This swimming spot can be a bit tricky to access, but once you are at creek level, it is one of my favourite swims on the Gold Coast. From just
beyond the viewing platform, there are several tracks leading down to the water, all of which can be muddy and slippery, particularly after
rain. The further upstream you go, the flatter the slope of the track to the creek. Keep your hands free and look for good footholds on the exposed
tree roots on your way down.
Above: Taking a dip in the largest pool at Cougal Cascades
(Order gifts or prints of this image)
Once you reach the creek bed there are several swimming holes to explore. In the stretch near the main cascade, I visited four of them,
all of which were attracting other swimmers too. The main cascade is directly below the viewing platform. The nearest goat track takes you down to
the top of the cascade, after which you need to carefully scramble down the inclined rock face. Skirt around the side of the pool to the downstream
end, where you can enter the water gradually and take the main cascade in full view with your swim.
The inclined rock face beside the cascade is one of the few areas that are exposed to the sun in this dense rainforest, and
during my visit it proved a popular spot for swimmers resting on a towel in between swims.
Above: The main pool from the edge of the water at Cougal Cascades
(Order gifts or prints of this image)
Heading upstream from the main cascade there are several other smaller pools that are still deep enough for a swim. You can shoulder up to
some of the shallower cascades for a massage, or watch more adventurous kids plummeting off a rock ledge into one of the deeper holes.
Before or after your swim, take the time to walk up to the old Banana Box factory a short distance upstream, and read about the history of
banana growing at this spot along the way.
Here is a video of swimming at this spot in the morning in the Easter school holidays. There had been a bit of rain on and off over the
previous days, so the river was running well, but was not ferocious away from the main cascade.
There are not a lot of car parking spots at the start of the walk to the cascades, which is great if you are fortunate enough to secure a spot early,
because it means that the swimming holes do not get overcrowded. If you arrive later in the day on a hot weekend, parking could be difficult.
Other Information Before You Go:
Cougal Cascades in the Springbrook National Park, at the very end of Currumbin Creek Road.
From the Pacific Motorway (M1) at Currumbin, follow Currumbin Creek Road for 20 km until you reach the car park
for the cascades. From the car park, the cascades are a several hundred metre walk along a flat, bitumen path.
At the cascades there is only a viewing platform. At the car park there are public toilets with baby change
facilities, and picnic tables (which were a bit damp on my visit).
Clear to cloudy (a little chalky due to suspended limestone from upstream, particularly after rain)
Rock and pebbles
Maximum water depth:
Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required:
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
No dogs, no camping, no fires
Shade available in and out of the water
Camping is not permitted at Cougal Cascades, and the campground available in the Springbrook National
Park is not accessible to Cougal Cascades. If you are visiting the Gold Coast, for accommodation
close to this swimming hole, you can try
accommodation in the Currumbin Valley
Queensland Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing
Nearby attractions: Currumbin Rock Pool
swimming hole, located 8 km back down the Currumbin Valley Road.
Before you head out, make sure to read the
swimming safety information
and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions. Specific to this site, the managing authority advises that diving or jumping
into rock pools, sliding down the cascades, and walking on wet rocks is dangerous and may lead to serious injury or death. The managing authority
also advises that thieves operate in the carpark, so do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
The marker indicates the approximate location of the cascades.
If you would like to leave a comment about this swimming spot, please fill in the comment box below.
I am particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
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© Brad Neal 2019. All rights reserved.