10 South East Queensland Summer Hiking Ideas

Once summer rolls around, things start to get a bit hot in South East Queensland. OK, it gets really hot! Getting outside to hike becomes a little harder, and many people find their motivation faltering.

So what hikes are perfect for hot summers? The ones in and around water! Water makes any hot day better, and is a great way to spend the summer exploring.

Here are my top picks!


Going straight to the deep, cool pools of water, the following hikes are ideal for having a swim and lounge around!

Lower portals (Mt Barney National Park)

Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Time: 3 hrs return

Track Info: https://www.aussiebushwalking.com/qld/mt-barney/lower-portals

This is a great hike for beginners and a fantastic spot to spend the day exploring the pools. If you head upstream from the main pool you will find many smaller pools that you can have all to yourself! The walk in is quite hot as there isn’t much tree cover so take lots of water and aim to start early to walk in and walk out later in the afternoon.

Stairway falls (Lamington National Park)

Difficulty: Moderate/Hard

Time: 5-6 hrs return

Track Info: In my post HERE or also found here: https://www.aussiebushwalking.com/qld/lamington/stairway-falls

This is a underrated water hole. It’s one of my favourite places to swim and relax when the weather is hot and humid. You can read all about this place in my post HERE.

Warringa Pool (Springbrook National Park)

Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 3 hrs return

Track Info: https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/springbrook/about.html#track_purling

As well as getting to see the impressive Purlingbrook falls, a side trip to Warringa Pool is a must! It's not too hard to get to, and while you are in the area, be sure to check out the canyon lookout and Best of All lookout up the road. And yes, it's actually called the Best of All lookout, for a good reason!

Gwongoorool Pool (Lamington National Park)

Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 2.5 hrs return

Track Info: https://www.aussiebushwalking.com/qld/lamington/binna-burra/gwongoorool-rock-pools

It’s short and steep to get to this one but again, but well worth the effort. With flowing water year round, it gets my tick of approval for being a place to spend the day in summer.


Read More:

5 Things You Need to Remember When You First Start Hiking!

12 of the Best Hikes Around South East Queensland!

The Best Gift Ideas for Hikers!


Coomera Falls Pool via Coomera Gorge (Lamington National Park)

Difficulty: Hard (rock hopping and scrambling skills needed)

Time: 8-10 hrs return (longer if you are slow at rock hopping)

Track Info: https://www.aussiebushwalking.com/qld/lamington/binna-burra/coomera-gorge

This one is a bit more effort to get to, but the reward is looking up at the 60m high Coomera falls as they cascade into a deep pool. To get there, head upstream from Gwongoorool Pool and keep following the creek all the way. As long as you stick to the creek, you can’t get lost. Come back the way you came. Along the way, there are many smaller swimming holes that can be sampled. Some scrambling skills are needed to get around a couple of smaller waterfalls. The faster you are at rock hopping in creeks, the easier this becomes.

Yerralahla (Lamington National Park)

Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 3 hrs return

Track Info: https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/lamington/about.html#west_canungra_creek_circuit

Also known as Blue Pool, this is like a teaser for Stairway Falls which is nearby, but is equally still worth spending some time at.

Northbrook Gorge (D'aguilar national park)

Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 3 hrs return

Track Info: https://www.aussiebushwalking.com/qld/brisbane-forest-park-d-aguilar-national-park/northbrook-gorges

Northbrook gorge is quite popular now with its sheltered swimming. This means the water is nice and cool as you swim through this mini canyon. A trip that is great on a hot summer's day.


With some hiking experience, there are some other things you can do to beat the heat and still get outside.

Follow creeks!

This is how I started my off-track exploration. Following creeks is generally easy in terms of navigation but it’s important to avoid going solo. It only takes one slip, hitting your head, and you can easily drown when you are by yourself. Also avoid these types of trips after heavy rain, for obvious reasons.

Here are a few hints for some places worth exploring:

Bohgaban Falls, Lamington National Park

  • Roughly at -28.193331, 153.201282 and can be accessed from Nerang Murwillumbah Rd and using the Gold Coast great walk track before entering the creek.

Secret Waterfall and Waterhole, Mt Mee

Love Creek Falls, D'aguilar National Park

  • My post ‘Brisbane Canyoning Guide’ covers this. And don’t worry, you don't need to go canyoning to enjoy the big swimming hole at the base of the falls!

And these are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s tons more around! Make sure your have a map of the area you are going to, adequate supplies (first aid, clothing, food and water) and let someone know where you are going.

For a free hiking gear checklist and outdoor adventure starter pack, head over HERE to grab it!

And for a great free resource for maps, check out Q-TOPO!

No longer should the Queensland harsh sun and humid heat be an excuse not to get outside! Stick to the water and explore a little, you might even find your very own waterfall!

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Always remember this...

The environment is under threat from human impact! For your enjoyment and for future generations, please LEAVE NO TRACE! Respect natural places and leave them clean. You can learn more about the leave no trace principles HERE.