Scouting for waterfalls, lakes and waterholes near Brisbane
The Brisbane region is teeming with cascading waterfalls, expansive lakes and trickling waterholes. Strap on your hiking boots and hit the trails to discover cooling waterfalls and waterholes, or take in a spot of fishing, boating or paddling on one of Brisbane’s lakes.
Go on, chase them down – and don't forget to pack togs (or bathers or swimmers, or whatever you like to call them).
Morans Falls, Lamington National Park
A postcard perfect view awaits at Morans Falls in Lamington National Park. Found in the Green Mountains section, the 4.6km walk starts just down from O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.
Feel an immediate drop in temperature as you descend into the Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park. Begin your hunt for the three falls at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, a privately-owned resort at the end of Lamington National Park Rd.
You’ll find Chalahn Falls about half-way along the 17.4km Toolona Creek Circuit. From the O’Reilly’s car park, the 10.6km Box Forest Circuit will lead you to Box Log Falls, one of the many waterfalls you will find on the journey.
Have your camera at the ready for that perfect snap of Elabana Falls. The walk to find this waterfall takes three hours, but the journey is worth it.
One of the most breathtaking views in Lamington National Park can be found along the 8km return trail to Coomera and Yarrabilgong Falls in the Binna Burra section of the park. Most Binna Burra tracks are hoped to reopen on 1 September 2020.
While you’re in the region, don’t miss Curtis Falls in the heart of Tamborine Mountain National Park. The 1.1km track through the mossy forest leads to a viewing platform overlooking a large rock pool.
Mirror Falls, O’Reilly’s Lamington National Park
Not for the faint-hearted, this 20.6km walking track along the Albert River Circuit will lead you to Mirror Falls. Trust us when we say the magical view of the falls is worth the effort.
Not only is Mt Coot-tha home to one of the best lookouts for capturing that iconic shot of Brisbane, there are also a couple of waterfalls worth checking out. There’s even enough space for a picnic or barbecue. JC Slaughter Falls and Simpson Falls are a short 10-minute drive from Brisbane and can be found along Sir Samuel Griffith Drive. See them at their best during the wet season.
Head to Lake Moogerah in the Scenic Rim for perfect water skiing, fishing and jet skiing conditions. You'll need a permit to fish but there are no boating restrictions. Pair this with an overnight camp under the stars to wake up lakeside with the sun.
Lake Samsonvale in the Moreton Bay Region has a dedicated water sports association that promotes all water sports, with sailing the most popular.
If water sports are more your thing, take a drive out to Lake Somerset for a day of kayaking, water skiing, jet skiing, boating, swimming and even sailing. Permits are not required for boating but are required for fishing.
Logan’s Inlet is the main recreational facility at Lake Wivenhoe. Suitable for swimming, boating and camping, it’s also the go-to area for day visitors who are chasing a relaxing day out complete with a picnic.
Located north of Brisbane, Lake Kurwongbah is a popular recreational spot for fishing, kayaking, rowing and water skiing. Please note that there is no dedicated swimming area.
Pack a picnic then take a stroll along the grassy shore of Lake Manchester in D’Aguilar National Park. Although swimming is not allowed in the lake, you can canoe or kayak.
Closer to home you'll find Enoggera Reservoir, where recreational activities keep families occupied. Enjoy a swim, bring or hire a kayak from Walkabout Creek Adventures for some peaceful paddling, or cast a line if you're feeling lucky.
Head west from Laidley and you’ll find Lake Dyer, a popular recreational spot for fishing, boating and paddling. Pack a picnic and let the kids have fun on the playground.
With two privately-owned camp grounds near Lake Atkinson, it’s the perfect weekend getaway spot for boaties, water-skiers and fishermen. It’s also a short drive to Lake Wivenhoe where there are walking trails, and playgrounds for littlies.
Take a day trip to Lake Maroon, where boats are aplenty and keen fishermen are hoping for a catch. Water sports are a popular pastime, with a number of lakeside camping grounds allowing you the chance to ski and paddle until your heart’s content.
Step back from the sandy beaches of North Stradbroke Island and you’ll be surprised by the freshwater lake system that includes Brown Lake and Blue Lake. Brown Lake is pure, yet is tinged brown by the native paperbarks and teatrees that line the banks and organic matter on its bed. It’s a great spot for outdoor activities like bird-watching and photography, or for a picnic. Blue Lake is part of the Naree Budjong Djara National Park which offers protection to the lake, a culturally significant area to the Quandamooka people. Walk the 5.2km return trail to the lake through wallum woodlands, flowering heath and stunted eucalypts.
Stony Creek, Bellthorpe National Park’s day-use area, is the perfect place for a picnic. Enjoy an unspoilt landscape with rainforest, small waterfalls, creek cascades and a rock pool. Waters are shallow, so for your safety, jumping and diving into the creek is not recommended.
For those that like to hike, take a day trip to Mt Barney and do the Lower Portals or Upper Portals trail. Both hikes are approximately a three-hour return route that trek through these waterholes and are the perfect spot to cool off on a hot day.
The 90-minute drive from Brisbane to Mount Mee will lead you through the townships of Samford and Dayboro. Rocky Hole is a popular spot during the summer and features a rock pool surrounded by eucalypt forest. Access is via an unsealed, formed gravel road.
Share this & go chasing waterfalls, don't stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to.
Get out and about