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Australia’s top outdoor swimming spots

Australia is home to beautiful coastlines and picturesque beaches. However, it’s the stunning offshore watering holes that display the country’s true natural beauty. From waterfalls and swimming holes, to secluded lakes and rock pools,  we have chosen our top seven swimming spots!

Cedar Creek Falls 

Location: Mount Tamborine, Qld

Mount Tamborine is home to several breathtaking waterfalls and swimming holes; naturally, these attract plenty of return visitors. Cedar Creek Falls is the most popular of them all. Over time it has become the go-to spot to swim, hike and explore nature’s beauty. The public can directly access the area via Cedar Creek Road, with paths leading to spectacular cascades, waterfalls and shallow rock pools.

Along the way, you’ll pass extraordinary lookouts, breathtaking scenery and picturesque backdrops, all of which are insta-worthy! You’ll also come across a sealed pathway leading towards the open canyon where you will find Cameron Falls, Witches Falls and Curtis Falls – the only swimming spots on the mountain. As the water is quite cold all year round, we suggest visiting in the warmer months. Make a day trip out of your visit and bring a picnic lunch!

Fern Pool

Location: Karijini National Park, WA

Tucked away in Karijini National Park is the famous Fern Pool, a peaceful tourist haven. Situated in Australia’s hot north-west, it’s the perfect place to cool off. Soak up beautiful rock formations and lush greenery as you take a dip in turquoise waters.

Australia's top fishing spots - Karijini National Park

Fern Pool is located at one end of Dale’s Gorge. Venture off in the opposite direction to discover nearby natural wonders. Along the way, you’ll discover Circular Pool and Fortescue Falls – perfect for a refreshing swim. Swimming aside,  there’s plenty to explore.  Both spots are culturally significant to local Aboriginal people; make sure you treat the area with the respect it deserves.

Milla Milla Falls 

Location: Cairns, Qld

Bring your camera – Milla Milla Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Australia. Located along the Waterfall Circuit, an hour-and-a-half east of Cairns, Milla Milla Falls is home to magnificent waterfalls and lush rainforest. Cascading into a pristine waterhole and surrounded by lavish greenery, it’s a perfect swimming spot. Keep an eye out for the Ulysses Butterfly and Platypus! We suggest packing a picnic lunch and relaxing at one of the grassy picnic areas.

Figure 8 Pools

Location: Sydney Royal National Park, NSW

Located just south of Burning Palms Beach in Sydney, the Figure 8 Pools attract tourists from across the globe. Formed by the merging of two sinkholes, these pools have created the perfect setting for an awesome photo! Situated on a rock ledge at the south end of the Sydney Royal National Park, the site can only be accessed by foot. Park the car at Garrawarra Farm Car park and walk the three-kilometre track to the pools.

Image by @lollap0p (shared with permission)

Like many popular tourist sites, a safe trip here requires prior planning. Access is only safe when surf conditions are calm and flat with a low tide. In extreme weather, steer clear; it’s simply too unsafe to visit. We recommend checking local conditions before planning your trip.

Josephine Falls

Location: Wooroonooran National Park, Qld

Considered one of the most beautiful swimming holes in tropical North Queensland, Josephine Falls is a tourist magnet. Visitors can swim in crystal-clear waters, soak up the sun or relax under the shady rainforest canopy.

Australia's top fishing spots - josephine falls

Josephine Falls is approximately 75 kilometres south of Cairns. Constantly flowing with rainfall from Queensland’s highest peak, Mount Bartle Frere, it’s been crowned nature’s own water fun park. The slippery granite rocks act as water slides, hence the name. Aside from the swimming area, the rainforest paths and hiking tracks provide scenic views and great photo ops – don’t forget your camera!

Nethercote Falls

Location: Pambula, NSW

Comprising a series of cascades, small rock pools and larger swimming areas nestled in a valley, Nethercote Falls is one of NSW’s favourite swimming spots. The larger pool is perfect for adults and the smaller one is great for  (supervised) children to play in. Sit on the rocks by the side of the gorge or climb up the rock wall for a bird’s eye view of the stunning waterfall. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a leap off the four-metre high ledge into the water. Be careful though! If you wish to have a picnic by the falls, we recommend arriving early and securing a spot. Additionally, there are several open fire barbecues and tables at the upper car park. However, it’s a fair walk away.

Image by @tave_a (shared with permission)

Gunlom Falls

Location: Kakadu National Park, NT

Gunlom Falls sits among a number of swimming holes and waterfalls in Kakadu National Park. Famous for its scene in Crocodile Dundee, it’s one of Australia’s most popular tourist spots. Take a dip at the base of the Falls or endure the 10-15-minute climb to a more secluded area. Here you will find a number of swimming holes and the crystal clear Gunlom plunge pool. Cool off in the water while enjoying sweeping views of Southern Kakadu.

Image by @candidlyf (shared with permission)

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