A trip to Kenilworth in the summer months would not be the same without a swim in some of our best waterholes. The Mary River and the many creeks that flow into it offer diverse and interesting swimming experiences for the traveller and local alike. The great part of swimming around Kenilworth is that unless you enter a waterway during periods of flood… and we strongly recommend that you don’t…. it is remarkably safe and free from hazards. There are no crocodiles, sharks, sea lice, rips, or other bitey things to worry about! And the water is fresh and cleansed by multiple sand bars, acting as a remarkable filter. One of the few hazards to be aware of after periods of heavy rain, are strong currents in a few locations…. usually these are short stretches of river…and where they connect with logs lying across the creek or river, are best avoided. We have also heard of the occasional youth whizzing downstream enjoying the rapids, and then finding that it got dark before they made their way back upstream to their point of entry.
1. Obi OBI Creek Crossing No 2
Obi Obi Creek meanders down the valley from Mapleton Falls down to Kenilworth where it joins the Mary River. The road largely follows the creek and you will cross on small bridges (some single lane) several times, and is a joyfully scenic drive, and pleasant alternative route back to Brisbane from Kenilworth.
The creek crossing along the Obi Obi Road at Obi Obi Crossing #2 offers pleasant swimming within easy access of Kenilworth Village…. just 7 or 8 min drive from the turn-off at Eumundi-Kenilworth Road towards Mapleton. Cross the bridge when you approach the crossing and turn left immediately and find shady park under a tree.
Access to the water is very easy under the bridge (you can even bring your 4WD down to the water’s edge)m and if you swim out into the centre, the water gets quite deep in parts. Children love to build dams and bridges along the rapids which are pebbly and not deep. There is plenty of shallows for the little ones and the less adventurous to paddle around. I’ve also seen the odd fisherman with a line in the water.
2. Booloumba Falls
This is one of favourite swimming destinations, though takes a little bit longer to get there, and you need to be travelling in a four wheel drive or SUV. You could probably also get there if you had an oldish carwith good clearance and were not to bothered about a rickety dirt road that acquired a few ruts from erosion, and a creek crossing of about 30cm water. I would definitely not take a modern car with low clearance on this road.
To get there, travel south from Kenilworth village towards Maleny for about 8 minutes (10km), and turn right at the Booloumba Creek turn off. From here the first part of the road is bitumen, and you will travel past the state forest camping grounds. Continue past the camping grounds…. or sometimes we stop off here for morning tea in the day use area…. as these are the last toilets and picnic facilities on the way to the falls.
The road then heads up a steepish hill (dirt road) and continues towards Booloumba Falls…. travel for about 12 minutes (9.8km), taking it slowly and enjoying the beautiful rainforest and mountain scenery and odd look out, on the way. It is a two way road, even though it doesn’t look it, so be mindful of the odd vehicle or motor cycle coming the other way.
The falls are quite well signed on arrival, and there is a spacious car parking area with directions on where to head to the falls. The walk to the falls from the carpark is a comfortable 1.5km, and is a quality hiking trail – we suggest that you wear closed in shoes all the same. You will see a number of creek entry points as you progress along the trail… though we recommend powering on until you reach the lookout…. well worth taking in the view and capturing a photo. Just beside the lookout, you will see the stairs going down to the swimming hole under the falls. Enjoy the waterfall shower and cool swim, and remember to take your rubbish with you on the way out.
If you are a keen hiker, you can continue along this trail as it heads back to the Baloomba Creek camp grounds that you passed earlier. Approx 8.8km one way.
3. Sam Kelly Road
4. Lake Borumba Dam
This is a bit of longer trip from Kenilworth than our other recommended swimming holes though well worth the trip, particularly if you have a boat, kayak or canoe. From Kenilworth travel to Imbil, down the main street of town, (Yabba Creek Road) and continue out the other end towards the dam for about 20 km. Imbil is also a nice stop off point for a coffee, drink or supplies and if you are travelling through on a Sunday morning there is a small farmers market that operates from 9am to 2pm.
If you don’t have your own canoe or kayak, you can hire these in Imbil at:
Ride on Mary Imbil Kayak and Bike Hire • 0400 297 678
The area surrounding the lake features picnic grounds, boat ramps and toilet facilities.
On your way back, the Deer Park is worth a visit. The Deer Park is also a camping and cabins resort, though the owner advises that visitors are welcome to look around and feed the deer for short visits.
Borumba Deer Park • 5484 5196
5. Mary River – Whispers at Kenilworth
This swimming hole is only available to guests of Whispers, so is intensely private and secluded. See www.maryriverholidays.com for booking enquiries. Whispers is pet friendly, so your dogs and horses too, can enjoy the beautiful Mary River.
6. Kenilworth Homestead
Kenilworth Homestead is a privately run outdoor recreation, family camping and function centre, on the bank of the beautiful Mary River and just 2km from the township of Kenilworth.
Access to the river is easy for swimmers and paddlers, and you are able to hire kayaks by the hour at a very reasonable price. The swimming holes are mostly shallow ponds, lots of sandy bank and if you paddle your way down river, there are several deep swimming holes to be found at various locations. Providing you don’t go during flood or heavy rain periods, the current is gentle and swimming is a safe option here.