It's officially summer! Is Townsville's hot weather bringing you down? Need to find a way to cool off? I know the feeling. While we are blessed with an average of 320 sunny days each year (Melbourne only has 185 for contrast), sometimes the hot weather can be more of a curse than a blessing. Luckily, we are spoilt for choices with heaps of watering holes around North Queensland to explore, discover, and most importantly, cool off in. Wanderstories has put together the top natural swimming holes, hidden lagoons, rock pools and creeks to visit – we've got it all.

1. Top of Jourama Falls // Paluma Range National Park

Hiking to the top of Jourama Falls

The hike itself only takes about an hour (one-way) but it's a true beauty. Swim in the large swimming holes, jump off the top of waterfalls, and take in the view.

2. Big Crystal Falls // Paluma Range National Park

Crystal Creek Falls Keith Dyson

Crystal Falls, or Upper Crystal Falls to some, is Paluma's hidden secret. Still most locals are unaware of this natural wonder and it's fairly easy to get to. There's a large swimming hole just upstream or you can have a dip at the top of the falls.

3. Lower & Upper Gorge Falls, and Loop Falls, Mt Halifax // Paluma Range National Park

It's a short walk in on The Halifax Track to Gorge Falls and Loop Falls. This creek has running water all year round, a perfect place to relax in the rainforest.

4. Top of Alligator Creek Falls // Bowling Green Bay National Park

top of alligator creek falls
Alligator Creek Falls - @moniquesawarsin

Most people have been to Alligator Creek Falls, but unfortunately only a handful climb up the falls. What awaits are your choosing of infinity pools with a stunning view.

5. Lower Little Crystal Creek Falls // Paluma Range National Park

Lower Little Crystal Creek waterfall

Little Crystal Creek, a true gem! Now I know what you're thinking, "Everyone's been to Little Crystal Creek." However, I'm not talking about the waterfalls near the heritage-listed bridge, or even 'Devil's Leap' for that matter. I'm talking about the last waterfall on the range, the best kept secret of North Queensland! Probably because not many people know of it as it's a little harder to get to...

6. The Rockslides // Bowling Green Bay National Park

rockslides palm creek st margaret

These rock slides are a great place to hang out with your mates. Slides down the slopes and enjoy the refreshing pools. Access to this area of the national park was via Palm Creek Eco Park but is no long accessible.

7. Puzzle Creek and Running River // Hidden Valley

Puzzle Creek waterfall

Again, access is difficult but can be negotiated. This beautiful place is located near Hidden Valley.

8. Ethel Falls // Paluma Range National Park

Hiking to Ethel Falls

Ethel Falls are a hidden gem in the middle of Paluma Range National Park, and not only are these falls beautiful, but you're very likely to be the only ones there!

9. Diorite Falls // Paluma Range National Park

Finding Diorite Falls

Diorite Falls is a stunning ten metre slab waterfall on Waterfall Creek in Paluma Range National Park and is a really nice place to relax and enjoy. So, you may want to bring lunch, take a break, or perhaps enjoy a refreshing swim in the inviting pool at the base of Diorite Falls.

Other notable mentions:

  • Triple Falls and Miners Falls on the Bluegum Track.
  • Double Creek and Pangola Falls in Bowling Green Bay National Park was once open to the public, however this place has now been forgotten. Access is difficult due to the private properties that border it. These swimming holes and waterfalls are a nice change from the norm, if you're up for a little adventure.
  • Palm Tree Creek at Hervey Range is a close by, locals secret spot. Four-wheel drive access to a small secluded seasonal swimming hole after some heavy rain. People have also been know to swim at Bridal Falls.
  • Forgotten Falls in Paluma State Forest provides a private oasis in the middle of nowhere. There are several deep swimming holes along the way to Williams Creek.

Also see the car-accessible swimming holes around Townsville.