Words by Allysia Murray
Images by cool people in cool places
I love swimming, and I love summer, but being body slammed by someone catching a
wave into a section of water that looks like the ocean just put on a Black Friday sale isn’t my idea of a good time. So I asked you fine readers what your favourite swimming holes are away from the hordes that line the beaches, and you delivered the goods big time. Grab your togs and prep your fourbies, because in no particular order, here are our readers’ top waterholes to dunk your sweaty bodies in this summer.
1 - Wyangala Dam, Cowra, NSW
Fishing, boating and a bit of lounging on the sand with your mates sounds better than a kick in the teeth. Our mate Aaron couldn’t speak highly enough of the small town of Wyangala and said his family have been coming to this dam for over 50 years. If that’s not a family endorsement, then we don’t know what is.
2 - Booloumba Creek, Conondale National Park, QLD
Rock pools, waterfalls and rainforest walks? “Yeah, nah, I’m good with the blowup pool in the backyard” …said no one ever. Accessible only by high-clearance 4WDs, and a wee bit of a jaunt through some eucalypt forests, this impressive creek is well worth rolling up your pant hems for. We know so because both Ashley and Jake told us so.
3 - Black Diamond Lake, Allanson, WA
Two hours south of Perth you’ll find a lake that literally looks like a gemstone. It’s best to visit on a sunny day to get the full effect of this stunning blue water. Take your SUP, or a pool float, or just your camera and behold some of the bluest water you’ll ever set your summer peepers on.
4 – Ladies Well, Chichester State Forest, NSW
Dodge, duck, dip, dive and – oh wait, wrong conversation. Daintily slide or flip off one of the granite boulders surrounding this spot and enjoy the cool waters in this swimming hole right along the Allyn River. Big thanks to Kyle Fogarty and these two millennial dudes, @jerome_7234 and @markham0192, for the Ladies Well intel.
5 - Fruit Bat Falls, Cape York, QLD
How many times can you say ‘wow’? Because, well, wow. It’s a bit of a hike, but if you ever get your rig up the top end, get this place on your to-visit list because we have it on good authority from our new friend Deb that this place is next-level amazing… seriously, we can’t stop staring at the photo. Send help.
6 - Lake Eildon, Bonnie Doon, VIC
Sunset? Check. Calm waters? Check. Sweet boat? Triple check. I think we’d all be doing ourselves a favour if we take a leaf out of Boppa’s book and get ourselves to Bonnie Doon for a spot of boating, swimming and fishing, though I dare you not to break out into song when you do.
7 – Royal National Park, Wattamolla, NSW
Errbody in Sydney seems to know about Wattamolla’s beach, but rather than beeline straight for salt water, schedule some time into your next RNP trip to explore one of the many, many waterfall or rock pool options you’ve got here because you’ll definitely be wanting to be get more than your ankles under water.
8 – Lake Hume, Albury/Wodonga, VIC
Listen to Glenn, he knows what’s what. Drive your daily right up to the shore for a spot of wakeboarding, fishing, boating, synchronised swimming or if you’re really feeling nautical, how bout booking in a sailing lesson with the local yacht club? Um, could we borrow your boat, mate? And your daily while we’re at it?
9 - Upper Stoney Creek, Byfield State Forest, QLD
A one-kilometre walk to this little beauty isn’t too high a price to pay. In fact, the only thing you’d be paying for around here is a camping fee if you chose to extend your stay. And why wouldn’t you, if only to solve the mystery of why the road name is spelled Stoney and the creek is spelled Stony.
9.5 – Waterpark Creek, Byfield State Forest, QLD
A half bonus round here is awarded because right down the road from Upper Stoney Creek, Chris assured us that we’d find Waterpark Creek. It’s nearly everything you’d get at Wet‘n’Wild – minus the stray bandaids and crippling queues. Whether it’s mini rapids, waterfalls, kayaking or just straight up water wallowing, you will not be bored. To access and explore this region, you’ll want to be in your 4WD.