Float away the long, summer days in some of the best natural swimming spots around the country.
Australia is extraordinarily lucky with its thousands of kilometres of beaches. They’re easy to find and practically begging us to dive in. But if you are after some freshwater pools or even off-the-beaten-path swim locations, things can get a little trickier. Luckily, we’re here to help.
From pristine waterfalls to remote watering holes, we’ve lined up some of the best wild swimming locations that Australia has to offer.
1. Dangar Falls, Dorrigo National Park, NSW
Drive inland from Coffs Harbour onto the Waterfall Way for this dramatic swimming spot on the Northern Tablelands in NSW. Underneath the cascading waterfall that stretches 30 metres up, you can take the narrow track down from the picnic area to take a dip in the pool at the bottom. Located in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.
Plunge into the cold waters of Dangar Falls. (Image: Destination NSW)
2. Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool, Yarrangobilly, NSW
While it’s reachable by a short, easy walk, the Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool is perfect for relaxing those sore muscles. Fed by a natural spring, the pool is a constant 27 degrees Celsius throughout the year – meaning you can even make a trip here in the winter months. Best paired with a visit to the impressive Yarrangobilly Caves nearby. Located in the Kosciuszko National Park.
Unwind in the rejuvenating Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool. (Image: Destination NSW)
3. Erskine Falls, Lorne, Vic
Driving down the Great Ocean Road can be a sticky business in the sweaty summertime. Take a break from the tarmac and stop by for a swim at the Erskine Falls in the coastal town of Lorne. It’s 230 steps down to the tree fern gully, where you can take a swim in its deep pool. Located in the Great Otway National Park.
Beat the Australian heat at Erskine Falls. (Image: Visit Victoria)
4. Ladies Bath Falls, Mount Buffalo National Park, Vic
So-named for the old tradition where men and women would separate to take a dip, the cool waters in the granite pools of the Ladies Bath Falls can now be enjoyed by everyone. Nearby, you can also find jaw-dropping views at the Upper and Lower Eurobin Falls.
Take a soothing dip in the granite pools of Ladies Bath Falls. (Image: Visit Victoria)
5. Cardwell Spa Pools, Cardwell, Qld
A series of natural pools with a difference, this geological marvel is smack bang between Cairns and Townsville, on the Cassowary Coast. Once you arrive you can splash around in its pale, milky blue waters that change shades during the day as a result of the chemistry between the rocks and water. As a seasonal creek, it is best visited in the wet season.
Enjoy a dip in the milky blue waters of Cardwell Spa Pools. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
6. Champagne Pools, K’gari, Qld
A very special natural saltwater pool, the Champagne Pools on K’gari is so-named because of the fizzing effect the crashing waves have on the water. In fact, it’s one of the safest saltwater places to swim on the island. Get here by travelling to 75 Mile Beach on the island’s northeastern coast.
Champagne Pools is a natural saltwater pool. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
7. The Basin, Wadjemup (Rottnest Island), WA
Another one of Australia’s favourite saltwater pools, but this time on what is, quite possibly, its cutest island – courtesy of its adorable resident quokkas. Head to Wadjemup (also known as Rottnest Island) off the West Australian coast, where you’ll find this naturally hollowed-out reef between Pinky Beach and Longreach Bay.
The Basin is fringed by a naturally hollowed-out reef. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
8. Zebedee Springs, El Questro Wilderness Park, WA
You will find plenty of pools in the far north of the state in its enormous El Questro Wilderness Park. Zebedee Springs consists of spectacular thermal pools and falls, set among tropical vegetation and prehistoric palms.
Swim under palm trees at Zebedee Springs. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
Be warned – it’s no easy afternoon trip. To get here it needs to be dry season, and you will have to take the Gibb River Road by a 4WD route from Kununurra or fly in. But the overall experience? Unforgettable.
You’ll find Zebedee Springs nestled within El Questro Wilderness Park. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
9. Ewens Pond, Ewens Ponds Conservation Park, SA
Created by fresh springwater erosion of the limestone at the southern end of the state, the otherworldly Ewens Pond can be found 36 kilometres south of Mount Gambier. Underwater plants that have not been found anywhere else can be seen clearly here, thanks to the clarity of the water in the pools. If you wish to snorkel or dive, you will need a permit (which you can apply for here).
Dive into the depths of Ewens Pond. (Image: South Australian Tourism Commission)
10. Pool of Siloam, Beachport, SA
For a trip to Australia’s very own Dead Sea (albeit, in miniature) on the South Australian Limestone Coast. It is thought to be seven times saltier than the sea itself, and as such, is thought to have therapeutic properties. Find out yourself when you enter to test out the water’s natural buoyancy.
Bask in the magical sunrise over the Pool of Siloam. (Image: South Australian Tourism Commission)
11. Bitter Springs, Elsey National Park, NT
Another thermal pool to add to your list. For the beguilingly blue waters and tropical vibes of Bitter Springs, head to the Top End and outside of Mataranka. But take note – you won’t be able to visit during the wet season. Not ready to let go of that spa life? You can also visit the nearby Mataranka Thermal Pool.
Float in the cobalt waters at Bitter Springs. (Image: Tourism NT/Backyard Bandits)
12. Kwartatuma (Ormiston Gorge) Water Hole, Tjorita / West MacDonnell National Park, NT
For secluded swims in the Northern Territory, it doesn’t get much better than the Kwartatuma swimming hole, 135 kilometres from Alice Springs. This outback pool is cold all year round, and is surrounded by sandy beaches and towering red walls and is best experienced after rainfall. If you feel up to it, you can also set out on the three-hour Ormiston Pound Walk nearby.
Ormiston Gorge is surrounded by sandy beaches and towering red walls. (Image: Tourism NT)
13. Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Tas
Along with Cradle Mountain, Dove Lake has played the main star in thousands of photos over the years, thanks to the dramatic wilderness landscape and mirror-like appearance. And while it is beautiful at any time of the year, come summertime it becomes warm enough to enter without shrieking.
Misty mornings at Cradle Mountain are divine. (Image: Off the Path)
It should go without saying that this wild swim is near perfect after a vigorous hike in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
Cradle Mountain is reflected in Dove Lake. (Image: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett)
14. Apsley River Waterhole, Douglas-Apsley National Park, Tas
Deep in the state’s dry eucalypt forests, Apsley Gorge is home to several watering holes and plunge pools. One of them – the Apsley River Waterhole – is considered one of Tasmania’s top swimming holes. If you find yourself exploring the east coast and longing to cool off in a freshwater pool, it is only a 15-minute walk to get here from the car park.
Apsley River Waterhole is one of Tasmania’s top swimming holes. (Image: Simon Sturzaker)
15. Casuarina Sands, Stromlo, ACT
On the Murrumbidgee River, Casuarina Sands offers a welcome respite with riverside swimming on those scorching Canberra days. Shaded picnic spots dot the banks, while swimmers splash in the water. Feel like doing something different? It’s also a great spot to test out your canoeing skills and is the starting point for the 27.6-kilometre Murrumbidgee Discovery Track.
Cool off at Casuarina Sands.
Need more wild swimming in your life?
Here are our other favourite pools where you can splash around in Australia.
16. Blue Pool, Briagolong State Forest, Vic
Soak in the calm waters at Blue Pool. (Image: Visit Victoria)
17. Never Never Creek, Bellingen, NSW
Never Never Creek is a best-kept secret within Bellingen.
18. Millaa Millaa Falls, Millaa Millaa, Qld
The heritage-listed Millaa Millaa Falls is a sight to behold. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
19. Injidup Natural Spa/Wyadup Rocks, Margaret River, WA
Splash around Injidup Natural Spa. (Image: Tourism Western Australia)
20. Greenly Beach Rock Pools, Coulta, SA
Dip your toes into the clear blue Greenly Beach Rock Pools. (Image: South Australian Tourism Commission/Elise Cook)
21. Gunlom Plunge Pool, Kakadu National Park, NT
Gunlom Plunge Pool is a picturesque swimming spot in Kakadu. (Image: Tourism Australia/Nicholas Kavo)
22. Cataract Gorge, Launceston, Tas
Cataract Gorge is sequestered between lush greenery. (Image: Nat Mendham)