Time to share our first local adventure: A day trip to the Boulders for a swim in the Babinda Creek (and a tick for number 9 on the bucket list – swim in a freshwater swimming hole – for those playing along at home).
Babinda is about 30km north of Innisfail, around an easy 20 minute drive. We packed a picnic lunch, togs and snorkels and headed off relatively early on Sunday. First impressions of Babinda are that it is a super cute little town. The Babinda Bakery comes highly recommended (but closed on Sunday), and we noticed the Babinda Munro Picture Theatre as we drove through, which has got to be worth a look in future.
The Boulders were a short drive through town and the cane fields, and it was clear when we arrived that it is a popular spot for a swim: Several early morning, budgie-smuggler clad swimmers were heading back to their cars dripping wet, and a small tourist bus was parked in the bus parking zone.
The Wanyurr Yidinji Aboriginal people know the area as Bunna Binda, meaning ‘water passing over your shoulder’ and it was easy to see why. The water rolling over the smooth grey rocks and boulders in the creek was simply beautiful, and so inviting. We were straight in for a dip.
The water was beautifully cold.
After wading past the bus-load of European backpackers with skin tones ranging from lily-white to raging-sunburn-red, we paddled up and down the creek and across the waterhole to explore.
A word of warning: Despite the waterhole being quite calm, there was a strong current in the creek on either side that was slightly masked by the relatively low water level. Clearly when the creek is running high the waterway can be treacherous, and the mossy rocks below the surface pose a serious slip hazard for those rushing headlong without caution.
We enjoyed the swim so much that it was hard to drag ourselves out to eat the picnic lunch.
The garden / picnic area is well cared for, with the usual facilities. There was also a resident peacock strutting his stuff, we spotted a brush turkey making a dash across the lawn, and noted a handful of chickens roaming the gardens (an odd addition).
After lunch we took the walking path to the Devil’s Pool lookout. More about that next post.
Our top tips
- We recommend getting here early if you’re looking for a peaceful swim. The water wasn’t too crowded when we arrived, but from mid-morning to early afternoon the number of swimmers grew dramatically (the weather was glorious).
- Swimming is suitable for all ages, if care is taken to stay to the shallows with young children. Easy access from the man-made walkway to the main swimming hole.
- Tidy lawns and plenty of tables for picnics, but we recommend taking a picnic rug or plastic table cloth. Public BBQ facilities were in demand at lunch-time.