How To Find The Rockpools In Blackdown Tablelands National Park
Wondering how to find the Insta-worthy rockpools at Blackdown Tablelands National Park in Queensland? The unbelievably perfect shaped swimming holes has been known to be the best rockpools in Australia. But, how do you find them? If you’re looking for one of the best day trips from Rockhampton, look no further! Spend the weekend camping here at the wonderful Munall campground area within the park entrance.
Blackdown Tablelands is located in Central Queensland and has to be one of the most beautiful National Parks in Australia. Luckily, if you’re looking for more information about the best walks, Gudda Gumoo which is also known as Rainbow Falls in Blackdown Tablelands and the rockpools are two of the biggest highlights. The good news is, both are located on the same walking track!
We tried to do a fair bit of research to find the famous rock pools at Blackdown Tableland National Park before we went there, so we thought we’d save you the hassle and let you know everything we learnt about it after our recent visit.
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Where Is Blackdown Tablelands?
Blackdown Tableland National Park is a 2h30m drive West of Rockhampton or just over 3 hours from the gorgeous coastal town of Yeppoon along the Capricorn Highway.
If you’re coming from further south, then it’s a 9h30m drive from Brisbane. Break up the journey and spend a couple of nights in our beautiful little town of Agnes Water & 1770, which is a 5-hour drive to the National Park. You’ll find loads of fun things to do in Agnes Water in our epic travel guide.
Do You Need A 4×4 Car To Get To Blackdown Tablelands?
One thing I was really concerned about was whether we needed a 4×4 car to drive into the National Park and the dirt roads which followed. We drive a small SUV Hyundai Tuscan which is a 2wd. Although I had read if it rains then it might be tricky to get into the National Park, it was kinda right. When you turn off the main road, it takes about 50 minutes to drive right up to the top of the Blackdown Tableland National Park. At first, I couldn’t see why you’d need a 4×4.
Then when we got to the Horseshoe Lookout, which is about 15 minutes away from the Rainbow Falls car park, the road starts to get quite bumpy. There was a normal 2wd drive car in front of us and they made it fine. I think any car would make it, but obviously, if it is pouring with rain, then I wouldn’t risk it. When you start to climb up Blackdown Tableland, it is quite a narrow steep road with sweeping views out to the surrounding plains.
Best Time To Visit Blackdown Tablelands
Wondering when is the best time to visit Blackdown Tableland National Park? When I looked at the temps in August when we visited, it was going to be cool in the morning (around 13C) and then 27C by lunchtime.
When we got out of our car, we instantly noticed how much colder it was than back down by the coast at Yeppoon. All of us had doubts about doing any swimming. But, within about 10 minutes of the hike, we were all taking our jackets off because it just got hotter and hotter the more we walked into the National Park. By the time we got to the pools, it was warm enough to swim, and although the water was cold, it definitely wasn’t as chilly as we were expecting.
If you visit in Summer, expect it to be stinking hot and make sure you watch out for snakes along the trail.
Blackdown National Park Walks
There are four walking tracks in Blackdown Tablelands to consider!
Mook Mook is a 2.4km return walk which takes you out to Mook Mook Lookout. It takes under an 1 hour return and is an easy walk from the campground.
Goon Goon Dhina is a 2.5km 30m return loop that takes you past some Aboriginal rock art which is definitely worth a visit.
Goodela is a 3.6km return walk which takes you to Yaddamen Dhina Lookout. You’ll walk into a beautiful eucalypt forest.
Gudda Gumoo (Rainbow Falls) is a 4km walk down to the Blackdown gorge and past the sandstone plateau. This is the main highlight for Blackdown Tableland which is what we’ll talk more about below, which takes you into the heart of Gudda Gumoo gorge and onto the famous Instagram rock pool.
Stop By the Horseshoe Lookout
We stopped by the Horseshoe Lookout which is on the way to the Rainbow Falls car park which is definitely worth going to. The views are incredible out to Central Queensland! There are toilets, picnic tables and BBQ facilities here.
Watch Our Blackdown Tablelands Video!
We filmed our trip to the rock pools and Rainbow Falls!
How To Find The Rainbow Falls Car Park
Drive to the end of the road at Blackdown National Park and you’ll come to the car park. We wondered if there were other entrances into the park, but just type Blackdown Tablelands National Park into Google and it will take you there. There is a toilet here as well.
How To Get To Blackdown Tableland Rock Pools
When you park up, you’ll see the one and only path to Rainbow Falls. It’s about a half an hour easy walk until you get to the Rainbow Falls steps. There are no hills to climb so you can bring kids and older people too.
When you get to the steps, there are two walking tracks to choose from. You can turn left down the steps, or take the path on the right. If you take the path on the right, you simply have a five-minute walk until you reach the famous rock pool.
During the walk to the rock pools, you’ll see another path on the left. Keep to the right path and you’ll come to the pools in no time.
When we got to the rock pool we didn’t quite see what the fuss was about. The pools are quite small and they lead out onto scrubland. But, when we walked down to the pools, it was then that we realised how amazing they are.
The water is crystal clear and the pools are deep enough that you can jump in (not deep enough to dive). The small pothole pool has an entrance underneath so you can swim between it and the larger pool but bring goggles to do it.
When we visited in August, it was going to be 27C and the rock pool was cold but not freezing. If we visited in Summer, it would have been perfect to swim in as it gets very hot in Blackdown Tableland National Park.
The longer we spent at the rock pools, the more we realised what a gem this spot really is!
Is It Worth Walking 240 Steps Down To Rainbow Falls?
We thought 240 steps was going to take a while to walk down to the bottom of Rainbow Falls in Blackdown Tableland. It turns out, it took us all of about five minutes to walk down to the bottom of the falls.
On the walk down it takes you through subtropical rainforest and along some magnificent sandstone outcrops. My friend asked us if we might see some koalas because of the dry eucalypt forests we could see at the spectacular lookouts.
It really is absolutely impressive and you’ll spend most of the time wondering if you’ve entered a movie set. I also wondered if we would see any Aboriginal rock art but we didn’t see any on this walk.
What Rainbow Falls Is Like In Person
When we reached the bottom of the hike, we were greeted with an absolutely stunning emerald pool and the most picture-perfect waterfall in Australia. Although there was only a trickle coming down the waterfall, there’s something that’s unbelievably special about this place.
At the moment we reached the bottom of Rainbow Falls, I knew that no picture or video would capture the pure beauty of this incredibly special place. Sometimes you find somewhere that is so, so beautiful that no photo or video will ever do it justice. And this my friends, is one of those places.
I turned to my friend and said to her that it’s got to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in Australia. It made me realise that when a follower had told me that she thought Blackdown Tableland National Park is more impressive than Carnarvon Gorge, I thought that was a big statement to make. Turns out that she’s not all that wrong. While both places are incredibly beautiful, we just loved Blackdown National Park too. You can read our guide to Carnarvon Gorge if you like.
The swimming hole feels incredibly special, which is probably due to it being the traditional home of the local Aboriginal people. You can swim in this spot, but a local told us apparently there is a big eel that lives in there and can bite. On that note, we didn’t swim but a family came down and happily went swimming.
It made me realise that if we could find two insanely special places in the National Park, then there must be more hidden gems in the area. If you’re looking for more crystal clear places to visit in Central Queensland, make sure you check out the stunning emerald pools at Byfield National Park too.
Should You Visit The Rock Pools Or Rainbow Falls First?
We made a beeline to the rockpools first because it was the main one we wanted to see. When we arrived, there was just one family there. When we left, more people had turned up.
Then, when we went down to Rainbow Falls afterwards, we were the only people there, until a family turned up as we were leaving. I think most people do Rainbow Falls first as it kinda makes sense to leave the swimming until last. Personally, I’m glad we did it the other way around, as it was Rainbow Falls which we found to be more impressive than the rock pools. There really is something just incredible about it that you need to see it for yourself!
Blackdown Tableland National Park Camping
You can camp at the Munall Campground at Blackdown which is on the same road to the Rainbow Falls. We checked out the camping area and it’s really nice that we would have stayed there now knowing how good it is. We loved how the Munall camping area has private spots with your own fire pit.
Although I’ve heard the weather is a bit temperamental in the Blackdown Tableland, it’s worth staying at the campsite because it’s within walking distance to three of the four walks and the Mimosa Creek as well. Make sure you bring all drinking water and food you’ll need for your trip as you won’t find any here.
Looking for something else which is not a campground? When we looked into Blackdown Tableland accommodation, we looked at staying at Bluff Hotel, but settled in Yeppoon in the end. We really like Yeppoon a lot so we could go out for dinner when we got back and then we went to the amazing Capricorn Caves the next day. If you’ve not been yet, put the caves on your list – they are incredible, and were the first ever tourist attraction in Queensland!
If you have an extra day, you could check out Rubyvale which is under a 3 hour drive from Blackdown. We visited when we were looking for my engagement ring which is a one of a kind quirky town. Funnily enough, I ended up picking a sapphire from the region when I had my engagement ring designed in Sydney!
We hope we’ve inspired you to visit Blackdown Tablelands which is a total hidden gem and a must-visit for anyone on the Big Lap of Australia or on an East Coast Australia road trip. Trust us! You won’t be disappointed! It’s got to be one of the easiest hikes in Australia which leads you to jaw-dropping swimming holes!
Don’t Forget To Watch Our Blackdown Tablelands Video!
We filmed our trip to the rock pools and Rainbow Falls!
How To Find The Rock Pools In Blackdown Tablelands