Here are my favourite spots to swim around Kununurra. Living in a hot place means being by the water is your friend! So pack your bathers and your towel, and start planning your next trip around the Kimberley, starting with Kununurra”Heidi Williams
A big thank you to Heidi Williams @heidi_sigrid for this informative blog post. All photos and captions by Heidi.
As always, be CROCWISE and read signs and check with a local person before going in or near the water.
10. MIDDLE SPRINGS
A FAMILY FAVOURITE!
Situated approximately 30km from Kununurra is Middle Springs, best seen in the wet season. As you drive in there is a shallow but spacious waterhole where you can swim. A popular picnic location with plenty of shade makes this a family friendly spot and a common destination on the weekend for Kununurra locals. Up above are endless pools and waterfalls (as you scale the rock and keep following the water). There are plenty of pools to choose from, why not try all of them!
9. ZEBEDEE SPRINGS
A TRUE KIMBERLEY OASIS
Zebedee is a natural thermal spring with running water all year round, but only accessible during the dry season when El Questro is open to the public. It’s an oasis of small pools hidden amongst a forest of palm trees, where you can bathe in the warm waters and take in the breathtaking surroundings. This is one of El Questro’s ‘go-to’ spots, so make sure you get in early in the day.
8. UPPER ORD
The Diversion Dam divides the Ord River, splitting what’s known as the Upper Ord and the Lower Ord. Whilst the Lower Ord is a great spot for a fish, it’s home to many saltwater crocodiles, making the Upper Ord the safest place to swim, as it is only home to the freshwater variety. Following the river upstream will take you all the way to the dam wall at Lake Argyle. The river is the perfect spot for wakeboarding, water skiing, being towed in the biscuit or simply floating in the water and relaxing. The best part is that it can be enjoyed all year round! Treat yourself to a tour with Triple J Tours to enjoy the Upper Ord in all its glory.
7. ORD RIVER INFINITY POOL
BEST SEAT ON THE ORD!
This little gem is a short boat ride up the Ord River from Kununurra. It’s best enjoyed in the wet season after a decent amount of rain. If you can see the waterfall trickling down the rock from the river, there’s a fair chance the pool at the top is full! All you have to do is park up your boat, climb up the rock, hop in and admire the view.
6. EL QUESTRO GORGE, EL QUESTRO
FOR THE ADVENTURERS
El Questro Gorge is well worth the 2.4km hike and is only accessible during the dry season. To get to the pool and the small (but spectacular) waterfall at the end you will find yourself climbing up small escarpments, clambering over and around rocks and wading through crystal clear pools. Make sure to pack a towel, because a swim in the pool at the end is a refreshing prize! El Questro is down the Gibb River Road from Kununurra.
5. LAKE ARGYLE
WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE ABOUT LAKE ARGYLE?!
The famous infinity pool situated in Lake Argyle Resort overlooks the lake and is the perfect spot to cool off with a spectacular view. My favourite time of day to swim here is late afternoon as the sun starts to set, lighting up the rock faces in the distance with a beautiful golden glow. The lack of wind and the calm lake below makes for a tranquil place to sit and relax. Swimming in the lake itself is also beautiful. Lake Argyle hosts an annual open water swim, a bucket list event. With 365 days and 1,000 square kilometres to explore, there’s plenty of time and space to enjoy! Make sure you do a Lake Argyle Sunset Cruise on your next visit.
4. BLACK ROCK FALLS
ON TOP OF THE WORLD
Black Rock Falls is one of the few places in the Kimberley where you will find a cold pool of water all year round. Best swimming time is during the wet season when the waterfall is flowing. It’s not just on my list because of its refreshingly cool water or the huge black rock face towering above, it’s the magic at the top that truly makes this place special. It is here that you can sit in a private infinity pool for two, with a view as far as the eye can see and watch the world go by. Pure magic!
3. EMMA GORGE
Situated in El Questro, Emma Gorge is a crowd favourite! And it’s no wonder why. A 1.6km hike from the carpark takes you to a stunning waterfall and large pool at the end. The water is refreshingly cool and makes for a perfect place to swim on a hot day. I love looking up at the large rock face and admiring the trickling water and flourishing greenery.It’s accessible during the dry season when El Questro is open to the public.
2. SECRET SPRINGS
KUNUNURRA’S BEST-KEPT SECRET!
Further down the road from Middle Springs & Black Rock Falls is the turn off for Spring Creek (formally known as ‘Secret Springs’). Down a short but grueling four-wheel drive track, you’ll reach an oasis with water that flows all year round. The isolated palm trees and sound of running water is welcoming on a hot day. Just like the others, you can climb up the waterfall to discover numerous pools and waterfalls above. Climb to the top where you can admire the glowing red rock in the afternoon sun and yet also enjoy the shade that it offers. Secret Springs is a special spot.
TOO GOOD, I JUST CAN’T SHARE THE NAME. SORRY!
This one is hands down my FAVOURITE place to swim in the East Kimberley so far. I’d have to say it’s also my favourite camping location too. It’s a local secret; off the beaten track and a few hours drive from Kununurra. The drive in is scenic and perfect to test out your four-wheel driving skills! It’s hard not to drop your jaw when you first set your eyes on this gorgeous waterhole, taking in the sound of the trickling waterfall echoing along the rock faces around you. By night, you can sleep under the stars and sit by the campfire. By day you swim, read a book and explore the numerous cascading waterholes above. With no phone reception and feeling like you’re in the middle of nowhere, there’s not much you can’t love about it. Oh the serenity 🙂
Find even more places to swim in 100 Things To See In The Kimberley.
100 Things To See In The Kimberley: Second Edition
Now in its updated, second edition, 100 Things To See In The Kimberley, by local tour guide Scotty Connell, is a bucketlist of over 100 of the best things to see and do across the Kimberley. Scotty shares his favourite waterholes, campsites, cafes, Indigenous experiences and more, so you can experience this region like a local.