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Currumbin Creek at Cougal Cascades
Gold Coast Hinterland in Queensland, Australia

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. Swimming at Cougal Cascades in the Gold Coast Hinterland Above: Taking a dip in the largest pool at Cougal Cascades (Order 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. The main pool from the edge of the water at Cougal Cascades Above: The main pool from the edge of the water at Cougal Cascades (Order 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:
Location:Cougal Cascades in the Springbrook National Park, at the very end of Currumbin Creek Road.
Latitude:-28.237779 Longitude:153.348802
Getting there: 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.
Facilities: 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).
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear to cloudy (a little chalky due to suspended limestone from upstream, particularly after rain)
Under foot: Rock and pebbles
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Experienced
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No dogs, no camping, no fires
Sun shade: Shade available in and out of the water
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: None
Accommodation Options: Camping is not permitted at Cougal Cascades, and the campground available in the Springbrook National Park is not accessible to Cougal Cascades. If you want to stay overnight in the area near this swim, you can try the following options. All distances below are by road, not as the crow flies.
Nearby accommodation:Distance from swim:
Currumbin Valley View Cottage 7 km
A Perfect Stay 11 km
Gaiananda Treehouse 11 km
Further options… More than 11 km
Managing authority: 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.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the cascades.
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