Babinda Boulders

Known as one of Cairns most popular attractions, the Babinda Boulders sit in a fairytale landscape of lush rainforest, clear blue pools, and unusual rock formations. They form a famous swimming spot which draws in thousands of tourists every year who are looking to cool off in the heat of the Australian sun. Afternoon dips are the name of the game here, but there is also plenty of nature and tropical scenes to discover, too.

The creek itself is populated with huge, surreal boulders with eggshell-smooth water weaving a calm path between them. Every now and again it pools into tiny lagoons where people can kick back and swim – made even better by the fact the water is usually fairly cool, even in the humid summer months.

Behind the boulders, you can catch a glimpse of Mt Bartle Frere rising in the distance. This is Queensland’s highest mountain and the source of the water from Babinda Creek. Though the boulders are nestled in acres of stunning scenery, it is just the section of the creek with the huge granite boulders that is known as Babinda.

Babinda Boulders

The Legend of Babinda Boulders

Like some of the other major Australian landmarks, the Babinda Boulders hold great significance for the local Aboriginal peoples. There’s a legend that spans the area that tells the story of a girl named Ooolana from the Yidinji people. She is thought to have married an elder from her tribe name Waroonoo, but soon after the got together a handsome young member of another tribe who had moved to the area caught her eye.

He was known as Dyga and they fell in love quickly. They soon realised the error of their ways and the adulterous crime they were committing, so they fled their respective tribes and ran into the valleys. They were eventually found, but Oolana managed to break free before throwing herself into the unmoving waters that surround the Babinda Boulders. She hit the water crying out for her love, Dyga, which shook the water into action. The land vibrated around her, sending boulders flying into the creek and causing the water to plunge forward at alarming rates. This is the story behind how the Babinda Boulders came to be and, if you listen closely, it’s thought you can still here Oolana’s cries for her lost lover.

What to do at Babinda Boulders

1. Swim

One word to describe the Babinda Boulders is refreshing. Even in the scorching hot days of Cairns, the water remains cool and invigorating. Letting you cool off from the sweltering heat as you swim in the deep sections. The creek is perfectly clear, letting you see the fish whizzing past you as you drift through the water.  Even if you aren’t a great swimmer, you can easily enjoy the cool waters, withstanding up in the water quite easy.

Swimming Hole Babinda Boulders

2. Sunbake

This is what has made this spot so appealing; the smooth sunbaking rocks! Simply swim out to one of the large boulders and climb up to the top. Slowly drying off from the hot rock and shining sun. Bring a book and enjoy the serene experience where you are fully immersed in the epic natural world of the Babinda Boulders.

3. Waterfall Circuit

Just behind the Babinda Boulders is Mt Bartle Frere, which is Queensland’s tallest mountain. It is where the water flows from, which explains its cool temperature. Travel up one of the many walking tracks and enjoy the epic view this area promises. With lush tropical wildlife including unquie animals such as birds and reptiles, with a myriad of trees, ferns and stunning vines covering the area. Perfect for your next Instagram photo!

Mt Bartle Frere

4. Camp Nearby

If you are not ready to leave this picturesque wonderland, why not stay the night at the nearby camping sight? The camping site has a maximum stay of 72 hours and has all the basic camping amenities that you need for a great adventure. Suitable for tents, caravans or even motorhomes, so you can enjoy the vacation however you want!

Practical Information

The Babinda Boulders is free to enter, and there are picnic tables, swimming holes, cold showers, toilets, and gas BBQs to enjoy, as well as rainforest walks spanning every direction. It’s important that you stick within the signed railings at lookout points.

Check out the Top Things to Do in Cairns!

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