Cairns Lagoon

10 free swimming pools and water parks in Queensland

Summer in the sub-tropics is a hot and sultry affair. With average temps of over 30 degrees, and tops of well over 40, Queensland summers aren’t messing around. There’s no need to hunker down when the mercury soars. Queensland has plenty of free swimming pools, lagoons, and even water parks to help you get the most out of summer without risking sand in your swimmers.

Here are ten:

Cairns Lagoon

Cairns Lagoon | Queensland swimming pools

The Esplanade in Cairns has everything you need, from markets to live music and even a casual swim.

Surrounded by sandy shores and timber decking, and filled with salt water, the Cairns Lagoon is an oasis of beach right in the middle of town. There’s also a skate park, beach volleyball courts and a heap of playgrounds to keep the kids entertained, as well as a bunch of public barbecues set up along the nearby boardwalk so you can make a real day of it.

Once the sun goes down you can head out to explore the city at night with this handy guide.

Airlie Beach Lagoon

Airlie Beach Lagoon

Photo by @skye.jr

Right at the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach is so full of things to do that your days spent here will be packed. When the heat gets too much, there’s the Airlie Beach Lagoon, conveniently located right in the middle of town and completely stinger-free.

The lagoon has designated swimming lanes for business, and plenty of space for frolicking. Whether they’re cooling off in the water, cooking up a barbecue, or sitting in a lagoon-front cafe, this is the spot all the locals naturally gravitate towards.

Uncover more of the Whitsundays local secrets with this handy guide.

Yeppoon Lagoon, Yeppoon

The Yeppoon foreshore is looking mighty pretty these days. Built right up close to the water, this community hub looks out over the crystal waters of the Coral Sea and includes plenty of features from playgrounds to skate parks. But the star attraction is undoubtedly the Yeppoon Lagoon.

The lagoon covers an area equal to close to 13 tennis courts, with a shallow play area for little kids, a lap pool, and even an infinity edge with the most beautiful views over the Keppel Islands.

There are barbecues along the entire foreshore, but if you don’t feel like cooking there’s an on-site cafe. The lagoon is open 365 days of the year with lifeguards on duty during opening hours.

Bluewater Lagoon, Mackay

How does one swimming lagoon sound? How about two? Well forget that, because Mackay has a three-tiered lagoon.

Each tier of Bluewater Lagoon caters to a different level of swimming aptitude, so it’s perfect for swimmers of all ages. For the kids, there’s an interactive play area with a slide and a pretty epic drop-bucket. Then for more confident swimmers, there’s a waterfall connecting the two main pools as well as a 19 metre-long waterslide.

Built right in the city, the lagoon is monitored by life guards, and close to plenty of other free public facilities, like a barbecue area and the Bluewater Trail dotted with public artworks.

WetSide Water Education Park, Hervey Bay

Wetside Water Park | Queensland swimming pools

Most water parks have an entrance fee, but your money’s no good at WetSide Water Park in Pialba.

As a completely eco-friendly park, the education aspect comes from interactive displays around the water park which teach you how storm water is treated on site to help supply the fountains, as well as heaps of information about the importance of water. Australia is the world’s driest inhabited continent, so it’s worth a read to learn more about this precious resource.

The park is free to splash around in, but for a small fee, your kids can try their hand at surfing using the FlipSide Board Rider, powered by two pumps that push 6000 litres of water a second to make an endless wave.

*Note: the Board Rider is currently closed for repairs, but should be back up and running again shortly. Check their website for more details.

Kings Beach Pool, Caloundra

Kings Beach Pool Caloundra | Queensland swimming pools

Kings Beach in Caloundra is an all-purpose location. Ideal for surfers, fishermen and beach lovers alike, this coastal suburb is a highlight of the Caloundra area. And you could say that Kings Beach Pool is the highlight of the highlight.

Filled by the ocean water, but without the risk of choppy surf, taking a dip in the salt water is like swimming in perfect conditions. It also has a 25-metre lap pool, children’s swimming pool and wading area with disabled access. It’s even pet-friendly, so the whole family can come. When the tide goes out, venture down to the rock pools for a look around.

And while you’re on the Sunshine Coast, get the most out of your visit with more of the region’s free attractions.

Settlement Cove Lagoon, Redcliffe

Settlement Cove Lagoon Redcliffe | A local's guide to Brisbane's best beaches

The lagoon at Redcliffe sits right off the beach and is shallow enough for children of all ages. Mushroom fountains and squirting lizards add some adventurous play options for the kids, as well as a man-made rocky stream for you to lounge around on. The lagoon is wheelchair accessible, with lifeguards on duty during the summer months.

While everyone else is splashing around, keen fishers can down to the beach to chuck a cheeky line in the water. With plenty of public barbecues ready to go, you can fry up your catch right then and there for the freshest feed of your life. Naturally, if nothing bites, the nearby Yabbey Road Fish n Chips will sort you out. After lunch, pick up some ice cream for dessert from the on-site kiosk and the afternoon slump doesn’t stand a chance.

Once you’re done dipping, check out these other things to do in Redcliffe.

Streets Beach, South Bank

Streets Beach | A local's guide to Brisbane's best beaches

Brisbane is the only city in the world with a man-made beach right in the middle of it. Aptly sponsored by the ice cream company, Streets Beach is a dazzling lagoon right in the heart of the South Bank Parklands. Lifeguards are on duty during the day, and there are plenty of public barbecues to fuel a summer cook-up.

As far as man-made beaches go, Streets Beach is pretty massive, but it’s still worth getting here early because it fills up quickly. And why not? From Streets Beach it’s just a short walk in any direction to dozens of Brisbane attractions like weekend markets, pubs, cinemas, restaurants, a giant ferris wheel, the world-renowned Gallery of Modern Art and the Queensland Museum.

Enoggera Reservoir, Brisbane

Like something out of a summer camp movie, Brisbane’s Enoggera Reservoir is always a popular dipping spot for locals looking to beat the heat.

Located at the base of Mt Nebo, in the D’Aguilar National Park, this heritage-listed reservoir has been one of Walkabout Creek’s leading attractions since 1866. Today, families still gather on the embankment to cool off in the dam’s refreshing waters,

The swimming area is bounded by buoys so it’s easy to keep an eye on the little ones, and pool noodles, floaties, and blow-up swans are all heartily encouraged.

Since the creek only permits non-motorised watercraft, Walkabout is a hotspot for keen kayakers, canoeists and stand-up paddleboarders, so it’s perfect for some outdoors summer adventures. Work up a sweat on the Araucaria circuit track to really appreciate the dip.

Please note: though surrounded by gums, the embankment itself doesn’t have a lot of shade, so make sure you bring sunscreen and an umbrella.

Orion Lagoon, Springfield

Orion Lagoon | Queensland swimming pools

Just like that it seems, an entire master-planned community popped up in Springfield. and the Orion Lagoon is a focal point within the Robelle Domain Parklands. The lagoon is just 25 minutes from the Ipswich CBD and consists of a constellation of interconnected pools, hence the name. The depths vary from shallow little kid’s areas, at just over 0.3m depth, up to general swimming areas at 1.5m deep. It’s even got a lap pool for keeping up those resolutions.

With shade sails, barbecue pavilions and an on-site wood-fired pizza food truck, you can come and play all day. The Robelle Domain is open until 9pm until the end of March.


*Please note the temporary closure of all Queensland campgrounds in national parks, state forests and state-managed recreation and protected areas, in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.