Babinda Boulders, Tropical North Queensland, Queensland © Katie Purling/Tourism and Events Queensland
Australia’s best natural waterholes
From hidden rainforest treasures to beachside rock pools, submerge yourself in some of Australia’s most beautiful swimming holes.
The Margaret River region is famous for its world-class waves, but you don’t have to be a surfer to appreciate them. At Injidup Beach, near the town of Yallingup, there’s a certain spot where waves cascade through narrow gaps in the rocks and pour into a clear pool. This creates just the right amount of bubbles and foam to make you feel like you’re in the world’s most spectacular jacuzzi, all entirely natural – and unforgettable.
Queensland is a haven for gorgeous swimming spots, and the sand island of K’gari (formerly Fraser Island) is no exception. Aside from being home to dingoes, a beach highway and brilliant fishing adventures, the island boasts the iconic Champagne Pools. See how these shallow, sandy ponds get their name during high tide, when the fringing ocean sends waves gently crashing around you in a Champagne-like fizz.
If you’re taking a picturesque road trip between Melbourne and Adelaide, you might come across the unusual sight of a paddock surrounding a large blue sinkhole. With a diameter of about 40m (131ft), the Little Blue Lake is an off-the-beaten-track treasure along the Limestone Coast. Wander down the cliff face’s built-in stairs before diving into the refreshing water from the floating pontoon.
If nothing sounds more peaceful than clear blue pools shaded by leafy greenery, then Katherine Hot Springs offers a guaranteed day of delight. Adorning the banks of the Katherine River, this outback paradise is a rejuvenating natural retreat for locals and travellers alike. On-site barbeques, picnic areas and leisurely walking trails make this swimming spot ideal for a day of relaxation.
Located just south of Cairns, Babinda Boulders is one of Australia’s most beautiful natural waterholes. Beneath a canopy of rich green rainforest, you’ll find a sparkling green creek with flowing water occasionally interrupted by smooth granite boulders. You’ll need to take care around rushing water, but the gentle pools are the perfect place for a relaxing paddle. Splash around in the clear waters, picnic atop the boulders and laze beneath the dappled sun.
Among the rugged peaks and troughs of the West MacDonnell Ranges is an unexpected oasis – Ellery Creek Big Hole. Formed over thousands of years, the aptly named ‘big hole’ is framed by towering red rocks and golden sandy banks. Refresh in its cool waters under the warm Red Centre sun, take in gorgeous rock formations along the 3km (1.9mi) Dolomite walk and picnic with your feet hanging in the water.
From gorges to waterfalls, Karijini National Park is spoiled with red rock escarpments that harbour magnificent turquoise ponds. Jubura (Fern Pool) is just one of these pristine swimming holes, with a trickling waterfall, lush vegetation and a beautiful glassy surface. Perch beneath the falls to feel them splash on your face, then float in the calm blue water among the gorgeous hues of red and green all around.
Tucked away just south of Western Australia’s Coral Coast awaits a pristine coastal gem. Warroora Station is home to rugged landscapes and incredible adventure, but one of the property’s lesser-known riches is the beach’s rock pools. Float in the little blue ponds at low tide as the waves roll through. Keep an eye out for marine life like starfish and octopuses that might be hiding in the water.