Scouting for waterfalls, lakes and waterholes near Brisbane

18 JANUARY 2023

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.

Morans Falls plummets 80 metres to the valley floor, fluctuating between a thunderous roar after rain to a gentle trickle in the drier months. This park is also part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, famed for its ongoing geological processes, evolutionary history and diversity. 

Chalahn, Box Log and Elabana Falls, Lamington National Park

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. 

Coomera and Yarrabilgong Falls, Lamington National Park

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. Witness the power of the Coomera River as it cascades over the falls into the 160m deep gorge.

Curtis Falls, Scenic Rim

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. Enjoy an enchanting walk beneath towering flooded gums into cool and lush rainforest, with a view of the falls that will take your breath away. Keep an eye out for basking turtles on falling logs, fish and eel in the rockpools, and maybe even the local platypus if you’re lucky!

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.

Mt Coot-Tha Reserve, Brisbane

Not only is Mt Coot-Tha home to one of the best lookouts for capturing that iconic shot of Brisbane, but beautiful waterfalls well worth the visit. 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.


Lake Moogerah, Scenic Rim

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, Moreton Bay Region

Located in the Moreton Bay Region, Lake Samsonvale is a picturesque spot in the heart of the Shire’s busy population hubs - but it feels a whole world away! A walking trail weaves along the water’s edge and is suitable for all fitness levels. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a koala high up in a tree, or a pelican on the water. 

All water sports are promoted by the Samsonvale Water Sports Association, with regular sailing regattas held on the lake.

Lake Kurwongbah, Moreton Bay Region

Located north of Brisbane, Lake Kurwongbah is a popular recreational spot for fishing, kayaking, rowing and water skiing. The peaceful expanse of water is home to a wide variety of birds, fish and native animals, making it the ideal retreat for those looking to get out on the water and connect with nature.

Lake Manchester, Brisbane

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. Originally constructed in 1916, it’s one of the region’s earliest dams. 

Enoggera Reservoir, Brisbane

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. 

Lake Maroon, Scenic Rim

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.

Brown Lake and Blue Lake, North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah

Step back from the sandy beaches of North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah 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 tea trees 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, Moreton Bay Region

Stony Creek, Bellthorpe National Park’s day-use area, is the perfect place for a picnic. With unspoilt landscapes featuring rainforests, small waterfalls, cascading creeks and a rockpool, this boulder hopping paradise is truly one of the region’s most spectacular natural swimming holes. Waters are shallow, so for your safety, jumping and diving into the creek is not recommended.

Lower and Upper Portals, Scenic Rim

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.

Rocky Hole, Moreton Bay Region

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 summer and features a rock pool surrounded by eucalypt forest. Access is via an unsealed, formed gravel road. 

These cascading waterfalls and expansive lakes are the perfect way to cool off this summer period in Brisbane! Just pack togs, a towel and a sturdy pair of shoes to explore our region’s breathtaking natural landscapes.

An image of a family standing on a ledge in a rainforest, surrounded by large rocks and trees.