By Clair Morton
Last updated on: January 10, 2018 at 10:35 am
Not all of South Australia’s great swimming spots are found at the shoreline – this state is brimming with unique and wonderful lakes, ponds, pools and even hot springs. With many more hot days to come in 2018, we’ve put together a list of eight of our state’s best places to swim this summer – do you have any to add?
Edithburgh tidal pool
Location: Yorke Peninsula
The waters of this beach-side swimming pool, one of only two in South Australia, are refreshed at every high tide. A fun bit of history: the Edithburgh ocean pool was first built on the southern side of the jetty in the 1800s, to be used by women only as there was no mixed bathing at the time. They later decided to build another pool for the men, which is where the pool is today.
Location: Fleurieu Peninsula
You don’t have to look for a car park here – just drive straight onto the beach and set up your own little spot in the sand. You might want to get there early on a hot day though, as the good spots fill up fast. Alternatively, arrive later for a stunning sunset over the water.
Location: Sleaford, Lincoln National Park
With only 15 vehicles allowed to enter the wilderness-protection area each day, this remote cove is truly something special. White sand, calm blue waters and surrounding bushland teeming with wildlife. To get in, you’ll need to pick up a gate key and permit from the Port Lincoln Visitor Information Centre.
Whalers Way Rock Pools
Location: South of Port Lincoln
This is one for the Instagrammers (as captured by Katie Purling at the top of the story). For a fee, pick up a key from the Port Lincoln information centre and take the 14km scenic coastal drive along Whalers Way to uncover rock pools, caves and hidden beaches along the rugged coastline. Be aware the beaches can be wild and unsafe for swimming even on the calmest of days – the main swimming hole can be accessed via a ladder, and is signposted. You probably won’t want to leave once you get there.
Location: Witjira National Park
Did you think there were no hot springs in South Australia? Think again. You do have to head to the edge of the Simpson Desert to get to Dalhousie Springs, but the drive is worth it for a visit to Australia’s best known oasis. Temperatures in these natural hot springs range from 38 to 43 degrees. The area has also been used by Aboriginal people for thousands of years as a source of food, shelter and medicine. It should be noted this is 4WD terrain.
Ewens Ponds Conservation Park/ Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park
Location: About 30km south of Mount Gambier
Bring your snorkel and a thick wetsuit if you decide to venture to either of these freshwater havens – the water can get cold. At Ewens Ponds, you’ll find three 10m-deep basin-shaped ponds connected by channels, which you can swim along through crystal clear water. Piccaninnie Ponds, meanwhile offers breathtaking underwater views of limestone caves and chasms, extending over 110m deep.
Be aware that if you plan to snorkel or dive at Picaninnie Ponds, you’ll need to get a permit from National Parks South Australia.
Location: North coast, Kangaroo Island
A natural pool created by a wall of rocks close to shore makes Stokes Bay one of KI’s most popular and family friendly beaches. Perhaps the best feature of this beach, however, is the dramatic entrance through a small passage in the rocks. If you visit between October and May, grab lunch at the local campground’s café. Otherwise, BYO and make use of the picnic area and barbecue facilities.
Pool of Siloam
Location: Beachport, Limestone Coast
Close to the sea in the state’s south-east is a lake that is reported to be seven times saltier than the sea, making the water extremely buoyant. Many people believe the water in the Pool of Siloam has therapeutic benefits, and can relieve aches and pains for those suffering arthritis. This stop is a must for those who want to relax in the water.