A little while ago I stumbled across a photo on Instagram. It was a photo of the most spectacular natural pool, with aqua coloured water in the shape of a heart. This photo made me stop and think how lucky we are that there are places like this in the world just waiting for us to explore.
I then started researching and found out that it was a picture of Killarney Glen and wasn’t located in some far away part of the world, but actually in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Since seeing that photo and learning that this place was literally just down the road from me, it has been something I have been waiting to go and see for myself.
So finally the opportunity presented itself and one Saturday morning, a friend and I set off on the hour and a half drive from Brisbane to Beechmont. Once you turn off the highway, the landscape starts to change from urban jungle to lush forest as you find yourself among the mountains. This is what I love the most about the Hinterland, it is so close yet feels so far away.
Killarney Glen is a hidden paradise located between Canungra and Beechmont. It is on military owned land and therefore is often closed during training, however it does seem to be open most weekends and school holidays due to its popularity.
As I said, it is quite hidden and while the entrance is just off the main road, it is very easy to drive past without seeing it. However if you arrive around lunch time on a beautiful Saturday like we did, you won’t miss all the cars lined up on the side of the road.
The walk is a 2.5km circuit. It is a pretty steep descent and I found my joggers quite slippery on the loose gravel…or maybe that was just my clumsiness? We kept going, dreading the climb back to the top, knowing due to the amount of parked cars it was going to be very crowded and crossing our fingers, hoping it was going to be worth it!
We knew we were getting close as the voices got louder. I honestly did not expect to be greeted by that many people! There was a pretty good mix of international tourists and Gold Coast locals as well as people like us, full of curiosity to see this unique heart shaped pool.
Knowing the climb back to the car that was ahead of us I felt pretty determined to get what I came for, which was to take a shot like the one I had seen on Instagram that ultimately lead me here. With the amount of people around however, it was going to be a challenge!
As I walked around the edge, admiring the smoothness of the rocks obviously having had centuries of water rushing over them, I found it quite odd to see groups of people having set up for the day with music playing launching themselves off the rocks into the pool below. Yes it is a popular swimming spot and I have nothing against enjoying it, I have just never experienced a place in the middle of nowhere bustling with so much energy. I guess it is quite amazing that nature in all its glory can draw so many people in to enjoy it!
After scoping out the area I worked out where I needed to be to get the view that would show me the heart shape. Camera gear above my head I walked across the creek to the other side. Spotting an opening in the crowd, I took the opportunity and set up my tripod on the edge. I am pretty sure my prime location landed me in the background of some tourists selfies, but I wasn’t prepared to move until I had got my photo!
Looking down into the heart shaped pool, even though I had seen many photos before I was still amazed. It was nice to take a moment and appreciate this natural beauty before I got scared someone was going to knock my camera down into the water!
I am not the kind of person who is comfortable in crowds and once we had taken a few shots it was time to head back up the hill. We chose to take the walking track both directions, because you know, it’s for walking. But a lot of people did walk the 4wd track.
I do think Killarney Glen is a place you should visit. I would however recommend aiming to be there at non peak times to truly be able to absorb the natural beauty of the area.
If you do decided to make a day of it and bring a picnic, please remember to leave no trace and take your rubbish with you!
What natural landscapes have surprised you? Do you have a place nearby that you have only recently discovered?