Northern Territory swimming holes August?

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 08:26
ThreadID: 134300 Views:3522 Replies:11 FollowUps:3
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Hi Everyone,

My better half and I are planning a trip from Melbourne, up through the centre of Northern Territory, to East and West McDonnell ranges, Litchfield, Darwin, Kakadu and returning home through Lawn Hill and Longreach etc.

our dilemma is: we are both due for long service leave in July. we were looking at travelling Aug/Sept.
we are both water lovers and wanted some advice as to whether this is too late in the year to have any water in the gorges for swimming, photos etc, or is it normally ok? We have never travelled through this area so any other advice is hugely welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Caz n Neil
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Reply By: Top End Az - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 08:36

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 08:36
Hi. We are having a bumper wet season this year so there won't be any shortage of water around.
Swimming is available in Aug/Sept in Kakadu however is a little limited due to crocs in most locations but Gunlom Falls at the southern end of the park will have plenty of water in it for a swim.
Litchfield has many swimming options and you won't have any problems finding a swim there. A bit closer to Darwin is Berry Springs which is also a great spot for a swim without worrying about the crocs (generally lol).
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 10:13

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 10:13
Don't forget Mataranka, The hot springs and Bitter Springs each have camping,

Around Katherine you have the gorge and and the hot springs near the Riverview Tourist Village. Out of town on the way to Darwin you have Edith Falls plus a nice camp-ground.
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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Friday, Feb 17, 2017 at 00:24

Friday, Feb 17, 2017 at 00:24
Kakadu: Top and bottom of Jim Jim Falls, top of Twin Falls, top and bottom of Maguk (Barramundi Falls), top and bottom of Gunlom and Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin Gorge).
All the above are crocodile management zones in Kakadu, however like anywhere in the top end it is enter at own risk.

Enjoy your visit.

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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 09:10

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 09:10
Longreach waterhole is quite spectacular. It is a free camp to the west of Elliott. The turnoff is just on the northern side of town and is signposted. It is about 10km into it.

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Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Saturday, Feb 18, 2017 at 01:27

Saturday, Feb 18, 2017 at 01:27
While I agree that the waterhole near Elliott is well worthwhile I wouldn't be too sure about the turnoff always being signposted. When we were there last August the sign was missing. Apparently someone locally isn't too happy about sharing their magic spot. We've stayed there a number of times. Anyway, the turnoff is immediately over the cattle grid heading North and follow your nose. The track can be corrugated and sandy but there is another grid shortly after the turnoff that discourages some people due to it's steepness. I certainly wouldn't recommend the water for swimming but the thousands of Pelicans and other water birds love it. Water quality should be considered dodgy. It's just a shame that Cane Toads have made it there and may be responsible for the deaths of a number of the Pelicans that feed along the camping side edge through the night. Generally it's a very peaceful place but apparently Easter does attract some water skiers.
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Reply By: feathery - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 13:03

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 13:03
Lorella Springs on the Savannah way has hot & cold springs some deep others not so deep
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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 16:02

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 16:02
Good swimming in Lawn Hill gorge, especially around the section below the small waterfall where the two sections of the gorge are divided by a rock ledge.
And also - on your way in or out of Lawn Hill - it's well worth camping at Gregory River (a few hundred metres down behind the pub, and about 100km from Lawn Hill). The fast flowing river there is great for swimming, and the camping is delightful.
The comments above about Gunlom, Lorella Springs, Edith Falls etc are spot on. Mataranka is nice too, but a bit touristy.
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Reply By: duck - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 16:23

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 16:23
all of the above
Gumlom falls in Kakadu do the walk to the top of the falls & swim at the top great view
Litchfield have plenty of swimming holes but the one closer to the Daley is my pic just because it’s no so crowded
Mataranka use to be good but since the National parks took over the bats have made it home & my last visit a few years ago it was horrible & have not bothered since
Edith falls are great make the effort swim in all 5?
The list is huge so I expect you will get plenty of advice
have a great trip

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Reply By: Member - Teago - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 17:01

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 17:01
Copperfield Dam Pine Creek is nice . Lorella in my opinion is very much overated. Litchfield plenty of choices
Borroloola pool is nice . Sept is getting pretty warm and dry Teago
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Reply By: Member - Odog - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 17:16

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 17:16
We watched a programme on Tele, about how the rangers catch the crocs, and remove them before they open the place for the season, my luck I'd swim in the place where they missed one!
Love long service leave.. enjoy your trip... cheers Odog
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 20:38

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 20:38
Waterholes in the MacDonald Ranges are too cold in August, I've swum in one of the smaller ones around midday on 2nd Sept on a 32C day after walking 20km (was hot and sweaty) and it was very refreshing, but brisk. They were cool but OK to swim in during May.
We were at Lawn Hill again last July and cool but great swimming, probably 21C water temp, maybe22
Our kids swum at Diamantina Lakes (300km west of Longreach) on a 30+C day in July, they said it was cold.
The permanent major waterholes in the West Macs with road access are Redbank, Ormiston, Glen Helen, Ellery Big hole.
Hope you have several weeks to do that trip in a relaxed manner!

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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 21:10

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 21:10
Umbrawarra Gorge, SW of Pine Creek.

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Reply By: Motherhen - Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 23:57

Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 at 23:57
Hi Caz and Neil

Previous replies have given good suggestions.Bitter Springs is our preference by far from swimming at Mataranka. We toured these areas in August during a much dryer season than this year.

Signage on site and on line information will tell you where and when you can't swim due to crocodile risk.

Lawn hill is fantastic swimming. Plenty of water. We did not find anywhere else that invited swimming as we travelled south through inland Queensland.

As advised, the pools in the West Macdonnells can be very cold. We heeded the advice and did not swim in them, but one lady who did got hypothermia. It was a frightening experience, even for bystanders. That was also in August.


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Reply By: Member - nellyjr - Friday, Feb 17, 2017 at 06:48

Friday, Feb 17, 2017 at 06:48
What a great eclectic bunch of travelers we have. thank you all so much for hints n tips n advice. We have 6 weeks to do this trip, so although we average a few kms we have time to spend 2-3 days in a few spots which should be great. we are very excited about this trip, cant wait to research some of the options on here as i have not heard of a couple.
Thanks again everyone, and Happy Friday to you all!
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