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Whether you’re in it, on it or beside it, the calming, cooling quality of water is something we all crave.

Venture into Southern Queensland Country’s national parks and natural places to find waterfalls, natural pools, lagoons, lakes and rivers – the perfect places to relax and rejuvenate body and soul.

Waterfall Drive, Killarney

Go chasing waterfalls on Killarney’s Fall’s Drive, especially great fun after summer rain.

Just out of Killarney, Spring Creek Road offers access to three beautiful plunge waterfalls; Daggs Falls, Browns Falls and the crowning glory, a little further along this pretty forest-fringed drive is Queen Mary Falls – part of Main Range National Park.

Waterfall surrounded by rock.

Queen Mary Falls, Main Range National Park, Southern Downs & Granite Belt

You can view the falls from the lookout at the top (a short walk from the car park) or do the circuit walk in about 45 minutes, but stay a little longer and sit amid the lush ferns at the base of the falls to enjoy the cool fresh spray from the 40 ft drop.

Safety tip: Stay on designated tracks and be careful as steps/rocks could be slippery particularly after rain.

Take a picnic or enjoy homemade scones and jam or lunch at the café opposite the car park.

Local tip: Keep an eye out for bowerbirds and king parrots.

Cool Pools

From Toowoomba you can easily access Crows Nest Falls in Crows Nest National Park. Swimming at the falls is not permitted however you can view it from the lookout – at its best after big rains.

Small stream flowing through rocks surrounded by forest.

Crows Nest National Park, Toowoomba Region

You can take a cooling dip in the national park at the Cascade Pool and the Kauyoo Pool both have sandy beaches and shallow water perfect for paddling (best for small children) or the Bottlebrush Pool a little further down the track is the deepest and best for a few refreshing laps.

Be aware that natural pools can vary in depth and rocks may be just under the surface – never dive in and be careful on rocks as they may be slippery.

Local tip: Keep an eye out for brush tailed wallabies bounding about.

Natural pool of water surrounded by large rocks.

Coomba Falls near Maidenwell, South Burnett

Coomba Falls near Maidenwell is perhaps the coolest pool of all - this large natural pool is actually icy cool all year round! As with all natural pools, recent rain and evaporation will mean depth varies so take extra care to check water levels and never dive in.

Local tip: It’s a very pretty spot to spread out with a picnic, but get there early to nab your spot.

Lakes and Dams

Areial View of lake with surrounding grassland and a boat ramp.

Lake Cooby, Toowoomba Region

Around Toowoomba head for serene Lake Cooby to fish, kayak and picnic.

Lake Cressbrook offers a waterside camp ground, fishing and boating, a beach volleyball court, free BBQ facilities, picnic areas, and a children's playground.

Perseverance Dam is closed to water activities, but still a lovely spot to picnic, birdwatch and catch a cool breeze.

Further north in the South Burnett region, you'll find Lake Boondooma and Bjelke Petersen Dam.

Couple kayaking on a beautiful blue lake.

Lake Wivenhoe, Somerset Region

Closer to Brisbane is Lake Wivenhoe, part of the Somerset region. As South East Queensland's largest lake take your pick of perfect spots to swim, fish (permits required), launch the sailboat or kayak. Or relax with a picnic at any one of six recreational areas around the lake.

Father and son fishing on edge of blue dam, with a kayak next to them.

Leslie Dam, Warwick, Southern Downs & Granite Belt

In the Southern Downs, Glenlyon Dam, Storm King Dam and Leslie Dam are peaceful spots offering great picnicking, kayaking and fishing.

In the Western Country area, throw in a line for local freshwater fish or sit on the shady banks and relax at Cecil Plains Weir, Caliguel Lagoon near Condamine or Chinchilla Weir on the beautiful Condamine River.

Just south-west of Dalby you’ll find Lake Broadwater, a great spot to relax and appreciate nature.

Lake with kangaroo jumping in foreground.

Lake Broadwater Conservation Park, Dalby, Western Downs

This beautiful natural freshwater wetland offers swimming, canoeing, a boat ramp for boating and skiing, walking tracks, a bird hide and picnic spots.

There’s a camping area with showers and toilets, picnic tables and campfire grates.

Heading further north? Point the fishing rod toward Lake Maraboon, a 20minute drive south from Emerald in the Central Queensland Highlands. Stocked with eight fish species including the famed red claw crayfish, this is an anglers paradise (permits required).

Local tip: Lakes and dams are magnets for birds of all kinds – take your binoculars and get there early.

Couple enjoying picnic sitting on rocks overlooking a lake.

Lake Maraboon, Central Queensland Highlands

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Acknowledgement of Country

Southern Queensland Country Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waterways that run through these regions. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past, present and emerging.