South Australia is home to some of the best beaches in the world, but away from the ocean there’s plenty of spots to cool off too. From sinkholes to rockpools and natural springs, wander off the beaten track and plunge into these 6 secluded swimming holes in South Australia.
1. Dalhousie Springs, Outback
In the midst of the sun-baked outback lies a watery reprieve for dust-slicked travellers. On the edge of the Simpson Desert, the Dalhousie Springs are a network of more than 60 springs fed from the artesian basin. The main spring offers the best swimming opportunities, sitting at about 38 degrees year-round. Spanning an area of more than 50,000 hectares, the National Heritage-listed natural wonder has been used by Aboriginal people for thousands of years as a source of food, shelter and medicine, and is also home to rare aquatic life found nowhere else in the world. Tucked in Witjira National Park near the border of South Australia and the Northern Territory, the springs are the perfect spot to refresh on the final South Australian stretch of the Explorers Way road trip and are conveniently home to a popular campground.
2. Coward Springs, Outback
A day spa… in the middle of the outback? An oasis on the iconic Oodnadatta Track, Coward Springs might not be your typical day spa but after a long day traversing the dry, red landscapes of the outback, a soak in this natural spring is the perfect way for intrepid travellers to refresh on the road. Once a station on the old Ghan railway line, you’ll find the springs attached to a campground where you can pitch your tent under the shade of a date palm before donning your bathers and experiencing what is arguably one of the most remote springs in the country.
3. Little Blue Lake, Limestone Coast
With sheer cliffs plunging to cool cobalt blue waters below, this sink hole-turned-swimming hole is one of the most picturesque spots to take a dip in South Australia. Just 15 minutes out of Mount Gambier, the impressive swimming amphitheatre of Little Blue Lake is surrounded by sheer 10-metre limestone walls and boasts crystal-clear fresh water. Fast forward to summer and this geological wonder turns into a swimming hotspot for Limestone Coast locals, with calm, cool waters perfect for lounging on your lilo.
4. Pool of Siloam, Limestone Coast
On the outskirts of one of South Australia’s most picturesque coastal towns lies a salty summer haven. Seven times saltier than the sea, the waters at Beachport’s Pool of Siloam are incredibly buoyant and primed for long summer days spent floating on cool, calm waters. Locals frequent the natural salt pool for its touted health benefits, with the high salinity reported to relieve aches and pains and even treat arthritis. A short stroll away, you’ll also find one of the best beaches in South Australia – the 600-metre-long curving shores of Salmon Beach. Sheltered by a rock reef, here a relatively calm ocean lagoon between the reef and the beach is perfect for swimming. Afterwards, venture on to explore one of the best beaches on the Limestone Coast.
5. The Blue Pool at Shell Beach, Innes National Park
A mermaid wouldn’t look out of place lolling about in the sun-drenched waters of the Yorke Peninsula‘s Blue Hole rock pool. Follow the powdery-white sand along Shell Beach to your very own private seaside pool where crystal clear, sheltered waters on the edge of the Southern Ocean await. Tucked in the sprawling summer oasis of Innes National Park on the tip of the Yorke Peninsula, wait for low tide then dive into the secluded beachside rockpool and explore an underwater world of fish, coral, crabs and starfish. In fact, the remote coastal wilderness of Innes National Park is literally teeming with secluded seaside pools and beautiful beaches primed and ready to soak in the sun this summer, and with 700 kilometres of pristine coastline to explore, chances are you’ll have this secret rockpool all to yourself! Pack your swag and extend your stay in paradise; there’s a campground tucked just off Shell Beach.
6. Blinman Pools, Flinders Ranges
Unearth an unlikely watery wonderland in the shadows of Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park at Blinman Pools. This hidden waterhole is only accessible via a 12km-return hike from Angorichina Village along the banks of the Parachilna and Blinman Creeks. Here, rugged bushland gives way to a watery oasis which provides a vital lifeline for the local wildlife. Two spring-fed creeks keep the main pool filled with water year-round, while the second pool – often dry in summer – can reach depths of up to three metres after big rains. In winter, waterfalls complete the normally dry landscapes transformation. Keep an eye out for kangaroos, wallabies and an astounding array of birdlife which come to cool off and drink at the pool’s edge.
Looking for more spots to cool off in South Australia? Long stretches of powder-white sand, sparkling turquoise water and sunny blue skies await with our guide to South Australia’s best beaches.