometre return walk

Lower Portals Mount Barney National Park Swimming Hole in Gorge

The walk to Mount Barney Lower Portals isn’t hard (it only took us one hour) and leads to beautiful gorges where you can swim.

12. Mount Barney Upper Portals

From Brisbane: 2-hour drive

Access: 8-kilometre return walk if you have a 4WD (otherwise, 12km)

Mount Barney Upper Portals isn’t as popular as the lower portals. We found them while hiking to Montserrat Lookout and it was a nice stop to refresh on a hot day.

13. Conan Creek Falls (Mount Barney)

From Brisbane: 2-hour drive

Access: 14-kilometre return walk

Rock pools at the bottom of Conan Creek Falls

As you have to walk quite a long time to reach Conan Creek Falls, you have a chance to have the rock pool just for yourself. Except for its length, the walk is easy on a large fire trail. Only the end requires a bit of rock scrambling to reach the waterfall.

14. Picnic Rock and Elabana Falls (Lamington National Park)

From Brisbane: 2-hours drive

Access: about 7.5-kilometre circuit

Lamington National Park - Box Forest Circuit - Elabana Falls 01
Elabana Falls

A dip at Elabana Falls or Picnic Rock will cool you down as you hike in Lamington National Park to view some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the rainforest. The Box Forest Circuit and Tooloona Creek Circuit are two of my favourite hikes in South-East Queensland.

What are your favourite rock pools near Brisbane? Share your experience in the comments below!

Where are these rock pools near Brisbane?

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