Canoe, swim, bushwalk, fish, picnic, barbecue, relax. Did you know that there’s a natural swimming hole some 25 minutes away from Brisbane CBD? Bunya Crossing Reserve swimming hole is a little-known but beautiful recreational area along the South Pine River on Brisbane’s Northside.
Bunya Crossing Reserve swimming hole
Bunya Crossing Reserve swimming hole is best visited after a decent amount of rain as this is a natural swimming hole fed by the rains of Mount Glorious. This popular swimming spot offers a large lake, an inland beach and a trail that will take you along the river, with rope swings set up by local families.
(note: you can still swim at the lake section regardless of rain, but its a lot cleaner after rain, and the river that it sits along is more enjoyable when it is noticeably flowing)
The lake section itself is deep water, but the beach entry is gradual and a great place for little kids to have a paddle. If you walk down the trail adjacent to the river, there are other places where a toddler can splash and play in shallow creek waters.
Bunya Lake and watercraft
You can drive your car into the recreation area and find the lake with a car park adjacent. This makes reaching the river easy for those Brisbane families with heavy canoes, kayaks, or stand-up paddleboards.
During the dry season, it may not be possible to take canoes and other watercraft beyond the main lake’s deep water. After decent rain, when the river is full and flowing, it is lots of fun kayaking up the river towards the Kumbartcho Sanctuary or, after a flood, down towards Cash’ Crossing (this is rare, though).
Also note that even in the middle of a rain event, there will be parts of the river where you will need to lift your canoe or kayak over, like creek crossings, for example.
Is Bunya Bunya Crossing Reserve swimming hole dog friendly?
The walking trail makes this a great place to take your furry kids, and dogs are welcome (and plentiful) for a swim but must be kept on their leash (and you will need to bring poop bags). The walk along Bunya Riverside is really lovely and you can walk all the way from Bunya Riverside, crossing the river at a designated bridge, taking you right up to Kumbartcho Sanctuary (you can’t take the dogs in here).
Can Brisbane families picnic at Bunya Lake?
Anyone can picnic at Bunya Lake.
The lake sits adjacent to a shady picnic area with tables and accessible toilets, making this a popular recreation space and a great choice for a birthday celebration. Even if you miss out on a picnic table, bring a blanket as there are plenty of lovely shady spots to make your own space under one of the many beautiful Moreton Bay Fig trees.
There is a natural walkway that heads along the banks of the river and you will often see older kids using the rope swings and enjoying the deep water away from the crowds.
How to get to South Pine River
To reach Bunya Crossing Reserve swimming hole, drive down Bunya Road to the back of Bunya Riverside and head towards the creek and river. There is limited parking, so we recommend you get there early
You can also get to the lake from the opposite side of the river. We often walk there via the other side of the river through Sargent Reserve at Eatons Hill, a community park with separate car parking. If you choose to access the swimming hole this way, note it is a 10-minute walk. This sounds like a lot, but it’s a pleasant walk and not difficult. It could be navigated with a pram but there are two fairly steep hills you will need to be mindful of. I would not say this route is wheelchair friendly or particularly accessible to those with mobility issues. Sargents Reserve is at the back of Eatons Hill via Albany Creek.
Wildlife at Bunya Crossing Reserve
We have walked along the river hundreds of times, and morning is the best time to see wildlife. Here is some of the wildlife we have seen at Bunya Crossing Reserve swimming hole and along the surrounding walking trails.
Early in the mornings, all along the banks of the river, the gloriously shy platypus comes out to feed and frolic.
The ultimate survivor, the bush turkey can often be spotted along the trails, making its mounds in preparation for nesting seasons.
While a very rare occurrence, wallabies have been spotted along the South Pine River
We have only seen these on the Eatons Hill side of the river up towards Kumbartcho Sanctuary but koalas live in this part of the Moreton Bay Region; if you are lucky, you might spot one along the river.
Plentiful and seen often, freshwater turtles also enjoy the cool waters of this natural river and close to Bunya Crossing Reserve swimming hole.
Again, very rare, but deer have been spotted along the South Pine River as far down as Cashs Crossing. This is in addition to foxes and wild dogs. We haven’t seen any of these personally at Bunya Crossing Reserve swimming hole, but we know they are there, and that river trails are a common way of traversing the landscape.
Can you fish at Bunya Swimming Hole?
Having lived in this area my entire life, we have spent some time fishing the South Pine River.
Are there tons of fish? No. Would I eat them? Probably not, actually no, I wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t fishing to be had and fun with kids who might like to catch some guppies for fun. Otherwise, you can hope for crayfish, bass, eel, flathead, mullet, catfish and tilapia (a pest species that shouldn’t be returned to the river).
Facilities at Bunya Crossing Reserve swimming hole
- Gas BBQ
- Picnic tables
- Wheelchair accessible toilet
- Recreational walking trails
- Waterhole for swimming and non-motorised water sports
- Dogs welcome (on lead)
- Off-street car park (note this fills up quickly)
- Rubbish bins and water tap
How to get to Bunya Riverside from Brisbane
Bunya Crossing Reserve swimming hole is located at the end of Dugandan Road in Bunya.
Bunya is about 25 minutes north of Brisbane CBD, and the best way to navigate your journey is using google maps. You need to head along Bunya Rd and through an acreage suburb to reach the swimming hole. The swimming hole is located at the junction of Bergin Creek and South Pine River. The reserve gates are closed at sunset and open at sunrise each day.
If you choose to visit and enjoy the Bunya Riverside, please respect this area, take any rubbish with you, and limit your impact on the space.
If you are looking for other free things to do besides the Bunya Crossing Reserve swimming hole, check out free things to do in Brisbane with Kids.