Big Crystal Creek – Everything you need to know about Paradise Waterhole (2023)
This post was updated on: March 1, 2023
Big Crystal Creek is a beautiful swimming spot in the Paluma Range National Park, North Queensland, Australia. You can expect to find a large creek, rainforest, and plenty of wildlife. Camping is allowed at Big Crystal Creek.
Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Big Crystal Creek and Paradise Waterhole.
- Big Crystal Creek is located in the Paluma Range National Park, North Queensland, Australia.
- The best time to visit Big Crystal Creek is during the dry season, between May and October.
- What to expect at Big Crystal Creek: a freshwater swimming destination with lots of natural rock slides, a little waterfall that ends at the perfect swimming hole and a creek surrounded by rainforest.
- Camping is allowed at Big Crystal Creek Campground.
How to get to Big Crystal Creek and Paradise Waterhole
Big Crystal Creek is located in the Paluma Range National Park, North Queensland, Australia, approximately 1-hour drive from Townsville. The easiest way to get to Big Crystal Creek is by car. If you don’t have your own, you can hire one here.
From Townsville, take the Bruce Highway north for about 50km until you reach Barrett Road, where you will turn left. From there, the 4km-long route (Spiegelhauer Road) to Big Crystal Creek is located 2km north of Mt Spec Rd.
The free Big Crystal Creek camping spot is perfectly positioned on the creek bed- and you’ll pass it on the way!
It’s an easy 100m walk from the car park to Paradise Waterhole, another freshwater swimming area with an adjacent campground that can be reserved online.
After you pass Paradise Waterhole, drive until you come to a dirt lot (car park) on the side of the road. Continue past the gate on foot, following the road for about 500m until you see a sign telling you to go left.
Congratulations! You have arrived at the spectacular waterhole that is Big Crystal Creek!
Best time to visit Big Crystal Creek and Paradise Waterhole
The best time to visit Big Crystal Creek is during the dry season, between May and October. During this time, the weather is warm and sunny, with little chance of rain, and there are fewer mosquitoes.
However, if you are okay with braving the summer heat (and the bugs), you’ll find that the creek is less crowded outside these peak months. June to August is the peak tourist season.
The Wet Season (December – March) can be extremely hot and humid, with daily thunderstorms a possibility.
We visited Big Crystal Creek and Paradise Waterhole at the beginning of June. Although the water was icy, we had the place to ourselves for a few hours and immensely enjoyed our refreshing swim.
Another great tip is to visit these spectacular waterfalls early in the day. This is an extremely popular swimming spot, and it gets busy with tourists and locals.
What to expect at Big Crystal Creek
Big Crystal Creek is a freshwater swimming destination with lots of natural rock slides, a little waterfall that ends at the perfect swimming hole and a creek surrounded by rainforest.
Located in Queensland, Australia, this is the perfect spot for anyone looking to cool down, take a dip and have some fun. Once you arrive at the car park, it’s a 10-minute walk to Little Crystal Creek.
The rock slides are fun; you can get enough speed to fly off the edge, so be careful!
If the thought of a slip ‘n’ slide doesn’t appeal to you, you can relax in the tranquil waterfall instead and play in the crystal clear water pool.
On-site, there are free barbecues, flush toilets and cold showers available.
What to expect at Paradise Waterhole
Paradise Waterhole was our favourite swimming spot in the seven months we have been on the road. With its sandy beach on one side and great views of the mountains in the distance, Paradise Waterhole has it all!
As mentioned above, once you arrive at the Crystal Creek day-use area, it’s an easy 100m walk down Paradise Waterhole. The trail will take you to an area with large rocks perfect for sunbathing and relaxing. It would also be the perfect picnic spot after diving into the depths of the refreshing, clean pool.
This deep, freshwater swimming hole is perfect for families, couples or larger groups of people who want to enjoy the company of turtles and fish all year round.
Even at the lower depths, the water is still deep enough to make a safe jump from the rocks.
Camping at Big Crystal Creek
Beside Big Crystal Creek, you will find a popular campsite called Big Crystal Creek Campground, located 4kms from the park entrance, along the unsealed Spiegelhauer Road.
This paid campground offers flushing toilets, cold showers, swimming, gas barbecues and picnic tables. Following the national parks rule, this is not a dog-friendly campground.
It is accessible to conventional vehicles, motorbikes, small motorhomes, camper trailers and small caravans. We do not recommend large caravans or buses because the camping area is relatively small with a narrow access road.
Tent camping and walk-in camping are allowed, and you must book online. Advance bookings are always a good idea, but it’s essential if you’re visiting during school holidays when the campgrounds are more crowded. The camp sites are in an open area without separately defined sites.
You will find three camp site surface in this camping area: sand, dirt or grass. Open fires are only allowed in fire rings, except when fire bans apply.
Remember to bring insect repellent and rubbish bags. Mobile phone coverage is weak.
This area has much more to see than just the Big Crystal Creek or Paradise Waterhole.
The Paluma Range area runs almost from Ingham to Townsville and includes the must-see Mt Spec-Big Crystal Creek section and Little Crystal Creek and Jourama Falls.
Leave the caravan behind to take on the windy, narrow access road up to the cool mountain town of Paluma. Along the way are several creeks and swimming-hole spots, including Little Crystal Creek, 7km along Mt Spec Rd, a series of swimming holes surrounded by rainforests and looked over by a stone bridge (built-in 1932).
To get to Jourama Falls, travel 6km on a good, sealed road from the highway, though the creek at the entrance can be impassable. It’s a steep walk up to the lookout; watch for Ulysses butterflies, nocturnal brown bandicoots and mahogany gliders. The rock pools are suitable for a dip, and there are plenty of turtles to check out.
Wade & Dani
Hi! We’re Wade and Dani, We’re currently travelling around Australia in our 2017 Mercedes Sprinter Camper van and sharing our best experiences, stories, reviews and adventures as we go along. Make sure you follow us on Instagram @wadeanddani