Fairy Pools

Noosa Heads, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

The Fairy Pools are two natural tidal pools lying low between the basalt rocks just west of the tip of the headland at the eastern end of Granite Bay, near Noosa. The smaller pool (to the west) is only separated from the ocean at low tide but the larger one may still be usable at high tide when the swell is smaller and fewer waves crash over the rocks to refill the pool. It is worth bringing goggles or a snorkel and mask since at low tide, when the pools are cut off and there is less turbulence, you will be able to see several kinds of coral and sponges making for a beautiful display growing on the rocks. It is possible to jump into the deeper section of the larger pool but there are submerged rocks at one end so get acquainted with the pool first. There is also a pretty cobblestone beach to the west of the pools.

How To Get There: The pools are within the Noosa National park and can be accessed from three directions. The quickest and easiest route is to park at the beach car park at Little Cove, on the edge of Noosa village, and walk around the coastal path past Tea Tree Bay and Granite Bay. The pools are accessed by scrambling down the rocks from the lookout on the point at the far eastern end of Granite Bay after you have passed both Winch Cove and Picnic Cove but before the big bend in the track which goes around the point. Look out for a bench a few hundred metres after the Picnic Cove sign which marks the way down to the rocks. A more peaceful option, avoiding the hustle and bustle of the often overcrowded Little Cove car park, is to walk in through the national park from the Sunshine Beach side. There are entrances from Parkedge Road and The Esplanade. See here for a map of the headland section of Noosa National Park.  This is stunning walking and although it is significantly further to the pools from this side, there are many fringe benefits such as the tranquility of the forest, views out over the many coves and bays, and the likelihood of spotting a koala.

Difficulty of access: 5/10 – It is around a 30-40 minute walk from the Little Cove Car Park and around an hour from the Sunshine beach side along unpaved but fairly flat and well-maintained trails. There are rocks to be negotiated at the end in order to access the swimming holes.

Opening Times/Seasons: All day/All Year 

Entrance Fee: Free

Facilities Nearby: There are no facilities near the spot. The closest toilets are behind Tea Tree Bay to the west.

Other Activities: There is excellent snorkelling and diving in the area and the national park has some lovely bushwalking trails. All of the bays around the headland to the west are world-class surf breaks.

Other Places of Interest Nearby: For something completely different check out the row of chic boutiques and cafes on Hastings Street in Noosa and then head to the Noosa Arts Theatre for some low-key, cultured evening entertainment with B-Y-O alcohol. Or if food is more your thing then try the Noosa Farmers Market on a Sunday for some down-to-earth fun and honest, genuine, local produce. The Glasshouse Mountains National Park offers several walks of around two hours with the opportunity to circle or summit a number of dramatic volcanic peaks and enjoy far-reaching views. Oh, and don’t forget the Big Pineapple…

Wildlife: Several kinds of coral and sea sponges in the pool and the surrounding ocean. Koalas in the forest behind the beach.

Places to Eat: Noosa has a wide variety of places to eat, as does the surrounding area. Our personal favourite is Sunspace Cafe in Doonan which has its own biodynamic veggie garden, small shop selling local, organic produce and crafts, an amazing community atmosphere and lots of workshops and events. It’s well worth the effort of driving out of town and gets you out and exploring the surrounding countryside.

Where to Camp: There are three campgrounds forming Noosa Holiday Parks which are owned by Noosa Council. They are all located close to water and many sites have a bushland feel. If you have 4WD and are looking for more swimming opportunities camp at Booloumba Creek where you can swim both in the creek and below the falls, although this at least an hour and a half’s drive from Noosa.

Other places to Stay: There is lots of accommodation in Noosa itself, and although the area is known for being somewhat pricey it really does give as well as take. The Sunshine Beach end of town is worth checking out as it is quieter, cheaper and still close enough to the action. Alternatively, there are plenty of B&Bs etc in the surrounding area.

Nearby Towns: Noosa, Caloundra, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Brisbane

Other Swimming Spots Nearby: Kondalilla Falls, Obi Obi Creek River Crossing Number 2, Obi Lane, Currimundi Lake, Booloumba Falls, Booloumba Creek – Camp Area 1, Summer Falls.

Comments: This is such a magical spot. If we were fairies looking for a pool, we’d definitely come here.


Location Map

Have you swum at this spot?

We all want to hear about it. Leave a comment below.


  1. Courtney

    Walked for over 40 minutes trying to find these fairy pools. Ended up at hells gate and still didn’t find it so whats the deal?

    • Rachel Lewis

      Hi Courtney, Sorry you didn’t manage to find the pools, they are definitely there!:) If you zoom right in on the map above and click on satellite view you can see that the pin is right on the actual water of the pool. They are out on the rocks though so some scrambling is needed. You need to leave the footpath and head down onto the rocks when you reach the lookout at the eastern end of Granite Bay, after you have passed both Winch Cove and Picnic Cove but before the big bend in the track which goes around the point. The pools are on the Western side of the point so when you are stood on the rocks you can look West and still see the mountains behind Noosa. If the mountains are obscured by the point then you have gone too far around. Hope that helps :)

  2. Jay

    Such a lovely place to swim. There are two pools in there, the first one has a larger area however to shallow to swim into but still worth dipping because of the fish and corals that you can feast your eyes on. The second one is lesser in area but is deep enough to swim and have at least 2m depth at its deepest.

    A tip for those who are planning to visit. It could easily be missed on the way to hell’s gate but the landmark is a bench just a few hundred metres after the picnic cove sign board. Going down requires careful descent coz of th steep rock formations. Enjoy!

  3. Ashley

    We went in early July and saw people swimming in the pools, though we didn’t do it ourselves. To find the spot, that bench that’s listed in the description above is the key. The rocks look much more intimidating than they actually are. I’m a very novice hiker but was able to pretty easily get up and down from the pools. There weren’t too many people there, but the pools are so small that it feels much less intimate when others are around. Beautiful spot, nonetheless, and the hike from the Sunshine Beach side is awesome. We couldn’t find parking at the main lot on the other side, so we drove around and walked the long route. It was an awesome workout with stunning views!

    • Rachel Lewis

      Hi Sam, the main pool is accessible at high tide but if there are waves it may not be safe as they crash over into the pool. The smaller pool is submerged at high tide.

  4. Tay

    Such a beautiful place to swim! The water was so refreshing after the walk. The walk was not long at all as there was such beautiful scenery!! The only negative about this place is that it is now a very popular spot, it’s always packed out with people which did make it easier to find. Also unfortunately people have graffiti the rocks which too away that special feel.

    Still very worth it all, its a must to check out :))

  5. Cindy

    I used to swim there in the late 70s, when Noosa was a more laid-back place to be, and it was easy to get a car park in the National Park… Such a beautiful spot. There are a few rock pools along there that I used to love.

    • Rachel Lewis

      Hi Cindy, yes it’s a beautiful spot. We enjoy walking in from the Sunshine Beach side because of the easier parking but it still an amazing place despite the increased traffic :)

  6. Grace from Australia

    Yes, I’ve been there and swam there. My husband and I were lucky to get a time when we were the only ones. We were then (last year) 69 and 64 years old. So it’s not just for the young. Although it takes a bit to scramble down. Keep your eyes peeled as it’s easy to walk by and not see where you have to go down.

    • Rachel Lewis

      Hi Grace, that sounds awesome :) I’m glad your efforts were rewarded and super cool that you’re out exploring. Let us know if you visit any more swimming holes.

  7. bill

    if only national parks would let bikes use the existing roads(not walking tracks) in the park …so many more people could enjoy it and enter from the less crowded sunshine beach side

    • Rachel Lewis

      Hi Bill, that’s an interesting point. Do you know if there have been any discussions with the national parks about this? I wonder what their reasons for not allowing bikes are?

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