By: Tatum Stafford
Western Australia may have more than 12,000km of stunning coastline to enjoy, but there are lots of other incredible places you can take a dip in WA.
Take your pick from picturesque pools, thermal springs, lakes, lagoons and even at the base of waterfalls.
Here are 12 of our favourite inland swimming spots from the north and south of the State where you can cool off.
And if you’re looking for something closer to the city, check out these swimming spots within two hours of Perth.
Note: Before visiting any of these locations to swim, be sure to check the Parks and Wildlife Service website for any active water alerts.
1. Manning Gorge, Derby
Regarded as one of the best inland swimming spots in the North West, a swim at Manning Gorge is a dip into a true outback paradise. Located on the grounds of Mt Barnett Station along the Gibb River Road, a visit to the gorge involves a 3km hike that leads to a swimming hole with a dramatic waterfall backdrop.
You can swim at the base of the falls and in nearby rock pools all year round, but the falls are at their best between May and July after the region’s wet season.
Access and safety: The station is only accessible by four-wheel drive. Wear sturdy footwear, and take extra care when rock scrambling.
2. Barrabup Pool, Nannup
Swim in this beautiful, natural pool then relax and watch the river flow by from the wooden platform over the water. Forest-lined Barrabup Pool is located within St John Brook Conservation Park near Nannup in the scenic Blackwood River Valley. The park was once the site of a thriving timber mill with remnants of its history nearby.
3. Molly Springs, Kununurra
Located in the Ngamoowalem Conservation Park west of Kununurra, the Molly Springs pool and waterfall form one of the Kimberley’s most beautiful water holes. Though it’s quite small at only a few metres long, the pool is a peaceful, shady spot to swim, picnic and spot local wildlife. Try to arrive early to guarantee yourself a spot on the rocks.
Access:You’ll need a four-wheel drive to reach the springs.
4. Fonty's Pool, Manjimup
Holding nearly an acre of fresh spring water, the peaceful Fonty’s Pool in Manjimup is the centrepoint of the popular Fonty’s Pool and Caravan Park. Offering plenty of shade, it’s a beautiful spot for a swim or a float on a tractor tyre provided by the pool staff.
Though it’s located within an accommodation site, the pool is open to the public from 9am to 5pm every day. There’s an entrance fee of $3 per person.
5. Minninup Pool, Collie
Set on a wide stretch of the Collie River and known for its picture-perfect forest views, Minninup Pool is a favourite with swimmers, kayakers and photographers. This shady spot is just 3km south of Collie, and is also a lovely spot for a picnic.
6. Python Pool, Millstream
Located at the base of a seasonal waterfall within the Millstream-Chichester National Park, Python Pool is a stunning spot for a swim beneath the park’s impressive ochre cliffs. The water here can be quite cold, so bring something to float on if you don’t want to get too chilly.
Access and safety: Take the sealed road from Karratha, which is accessible by all vehicles. To reach the pool, you’ll need to take a 20-min walk trail over uneven surfaces. If visiting in dry season (without water flow), read local water quality reports to assess harmful algal blooms in the water.
7. Lake Leschenaultia, Mundaring
Originally built as a dam in 1897, Lake Leschenaultia within the Shire of Mundaring is a shady swimming spot surrounded by tall trees and plenty of native bushland. You can swim to a pontoon from the white sand beach, and there are barbeque facilities, canoe hire and a café nearby for refreshments.
The lake’s calm waters make this a great spot for kids or young families to paddle.
8. Zebedee Springs, El Questro Wilderness Park
Set amongst a forest of palm trees and waterfalls, the spectacular Zebedee Springs and thermal pools form one of WA’s most unique swimming spots. Here, naturally heated water flows down over rocks to form several pools and pockets to swim or sit in. A hot tip: to reduce your chances of a leech encounter, head for the pools that are higher up in the springs.
Access and safety: Take the Gibb River Road (four-wheel drive only) from Kununurra, or join a guided tour. Access to the park is only available in dry season, from May to September from 7am to noon. Wear sturdy footwear, as you’ll need to navigate a few rocks to reach the pools.
9. Honeymoon Pool, Wellington National Park
Nestled within a shady spot on the Collie River, Honeymoon Pool, within the Wellington National Park, is at a popular swimming (and camping) spot. The picturesque site is shaded by peppermint trees that overhang the river. A decked area extends over the river, providing beautiful views and steps down to the water for swimmers.
It's advised to check in with the local rangers about the pool’s water quality, as it can be hazardous depending on the time of year you visit.
10. Fern Pool, Karijini National Park
Fern Pool is one of the most picturesque and accessible swimming spots within the rugged Karijini National Park. The tranquil natural pool is an oasis of green surrounded by Karijini’s rusty red cliffs, and sits beneath a small waterfall. It’s easily accessible via a ladder and wooden deck (that also provides a fantastic opportunity for photos).
Access and safety: Four-wheel drives are recommended within the Karijni National Park. Flash flooding can occur in the area, so if it begins to rain, leave the pool and the gorge.
11. Little Lagoon, Denham
Little Lagoon’s calm, shallow waters are perfect for wading and paddling. Perhaps best known for its striking appearance from above, the lagoon also provides opportunities for fishing, birdwatching or simply relaxing on its white sandy banks.
12. Little Mertens Falls, Mitchell Plateau
On your way to the iconic Mitchell Falls, stop for a swim at the scenic Little Mertens Falls. The swimming hole here features natural spas, rapids and a fern-lined cave. You can also sit on a ledge behind the falls and watch the curtain of water cascade into the pool below.
The Wunambal people recognise the falls as one of the main homes for the Wunggurr serpent. They ask people to approach the area quietly and respectfully.
Access and safety: You’ll need a four-wheel drive to reach the falls, as they can only be reached via a track within Mitchell River National Park. Take care near the cliff edges and water crossings.
Eager to explore some of these swimming holes?
Some of them are in national parks, so make sure you’re prepared. RAC members save 50% on digital national park passes.
Last updated: January 2021