At the halfway point between Townsville and Cairns lies Cardwell; a small coastal town in the Far North Tropics of Queensland. If you’ve been heading north along the A1, this is probably the closest you’ll have driven to the sea for sometime. Other than for a toilet stop and a place to stretch your legs, there would seem little else to do. However, this little town holds a secret. The Cardwell Spa Pools. 10km inland lies the brightest, bluest freshwater stream imaginable complete with a natural jacuzzi. If you’re in the area, this is a must see and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have the place to yourselves! The only difficulty you’ll encounter is how to find the Cardwell Spa Pools. Luckily for you, I can help you find them and will show you some photos to inspire you to visit!
Some would say that these secret spots should be kept secret so as not to increase visitor numbers and, most of the time, I would agree. However, photos of the Cardwell Spa Pools are all over Instagram and are easily found on Google Maps. Anyway, I wouldn’t want someone to miss out on seeing these and taking a well deserved swim! If you’re road-tripping the East Coast, this is probably the freshest you’ll have felt in weeks.
How To Find The Cardwell Spa Pools
So, first things first, you’ll need a vehicle to drive to the pools as they are approximately 10km off the A1. Word of warning though, these are dirt roads so if you’ve hired a car or a campervan, check the small-print carefully. There might be charges for driving on dirt roads!
The easiest, and maybe the most scenic, way I found to get there was (if heading North) to drive straight through Cardwell and stay on the Bruce Highway for exactly 5km. At Ellerbeck, turn left and go past the Meunga Caravan Park which will be on your right. This is a tarmac road and you’ll need to take another left after 3km on to the dirt road. Follow this road towards the hills, take another left at the T-junction, go round a corner and you’ll see the car park for the pools on your right! Easy!
What To Do When You Arrive
When I visited, we were the only ones there so had free reign of the jacuzzi pool. After not having a shower for a good few days on our road trip, Emma and I just sat for ages letting the cool clean water wash over us! I’ve never felt so fresh. There’s the option of swimming in the actual ‘river’ section too which is an absolutely magnificent cloudy blue colour. Don’t worry though, given that this is freshwater, there’s little chance of stumbling into a saltwater crocodile. The only thing I was concerned about was an Aussie family turned up to swim but ended up worrying about stonefish and leaving. I’m not sure on this one but it’s worth knowing about just in case.
Anyway, this is the perfect place just kick back and relax for a few hours before moving on again or finding a place to camp for the night.
Where To Stay
If you’re not looking to continue your road trip after visiting the Cardwell Spa Pools then you’ll need somewhere nearby to stay. I’m pretty confident that you’d get away with free-camping right at the pools themselves but you can never be sure these days! If you fancy somewhere where you definitely can stay in your campervan for free, head 20kms north of Cardwell to Bilyana Rest Area.
If you need any more tips or more information on Cardwell Spa Pools, just leave a comment below or drop me a message! Hopefully with these tips, you’ll be able to find the pools. Now, if you hadn’t even heard of these before, you’ll have somewhere new to add to your East Coast bucket-list.
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