We’re always on the lookout for amazing waterholes to swim in, with camping nearby, and when I saw photos of Booloumba Creek, I knew we had to head in and check it out. What made it even more tempting was the fact that we drove right past the turn off in a hired Toyota Hilux that we weren’t allowed to take off road, and saw the sign ‘High Clearance 4WD access only’!
After 7 weeks getting our Isuzu Dmax inner guards replaced, we spent a night at private property in Kenilworth, and then headed out to Booloumba Creek with our Hybrid Camper.
Where is Booloumba Creek?
Booloumba Creek is a well known camping area, not far out of Kenilworth. If you are coming from Brisbane, its 134km, and roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes drive, but this will vary hugely depending on the traffic!
Booloumba Creek access track
The drive into Booloumba Creek starts off as bitumen, and gets fairly narrow before turning to gravel. It’s gravel all the way to the end, with exception of a couple of bitumen sections over the big hill.
Do you need a 4WD?
When you turn into Booloumber Creek, there’s a big sign that says High Clearance 4WD vehicles only, and with a reputation of big creek crossings, that’s a pretty sensible conclusion to make.
Imagine my surprise then, when I see a Mazda 3, parked at campground number 4, having made it all the way in, through a number of water crossings and rough roads! Now, this is not a recommendation, and given it was in the middle of October the water levels were down a lot more, but it clearly can be done.
I’m going to side with the signs though, and recommend you only visit with a high clearance 4WD, and if its rained recently, the skills to know what is safe to drive through (and what isn’t), and how to go about doing a water crossing.
Camping at Booloumba Creek
Booloumba Creek has 3 camping areas, that are very well signed, and laid out.
Camping area 1
This is the first area that you arrive at, and has had a substantial amount of work done to it. It’s got nice toilets, picnic areas and good access to the water. This area is set up for camping from a tent or swag.
This is a day use area, and set aside for those who want to visit the park and swim without dealing with the huge crowds of people.
Camping area 3
This is virtually all in forest, with spatters of sunshine makings its way through. It’s located very close to the main, big water hole that everyone loves to swim in, and is a beautiful place to be. You cannot camp here with anything but a tent though.
Camping area 4
This is opposite number 3, and only about 100 metres walk away. This is a big, open area with a number of trees. This is popular for camping in groups, or with larger setups (caravans, camper trailers etc).
You can tuck yourself up against the edge and get shade for most of the day, or go out in the open and get more sunlight, if needed.
It gets busy
This is a very, very popular camping area, and you should know this before you book. Expect to see it very busy on weekends, with limited parking options in some areas, and lots of music and louder noises.
During the week its much quieter, but its still a very beautiful, and well known spot that would rarely be super quiet and peaceful.
Can you take a Caravan to Booloumba Creek?
Yes, you can. The road in is a bit rough, and there’s a few holes around the place, but its generally fairly well kept. Obviously if the water levels are high theres a risk of water ingress on your drive in, but a lot of people do take caravans.
We towed our Reconn R2 in with no issues, and would happily take it through water up to a metre deep (and have done), but this is not the case for all caravans!
Can you swim at Booloumba Creek?
Yep, and that’s one of the main attractions for visiting. However, you should know that the water level varies a lot, and the amazing photos you see on Instagram may not be anything like reality, depending on when you go.
We were there in the middle of October, and there was a small, but fairly stagnant hole at camping area 1. Area 2 (the day use area), had a nice, shallow pool that was clean and just still flowing, and Area 3 had the biggest, cleanest pool that most people were swimming in. This was still over my depth (2 metres), and was quite clean, and very cold.
Interestingly, the water is crystal clear in the mornings, but after a day of swimming it gets murked up. It’s still a nice aqua colour when the sun is out, but you can’t see the bottom easily, like you can after a night of it stilling down.
Just beyond Campground number 4 is a 9km 4WD track to Booloumba Falls. This takes about 30 minutes, and the conditions can vary considerably depending on the weather in the last few months.
Once you arrive, there’s a 2 hour, or 3km return walk to the falls themselves. We didn’t bother doing this as it was really hot, and we didn’t feel like joining the hordes of traffic already heading that way.
Walks at Booloumba Creek
There’s a number of different walks that you can do from Booloumba Creek, leaving from different parts of the camp grounds, and particularly at area 3.
Would we recommend Booloumba Creek?
We really rated this place. It would have been nice to see the creeks flowing, and the water levels higher, but it was a beautiful place to swim at, and check out. The water colour here is next level, and despite being a busy weekend when we went, it was still really pleasant to be.
We did camp in the middle of campground 4, and it was pretty hot even under the shade (we were wishing you were allowed to take campers into area 3), but it was a short walk to the water for a dip, which we did a number of times.
The kids loved the rope swing, and overall it’s a stunning part of the world that you’d be mad to drive past without checking out.