While the beaches of WA are pretty out of this world, there’s something a bit magical about the serene waters of a swimming hole. Under the shade of the surrounding trees, birdsong in the air – a float in Barrabup Pool is hard to beat.
What is it?
A naturally formed pool on the gently flowing St Johns Brook, Barrabup is a tranquil spot to cool off with a dip on a warm summer’s day. The area was historically used to mill the prized jarrah timber, and nearby you can find the Old Timberline Trail – a 22km walking and cycling trail that follows the railway where the timber was once transported via The Blackwood steam train, first to Cambray Siding and then to Busselton, where it was exported. The mill was first established in 1910, with the mill office and railway the only remnants of the thriving industry. Just south of Barrabup you’ll find Workmans Pool: so named because workers at the mill weren’t allowed to bathe at Barrabup Pool.
Where is it?
Barrabup Pool is only 20 minutes outside of Nannup, within the St John Brook Conservation Park. Just over three hour’s drive from Perth, the Conservation Park is nestled within the Cambray State Forest – lush with jarrah, marri, river banskia and swamp peppermint trees along the banks of the brook. Within the South West Boojarah region, the Pool is located approximately on the border between Wardandi and Bibelmen Noongar Boodja.
What to do?
As well as swimming, the pool and its connecting brooks are popular spots for a gentle canoe, where you can cruise through the lush forest and spot some of the 38 bird species found in the area. You can try your luck fishing in the pool, as well – particularly for the invasive rainbow trout, which threaten smaller native fish like the Swan River goby, western pygmy perch, night fish and western minnow. If you get yourself a licence, you can also fish for marron during the season.
Make sure to pack a picnic for while you’re there – the picturesque pool’s surrounds include shaded tables and barbecues, plus the platform makes for a great photo.
The area is perfect for a relaxing overnight stay, with camping sites available nearby, as well as at Workmans Pool to the south – just make sure to BYO firewood and drinking water!
What not to do:
Leave the pets at home – the Pool is within a conservation area, so dogs and other animals aren’t allowed.
While you’re at the pool, don’t dive all willy-nilly into the water. The river can have many submerged objects under the water that you can’t see, so we recommend climbing in and out at the designated areas.
As with all visits to our natural spaces, adhere to the Leave No Trace Principles: meaning don’t leave any rubbish out there, don’t pick wildflowers and try your best to look after the surrounding area. Make sure you also adhere to any fire restrictions or bans that might be in place.
Header image: John McCabe