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Best Swimming Holes In and Around Brisbane

Best Swimming Holes In and Around Brisbane

If you’re tired of the same old crowded beaches and chlorinated pools, today we’re exploring the best swimming holes in and around Brisbane.

We’re talking about hidden gems that will make you feel like you’ve stumbled upon paradise, from tranquil creeks to picturesque waterfalls and freshwater pools in Brisbane. 

So grab your swimmers and let’s embark on a wet and wild journey together!

1. Cedar Creek Falls

Cedar Creek Falls
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Location: Mount Tamborine

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 55 minutes

Cedar Creek Falls stands out as a renowned highlight on Tamborine Mountain. It’s an idyllic retreat that boasts a series of plunge pools that can be admired from magnificent lookouts or accessed by descending the 86-step staircase.

There are walking trails that lead you through the park, offering glimpses of additional waterfalls. Even in the height of summer, the water at Cedar Creek Falls retains a refreshing chill, providing a revitalizing and invigorating swimming experience.

Afterward, you may also want to explore one of Mt Tamborine’s newest craft distilleries or consider a visit to the nearby Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard, for a delightful balance between outdoor adventure and leisurely indulgence.

Pro tip: As a popular swimming destination, the car park tends to fill up rapidly during summer days and weekends. Park only in designated areas to avoid unwelcome fines, as the falls are located within a cherished National Park.

Remember that swimming is restricted to specific areas to safeguard the vibrant glow-worm populations and other native wildlife.

2. Gardners Falls

Gardners Falls
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Location: Obi Ln S, Maleny QLD 4552

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1.5 hours

Gardners Falls is located within the picturesque Sunshine Coast Hinterland town of Maleny.  

The creek here boasts a rocky bottom, with a spacious shallow area that allows toddlers to freely splash and play. The width of this section has a gentle water flow, creating a safe and enjoyable experience. 

As you venture further, you’ll encounter the larger falls that cascade into a deeper waterhole, providing an ideal spot for teenagers and adults to swim. But do exercise caution, as the rocky bottom can be slippery and uneven.

For the adventurous spirits, there are unofficial rope swings and some even jump from the rocky ledges into the water. However, water depths can vary and submerged hazards may be present.

Gardners Falls offers a range of amenities, including a car park, picnic area, public toilets, and the chance to engage in activities such as birdwatching, swimming, and walks amidst stunning natural surroundings. Best of all, it is entirely free.

Pro tips: Don’t forget to pack insect repellent. The lush surroundings and proximity to water make it an ideal habitat for those pesky mosquitoes and bugs. Bring along plenty of drinking water. There aren’t any water bubblers available in the area to refill your bottles. 

3. Kondalilla Falls

Kondalilla Falls
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Location: Montville

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour and 35 minutes

Kondalilla Falls in Montville features rushing waters and picturesque rock pools, surrounded by sub-tropical rainforest. Situated within the Kondalilla National Park, the name “Kondalilla” aptly translates to “rushing waters” in the local Aboriginal dialect. 

The park is a haven for nature enthusiasts and also a sanctuary for diverse wildlife. There are 32 species of frogs, 107 species of birds, as well as wallabies, platypus, goannas, and bush turkeys.

At the park entrance, you’ll find sheltered picnic and barbecue facilities. For those seeking adventure, there are three main bushwalks within the park, offering varying lengths and levels of difficulty.

The Picnic Creek Circuit is the shortest walk, which will lead you to the natural rock pools at the top of Kondalilla Falls.

If you’re up for a challenge, you can embark on the Kondalilla Falls Circuit, which spans 4.7 kilometers. This trail takes you past the rock pools before descending 100 steps down the escarpment into the Obi Obi Valley.

For the truly adventurous, Kondalilla Falls is also a part of the Sunshine Coast Great Walk, a 58-kilometer journey that showcases the region’s stunning landscapes.

Pro tips: Be sure to check the National Parks website for any updates or changes to track accessibility. It’s essential to wear a sturdy pair of walking shoes. Those 300-plus steps along the track can be quite a workout for your feet. 

4. Currumbin Rock Pools

Currumbin Rock Pools
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Location: Currumbin Valley

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Currumbin Rock Pools is a favorite among locals and those in search of a little treasure. Currumbin Creek Road winds through the lush and picturesque Currumbin Valley, setting the stage for a memorable adventure.

Here, you’ll be transported back to idyllic childhood days as you witness kids swinging on ropes and leaping off ledges into the invigorating rivulet. For a more laid-back experience, lizard-like lounging on the nearby rocks is an equally enjoyable option.

The pool depths vary, catering to all ages and comfort levels. Even our furry friends are welcome to join in the swimming fun. You can also pack a picnic to savor on the grassy banks or fire up the barbie for a tasty outdoor feast.

Conveniently located picnic tables and toilets are at hand, ensuring comfort and convenience. If you’re in need of refreshments, you’ll find hot coffee, cold drinks, snacks, and ice-creams across the road at the Currumbin Community Farm Campus.

Pro tips: If you’re up for an extra dose of adventure, explore the nearby Mount Cougal section of Springbrook National Park. Take a short five-minute drive along Currumbin Creek Road and follow the 800-meter walking trail that awaits you. Don’t skip a visit to the breathtaking Cougal Cascades. This hidden gem is a delightful spot to take a refreshing swim!

5. Enoggera Reservoir

Enoggera Reservoir
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Location: The Gap

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 30 minutes

Nestled in the picturesque suburb of The Gap, the Enoggera Reservoir dates all the way back to 1866. Formerly known as Enoggera Dam, it has evolved into a popular recreational spot for those seeking an escape from the city’s hustle.

The reservoir and its surrounding Enoggera Reserve offer a plethora of activities in a stunning natural setting, just a short 12-kilometer jaunt north from the CBD.

Take note, there aren’t any picnic tables and restrooms, so you may want to plan beforehand.

Regardless, visitors can picnic along the sandy shores, canoe or kayak, and explore the perimeter trail. There’s a variety of local wildlife such as platypuses, kingfishers and water birds to be seen here.

Motorized watercraft are a big “nope” around here, and that’s a good thing! It helps preserve the reservoir’s pristine environment and ensures a peaceful atmosphere for all the paddle boarders, kayakers, and swimmers to soak in.

For those without watercraft, Walkabout Creek Adventures offers kayak, paddleboard, mountain bike, and mini Segway rentals, enabling everyone to experience the reservoir’s charm.

Pro tips: If you’re bringing kids, be advised that the area isn’t officially patrolled, so keep a close eye on them. However, there are yellow pontoons to mark the child-friendly swimming area

6. Serenity Falls

Serenity Falls
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Location: Buderim

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Serenity Falls, located close to Buderim town, has easy road access from Maroochydore and Mooloolaba, making it a convenient escape for nature lovers and water enthusiasts alike.

For a magical experience, we suggest venturing behind the falls! You’ll find a series of cascades and shallow pools embraced by steep gully walls. Alongside the falls, there’s also a footbridge that offers an elevated and uninterrupted view of the area.

Accessing the Serenity Falls, you can choose between two charming walks from car parks located upstream and downstream. Most adventurers opt for the boardwalks that meander beside the creek, starting from Harry’s Lane to the north of the falls.

For a shorter, less scenic route, Quorn Close above the falls awaits, along with a tribute garden honoring the renowned landscaper, Edna Walling, who left her magical touch on the Buderim area.

Pro tips: Serenity Falls is a photographer’s dream come true! So, don’t forget to bring your camera or smartphone to capture the mesmerizing scenery, from the fine silver curtain of the waterfall to the lush rainforest embracing the chasm.

7. Rocky Hole

Rocky Hole
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Location: Mount Mee

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour and 35 minutes

We like Rocky Hole because it has a series of bush rock pools, situated amidst the tranquil beauty of D’Aguilar National Park’s Mount Mee section.

Located a mere 8 kilometers from The Gantry, and approximately 90 minutes away from Brisbane, this natural swimming spot offers a serene escape from bustling beaches.

Its accessible via an unsealed road, which also leads to scenic lookouts like Bulls Falls and Falls Lookout.

When you arrive, there’s a small car park that welcomes visitors. A set of steps leads down to the inviting rock pools, surrounded by dry eucalypt forests, carved stairs, and rocky platforms.

While the main pools near the staircase can get crowded on hot summer days and weekends, a short trek away reveals quieter rock pools, perfect for those seeking a more peaceful swim.

The pools generally boast shallow waters, interspersed with a few deeper spots, making it suitable for families with little ones who can play in the shallows, collecting pebbles or marveling at tiny fish.

Pro tips: Keep in mind that there are no toilets or other facilities available at Rocky Hole. We highly suggest using the restroom before arriving at the site! Prioritize water safety. As much as the water might tempt you to dive or jump in, these are strictly forbidden for a reason.

8. Booloumba Creek

Booloumba Creek
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Location: Kenilworth

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 2 hours

Booloumba Creek in Kenilworth is situated within the rugged Conondale Range and is considered among the best swimming holes around Brisbane.

Firstly, as you venture along the Booloumba Falls walk in Conondale National Park, you’ll witness a diverse array of wildlife.

The journey will lead you to the Booloumba Creek, where cascades, waterfalls, and rock pools await, inviting you to take a refreshing dip in the mountain water.

The highlight of this scenic walk is The Breadknife, a majestic rock formation that marks the meeting point of Peters and Booloumba creeks. It’s an impressive sight where the cascades and falls add to the splendor of the Booloumba Gorge.

Whether you seek relaxation or adventure, the three-kilometer return walk offers a well-defined track suitable for average fitness levels. However, the real reward lies in the natural wonders you’ll encounter – the ancient rainforests and crystal-clear creeks.

Pro tips: If you’re planning to drive to Booloumba Creek, make sure you’ve got a high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle. You’ll be traversing creek crossings and having the right wheels will add a splash of excitement to your adventure.

9. Bunya Crossing Reserve

Bunya Crossing Reserve
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Location: Bunya

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 20 minutes

The Bunya Crossing Reserve, also known as Bunya Riverside, is nestled along a tranquil bend of the South Pine River. It has a deep waterhole ideal for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, or fishing.

While families often flock here to cool off in its serene waters, dogs also delight in the opportunity to splash around and beat the heat in this waterhole!

For those who prefer a leisurely stroll or bike ride, the relatively flat walking and cycling track follows the meandering river, offering a healthy way to appreciate the beauty of this lesser-known corner of Brisbane.

There’s also a pathway adorned with Casuarina pine trees that leads to the charming boardwalk section, revealing delightful rock pools perfect for exploration.

If you fancy a riverside picnic, the reserve also boasts gas barbecues, wheelchair-accessible toilets, and picnic tables!

Pro tips: Arrive early to secure a prime picnic spot. The reserve’s popularity grows as the day goes on, and the shady spots get taken fast!

10. Keyhole Lagoons

Keyhole Lagoons
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Location: North Stradbroke Island

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour and 45 minutes (pending ferry times)

The Keyhole Lagoons in North Stradbroke Island are ideal for water enthusiasts seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure.

Spanning an impressive 4.5km, this chain of freshwater lagoons and lakes provides a blissful haven for kayakers, stand-up paddle boarders, and those seeking a refreshing wild swim.

To reach this hidden gem, adventurers can explore the island on bikes, which are conveniently available for hire. Alternatively, with a 4WD, you can drive along Main Beach to access the Keyhole Lagoons.

Pro tips: Don’t forget to check the tide times. It’s crucial if you plan to drive on the beach to get to the lagoons. Driving is not allowed for two hours around low tide, and you don’t want to get stuck in the sand, struggling to move your wheels. Make sure you have a valid Vehicle Access Permit too, so you’re all set for the drive!

11. Lower Portals

Lower Portals
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Location: Mt. Barney National Park

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour and 45 minutes

The Lower Portals showcase ancient volcanic peaks that have stood tall for millions of years. It also offers a 7.4-kilometer track that meanders through diverse landscapes, from grassy slopes to a wet mallee forest.

Along the way, you may encounter an elusive Coxen’s fig-parrot and the charming plumed frogmouth, both native species that call this wilderness home.

As you climb your way to the Lower Portals, there’s a pool nestled within the rocky embrace of Mount Barney Creek that features crystal-clear waters that you should definitely check out.

And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a platypus!

Pro tips: Watch your step when crossing the creek. Those rocks can be sneakily slippery, especially after a refreshing rain shower. So, take it slow, steady yourself, and you’ll be treading safely in no time. Don’t forget to pack a scrumptious picnic lunch before heading out. The Lower Portals offer the perfect setting to indulge in some yummy treats by the water’s edge.

12. The Gorge Lake Moogerah

The Gorge Lake Moogerah
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Location: The Scenic Rim

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1hr 20 minutes

Tucked beside the refreshing Reynolds Creek and at the foot of the majestic Mt Edward, The Gorge in Lake Moogerah offers a tranquil oasis to camp and unwind.

Lake Moogerah, just a short drive from Brisbane, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Its crystal-blue waters beckon boaters, water skiers, and jet skiers for endless fun and relaxation.

With no powered sites and the need to bring your own drinking water, you’ll truly connect with nature as you pitch your tent and embrace the serenity of the surroundings.

Day-trippers and locals flock to Haigh Park, one of the nearby sites where swimming, barbecues, and picturesque views of Mount Greville await.

As you embark on a hike up Mt Edward in Moogerah Peaks National Park, you will also encounter the impressive 219-meter-long dam wall.

All in all, Lake Moogerah and its scenic surroundings in The Scenic Rim promise an array of experiences, from wildlife spotting to hiking adventures, all within easy reach of Brisbane.

Pro tips: Camping right next to the refreshing Reynolds Creek is an absolute treat. Just remember to bring your own drinking water and be prepared for an authentic, off-grid camping experience. Don’t miss the chance to spot some adorable turtles while walking along the Moogerah Dam catchment. You might catch a glimpse of these fascinating creatures leisurely floating around in the crystal-clear waters below.

13. Fairy Pools

Fairy Pools
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Location: Noosa National Park

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 2 hours

The Fairy Pools in Noosa National Park stand as a hidden oasis for swimmers seeking a touch of enchantment. These two natural tidal pools, located near Granite Bay, offer a captivating experience for those willing to venture off the beaten path.

The smaller pool, caressed by the ocean at low tide, is a good spot to snorkel with its crystal-clear waters, revealing a display of coral and sponges that adorn the rocks.

At high tide, the larger pool remains a serene escape, where the gentle waves create a soothing ambiance for leisurely swims.

If you’re up for an adventure, you can take a thrilling plunge into the deeper section, though a cautious eye must be kept for submerged rocks. Beyond the pools, a picturesque cobblestone beach awaits, which is great for a leisurely stroll.

To reach the Fairy Pools, you have two options. For quick and easy access, you can begin at Little Cove’s beach car park and follow the coastal path that winds past Tea Tree Bay and Granite Bay.

Alternatively, you can opt for the route at Noosa National Park from the Sunshine Beach side. Though a longer journey, it promises tranquil forests, captivating vistas of coves and bays, and perhaps a chance encounter with a koala.

As you tread along unpaved trails, the pools await, offering a refreshing embrace to escape the bustle of everyday life.

Pro tips: Take advantage of the excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities in the area. Bring your gear and dive into the crystal-clear waters to discover the vibrant marine life and stunning coral formations hidden beneath the surface. Beyond the Fairy Pools, the national park offers lovely bushwalking trails. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on an adventure through the lush forests, savoring the tranquility and breathtaking views along the way.

14. Cedar Creek Swimming Holes

Cedar Creek Swimming Holes
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Location: Samford

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour

Just a short drive to the west of Brisbane lies the charming town of Samford and nearby awaits the hidden gem of Cedar Creek Swimming Holes.

This rocky creek provides a calm and inviting haven, making it ideal for inquisitive little kids who love to explore the wonders of nature.

The journey to Cedar Creek is a delightful adventure itself, as you wind through picturesque, winding rural roads, transitioning from the bustling city to a serene natural oasis.

Along Cedar Creek Road, you may chance upon a stone replica of a medieval French bridge, adding a touch of enchantment to the surroundings.

Andy Williams Park welcomes families with its clean, clear waters and rocky creek bed, offering safe and shallow spots for little kids to play and splash.

While some rocks may get a bit slippery, the fun doesn’t stop as you venture further upstream to discover a series of swim-able waterholes, perfect for adventurous kids and adults alike.

With abundant opportunities for water entertainment, Cedar Creek promises a refreshing day of exploration and bonding for families seeking a tranquil escape from city life.

Pro tips: When you’re venturing into Cedar Creek, make sure to wear appropriate footwear. The creek bed can be a bit rocky and slippery, so sturdy water shoes or sandals with a good grip will save you from any unexpected slips. Pack some food and refreshing drinks to refuel after your adventures. There are limited amenities around, so bringing your own picnic ensures you’ll have a well-deserved meal to savor amidst the beautiful natural surroundings.

15. Tallebudgera Creek

Tallebudgera Creek
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Location: Palm Beach

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Nestled between the Burleigh Heads National Park and Palm Beach, Tallebudgera Creek is a sparkling oasis that beckons with its inviting waters and serene surroundings.

Tallebudgera Creek is a favorite destination for generations of families. It offers a perfect blend of activities, from swimming, picnicking, and watersports to fishing.

Located between the Burleigh Heads National Park and Palm Beach, the Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park provides a home away from home, with waterfront villas for those seeking luxury and budget-friendly lodgings for the economical traveler.

You can also savor a delicious meal at the Tallebudgera Surf Lifesaving Club, while Custard Canteen awaits with coffee and delectable pastries.

On the other hand, crossing the bridge leads you to the captivating Burleigh Heads National Park, where scenic walking tracks meander through lush rainforests.

At the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre where Dreamtime stories are intertwined with the landscape, you’ll appreciate the local indigenous history and culture of the Gold Coast.

The Tallebudgera Creek holds a cherished place in the hearts of the Kombumerri people, part of the Yugambeh language group, for centuries, and their cultural richness adds an enchanting layer to the magic of this serene creek.

Pro tips: Plan your visit on a midweek day if you can in order to avoid the weekend crowds. You’ll feel like you’re in your private little haven, soaking in the tranquility of nature. Don’t forget to pack your snorkeling gear! The creek’s calm waters offer an opportunity to explore the underwater world. When the tide is low, you can witness incredible marine life and beautiful coral formations near the shore.

16. Wappa Falls

Wappa Falls
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Location: Yandina

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Wappa Falls in Yandina unveils a stunning natural wonder – a picturesque waterfall cascading gracefully over smooth rocks into a deep and refreshing swimming hole along the Maroochy River.

This hidden gem provides an ideal spot for wild swimming, surrounded by sunbathing rocks that invite you to immerse yourself in the serenity of nature. It also remains tranquil during weekdays, making it a perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Beyond the main falls, you can explore the downstream area, where more delightful pools await, offering an even greater variety for your enjoyment.

Meanwhile, reaching Wappa Falls is a straightforward journey. Just follow the Nambour North Connection Road south from Yandina, cross the Maroochy River, and then turn left onto Wappa Falls Road.

Then, continue for about 3.5 kilometers before turning right onto Pump Station Road, where you’ll find the parking area. The falls are a short stroll away, waiting to welcome you into their natural embrace.

During your visit, you’ll encounter an abundant birdlife that calls this area home. Moreover, you may consider extending your adventure to the nearby Wappa Dam, a paradise for birdwatchers.

Pro tips: First off, safety first! When you’re itching to take a dip in that refreshing swimming hole, keep an eye on the weather. Heavy rainfall can turn the waters into a wild ride, and you don’t want to mess with Mother Nature’s power. If you’re considering a leap into the pool from those rocks above the falls, remember that those rocks can get a little slippery. So, before channeling your inner cliff diver, make sure to test your footing on those rocks first.

17. Neurum Creek

Neurum Creek
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Location: D’Aguilar National Park

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Neurum Creek in D’Aguilar National Park offers an oasis for nature enthusiasts seeking an off-grid escape. Tucked away on the eastern side of Mount Mee, it’s accessible via a 4WD journey along gravel roads.

With thirteen allocated sites, it also provides an intimate camping experience. One highlight of Neurum Creek Campgrounds is its close proximity to the refreshing Neurum Creek.

In the heat of summer, campers can take a short walk to the creek and enjoy a revitalizing splash, washing away the dust of the day. While there are no shower facilities, the simple joy of immersing in the cool creek waters more than compensates.

For a truly peaceful experience, Neurum Creek restricts access to swags, tents, roof-top setups, and slide-on 4WD campers only, keeping noisy RVs and trailers at bay.

Each campsite offers a designated parking spot, a fire pit for cozy evenings, and access to rainwater taps.

Before you set out on your camping adventure at Neurum Creek, double-check Queensland National Parks’ website for current fire restrictions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Pro tips: Remember that the crystal-clear waters of Neurum Creek are not suitable for drinking. Make sure you’ve got enough drinking water to bring with you. Woodford or Dayboro are the places to go for stocking up water. Bring along firewood or grab some from Woodford or Dayboro as it’s not provided in the campgrounds. Also, chopping wood within the National Park isn’t allowed.

18. Kholo Creek

Kholo Creek
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Location: Ipswich

Drive time from Brisbane CBD: 40 minutes

Kholo Creek at Pine Mountain is a picturesque retreat into nature, located around seven kilometers away from the heart of Ipswich.

Its lush gardens, crystal-clear lily pond, and serene open spaces are a delight for nature enthusiasts. The diverse vegetation around the area includes giant Kauri trees and Hoop Pines, remnants of the area’s early settlement history.

Adding to its allure, there’s the Kholo Gardens which holds sacred significance for the indigenous Jagera, Yuggera, and Ugarapul People.

You can expect various experiences here, from tranquil walks through Tree Fern Lane to more adventurous hikes along the steeper 800-meter Coal Creek Walk.

There’s also an old church relocated from Redbank and a well with historical significance from its days as a water pumping station for history buffs.

With barbecue facilities, picnic tables, and public toilets available, Kholo Creek and Kholo Gardens also become an inviting venue for weddings and other gatherings.

Pro tips: Consider visiting Kholo Creek during the weekdays for a more tranquil experience. Make sure to check the Ipswich City Council website for up-to-date details on closures or controlled burns in Conservation Estates and Parks.
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