Seasonal rains ensure that Western Australia’s Kimberley region is ripe with flowing rivers and tumbling falls; all with their own tiny hidden pools creating some of the amazing Kimberley swimming spots we will be featuring. These water holes are often rimmed by new growth that acts as a magnet for wildlife – great opportunities exist to catch a lot of native fauna and fauna together.
Although one of the best things about the Kimberley is the seemingly endless list of places to swim (422, 000 square kilometers means there’s no shortage!), we need to remember that this is also croc (crocodiles 🐊) country and the Kimberley is home to both estuarine (saltwater crocodiles) and freshwater crocodiles. So it’s important to know where it’s safe to swim – and which tempting body of water to stay away from!
Below is the exciting list of our top water hole spots in the Kimberley.
1. Bell Gorge
The walk-in is definitely worth it. As you cross Bell Creek you may like to have a swim at the top of the waterfall or continue on and around to the bottom of the falls. Here a deep pool is surrounded by sandstone cliffs in the gorge, with the spectacular waterfall cascading in one end.
The top-end of the fall creates a natural infinity pool, where you can swim right up to the edge. Although Bell Gorge is one of the prettiest it is also one of the busiest with people & Tourists. If the crowds of visitors are not to your liking you can always explore up-stream.
2. Manning Gorge
You get to have a swim straight up here, as the start of the walk which takes you to the gorge involves either a swim across the paperbark and pandanus lined Manning Creek, or a paddle in a leaky boat.
In the old days, you would stuff your belongings into the provided styrofoam boxes and float your bags across. Or walk around to wade further upstream, crisscrossing the deep creek several times, of course on slippery rocks, treacherous logs, mud, etc. Fun to watch others do it, not so much try it yourself.
Manning Gorge’s main pool is an hour or so in across sandstone escarpment past some aboriginal (Bradshaw/Gwion Gwion) art on the gorge walls as you enter, before you are greeted with the spectacular falls plunging into a large open pool.
The more adventurous may like to take a leap of faith off the rocks next to the falls. But like any rocks around water, take care as they can be slippery.
3. Emma Gorge
Emma Gorge is one of Kimberley’s most spectacular and accessible gorges located inside the El Questro Wilderness Park.
Emma Gorge is down a 1.6 km walk alongside a rocky creek and path lined with Pandanus palms. The walk is worth it alone, however, in the end, you’ll be rewarded with a dip in this refreshing pool with a single high waterfall flowing straight in.
Surrounded by high sandstone cliffs, if the water is a bit cool – it’s one of the coldest waterfalls along the Gibb River Road! However, you can always warm-up if you find the hot spring that joins on one side. These thermal waters are the perfect accompaniment!
4. Cable Beach
Iconic for a reason, with pure white sand and warm turquoise water, a dip here is a must. And you won’t struggle for room, the beach stretches out for 22 kilometres so you’ll always find a quiet stretch of sparkling sand.
Broome has huge tidal movements at different hours, visiting the beach at low tide provides you with a large expanse of sandy beach to enjoy.
Cafes and the sunset bar are close by – not to mention the actual sunset which will wow you with colours of yellow, orange, and fiery red hues. Avoid November to March due to the presence of Irukandji jellyfish.
5. Lake Argyle Resort infinity pool
Man-made but if you have time in Kununurra check this out. There aren’t too many places you can swim perched high above the massive Lake Argyle, looking out over the ancient Carr Boyd Ranges. Be prepared for spectacular scenery.
The infinity pool is open to anyone staying at the resort. Otherwise, you can collect a day-pass at the Lake Argyle Resort & Caravan Park reception before entering the pool area.
6. Zebedee Springs
Not so much a swimming hole, but thermal pools set amongst Livistona australis palms where you can soak away the dust and your worries.
Journey down to be greeted by a series of inviting hot springs and waterfalls. Shallow pools and waist-deep water reach just the right height to soak the day away.
Amongst the thousand and one things you can do within El Questro Wilderness Park, it’s one that we highly recommend you experience. Well worth the small turnoff off the Gibb River road on your way to Kununurra.
7. Adcock Gorge
A short drive off the road, this deep waterhole is partly surrounded by sandstone cliffs. Twenty minutes walk in and you’ll find pristine waters – everything the Gibb River Road gorges should be about.
This is one of the swimming spots that isn’t as popular with the tourists so you’ll have the luxury of being able to float for hours – feeling like you’re the only person in the world.
Keep an eye out for aboriginal rock art down by the water.
8. Galvans Gorge
This one is an easy walk in past cypress pines, water lilies and silky grevillea (which provide a sweet treat to those who know their bush tucker). Get here by turning off the Gibb River Rd; you’ll find the drive is lined with paperbark and boab trees on the skyline.
Galvans Gorge is a small waterhole with a waterfall flowing into a horseshoe shaped pool. A very popular swimming hole!
Interested in visiting any of these amazing swimming holes? Our Kimberley Walking Tour goes through Bell Creek Gorge, Manning Gorge, Emma Gorge & El Questro Gorge walks from those listed above, as well as several other gores and sites.
Our 2021 Kimberley tours have almost SOLD OUT, however, we’re updating our website and booking platform to allow you to book for 2022. Get in early as it’s first come first serve and the Kimberley is one of our most popular tour locations.
Check out the tour here – https://www.inspirationoutdoors.com.au/tours/kimberley-walking-tours/