… and yep, you need a 4X4 to get to them.
There’s nothing like the blaring heat of summer to make you appreciate a dip in a tranquil body of water, letting the coolness leach the heat from your skin as you float dreamily looking up at the big blue sky, perhaps while sipping your favourite beverage. Having some water to jump into is a big part of what Aussie adventure touring is all about – be it a desert trek, beach trip, a journey into the tropics or a venture down south. Waterholes in summer make it magic.
Given that we’ve been just about everywhere worth going to in this country, we thought we’d pool our knowledge (no pun intended… OK, slightly intended, we’re sorry) and bring you some of the top places to cool off from all over.
SURPRISE CREEK FALLS, LITCHFIELD NP, NT
We’re pretty confident in saying that Litchfield beats any other NP in the country for swimming holes, but the one at Surprise Creek Falls still blows our mind. Pretty easy to get to, as well. Head for Buley Rock Hole (a well known watering hole that, while beautiful, is just as likely to give you some sort of rash from the hordes of backpackers that frequent it) then continue south on Reynolds River Track from there. Nobody around; and looks like it leapt straight off a postcard. This is paradise.
TWIN FALLS, CAPE YORK, QLD
Come on, you didn’t think we’d do an article on swimming holes and not include the Cape did you? There are about ten million beaut places to stop for a dip when heading up to the tip so we thought we’d throw in our favourite – Twin Falls. Look at the pics and tell us you couldn’t spend a few days here. We dare you.
WEANO GORGE, PILBARA, WA
Handrail pool is actually not that hard to get to if you take one of the easier routes to this tranquil little spot in Karijini NP. However, if you like to walk on the wild side, have a go at the ‘spider-walk’ down through the narrow gorge on the way to the pool. The entire walk is only about a kay, and well worth it.
Just don’t slip…
WILLI-WILLI FALLS, NSW
Out the back of Beechwood, near Wauchope, on the mid-north coast of NSW is a little place that is just about perfect for taking a picnic, a six-pack and spending the day in a little forest clearing near the Wilson River: Willi-Willi Falls. The legend goes that it was named after a kangaroo. Apparently they have two old fellas… Regardless, it’s a top spot to spend a couple of hours escaping the heat.
DALHOUSIE SPRINGS, WITJIRA NP, SA
What east-west Simpson crossing would be complete without stopping off at Dalhousie on the western edge of the desert? This is just the place to rinse off a few days’ worth of sand driving. With waters getting as hot as you can handle, it’s a natural hot spring and is worth a trip just on its own. Last time we were there, they even provided floaties so you could literally just lay back and relax in comfort.
FRASER ISLAND, QLD
“What! No Lake McKenzie? Are you guys drinking the bong water?” Hey, we said we were listing our favourites, and while Lake McKenzie is a fantastic place, we prefer things a little quieter and aren’t much into sharing our R&R time with about three thousand sunburnt Europeans (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Lake Birrabeen is a little way south of McKenzie, and is usually heaps quieter but just as nice. White sandy shoreline, crystal-clear water, and way fewer tourists. Sign us up.
TALBOTVILLE, HIGH COUNTRY, VIC
During the colder months jumping into the Crooked River will have you singing like a soprano; but when the mercury is a little higher at either end of the year, it’s an ideal spot to jump in and enjoy any number of swimming holes along its length.
One of our favourite spots is down at Talbotville – which offers a huge, flat camping area. Ideal for setting up the trailer, letting the kids out of their cage and enjoying being in the bush for a few days… and being able to jump into some of the freshest water on the planet while you’re there.
PETAL POINT, TAS
OK, so this is more of a beach than a swimming hole but this is such a remarkable spot on Tassie’s north-east coast we felt we had to include it. For much of the year Tasmania is probably too cold for swimming without an inch-thick wetsuit, but between October and March Petal Point will have you swearing you were somewhere tropical. The white sand, the abundance of fish life and warm waters will have you convinced you’re somewhere like Hawaii… but you’re in Tasmania. Weird. But cool.
It’s about 45mins up the coast from the much more popular Bay of Fires, and the track in can be pretty hairy (so make sure you and your vehicle are well prepared); but if you’re looking for paradise and have that ‘the less people the better’ attitude, look no further.
This article was originally posted by Unsealed 4X4.