Helena Moore snapped this great pic at Leslie Dam.
Helena Moore snapped this great pic at Leslie Dam. Contributed

COOL DOWN: 11 awesome Southern Downs swimming holes

SUMMER is here; the bitumen is scorching hot, the cicadas are deafening and the fans just doesn't seem to cool the house down enough.

Those Southern Downs residents who have a pool in the backyard will be laughing but the rest of us can take solace in the fact there are a whole heap of options when it comes to cooling down.

Thankfully, this region is chock-full with dams, waterways and gorgeous swimming holes that are perfect for such an occasion.

The water is cool in our freshwater havens, with plenty of shade from nearby trees and rocks, but be careful, rivers and dams are full of hazards.

Make sure you're an experienced swimmer and never dive in with out checking thoroughly for submerged objects first.

There's no doubts these water holes can be a great source of relief from our stifling summer heat.

The pontoon at Federation Park

Right in the centre of town, this is another popular spot for locals.

The handy pontoon is great for launching into the river and a top spot to dry off and sunbathe as well.

Jump in, cool off, sunbathe and repeat. How awesome.

The pontoon on the Condamine River at Federation Park is a great launching pad.
The pontoon on the Condamine River at Federation Park is a great launching pad. Jonno Colfs

Leslie Dam

Leslie Dam is huge and popular with locals and visitors alike.

With kilometres of shoreline, find the best spot for you and jump in.

The water will be cool below the surface and it's good for the kiddies, with its varying depth, just like a beach.

A reverse angle of Leslie Dam wall showing the various watermarks.
A reverse angle of Leslie Dam wall showing the various watermarks. Steven Kasper

Girraween National Park

Filled with waterways and rock pools, Girraween is a haven for freshwater swimmers.

There's even a awesome rockslide, just take some decent shorts to save you bum.

Beautiful cool water, in a beautiful setting.

Gail Paulsen sent in this photo from The Junction at Girraween National Park.
Gail Paulsen sent in this photo from The Junction at Girraween National Park. contributed

Sandy Creek

Out past the Sandy Creek Pub just near the bridge is a great spot to take the family for a swim, when there's water in it.

It's always good after a release from Leslie Dam.

Years ago it was a quiet little pool where lots of local kids learnt to swim.

Sparkling Sandy Creek at Leslie Dam.
Sparkling Sandy Creek at Leslie Dam. Steven Kasper

Boonoo Boonoo Falls

This gem of a spot just over the border in NSW is a favourite swimming hole for many.

Surrounded by beautiful countryside and mountains, it's a bit of a trip but well worth it for the amazing rock pools on offer.

Banjo Paterson courted his wife on the Boonoo Boonoo River which flows into the Clarence. Photo: Debrah Novak NOT FOR REUSE
Banjo Paterson courted his wife on the Boonoo Boonoo River which flows into the Clarence. Photo: Debrah Novak NOT FOR REUSE Debrah Novak

Condamine River

From Killarney right down to Warwick and beyond, there are heaps more spots to jump in along the Condamine River.

East of Killarney before Cambanoora Gorge, the Condy is a rocky stream, the water is shallow and it's a marvellous spot for families.

Just be careful, many spots along the Condamine back onto private property, so please make sure you have the owner's permission and always take care when jumping in - check what's down there first.

The rockies near Scots College.
The rockies near Scots College. Jonno Colfs

Connolly Dam

Head south of Warwick and take the signs to Connolly Dam.

It's beautiful part of the region and with some great spots to chill out and cool down.

Connolly Dam - Contributed SDRC
Connolly Dam - Contributed SDRC Contributed

Cambanoora Gorge

With 14 river crossings, there is no shortage of spots to dip surrounded by the stunning scenery of the gorge.

There's not too many places to do laps, but it's just perfect to sit in the shallows and escape the heat.

Again there are varying degrees of depth and so many options to choose from.

Keith Murray took this prize winning photograph capturing the Condamine through Cambanoora Gorge.
Keith Murray took this prize winning photograph capturing the Condamine through Cambanoora Gorge. contributed

The Yangan Rockies

They may be a little harder to find but they're well worth it.

They've been a hugely popular spot for the local kids for generations, with a beautiful water hole of fresh cool water.

And a handy ladder attached to the rocks.

Yangan Rockies
Yangan Rockies Contributed

Araucaria Falls

Head north to find but well worth it according to those who sought this little gem out.

Located out at Goomburra, there's a gorgeous swimming hole located at the bottom of the falls.

Apparently if you cross the creek and keep following the track it takes you down to the bottom of the falls where you can jump in for a swim.

Araucaria Falls near Goomburra is a beautiful spot.
Araucaria Falls near Goomburra is a beautiful spot. Contributed

Storm King Dam

Situated about 10kms southeast of Stanthorpe, Storm King Dam is the perfect spot for a dip.

Cool, fresh and plenty of spots to dip your toes in.

A jetty juts out over Storm King Dam.
A jetty juts out over Storm King Dam. Jodie Locke


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