Gold Coast’s iconic heart-shaped rock pool closes for good

Fresh gushing water and a heart-shaped rock pool formation make the water hole called Killarney Glen a great road-trip stop on a warm swimming weather day. But why did they closed it?
killarney glen pool

An iconic heart-shaped waterhole in the Gold Coast Hinterland will permanently be closed to the public.

Located on the eastern side of the Beechmont–Canungra Road in the Gold Coat, Queensland, the swimming hole is a steep but enjoyable walk down an unfinished or rough-surfaced four-wheel-drive track. With this in mind, the destination is every bit the adequate reward for the walk down and then the walk (or climb) back up to the car park. BUT the Australian Department of Defence today announced the permanent closure of the Killarney Glen falls and rock pool area, following a major safety review of the site.

It comes almost four years after the Defence shut off the site, after a 19-year-old man drowned while swimming at the popular waterhole on December 30, 2016.

Aussie Police in Killarney Glen Pools, Australia
WARNING: Canungra police Sergeant Craig Roberts is warning trespassers they will be fined if caught at Killarney Glen falls.

CANUNGRA police in Queensland has launched a crackdown on trespassers entering Defence Department land at Killarney Glen Falls, with nine people fined so far.

Police are fed up with the number of people trespassing, drinking and vandalizing the area with graffiti and have recorded up to 50 cars at the site

Warning signs and fencing have since been installed and updated. A defense spokesman said the signage and fencing were to ensure safety and reduce further environmental and heritage damage to the site.

Canungra Police Station’s officer in charge Craig Roberts said he was frustrated people were ignoring keep-out signs.

“We understand there are currently negotiations between the state and federal governments on whether to reopen the area but until then we ask people to stay away,” he said.

“The signs and two-meter fence and gate make it very clear that it is the Department of Defence land that is currently closed and trespassers can be prosecuted under the crimes act or defense act.”

The waterhole has been closed to the public since December 30, 2016, after a teenager drowned Before then the falls on Defence Department land at Beechmont attracted about 500 visitors a day.

killarney_glen another view
There are plenty of other swimming waterfalls in Queensland but – as to be expected – the love-shaped pool is the busiest one.

“After the tragic drowning of a member of the public at Killarney Glen in 2016, Defence closed public access to the site pending a review of the safety risks associated with the area,” the Department of Defence said in a statement on Thursday.

“The safety review of Killarney Glen identified a number of dangerous hazards at the falls and rock pool area, including steep rock cliff-faces, submerged objects and fast-flowing water.”

Prior to the fatal accident in 2016, a number of other locals and tourists also sustained multiple injuries as a result of the hazards identified in the review.

The Department of Defence said that based on the findings, and after receiving expert legal advice, they have decided not to reopen Killarney Glen to the public.

The waterfall and rock pool area form part of Defence’s Canungra Field Training Area, which is used by the Australian Defence Force for live-fire and other field training activities.

A number of other waterfalls in the Gold Coast hinterland and Scenic Rim remain open, including Cedar Creek Falls, Curtis Falls and Natural Bridge.

The Scenic Rim and Gold Coast hinterland has a number of safer alternatives including Cedar Creek Falls, Curtis Falls and Natural Bridge, which remain open to the public.

Killarney Glen Gold Coast 02
Aussies risking getting SHOT for a selfie: Fears for Instagram daredevils who are diving into iconic heart-shaped waterhole that is located on military grounds

Killarney Glen used to be private property and was donated/shared by the owning family. If you’re keen for a quiet swim, take the fork to the left… it will take you to a quiet pool for a relaxing dip amongst a natural riverside landscape.

You can access the heart-shaped pools from this section, though you’ll need to clamber over some rocks and swim upstream for a bit. The heart-shaped pools are to the right when walking down, and difficult to approach, unless you like jumping off a 3-4 meter rock face into the swirling waters below. 

This location doesn’t have toilets or BBQ facilities. Take your time, pack drinking water, and enjoy even the steep one is ridiculous!

Many walks are currently closed due to COVID-19. Please,

  • check the walk’s official website to confirm if the track is open
  • turn back if it looks like the track is too busy when you get there
Killarney Glen - a heart-shaped pool in Queensland, Australia 💚🇦🇺
Killarney Glen at night - a heart-shaped pool in Queensland, Australia 💚
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