Splash around in some of New South Wales’s most magical swimming holes. From picturesque azure lagoons, to secret waterfalls nestled among limestone cliffs, your aquatic adventure awaits.
Named after farmer James Ainsworth, who was one of the first settlers of this area in the North Coast region of Byron Bay, Lake Ainsworth is more commonly known as Tea Tree Lake because of its natural tea-tree scent. The grassy‑green colour of the water is caused by forest plants dropping oil into the water, making it a perfect rejuvenating dip to heal the mind, body and soul. (One of its alluring attractions is the mineral-rich mud at the bottom.) This freshwater lake is located in Lennox Head – a 25-minute drive south of Byron Bay – and is the perfect place for swimmers, paddleboarders and admirers alike. The seven-kilometre strip of lush shoreline – starting in Byron Bay and ending in Brunswick Heads – is family friendly, with plenty of animal encounters, as well as sunbathing and surfing opportunities during summer.
A quaint, uncharted swimming hole north-west of Coffs Harbour, Scouts Falls is an adventurous trek towards a riverbed that brings you to a deep pool underneath the waterfall. For those with a proclivity for climbing, follow the left-hand side of the falls, which will lead you to several shallow pools for a mild swim. Breathe in the ambient atmosphere while trekking the scenic, 10-metre-high walk along the Middle Creek path until you reach the waterhole. Be careful when following the path as certain elements, such as slippery rocks, creek crossings, overgrown shrubs and fragmented rocks, can pose a danger.
The waterhole has a moss-green hue perfect for plunging into, and offers a 1.1-kilometre bushwalking track, located off Sherwood Creek Road. With free-falling water – from about 10 metres above – you also have the opportunity to climb underneath to experience the impressive flow.
Snuggled among the Snowy Mountains and huts of the High Plains region of Kosciuszko National Park are the opalescent-blue pools of the Blue Waterholes. Housed among steep, limestone cliffs and caves, this off-the-grid attraction is close to both the Clarke and Nichols gorges walking trails – both perfect spots to snag a fish – and offers mineral-rich water courtesy of the karst cliffs that form the gorge.
Christened after the series of waterholes that line Cave Creek, the Blue Waterholes make for an ideal weekend getaway for those caravanning enthusiasts who enjoy hearty hikes, cave exploration, and fishing on the border between New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. If swimming doesn’t tickle your adventurous spirit, this awe-inspiring, secluded landscape also offers activities such as horseriding, mountain biking, abseiling and rock climbing.
For more epic adventures in New South Wales, read the Summer 2022–2023 edition of Caravanning Australia!
Image: Yarrangobilly River Walk, Kosciuszko National Park (C) Destination NSW