Summer is here! You know that time of the year when you break out into an instant full body sweat the moment you step foot outside. The kids are standing in front of the air conditioner vents with no plans of enjoying the outdoors. If you want to stay outside, you need a body of water to offer immediate relief to the sweltering heat. Living in Western Australia our immediate thoughts go to the beach. With the beach though comes limited shade options and then there’s the sand that seems to be a part of your DNA for the next month.
Luckily for us West Aussies, we are blessed with many beautiful swimming holes that are largely under utilised. These make for a great day trip from Perth, or a weekend adventure a little further afield, and offer a unique swimming experience that the kids are sure to enjoy.
They also offer great sun protection, unlike a day at the beach, by way of shady trees. We've created an interactive map with 15 stunning locations, many of which are within a two-hour drive of Perth. Read on to find out more about these delightful swimming holes!
Perth and Surrounds
Bicton Baths (Bicton)
Bicton Baths - photo credit: @helloperth on Instagram
Arguably one of the best locations to swim on the famous Swan River. As the baths are situated in a tidal gorge, the water is heavily influenced by the ocean and is ultimately quite clean. A u-shaped jetty presents an exciting opportunity for the kids to get a bit of air on their jumps. The baths also offers opportunities to see dolphins and other aquatic life.
Chidley Beach Park (Mosman Park)
Chidley Point - photo credit @simonburesch on Instagram
Chidley Beach Park is a stretch of sand and grassed area along the beautiful Swan River in Mosman Park. Harmless jellyfish provide a point of great fascination for the kids in the water, while BBQ areas cater for the parents. Bountiful shaded areas and crystal clear waters make this a perfect local venue for a family day out.
Rocky Pool (Bibbulmun Track, Piesse Brook)
Rocky Pool - photo credit: @stephmahh on Instagram
One of the more challenging swimming holes to access, perhaps one for those with adventurous ambitions. After a beautiful 5km walk you will feel well-rewarded when you reach the small pool. Check it out after rain has hit the city, for higher water levels and a faster flowing waterfall which add to the vibrancy of the location.
Wungong Dam (Wungong)
Wungong Dam - photo credit: @7to1photography
Just past Armadale lays Wungong Dam, a large reservoir that has served as a water source for Perth for the last 70 years. Below the dam is a large area perfect for recreation with the family; there are free BBQ facilities and other amenities available. Have a picnic on the banks and then cool off with a swim in the waters. For the risk takers, a thrilling rope swing into the dam provides hours of fun.
Serpentine Falls (Serpentine)
Serpentine Falls - photo credit: @gong_wild on Instagram
Serpentine falls is located just 55 kilometres southeast of Perth in the stunning Serpentine National Park. The base of the large waterfall offers an idyllic swimming location for the family, with the water on the cooler side. Wildlife spotting is also great for the kids; expect to see lots of kangaroos in the park. It's a popular place on warmer days, so consider getting there early to secure a good spot. Please note there is a $15 per vehicle fee.
North Dandalup Dam (Whittaker)
North Dandalup Dam - photo credit: @jared.carlin on Instagram
On the west side of the expansive North Dandalup Dam, you will find a gorgeous body of water, which (depending on the time of the year) could easily be mistaken for an inlet on a tropical island! A family-friendly zone with great swimming and picnicking opportunities. Just over an hour from Perth, this is a great relaxation location and is perfect for a family day trip.
Lane Poole Reserve (Dwellingup)
Lane Poole Reserve - photo credit: @lgreen85 on Instagram
Lane Poole Reserve is a well-known gem approximately 90 minutes from Perth. Stunning forest surrounds a beautiful section of the Murray River offering the perfect place to take the kayaks out on the river. Great spot for a hike amongst the towering trees before cooling off in the waters. Ideal for an overnight stay with camping facilities close to the water, however it can get busy especially on the weekends.
Black Diamond Lake (Collie)
Black Diamond Lake - photo credit: @a.bella.life on Instagram
One of the most picturesque location in all Western Australia, Black Diamond Lake is located two hours south-east of Perth, just outside of Collie. A popular destination for social media influencers and photographers, it also offers a beautiful spot for the family to enjoy. Inflatable rafts are commonplace at the lake and offer a supremely relaxing way to drift away the day.
Stockton Lake (Collie)
Stockton Lake - photo credit: @birdseyeimages_bei on Instagram
On the other side of Collie lays the gorgeous Stockton Lake. Significantly larger than Black Diamond Lake with a similar turquoise blue tone to the water. Instead of trees the banks are lined with white limestone cliffs. Swimming here is safe and the top layer is often warm before mixed up with the cooler water below, however keep an eye out for boats. You can camp with the family on the shores of the lake and wake up for a refreshing swim in the morning.
Honeymoon Pool (Collie)
Honeymoon Pool - photo credit: @pslgoh on Instagram
Another aquatic gem located on the Preston River between Bunbury and Collie is Honeymoon Pool. The dark water lined by banks of overhanging trees offer plenty of shade options and puts the water temperature on the colder side. This is a great location for the family to escape the heat of the more extreme days of summer. There are some mild hazards at this location so consider bringing some floaties or a boogie board.
Long Pool (Collie)
Long Pool - photo credit: Parks and Wildlife Service on Instagram
Little-known Long Pool misses out on all the plaudits of nearby Honeymoon Pool, but that only this location even more special. Secluded, with few crowds and a spectacular swimming space, Long Pool is a top choice for a family adventure. Check out our interactive map as this treasure is not yet featured on Google maps.
Lake Leschenaultia (Chidlow)
Lake Leschenaultia - photo credit: @ma.ri.cel_ on Instagram
Lake Leschenaultia is a human-made recreational lake just under an hour east of Perth. The white sand lining the shore is perfect for a picnic, there is also a café on the bank. A tranquil and scenic location makes this a fantastic option for a morning or afternoon from Perth to escape the city. Swim out about 50m to the pontoon and watch the kids practise their diving and "bombie" skills jumping into the water.
Barrabup Pool (Nannup)
Barrabup Pool - photo credit: @rebecca2ng on Instagram
This divine natural water hole outside of Nannup , is about 40 minutes south-east of Busselton. With the comparatively remote location comes seclusion. A very peaceful and picturesque location with a great jetty to jump off however perhaps bring life jackets for younger children, as the water gets deep very quickly.
Lake Brockman (Cookernup)
Lake Brockman - photo credit: @marks_photographs_
Located about halfway between Mandurah and Bunbury, Lake Brockman is an expansive lake perfect for water activities. Popular for boats for water skiing and wakeboarding. Camping or accommodation options are available near the lake making this an ideal weekend getaway for the family. A large playground has also been recently constructed for the kids to enjoy when they are not cooling off in the lake.
Ellendale Pool (Geraldton)
Ellendale Pool - photo credit: Beau Mitchell @quietachiever on Instagram
For those super adventurous families heading up north this summer, one of the more spectacular swimming locations on the way up is Ellendale Pool. Located just outside of Geraldton this might provide a much-needed morale boost for the family after the long drive. With red-tinted cliffs and bushland surrounding a refreshing water body, it is a popular spot for locals to cool off during the warmer months. Overnight camping is also an option for the road trippers.
While natural swimming holes are a delight to explore, we recommend checking the water quality of any fresh water body before swimming, as harmful bacteria like amoebic meningitis may be present.
Water Quality Information:
Swan/Canning Riverpark - Perth Metro locations
Metro Dams - North Dandalup Dam, Serpentine Dam and Wungong Dam
City of Greater Geraldton - Ellendale Pool
Shire of Collie Water Quality - Black Diamond, Honeymoon Pool and Stockton Lake
Shire of Harvey - Lake Brockman
Shire of Mundaring - Lake Leschenaultia
Explore Parks WA - Barrabup Pool
National Park closures and emergency information:
Severe summer weather conditions often brings fire risk and park closures. Be sure to check the latest information about closures and bushfire risk at https://www.emergency.wa.gov.au/
Looking for more fun things to do over the Summer holidays? Download our 25 Things to do in Summer resource and see how many you can tick off the list!