From white sandy beaches to warm thermal springs, rock pools or coral reefs, us West Australians are spoilt for choice when it comes to sublime, sun-drenched watering holes.
Having lived in WA for most of my life, I took the natural beauty of my home state for granted, and grew up romanticising holidays spent sipping wine in the French Riviera or soaking up the sun on the Amalfi Coast. But like many of us, last year the pandemic opened my eyes to the allure of my own backyard. Maybe it’s a Pisces thing, but I decided build a bucket list of all the gorgeous, wild and photogenic places in WA where I’d love to swim (and a few old favourites), and have been ticking them off methodically. Here’s a list of the tried-and-tested swimming spots I’ve explored so far – I highly recommend you do the same…
If you’re looking for a local swim spot that’s a little off the beaten track, look no further than The Aquarium (this bath of deep turquoise got its name because an abundance of fish frequent its cool, calm water).
Getting there requires some adventure; although the location of The Aquarium is pinned on the Apple Map app, it’s a bit of a secret swimming spot, and there’s no clear road signage to direct you. To find it, you’ll need to turn your maps onto satellite mode and find the pin for The Aquarium. Then, drive down Canal Rocks Road until you reach a car park clearing about 500 metres south-south-east of The Aquarium. There, you’ll find a pathway through the bush, which will lead you straight to your magical swim spot for the day – don’t forget your goggles!
Injidup Natural Spa
No trip down to WA’s beloved wine region is complete without a visit to the iridescent, whitewashed waters of Injidup Natural Spa – a mighty rock pool formed amongst a cluster of weathered boulders. There’s something stunningly mermaid-esque about soaking up the Indian Ocean whilst lounging in the crevices of dampened stone. What makes Injidup a real mermaid’s dream, however, are the sets of crystal-clear waves rolling into the exterior stone walls and pouring in from a passage in the rocks – turning the subdued tidal pool into a splashy water playground.
Whether you’re looking to float and soak in the rays of the warm West Coast sun, or to pack your snorkel and adventure through schools of fish, Mettam’s Pool is the spot for water lovers one and all! Nestled along the same stretch of coast as a number of popular surfing zones in Perth’s north, its pearlescent basin is protected from the swell by a curving patch of reef, with plenty of swim-throughs to explore. Nearby to Mettams are two of my favourite Insta-worthy cafes, Island Market and The Little Bay. Do as I do, and head down for a morning soak, then hit up a cafe for breakfast.
The lush and mighty landscape surrounding Serpentine Falls is wildly nostalgic for me, having spent my childhood living on a bush block on the perimeter of the Serpentine Nature Reserve. My favourite time of year in the Peel Region is in winter, when Serpentine’s waters flow profusely, and the bush is plump and green from the rain. Although, if you head over in September, you’ll catch a stunning display of blankets of wildflowers blooming across the hillsides. Whilst the water is chilly to say the least, it’s a magical place to float in the peace of an immaculate landscape.
Visiting The Kimberley in WA’s north outback is on many a traveller’s Australian bucket list, and rightfully so. This region is defined by its vast dry landscape of undulating hills, valleys and ranges, and is home to an abundance of natural springs, like the remarkable, Emma Gorge, in the El Questro Wilderness Park. Here, after a long walk through a rocky cavernous crack in the red heart of the Kimberley, a cool trickling waterfall flowing into a fresh spring awaits. Although it’s been eight years since I had the pleasure of visiting this majestic place, I still remember the distinctive earthy smell of water evaporating off the hot rock, and the cool relief of taking a dip.
Zebedee Hot Springs
Find solitude from the dry and dusty desert heat in this tropical oasis. The warm freshwater pools that make up the Zebedee Hot Springs naturally arose from an ancient fault line with a permanent supply of water, buried deep beneath the earth.
Margaret River region
In the local language of the Wadandi people of the Noongar nation, Meelup means “the place of moon rising”. Meelup Park in WA’s south contains the only east-facing beaches on the west coast – and Meelup Beach is one of them. If you’re lucky enough to be in the south-west for the full moon, Meelup is a stunningly romantic spot to immerse yourself in the sea (or to summon some H2O Just Add Water nostalgia!)
Having spent many a teen-summer exploring this island by foot, bike and boat, I can confirm that Rottnest and its lustrous blue water never fails to delight. Check out Monique Ceccato’s guide for some great ideas on how to spend a day on Rotto.