1. The Garden of Eden
A permanent pool at the bottom of Kings Canyon surrounded by ancient species of plant life, the beauty of the Garden is unmatched. This plant life can be seen in very, very few places in the world, and may be worth the trip to some people by itself! The water is cool and clear, and a refreshing reprieve from the relatively long hike required to get there. This is easily the best swimming spot in the Red Center because of where it’s located. Sheer walls, up to 200m in height, surround on all sides, adding yet another layer of beauty to this oasis.
2. Ellery Creek Big Hole
West of Alice Springs, you’ll find a sign for this permanent swimming hole. It’s unique in that it is very cold, even in summer, so be sure to have a swimming buddy and watch out for signs of hypothermia. Some find that the extremely cold water is a great way to beat the heat, and the pool is large enough to allow for some actual laps and other types of more active swimming – It’s no wading pool. You might want to bring beach chairs and umbrellas here, as some find it’s difficult to remain in the water for long periods, it’s a great place to move in and out as you’re ready and enjoy both the warmth of sunbathing and the bracing cold while swimming.
3. Ormiston Gorge
An impressive gorge with some easy hiking paths which allows for a variety of activities, it’s just a fifteen minute walk to the swimming hole at the bottom. Easy access is a great feature, and it’s also nice that you have the option of hiking to elevated lookouts. About an hour and a half of hiking takes you to such a lookout, and on the way down you can cool off in this permanent pool. Good photo opportunities, brilliant views, and a fair.
4. Glen Helen Gorge
A swimming hole on the Finke River, this location is very near to Glen Helen Resort, which offers award winning food, fuel, and accommodation. Possibly the easiest swimming hole to access on this list due to how close it is to accommodation, this spot is surrounded by large rock walls and is nicely shaded as a result, making for a very comfortable swim. It’s also a great area to just bask on the rocks, as it’s warm enough to be soothing but not searing as it would be in direct sunlight!
5. Redbank Gorge
Redbank Gorge is a spectacular narrow canyon slot that can be crossed via swimming, provided that you’re bold. This isn’t a pool by any means, you won’t be doing laps here, but the views alone are worth coming here, allowing for another brilliant photo opportunity. Besides, who wouldn’t want to be able to say that they’ve swam across a canyon? Of course, this is riskier than a swimming hole, so it’s recommended only to strong and confident swimmers.
Wayoutback 4WD Red Centre Wallaby Dreaming
Ormiston Gorge, West MacDonnell Ranges (NT)