Goldsborough Valley Swimming Holes near Cairns

There are many great places to swim in the Mulgrave River that flows through Goldsborough Valley – the Ross and Locke Park, the Goldsborough Camping and Picnic site, and the causeway further upstream. All photographers have been credited with their Instagram names.

Ross and Locke Park. Musgrave River near Cairns. Photo: DavidStoter
Ross and Locke Park. Mulgrave River near Cairns. Photo: DavidStoter

The Ross and Locke

The easiest to reach is Ross and Locke. This ease of reach can, on some days, be its undoing as a great swimming hole. You sometimes get uncultivated types and their pig hunting dogs tearing up the place in their four wheel drives. Pause to assess the situation. On a peaceful day, this can be a beautiful spot to swim.

The river is broad and shallow in parts so you can lie down and let the clear water flow over you. Other parts are deep enough to float around in. There are also sandy beaches, overhanging trees providing shade, and a Tarzan rope. Many take their lilos upstream and float back down to Ross and Locke. Don’t go any further downstream. Crocs have been sighted. An old sugar cane train bridge crosses here which some people fish from.

Getting There

Ross and Locke can be found along the Gillies Highway, 1.5km past the Goldsborough Valley turn-off (if you’re coming from Cairns). See it on a map.

Liloing down the Mulgrave River at Ross and Locke Park, near Cairns. Photo: _Shayman_
Liloing down the Mulgrave River at Ross and Locke Park, near Cairns. Photo: _Shayman_
The old sugar can train bridge over the Mulgrave River, Ross and Locke Park, near Cairns. Photo: CarmenBeastrom
The old sugar can train bridge over the Mulgrave River, Ross and Locke Park, near Cairns. Photo: CarmenBeastrom
Ross and Locke Park near Cairns. Photo: CarmenBeastrom
Ross and Locke Park near Cairns. Photo: CarmenBeastrom
Old cane train bridge at Ross and Locke Park near Cairns. Photo: JessicaEVD
Old cane train bridge at Ross and Locke Park near Cairns. Photo: JessicaEVD
Old cane train bridge at Ross and Locke Park near Cairns. Photo: KateChristensen_
Old cane train bridge at Ross and Locke Park near Cairns. Photo: KateChristensen_
Old cane train bridge at Ross and Locke Park near Cairns. Photo: MapleWoodz
Old cane train bridge at Ross and Locke Park near Cairns. Photo: MapleWoodz
Ross and Locke Park near Cairns. Photo: MapleWoodz
Ross and Locke Park near Cairns. Photo: MapleWoodz
Kayakinghe Mulgrave River near Cairns. Photo: MeegggggieNolan
Kayakinghe Mulgrave River near Cairns. Photo: MeegggggieNolan

The Goldsborough Campground

There are plenty of spots of varying depth to take a dip, and if you’re lucky you might spot a turtle. This section of the Mulgrave is national park, so dogs are not allowed. It also means hoons in four wheel drives are not allowed, so you can expect a more peaceful swim here if Ross and Locke were not ideal. There is also the 1.6 km Wajil walk to Kearny Falls from here.

At the causeway further upstream, the water is calm and clear on one side, then cascades over the causeway and the rocks on the other side.

Getting There

Goldsborough Valley is signposted from the Gillies Highway. Drive through Goldsborough on the Goldsborough road and keep going for about 15km. The camping and picnic site is at the end of the road. To reach the causeway, you need to walk or bike 8.5 km along the Goldfield track. This is a 2 hour trip on foot. See it on a map.

Mulgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo: SusannaHoszek
Mulgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo: SusannaHoszek
Mulgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo: CarmenBeastrom
Mulgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo: CarmenBeastrom
Mulgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo:  HambleToNQ
Mulgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo: HambleToNQ
Mulgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo:  HickyMan
Mulgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo: HickyMan
Mulgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo:  JadeEeee
Mulgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo: JadeEeee
Musgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo:  The_Cameron_Mackie
Mulgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo: The_Cameron_Mackie
Musgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo:  The_Cameron_Mackie
Mulgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo: The_Cameron_Mackie
Musgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo:  The_Cameron_Mackie
Mulgrave River, Goldsborough Valley near Cairns. Photo: The_Cameron_Mackie

More Information

ROAD TRIPPING: If you’re planning to roadtrip Australia in a campervan, I can recommend hiring one from Camperman because they are upfront about costs. Everything (road tolls, insurance, extra drivers) is included in the quote. They also have ex-rental campervans for sale that they buy back when you’re finished.

WHERE TO STAY: The Misty Mountain Rainforest Retreat is a luxury villa for couples set in the rainforest just over the Bellenden Kerr range from Goldsborough It is so private that if you see another person during your stay, you get your money back.

For more adventures, consult the blog map.

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