If you’re searching for Brisbane waterfalls and rock pools surrounded by subtropical rainforest, all in proximity to the city, then head to Cedar Creek Swimming Holes. Roughly 40 minutes drive from the CBD, Cedar Creek is also a great spot to bring the family, even the dog, while providing the perfect tonic from the daily grind.
The drive there is pretty magic too, as you pass through Samford and continue on to Cedar Creek Road, beneath tunnels of trees and past apple-green fields. Keep going until you get to the end of Cedar Creek Road, where you’ll find a private property sign and car parking spots just prior to this.
It’s roughly a 30-minute walk to the falls and while websites might say it’s easy, I’ll say straight up that it’s not. It certainly isn’t too difficult either, but be prepared to rock hop and climb your way past boulders. Just bring some decent shoes, preferably something that can get a bit wet.
Saying that, it’s a fun and very pretty walk, as you’ll be following Cedar Creek the whole way (as there’s no real track) to the falls, passing numerous little cascades and rock pools that entice you into a mid-journey soak or splash. Keep going until you see larger falls with a decent-sized pool. You’ll know when you get there (check out the pics here for certainty).
Luckily for us, Cedar Creek Swimming Holes is also dog friendly, so we brought our furry son along, Cookie. You need to keep your dog on a leash during the entire walk though, which certainly made things a challenge for me taking photos and shooting short-form video. As I’m the stronger walker in the family, I was carrying all the bags as well, which gave me some good exercise. Cookie is also nothing short of a nutter!
Brisbane waterfalls – Cedar Creek heaven
As you approach Cedar Creek Falls, the swimming holes get more magical. There’s a narrow swimming hole resembling a canyon just before you get to the falls, with a four-leaf clover spray painted on the wall. This was our favourite spot to swim and we swam here on the return journey, just before dark when no one was here (see the very start of my reel at the bottom).
However the falls themselves are certainly a fun place to hang out and splash around in, and there’s even a bit of exploring to do. Living in Australia, we are certainly spoilt for nature and waterfalls, so I wouldn’t say this is the most incredible waterfall spot, but as far as swimming holes go, this one’s a cracker! You can wander to the top of the falls and explore other rock pools further along the creek.
Give yourself plenty of time
Not a huge factor, but from my perspective, you’ll want to give yourself enough time to laze and explore this place. I would say half a day. We underestimated this, as we thought it would be nice for a few hours in the afternoon. You certainly could do that, but given there are so many rock pools, side nooks and crannies and you’ll want to relax too, I would definitely give it half a day of your time. This place is pretty ace!
Also, as I mentioned earlier – we ended up swimming at our ideal spot close to dark. The bonus was that everyone was gone (this place is quite popular), although we were rock hopping the last 20 minutes back to our car in the dark. Not something you want to do if you’re not sure-footed! Just give yourself a good few hours to explore this place, as I’ve said.
Don’t worry about its popularity (IT IS popular), as there are so many rock pools to explore you’ll likely have one to yourself if you search that little bit further. Additionally, as far as Brisbane waterfalls go, this one is arguably the best given its proximity to the city and enjoyment factor.
A few fast facts
- If you don’t want to walk to the falls, you should still go, as there are so many rock pools to explore along the way!
- The walk is roughly two kilometres return and not too tough. Just don’t underestimate it as you’ll need decent shoes and it can get slippery.
- I want to reiterate, give yourself at least half a day at these Brisbane waterfalls. It’s totally worth it!
- Very family-friendly place and you can even bring the dog, although keep him/her on a leash.
- There’s another Cedar Creek Falls at Mount Tamborine in the Gold Coast Hinterland. This one’s located near Samford.
- Check local information if you’re setting out after heavy rain, when exploring/swimming in the area could be dangerous.