A water wonderland

Seven of the best nat­u­ral swim­ming places in the Top End

The Western Star - - ESCAPE -

AN­DREW MEVISSEN WAVES of Aus­tralians are shun­ning con­crete and chlo­rine for wilder­ness and water­falls to take a dip.

Here are seven of the best wild swim­ming spots in the Top End of the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

South­ern Rock­hole, Nit­miluk Na­tional Park, Katherine

A beau­ti­ful water­fall that plum­mets into a gorge-cra­dled pool. A 4km walk with gorge views from the carpark and a 10-minute ferry boat trip back via Nit­miluk Gorge, best in March/April af­ter the wet be­fore it dries up.

‘The Swim­ming Hole’, Nit­miluk Na­tional Park, Katherine

This mys­te­ri­ous place doesn’t have an of­fi­cial name but that’s what lo­cal chop­per pi­lots call it. It’s a re­mote and beau­ti­ful hide­away only ac­cessed by join­ing a thrilling, two-hour ad­ven­ture swim he­li­copter trip of­fered by Nit­miluk Tours, which will fly you over the gorge and land you at this de­serted water­fall and la­goon that you can en­joy all by your­self.

Edith Falls, Nit­miluk Na­tional Park, Katherine

North of Katherine, this idyl­lic pool is fringed by pa­per­bark and trop­i­cal pan­danas and is open most of the year, with camp­ing and kiosk fa­cil­i­ties. Best of all, it’s an easy stroll from the carpark, with a 2.6km loop walk tak­ing you to an even more beau­ti­ful up­per pool and water­fall.

Mataranka Ther­mal Pools, Mataranka

A lit­tle piece of par­adise south of Katherine where warm, turquoise ther­mal pools soothe the mus­cles year-round, shaded by a jun­gle of palms. A must-stop place for a swim on the drive north.

Motor Car Falls, Kakadu Na­tional Park

This deep, lit­tle-known pool, fed by a ma­jes­tic water­fall and hugged by cliffs and lush, mon­soon for­est, is a real find, of­fer­ing a shady hide­away from the Top End heat. Ac­cessed by a 7.5km re­turn walk and usu­ally avail­able year-round.

Boul­der Creek, Kakadu Na­tional Park

An easy 2km loop walk from the Motor Car Falls carpark takes you to a se­ries of lit­tle, cas­cade-fed, crys­tal­clear pools, each more beau­ti­ful than the next. They’re shaded by the jun­gle and you’ll likely have your favourite swim­ming hole all to your­self.

Gun­lom Falls, Kakadu Na­tional Park

This nat­u­ral in­fin­ity pool, of­fer­ing sweep­ing vis­tas across Kakadu, is one of the Top End’s most mag­i­cal swim­ming spots and has be­come an Insta hit with tourists around the world. There’s a bot­tom pool but a short, steep walk takes you to the spec­tac­u­lar up­per pools and falls, which beg a lux­u­ri­ous dip while you ad­mire the view. Best straight af­ter the wet in April/May and ar­rive early in the day to soak up the seren­ity.

Photo: Peter Eve/Tourism NT

WORTH IT: Gun­lom Falls at Kakadu is a must-see swim­ming spot – how about those views?

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