Water water everywhere, and plenty of drops to swim in!
After becoming famous around the world for its white, sandy beaches, in recent times Western Australia is becoming equally well known for its inland lakes, rivers, swimming holes and dams. And everywhere you look up and down our lengthy coastline there are beautiful spots to take a dip, perfect for our predominately hot, mediterranean climate.
We know how much you love ’em, so we decided to create a master list to help you tick ’em all off. Which only leaves one question – how many have you done?
PERTH & SURROUNDS
Mettams Pool (Marmion Marine Park)
Marmion Marine Park takes in a large stretch of the coast from Hillarys down to North Beach, with a variety of different options for swimming and snorkelling. Mettams Pool is an obvious and popular choice thanks to its proximity to shore and relative protection, with some cool little caves for the keen divers out there.
Yanchep Lagoon (Wanneroo)
Yanchep beach is a popular swimming and fishing spot that also serves as a gateway to the coral coast (Lancelin, Cervantes, Jurien Bay etc.), but if you’re trying to stay close enough to Perth it’s a great start. The lagoon shape of the reef offers some nice protection from the elements, and maintains visibility to help you see all kinds of reef creatures, coral and crays.
Chidley Reserve (Mosman Park)
Chidley Reserve is a chill little swimming spot on the Swan River that’s great if you’ve got kids who wanna have a splash. It’s nice and sheltered (outside of big boat waves), and well kitted out to make a day of it with barbecues, picnic tables and toilets.
Rocky Pool (Kalamunda)
Rocky Pool is another great spot close by. In amidst the Kalamunda Hills, there’s a challenging (but not too hectic) 5km walk filled with wildflowers, wildlife and valley views. The pool is usually completely dry in the warmer seasons, so to get the most out of the experience we recommend visiting in winter or early spring. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous it’s also part of the Bibbulmun Track.
Wungong Dam (Wungong)
Wungong Dam is nice and close, just past Armadale. Ideal for a picnic lunch, there’s a nifty little recreation lake at the bottom of the dam for a swim. Model boat enthusiasts also frequent, and if you get there before summer truly sets in wildflowers abound. Check ahead in bushfire season though! Please note that swimming in the dam is illegal but that people can go downstream of the dam wall.
Omeo Wreck (Coogee)
We went on a deep dive into the Omeo Wreck at Coogee, so check out all the info you need for one of Perth’s coolest little beaches. A shipwreck, just metres off the beach, it’s also now a full-blown maritime trail, with underwater art galleries, selfie portholes and more.
Serpentine Falls (Serpentine National Park)
One of Perth’s most popular day trip spots, Serpentine Falls is only 55kms southeast of the city. Get there soon to see it still flowing, and make sure you get there early to beat the crowds. Gates open at 8.30am with an $11 park fee, and there’s plenty of walking trails to hit before cooling off in the water.
Lesmurdie Falls (Lesmurdie)
Being arguably the best waterfall Perth has to offer, it has a popular hike is a must do for those looking for a quick escape from the city. There is a defined path which will take you up or down the side of the falls, giving you stunning views the entire way. At the top are multiple trails which take you to vantage points of Perth below and you can even walk to Lions Lookout nearby! As with all of these waterfalls, it is even more spectacular after heavy rainfall.
Image Credit: The Life of Py
Roley Pool Reserve (Roleystone)
One of the few remaining hidden gems around Perth (we kinda feel bad mentioning it here to be honest), Roley Pool is located along the Canning River in the Canning Valley. It has a great little loop walk filled with wildlife (but you’ll need to be keen-eyed!) and flowing stream in the wetter months that flow into small pools that are great for a (very chilly) dip.
Waroona Dam/Lake Navarino (Waroona)
10km east of Waroona lies WA’s inland aquatic playground – the Waroona Dam. Popular with watersports enthusiasts and for camping and bushwalking, it’s surrounded by jarrah forest that blooms with wildflowers during Spring. It’s got all the amenities you could ask for including a cafe, gift shop and caravan park – so perhaps not so much wild but a wild time guaranteed!
North Dandalup Dam
North Dandalup Dam is the perfect picnic location, with plenty of grassed areas by the water to set up for lunch. Swimming is prohibited due to health risks, but it doesn’t seem to slow many people down. If you do want to get wet, maybe keep your head above water!
Lake Leschenaultia (Chidlow)
Head to Chidlow, just 50 minutes east of Perth, to find the expansive Lake Leneschaultia. You can hire canoes or just walk off the white sandy beaches and hit the pontoon. Explore on foot via the 3km walking trail, fire up a barbecue or hit Reflections Café right on the water.
Image Credit: The Life of Py
Lake Brockman/Logue Brook Dam (Yarloop)
Lake Brockman is a serious aquatic playground, with a myriad activities on offer including swimming, fishing (even a bit of cheeky marroning in season), canoeing and kayaking, or for those with a bit of horsepower in mind you can head to the designated water skiing area.
Noble Falls (Gidgegannup)
Perth in winter is all about chasing waterfalls, and luckily there are plenty to discover. Enter Noble Falls, one of the first to fill up once the rains begin, what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in peace and tranquillity.
Point Peron (Rockingham)
Venturing further south to Rockingham and you’ll find a playground for marine life of all shapes and sizes, including big mammals like sea lions and dolphins to go with an abundance of fish, stingrays and maybe the odd penguin. If you head at the right time of year, you might even catch some migrating Hammerhead Sharks! The limestone reefs occupy fairly shallow waters, so are suitable for snorkelers of all ages, just get in before the wind does.
Penguin Island (Rockingham)
Penguin Island is a small island just 700m off the coast of Rockingham, part of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in wildlife wonders, home to a colony of over 1000 Little Penguins, along with dolphins, sea lions and heap of other aquatic life.
Oakley Dam Swimming Hole (Marrinup)
Located out near Pinjarra, Oakley Dam is another well-hidden spot that’ll provide you with plenty of solitude along with some stunning views (besides the mine) and some nice little bushwalks. A beautiful spot for a picnic and a dip.
Moore River (Guilderton)
Though relatively close to Perth, the community of Moore River remains wonderfully unspoilt by big city life, remaining instead a perfect coastal location to sit back, relax and enjoy nature. It also doubles as a ripper spot aquatic activities, things like swimming, fishing and canoeing are all encouraged either off the beach, or within the waters of beautiful Moore River and estuary.
Lane Poole Reserve (Dwellingup)
A little further out in Dwellingup, Lane Poole Reserve occupies 50,000ha along the Murray River. There’s plenty of space for activities (thinking mountain biking, canoeing, SUPing, bushwalking), and it’s a popular camping spot if you want to make a weekend of it.
The Basin (Rottnest Island)
Rottnest is arguably the cream of WA’s crop when it comes to variety and quality of beaches and bays, with a host of different environments to choose from, and spots to visit no matter what way the wind’s blowing. From trails like Parker Point, to the shipwreck at Henrietta Point and more protected bays like Little Parakeet or Little Salmon, there are fish-filled wonders all over the island to enjoy. We’ve name-checked The Basin here, but hop on your bike and get exploring!
Lake Kepwari (Collie)
While Collie’s main drawcard remains the beautiful lakes and rivers that litter the area, like Honeymoon Pool, Black Diamond Lake and Potters Gorge to name a few, recently its added a new feather to its lake-laden cap, Lake Kepwari – a purpose-built recreation zone with parking bays, toilets and barbecues, with designated boating and water ski areas, spots to go swimming, canoeing and fishing, camping zones and more.
Glen Mervyn Dam (Collie)
Of the myriad swimming hole options you can find around Collie, Glen Mervyn is probably the one most suited to watersports enthusiasts. It’s also a popular fishing and swimming area, with camping and picnic facilities available.
Honeymoon Pool (Collie)
If the bright blue water, clay shoreline and selfie crowds of Black Diamond ain’t your thing, Honeymoon Pool is close by and worth it. It’s a small camping spot on the Collie River, drenched in Peppermint Tree shade and very chill. Camping’s $15/night, but organise ahead as there’s only 20 spots available.
Long Pool (Collie)
Just a little further up the road from Honeymoon Pool you’ll find the equally picturesque Long Pool – a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing with the lush green bushland coming right up to the water’s edge.
Black Diamond Lake (Collie)
Arguably one of WA’s favourite Instagram spots, Black Diamond Lake‘s distance from Perth does help to thin out crowds – a little. Epic for a lazy day by the water, it’s still not set up for large crowds so please treat it with respect! Just over two hours away near Collie, check the water conditions in advance.
Stockton Lake (Collie)
Stockton Lake is where to go if you want to camp by a lake in Collie – although it is on a first-come, first-served basis. Originally an open cut mine, it’s popular for water skiing and boating, and while swimming is permitted, be aware the water is mildly acidic and can cause harm to those with sensitive skin.
Injidup Natural Spa (Yallingup)
Alright so it is technically on a beach, but you’d be unlucky to find a shark slipping over the rocks into Injidup’s beautiful natural spa. The turbulent ocean rushes in to create a delightful “spa” experience, one that can get pretty crowded. Try pop down early or late on a warm summer’s night.
The Aquarium (Yallingup)
Just north of Injidup is another magical swimming spot: the Aquarium. Another sheltered lagoon formed by some huge granite outcrops, it’s a favourite for snorkellers and swimmers alike. You can access the Aquarium via a 1.3km walk – but you’ll be well rewarded by crystal clear, tranquil waters.
Castle Rock Bay (Dunsborough)
Castle Rock Bay used to be a bit of a locals only secret, but in recent years has become a popular alternative to Meelup Beach around the corner. It’s a tranquil slice of beach, sheltered from predominate southwesterly winds and swells down south, making it the perfect spot for an arvo on the water.
Hamelin Bay (Margaret River)
Hamelin Bay is a special peace of WA coastline, one that’s become world famous for the remarkably friendly stingrays that swim right up to the shore on any given day, but there’s plenty to discover further offshore and inland at this little bay just a short trip south of Margs.
Barrabup Pool (Nannup)
Nestled within St John’s Brook in Nannup is Barrabup Pool, a picturesque swimming hole which is a bit less crowded than some of the above-mentioned hot spots. Camping is an option and head there during the right season for some fishing and marronning.
Fonty’s Pool (Manjimup)
Fonty’s Pool is smack bang in the middle of a super cute caravan park, one that serves as your gateway to the national parks, forests, giant trees, wineries, breweries and historical sites of this magnificent part of WA’s south.
Big Brook Dam (Pemberton)
Big Brook Dam was created in the 1980s to serve as a water supply for Pemberton and to aid the Trout Hatchery located along Lefroy Brook, and these days it’s also a recreational playground. A haven for swimming, canoeing, walking, cycling and fishing, this is a great place to spend a sunny day when you’re in the South West – and dogs are allowed but must kept on a leash, away from the water.
Pemberton Pool (Pemberton)
Pemberton Pool is a historic swimming pool constructed in the 1920’s for the families of timber workers. Surrounded by karri trees and nestled on the Lefroy Brook right in the centre of town, it’s an incredibly scenic spot for a summertime swim.
Circular Pool (Walpole)
Found along the Frankland River about 15 minutes out of Walpole, Circular Pool has two different sides to it depending on the time of year. In winter with heavy rains you’ll find rapids, while in summer it becomes a peaceful pool, perfect for picnics, marroning (with a license), canoeing and floating around.
Lake Magic (Hyden)
Lake Magic is a strange little water body – a naturally occurring salt lake with gypsum minerals at its base and a sandy, circular beach surrounding it. It gets its name thanks to the high salt density of the water making it impossible for you to sink! And while that’s pretty cool on its own, it’s the changing colours of the lake over the course of the day that make it really special. From sunrise to sunset you’ll be privy to some incredible views, so make sure you pack the camera along with the togs.
Elephant Rocks/Greens Pool (Denmark)
A stunning rock formation that resembles a herd of elephants playing in the water, Elephant Rocks are huge, cracked oval boulders overlooking the Great Southern Ocean. It’s right next to the tranquil beach that is Greens Pool, and both are part of the William Bay National Park – a scenic, rugged stretch of coastline near Denmark.
Lowlands Beach (Denmark/Albany)
If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Elephant Rocks, the 25km drive east of Denmark to get to the secluded Lowlands Beach is absolutely worth it. Nestled between a couple of big cliffs, it’s a popular fishing spot along with swimming and chilling in the summer months.
Shelter Island AKA Muttonbird Island (Albany)
About 17km west of Albany you’ll find yourself at Muttonbird Beach, with Shelter Island a short 130m swim from the mainland. It’s a popular open-water diving site, while the island itself supports local bird life such as Flesh-footed Shearwaters and Little Penguins.
Two Peoples Bay (Albany)
One of the most stunning beaches around Albany, it’s a 35km trip east of the city and you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to explore and enjoy the cove. There’s a scenic heritage trail that’s only about a two-hour round trip with plenty of stunning lookout spots. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the critically endangered Gilbert’s potoroo and endangered noisy scrub-bird, and learn more at the Visitor Centre, open 10am-4pm during summer.
Uredale Point (fmr Point Possession) (Albany)
Just a stone’s throw away from the centre of Albany but the feeling of being completely isolated on a deserted beach, Uredale Point offers up a unique experience for visitors along with some stunning scenery that Albany is famous for. There’s delightful 5km walking trail that won’t challenge you too hard, and is pet friendly (with a lead).
Image Credit: The Life of Py
Woody Island (Esperance)
Woody Island might just be the new Rottnest. The island is just a 20-minute boat ride out of Esperance Bay (if you don’t slow down to spot seals and dolphins along the way) and apart from a jetty, a spattering of safari huts and a licensed bar, you’re one with nature on this beautiful island. There’s plenty of snorkelling, fishing and hiking too.
Lucky Bay (Esperance)
One of Australia, if not the world’s, most iconic beaches, Lucky Bay is the centrepiece among many of Esperance’s stunning white sandy beaches. In recent years the town of Esperance has put some serious effort into upgrading the beach’s facilities to accommodate new arrivals, and we’re all the better for it.
Twilight Bay (Esperance)
For some of the great southern’s whitest sand and clearest blue waters, it’s hard to go past Twilight Bay. A popular picnic spot, the rugged granite outcrops just off the beach make for a captivating day at the beach.
Wylie Bay (Esperance)
If you’re fortunate enough to be in a 4WD in Esperance, head forth towards the softer sands of Wylie Bay and it’s spectacular rock formations. The sand dunes are popular amongst sandboarders, 4WDs and motorbikes, plus if the conditions are right surfers will find a wave or two.
Ellendale Pool (Geraldton)
A natural waterhole that’s formed along the Greenough River near Geraldton, it’s a popular spot amongst locals and visitors alike, with camping, barbecues and picnic facilities on site. Please be aware that swimming is not permitted for large chunks of the year when the water has been stagnant for too long.
Red Bluff (Kalbarri)
Kalbarri’s Red Bluff is big on drama, with steep red cliffs cascading down into the deep blue Indian Ocean, one that is often filled with whales cruising past. Down the cliffs you’ll find beautiful little beaches to chill out on for the day, with great snorkelling and swimming on offer.
Little Lagoon (Denham)
A joyous little inland waterbody, Little Lagoon is 5km away from the town of Denham, so close you can walk along the Lagoon Point walking trail. It’ll take you about 45 minutes and is scenic as heck, before ending in cool, calm waters perfect for kids and a spot of fishing.
Monkey Mia (Shark Bay)
Monkey Mia is part of the Shark Bay Marine Park, a World Heritage Site made up of red dirt dunes, long white beaches and some of the most marine life-rich waters in WA. Its main attraction is of course the bottlenose dolphins, which have been coming up to the shore and interacting with humans for over 50 years. While in the past visitors were able to feed and touch the visiting dolphins, it’s now a little more restricted and supervised, though no less exhilarating.
Yardie Creek (Exmouth)
At the end of the Cape Range National Park is the picturesque Yardie Creek Gorge with its red limestone cliffs and deep blue water. There is a walking trail that can be accessed via the car park but one of the best ways to explore the gorge is by water and it’s a great place to SUP, kayak or join the guided boat cruise that runs twice-daily on selected days.
Mildura Wreck (Exmouth)
One of the more unique sites along the WA coast is that of the SS Mildura, which can be seen from beach at Lighthouse Bay in Exmouth. Given its location on the Ningaloo Reef, we don’t need to tell you that it’s a brilliant spot for diving, snorkelling, fishing and windsurfing when the winds come up.
Oyster Stacks (Exmouth)
Five little islets protruding from the Ningaloo Reef, the Oyster Stacks are another great little snorkelling spot when the tide is up (be sure to check ahead at the Milyering Visitor Centre). Given the sharp nature of oyster shells and the area in general being sharp and slippery, it’s recommended for experienced snorkellers only.
Turquoise Bay (Exmouth)
Turquoise Bay is not only famous for its pristine sandy shoreline, but also for the fact that you can swim out to the reef from the beach. One of the great things to do here is drift snorkel; walk over to the southern side of the beach, swim out about a hundred metres then let the current drift you back to where you started from over the colourful coral reef teeming with fish and other marine life.
Fern Pool (Karijini National Park)
On the eastern side of Karijini National Park is Fern Pool, located at the end of Dales Gorge. The spring-fed pool and waterfall is a significant place for the local aboriginal people. It’s one of the most accessible places to swim and also one of the prettiest; to get there, follow the stairs from the car park to Fortescue Falls, then it’s another 300 metres past the falls on a well-defined trail to the deep, turquoise pool.
Hamersley Gorge (Karijini National Park)
One of the most recognisable – and photographed – places in Karijini National Park has to be Spa Pool in Hamersley Gorge, on the north-western side of the park. While the rest of Hamersley Gorge is just as impressive and a great place to swim, the highlight of the gorge is this perfect, small rock pool. The natural spa pool has recently had a ladder and handrails installed to make it easier and safer to access.
Hancock Gorge & Kermit’s Pool (Karijini National Park)
The reward for climbing over rocks then using all four limbs to inch your way along a narrow section of Hancock Gorge (referred to as the ‘spider walk’) is Kermit’s Pool, aptly named due to its green colour. The class 5 walk into Hancock Gorge is often described as ‘journeying into the centre of the earth’ and it isn’t hard to see why – the rock formations in this ancient gorge are 2.5 billion years old!
Joffre Gorge (Karijini National Park)
The trail to Joffre Gorge leads from the car park and nearby observation platform (which has great views over the gorge) and takes you across the top of the falls. It’s then a steep, but short, climb down the rocky edge to the base of the gorge where, following the stream along to the right, the natural amphitheatre-like gorge ends with a curved waterfall.
Weano Gorge & Handrail Pool (Karijini National Park)
Located at the end of Weano Gorge is Handrail Pool, and getting there is half the fun – wade through a waist-high section of water, scramble over rocks and boulders, then make your way down a narrow section of the gorge to emerge at the top of a waterfall. Then, holding on tightly, use the handrail fixed to the gorge wall to access this picture-perfect pool.
Kalamina Gorge (Karijini National Park)
Kalamina Gorge is one of the quieter gorges in the national park, and you’ll often be lucky enough to have this place to yourself. Make your way down the set of stone steps and, once at the bottom of the relatively shallow gorge system, turning right will take you towards a permanent pool of water and small waterfall at the base of the gorge. For those more adventurous, they can continue following the stream down to the end of the gorge.
Python Pool (Millstream Chichester National Park)
Python Pool, in the base of the Chichester Range, is one of the more popular places in the park. The seasonal waterfall, close to the Roebourne-Wittenoom Road, has bbq facilities and walking trails, while the deep pool is a great spot for swimming.
Port Smith Lagoon (Kimberley)
A unique and must-check out in the Kimberley is the Port Smith Lagoon, a 6km long waterbody that fills and empties with the large tides of the area. All kinds of marine life (including dolphins and turtles) make their way into the lagoon with the tide, which is also beautiful to swim in once full.
Galvans Gorge (Kimberley)
Located along the Gibb River Road is Galvans Gorge. This little waterfall is only a short walk down an easy trail that leads you alongside lily-filled ponds, beneath towering golden grevilleas and past pandanus plants to get to a beautiful little gorge complete with aboriginal art and a boab tree at the top of the waterfall. There’s also a rope in a tree to the right hand side of the pool to swing and jump from.
Cape Leveque (Kimberley)
Cape Leveque is located on the Dampier Peninsula, about 3-4 hours north of Broome, and has to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia. Here the red pindan cliffs meet the impossibly blue waters of the Indian Ocean. It’s a stunning view, an even better place to swim, and the reefs on the eastern beaches make for a perfect spot for snorkeling. In the months of July-October you’re also able to view the migrating whales and see and hear them breaching as they make their way south.
Manning Gorge (Kimberley)
There are a number of swimming options at Manning Gorge along the Gibb River Road, and the first spot is only a few minutes walk from the campground itself where sandy banks line the Manning River. To access the main falls it’s 3km walk from the campground. The falls are located on the other side of Manning River and a small boat/tinny is in place so you can cross to the other side while keeping dry.
Bell Gorge (Kimberley)
If you’re heading along the Gibb River Road from the west coast, one of the first swimmable spots you’ll come across is Bell Gorge. This waterfall usually continues to flow until the end of the dry season and while it’s one of the prettiest, it’s also one of the busiest! It’s a short, one kilometre walk from the car park and once you reach the falls there are two main swimming options, the first being the top of the falls where you can swim right up to the edge of the natural infinity pool. From there it’s a short walk across the falls and down a steep, rocky path to access the bottom pool and swim beneath the falls.
Lake Argyle (Kimberley)
Lake Argyle is always an incredible place to visit and spend the day. It’s Australia’s second-largest man-made lake, about 18 times the size of Sydney Harbour, and so vast it feels like an inland sea. The lake is not only perfect for swimming, but also kayaking, waterskiing and sailing. While the lake is home to over 30, 000 freshwater crocodiles, it’s safe to swim – there’s even an annual swimming competition held in May.
Zebedee Springs (El Questro Wilderness Park)
Zebedee is open to the public from 7-12 in the morning before it closes and opens up for exclusive tour group access in the afternoon. The best time to get there is 11am, when the crowd thins in preparation for closing time. If you’re lucky you might even get the place to your self for 15 minutes before you’re ferried out. The water temps are about 24°-28°C and as you might guess, the warmest water is at the top.
Moonshine Gorge (El Questro Wilderness Park)
This one is good any time of day and you can choose to walk 10km or 200m for a swim in the same spot. Moonshine is rarely busy, it might be something to do with the two water crossings before you get there. The water is blue and fresh and cliff faces of the gorge stand tall on the opposite side of your freshwater beach.
El Questro Gorge (El Questro Wilderness Park)
You can either start this hike at sunrise to beat the crowds or you can head in around 10.30am to catch the sun fall straight in to the top pool at midday. The sun lights up the turquoise clear water and it is just pure magic. It’s a challenging hike in that involves a lot of rock scrambling and a couple of waterfall climbs. There is a lovely half-way pool that marks where things start to get a bit harder.
Emma Gorge (El Questro Wilderness Park)
Emma Gorge, the prettiest little spot on the El Questro station. It’s a fairly easy but rocky walk in with a sensational blue pool halfway along. A little freshwater crocodile lives here but he won’t bother you unless you bother him. At the end Emma Gorge rises up with glowing orange rock, lush green vines and some of the clearest water you’ll see. In the far right hand corner is a hot spring seeping from the rocks.
Cover image via Karijini Eco Retreat