The most unforgettable remote swimming spots I've ever swum in

I was lucky enough one day to literally just 'drive off into the sunset,' so to speak. Mr Fritz had accrued long service leave after a decade or so of work and his dream was to drive through a huge chunk of Australia. So that's exactly what we did - we made his dream come true. We purchased a 'tiny' house on wheels, one that could handle some off-road stuff and a few river crossings, then we locked up our home and took off. 

 
A natural magical wonderland! This is Litchfield National Park, just south of Darwin, NT. It's made up of multiple series of swimming holes and waterfalls. Because of it's close proximity to Darwin it is extrememly popular. Unfortunately it was school holidays when we visited - it was a hooligans picninc!!! Far too many kids and far too noisy, but we managed to cool off and even find a bit of peace and quiet.

A natural magical wonderland! This is Litchfield National Park, just south of Darwin, NT. It's made up of multiple series of swimming holes and waterfalls. Because of it's close proximity to Darwin it is extrememly popular. Unfortunately it was school holidays when we visited - it was a hooligans picninc!!! Far too many kids and far too noisy, but we managed to cool off and even find a bit of peace and quiet.

This is the largest waterhole at Litchfield NP. I'm so glad I had my sandals on! The water was quite deep and dark toward the waterfall end and it gave me the confidence to swim out all the way. 

This is the largest waterhole at Litchfield NP. I'm so glad I had my sandals on! The water was quite deep and dark toward the waterfall end and it gave me the confidence to swim out all the way. 

 

We were on the road for close to ten months. We traversed some truly magnificent landscapes and we also passed through some shitholes. But in this story, I'll be focussing on the magical bodies of water we were lucky enough to dip into. There is something very special and satisfying about plunging into a remote and secluded waterhole. It's a delicious combination of freedom and adventure with a sprinkling of danger and fear. And that's because sometimes they're either in very precarious and hard-to-get-to locations but also because we usually share these waterholes with other creatures as well - and I'm not just talking about the odd cute little fish - I'm talking about snakes, eels, crocodiles and large lizards. So for me, gliding into a body of water that isn't a swimming pool or a bath puts me on high alert, particularly if the water is dark and very deep. 

 

Believe it or not, we were doing a bush walk here! Except this one started with a swim. I couldn’t bloody believe it! To get to the end point of this walk, Weano Gorge, in Karijini National Park - possibly one of the most remote and spectacular national parks in the country - we had to swim through multiple pools. We packed our waterproof camera and had full hiking clothes on. Naturally we were soaked but I would never have done a walk like this in bathers! This was a total Indiana Jones experience.

 

Luckily though the temperature of the water isn't a major concern, which is a good thing really because most of the places we swam in were very cold if not freezing, which means I could have missed out on some pretty spectacular swims if I had an aversion to cold water. Cold waterholes simply mean it takes a little longer to get in, then once I'm in, I spend several moments doing sudden and quite violent full body movements - something that might resemble a fit - and this is usually followed by a massive grin from ear-to-ear. Next, I do quick circles around myself, not too dissimilar to what synchronized swimmers might do, this is to quickly scan the area for other creatures. I also love getting my hair wet and dunking my whole head under water and once that manoeuvre is completed, I lie back and float.

 

This spectacular waterhole is Bitter Springs in Mataranka, Northern Territory. It isn’t exactly down the road being 3300km from Melbourne. This is a true oasis in the middle of nowhere. Crystal clear and warm, perfect for floating.

 

This is one of my special talents. Floating. If you can do it - you will know it's a blissfully satisfying activity. Mr Fritz isn't very good at it, his feet behave like anchors that sink to the bottom quickly. So occasionally I'll assist him, I'll hold his feet up and swirl him around because I want him to experience this delightful water-based activity too.

 

This was nuts!!! This was the end point on the Hancock Gorge walk in Karijini National Park, Western Australia. This section just before we arrive at Kermits Pool is known as the spiderman walk - for obvious reasons - you grab on wherever you can. It was slippery AF so I did most of this section bumming it through. The last thing I wanted was a broken limb! It was quite exhilarating, even scary but very special.

 

But before I dare indulge in these romantic but slightly threatening waterholes I have to strap on my number one must-have accessory - a pair Teva sandals. Possibly one of the most unstylish pairs of shoes I've ever owned, but, ironically, the most confident boosting ones! Without them, I either wouldn't get in or I'd be super stressed and exhausted because I would never standstill but rather tread water until I can tread no more. Standing on anything that might be alive, slimy, dangerous or sharp simply isn't an option for me!

 

 

I still can’t believe I climbed down here! It seemed impossible when I first laid eyes on this route. But we gave it a go and it was worth it. This pool is also in Karijini NP and we were lucky to have it all to ourselves. This was a walk from the car park so we had bathers for the swim BUT forgot to pack our sandals. Walking from pool to pool was painful over the sharp little stones but in the water it was sheer bliss and completely non-threatening - no animals to worry about here. This was Joffre Gorge. And on the way out I nearly fell to my death. I couldn’t get my leg up onto a ledge and I had sweet nothing to hold on to. Mr Fritz grabbed me by my shirt and dragged me up onto the ledge. I was so relieved I didn’t fall backwards! I was quite shaken and after some tears and a cuddle we climbed up the rest of the way, got back to our camp site and poured a stiff drink.

This is Big Brook Dam in Western Australian near Pemberton in the south. The water was clear with a sandy base. It was a beautiful place for a swim.

This is Big Brook Dam in Western Australian near Pemberton in the south. The water was clear with a sandy base. It was a beautiful place for a swim.

This is the incredible Gunlom Falls in Kakadu National Park! Well, well, well, it's a pretty spectacular spot as you can see. That's me sitting on the far left taking in the view. It's quite a steep hike to the top but then you're rewarded with a series of pools to cool down in. Below is a large pool that the falls drop into and it's corcodile territiory too, so it pays to be very cautious.

This is the incredible Gunlom Falls in Kakadu National Park! Well, well, well, it's a pretty spectacular spot as you can see. That's me sitting on the far left taking in the view. It's quite a steep hike to the top but then you're rewarded with a series of pools to cool down in. Below is a large pool that the falls drop into and it's corcodile territiory too, so it pays to be very cautious.