Australia is a country known for its stunning natural water-features; from beaches to waterfalls and even volcanic sinkholes, there is no shortage of amazing destinations to visit in our expansive country. For those with an adventurous spirit and a 4WD at the ready, we have compiled a list of Australia’s best swimming holes and waterfalls you need to add to your bucket list!
Wallaman Falls, QLD
We are starting this list off with a bang with the incredible Wallaman Falls! Located within the Girringun National Park at a whopping 268 meters tall, this beauty is Australia’s tallest single drop waterfall. There is an accessible view point where you can easily take it all in; however, to get the full experience we definitely recommend hiking down to the base of the falls. The 3.2km hike is not for the faint hearted (as the return is almost entirely uphill) however the experience is well worth it! Aim to visit on a clear day as there can be quite low visibility at the base on rainy or misty days.
Wallaman Falls isn’t the only great stop within Girringun National Park though, there is also the Banggurru walk & rockpools nearby which is a better option if you are looking for a refreshing swim! There is also a paid campground within the National Park.
Little Blue Lake, SA
Located a short 15 minute drive from Mount Gambier, Little Blue Lake is definitely the most unique swimming hole on this list. How cool would it be to say you have gone swimming in a volcanic sinkhole? Well that’s exactly what Little Blue Lake is! We would recommend bringing along a floatie if you are not the most experienced swimmer, as the shallowest depth of the lake is 25 meters, and the deepest area a whopping 47 meters. Mount Gambier is a great town to explore, while you’re in the area make sure you check out the Blue Lake in the middle of town (it’s hard to miss), along with the beautiful Umpherston Sinkhole.
Tjaynera / Sandy Creek Falls, NT
Litchfield National Park is located 145kms from Darwin and is definitely a paradise when it comes to waterfalls and swimming holes. There are so many to choose from however our favourite would have to be Tjaynera/Sandy Creek Falls. It is not quite as easily accessible as other waterfalls in the National Park however that is what makes it feel like a little hidden oasis! The access road is 4WD only, as it can be heavily corrugated with a deep water crossing depending on the time of year. There is also a 3.4km return hike to the waterfall; however, as a result of this it is not as busy as the other swimming holes at Litchfield. Don’t stress if you don’t have a 4WD to access it though, Litchfield has so many other waterfalls to choose from including Wangi Falls, Florence Falls, and Buley Rockholes. There are also multiple camping options within the National Park.
Fern Pool, WA
Fern Pool is our favourite waterfall on this list, and one of our favourite locations in all of Australia! This is less about the way it looks and more due to the feeling it gives you. Fern Pool is located within Karijini National Park, in the heart of the Pilbara region. Karijini is the traditional home of the Banyjima, Kurrama and Innawonga people and Fern Pool in particular is one of the very special and spiritual places to Ingdigenous people. It is asked that visitors enter the water quietly and avoid making loud noises in these spiritual places. On the occasions we have visited we have loved visiting first thing in the morning to take in the complete serenity of the area. Once again Fern Pool is not the only amazing waterfall to visit within this National Park, a few of our other favourites include Hamersly Gorge and Fortescue Falls. Please be aware that Karijini National Park is very large and remote, so make sure you are well stocked with food, water and fuel before visiting.
Whian Whian Falls, NSW
Whian Whian Conservation Area is located 44kms west of Byron Bay, or just outside the town of Dunoon. This is yet another incredibly picturesque spot with a beautiful drive in. Whian Whian Falls is a forest oasis that almost feels like a little secret spot due to the fact that there is no signed entry point. However once you find your way in, it is a rather easily accessible swimming spot with plenty of pools to choose from. There are no bins provided here so be sure to take all rubbish with you.
Big Crystal Creek, QLD
We are including a second Queensland location because let’s face it, Queensland really does have the best waterfalls! Big Crystal Creek is located within the Paluma Range National Park, 75kms north of Townsville. Big Crystal Creek isn’t just a regular waterfall though, it actually has two natural rock water slides! You could easily spend the whole day sliding, swimming in the refreshing pools and warming up on the rocks; however if you wanted to explore more of the National Park, it has so much more to offer. The aptly named Paradise Pool is another popular swimming spot nearby, along with Little Crystal Creek. There are also some rainforest walks, incredible lookouts and camping within the park.
Hopetoun Falls, VIC
Hopetoun Falls within the Great Otway Forest really does look like something out of a fairytale. You are not able to swim at this one however we would definitely recommend visiting, especially if you are a photography enthusiast. You may even be able to spot a platypus! Try your best to visit on a sunny day as the 200 steps to the base of the falls can get a bit muddy and slippery. While you’re in the Otways, pay a visit to the California Redwoods and camp in the middle of the rainforest at Aire Crossing.
This blog post and all imagery featured was supplied by the wonderful Jack & Megan of JMXPLORING.
Jack & Megan are two travel-obsessed Aussies who turned their passion for weekend camping into a full-time gig! A few years ago the pair set out on a mission to complete a full lap of Australia in their Toyota Troop Carrier and ~ spoiler alert ~ they never stopped!
Keep up with Jack & Megan as they travel Australia (and beyond!) and be inspired by their beautiful content and incredible travel tips.
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