Cardwell Spa Pools

Queensland’s Cardwell Spa Pools – A Hidden Gem (2023)

This post was updated on: March 1, 2023

When you see the Cardwell Spa Pools for the first time, it will be an unforgettable experience. The watercolour is unlike anything else in Australia and definitely a geological wonder. is an unforgettable experience, with its watercolour unlike any other place in Australia. This place is definitely a geological wonder.

This place wasn’t particularly famous until an Instagram post blew up and made it a must-visit spot for anyone driving from Brisbane to Cairns.

Remember that you must make sure you visit at the right time. If the area is too dry, there will be no water in the creek or not enough to swim. 

If there is too much water, it will create a spa-like effect with the rushing water over the stacked rocks. However, too much water could also cause the baby blue colour to fade to a more milky blue colour.

In this guide, we’ll answer all your questions about Cardwell Spa Pools so that you can make the most of your visit.

Key Points

  • Cardwell Spa Pools is a hidden gem located in the heart of Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
  • This idyllic swimming spot is fed by a freshwater spring and has a beautiful surrounding rainforest.
  • Cardwell Spa Pools gets its unique blue colour from the minerals from the rocks and water.
  • The best time to visit Cardwell Spa Pools is between May and September, but it will be even better after some rain.

Where is Cardwell Spa Pools?

Cardwell Pools is a hidden gem in the heart of Tropical North Queensland, Australia. This idyllic swimming spot is fed by a freshwater spring and has a beautiful surrounding rainforest. It’s the perfect spot to cool off on a hot day.

How do I get to the Cardwell Spa Pool?

Cardwell Spa Pools is located approximately 2 hours south of Cairns in the Cassowary Coast Region. The closest town is Cardwell, which is about a 10-minute drive away from the spa pool.

To get to Cardwell Pools, you’ll need to turn off the Bruce Highway onto Cardwell Forest Drive, that is a dirt road. Follow this road for about 6 kilometres until you reach a signposted track and the car park.

Walk this track for about 500 metres until you reach the pools. Please be aware that the track can be slippery when wet, so take care when walking down to the pools.

Although the road is not sealed, you can still access Cardwell Spa Pools without any special cars. Any 2WD car will be just fine. If you prefer to not drive on unsealed roads, or avoid it at all costs, take the northern access on Ellerbeck Road. The drive will be shorter. If you need to hire a car, we recommend doing it so here.

What to expect at Cardwell Spa Pools

When you arrive at the dirt car park, there’s no hike required. You are pretty much already in front of the swimming hole.

When you first see the water, you’ll notice its unusual blue colour. The pools don’t look like they belonged in Cardwell’s dry forest landscapes.

A manufactured stone pile serves as the “spa area”, and a tree stump makes an excellent jumping board into the deep, blue pools.

The pools are definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area, but please be aware that they can be pretty slippery when wet.

Wade seating on a tree stamp out of the water at Cardwell spa pools

Why are the Cardwell Spa pools so blue?

The Cardwell Spa Pools get their unique blue colour from the minerals from the rocks and water.

The water in this naturally fed seasonal creek usually flows underground, where there are a lot of minerals such as magnesium and calcium. This is what makes the pools look blue. The colour can range from light blue to dark blue, depending on how much available sunlight there is.

cardwell spa pools

What’s the best time of the year to visit the pools? 

The best time to go is between May and September but the rains heavily determine the creek’s conditions.

The creek is usually a lovely blue colour, but during the wet season, in summer, it washes out and loses its vibrancy. Heavy rains during this period can also cause the creek to overflow.

The winter months, or dry season, are the best time to visit. However, if there hasn’t been enough rain, the pool can be completely dried up.

We visited in June, and as you can see from the photos, we did see the pretty blue water and a perfect spa pool.

During our research, we saw people visiting the creek while it was completely dry. There is a bit of luck with the weather sometimes.

top area of cardwel spa pools

Frequently Asked Question

People in front of Bridge

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