In today’s digital world it’s hard to imagine that nestled away in the Gold Coast hinterland between Beechmont and Canungra, a shallow stream softly cascades into a natural heart-shaped pool peacefully swirling hues of aquamarine before making it’s way gently downstream. Killarney Glen is one of the Gold Coast’s best-kept secrets, so secret in fact that many locals didn’t know the place existed until it recently featured on a popular tourism website, sure enough curiosity piqued and this unique water hole started making it’s way onto the social media grid.
Never one to miss out on an adventure, especially to visit a natural marvel of (almost) relative obscurity, I managed to build a free day into my recent work trip to Brisbane, pack the car and make the easy one hour 15 minute drive south to Killarney Glen. Now I know you’re already sold on making the visit yourself, so here’s some tips to make your experience more enjoyable.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VISITING KILLARNEY GLEN
Killarney Glen is owned by the Australian Defence Department who occasionally use the land for army training. Although it’s open to the public most weekends and public holidays, there’s the odd day each month where public access is denied. If you are planning a weekday visit I’d recommend phoning ahead to the Canungra Visitor Information Centre to double-check the area is open. If they’re unable to assist you, look out for a large sign situated on the left-hand side of the State Route 90/Beechmont Road intersection, this will tell you unanimously whether it is open or not.
The turn-off to Killarney Glen is approximately 8km up Beechmont’s winding road on the left-hand side, there’s no actual road signage to say you’re approaching it, nor is there a sign out the front to say you’ve reached it so it can be quite easy to miss. Here’s a tip the visitor information centre gave me: Look out for the large white ‘Marian Valley’ sign on the right side of the road, the turn-off to Killarney Glen is directly opposite.
The 15 minute walk down to the heart-shaped pool is quite steep with the path forking in two directions: A man-made walking trail complete with dug-out steps, or a four-wheeldrive trail. Each path evidently ends up in the same spot, the only difference is the walking trail winds through the bush making it the slightly less direct route, but is more ‘walker-friendly’, especially for those of you who don’t like steep descents.
Once you come to the bottom of the hill you’ll see an old hut where the path forks once again, heading left takes you further downstream, whilst heading right will take you to a nearby picnic area and a small clearing in the bush bringing you out at the top of the Killarney Glen waterfall. If you’re still in doubt that you’re in the right area, just listen out for the ringing of laughter and splashes through the air.
There is no food vendor available so pack necessary supplies to get you through the day, nor are there bathroom facilities that I noted, so if you’re shy about going in the bush I’d recommend you keep your liquid intake to a minimum and remember to take any rubbish away with you. Also don’t forget to pack your swimmers and towels, if you’re not afraid of heights you might be keen to make the three-metre jump from the top, but always be careful and check for rocks and other objects underneath the water before doing so. For further reading on this heart-shaped marvel, I recommend reading the blog Travelling Type’s take on a day out here, which I found useful when doing my research.