Being greeted by a stretch of land as far as the eye can see can make a visitor think that there is nothing more in the Kimberley, Western Australia than dry wilderness and wildlife that thrive under the heat of the sun. This assumption, however, is far from the truth. The geography of this region, which has an area of well more than 400,000 square kilometres, may be marked by grasslands and steep-sided mountain ranges, but it is also given character by limestone gorges, rivers, waterfalls, and beaches. And while it’s one of the hottest places in Australia, the Kimberley has a tropical monsoon climate, and its roads tend to get flooded during the wet season.
Land lovers are sure to find a lot to explore in the area, but those who are drawn to water are also bound to discover plenty of swimming spots in their Kimberley tours. There’s no shortage of bodies of water here. The vast expanse is a perfect summer destination for travellers who want to cool off and immerse themselves in nature. For those who want to see the best swimming holes and sceneries in the Kimberley, here are 5 spots that offer clear waters and picturesque views.
- Lake Argyle – The second largest manmade lake in Australia, Lake Argyle is wide enough to appear like an inland sea to those who are not familiar with it. It has a thriving ecosystem and serves as home to native fish populations, water birds, and more than 35,000 freshwater crocodiles, which are not deemed to be a danger to humans. The lake’s visitors can opt to swim, snorkel, fish, engage in watersports like water skiing and canoeing, or take a cruise.
- Mitchell Falls – The entirety of the Mitchell River National Park is of great importance to the people who have lived in the area for thousands of years. At the same time, the park boasts diverse landscapes as well as flora and fauna. The path from the campsite to Mitchell Falls presents plenty of swimming holes such as the pool above Little Mertens Falls. The section of the Mitchell River right under the 4-tiered Mitchell Falls is not for swimming as there might be saltwater crocodiles there, but it’s perfectly fine to take a dip above the falls.
- Zebedee Springs – Located within the El Questro Wilderness Park, Zebedee Springs is a series of rocky thermal pools at the base of sheer cliffs. Open only before lunchtime, the soothing springs are surrounded by lush greenery that make up a prehistoric forest.
- Emma Gorge – The lovely Emma Gorge is one of the best known attractions in the El Questro Wilderness Park. The large waterhole offers a cooling dip and scenic views to visitors who are willing to take the 1-hour walk to the gorge. Set below towering cliffs, the gorge features a crystal-clear pool, a droplet waterfall, and hot springs hidden around the area.
- Ningaloo Reef – Ningaloo Reef, which is located just off the coast of Western Australia, is the largest fringing coral reef in the country. Aside from its massive size, which reaches 260 kilometers in length, it also holds distinction as the only large reef that’s positioned right next to a mass of land. The reef and the waters surrounding it became the Ningaloo Marine Park in 1987. It serves as a migratory route for humpback whales, manta rays, dugongs, and dolphins, and the beaches near it are breeding grounds for various species of sea turtles. Also, the presence of whale sharks between March and June attracts a good number of scuba divers and snorkelers to the area.
Reaching these water attractions – either by trekking to them, driving a 4WD, or riding a boat or helicopter – can be done easily with the assistance of a company that specializes in providing Kimberley tours. Aside from arranging tours, local tour guides can point the significance of these bodies of water to the communities that call the region home. This bit of information, plus the sheer natural beauty that you’ll encounter on your way, will give you renewed appreciation for the rich cultural significance and biological diversity of the Kimberley and the swimming spots in it.