Keen to escape the city but don’t want to fight the crowds? Here are a bunch of beaches and swimming holes near Brisbane that are just off the beaten track, offering that little bit more seclusion.
Yaroomba Beach, Sunshine Coast
If you usually head to the Sunshine Coast for your beach fix, consider continuing on past Caloundra and Mooloolaba. Yaroomba beach, just south of Point Arkwright, is a wide belt of white sand that for most of the year remains untouched by tourists. If you’re a surfer head up to the point, but otherwise there’s usually plenty of room on the main strip. Be advised: a proposed development is in the works for this area, so chances are it won’t stay sleepy for long.
Mudjimba Beach, Sunshine Coast
Hidden away behind the backstreets of Mudjimba, this beach is rarely sought out by Brisbane city slickers. In keeping with much of the coastline in these parts, Mudjimba Beach has clear waters and long stretches of golden sand. The beach offers decent waves but for those chasing a little more adventure, paddle a kilometre offshore to Mudjimba Island (known to locals as Old Woman Island) where there's a more significant reef break.
Spiral Beach, near Coolangatta
The Tweed boasts some surprisingly good snorkelling spots. If you’re in the mood to don your mask and flippers, head down Coolangatta way to Spiral Beach. Despite being something of a local secret, it’s easy enough to get to: head past Duranbah Beach at high tide for an afternoon of swimming and a squiz at the brightly coloured reef life.
Araluen Swimming Hole, Tallebudgera Valley
If you’re more into cooling off in fresh waters, Araluen Swimming Hole is a favourite with Gold Coast locals. You can find the spot close to the corner of Araluen and Tallebudgera Creek Roads at the foothills of Springbrook National Park. It comes with a rope swing and grassy areas for post-swim lounging.
Little Cove, Noosa Heads
Hardly hidden, Little Cove is nevertheless always sedate compared to Noosa Main Beach. Maybe because it’s hard to get to by car: the trick is to park up on Pandanus Street and clamber down the stairs on the corner. What you’ll find is a tiny strip of sand that more or less disappears entirely at high tide. The beach is short on people and short on waves – all the better for sitting in the turquoise water and watching the surfers glide in off the point.
Kerosene Inlet, Fingal Head
Fingal Head, a kilometre over the New South Wales border, is a narrow spit between the ocean and the Tweed River estuary. Behind South Head on the river side is Letitia Spit, which ends at Kerosene Inlet. Yes, hard to find, but extremely secluded and where you want to be if you’re serious about shirking the crowds. You can access the spot via Letitia Road and a short walk through the scrub.
Bunya Swimming Hole, Bunya
A little closer to home, Bunya Swimming Hole offers an ideal alternative to the more crowded Enoggera reservoir for Brisbane northsiders. Bring your inflatables, kayaks or stand-up paddleboards to extend the fun or spend the day switching between swimming and lying on the grassy banks. There are gas barbeques to cook up lunch on and plenty of wildlife to check out. You can even bring your dog if you keep her leashed.
Serenity Falls, Buderim Forest Park
This secluded swimming hole sits in 45 hectares of rainforest, making it feel like another world altogether. Access requires a short walk from either Quorn Close or Harry’s Lane off Lindsey Road. Both paths offer views of the falls and the surrounding forest. Once there it’s a tranquil experience, with native birdcalls and the consistent bubbling of the waterfall. Plan your trip after the rain to find cool blue water deep enough to swim in.