Monday, 24 January 2011

Australia's Best Rock Pools

LORD HOWE ISLAND NSW

World Heritage Listed Lord Howe Island is a remnant of a now-extinct shield volcano, dating back seven million years. Eleven kilometres long and 2km wide at its widest point, the island has been eroded to one-fortieth its original size.

LORD HOWE ISLAND

The island's crescent shape embraces a sheltered lagoon and the southernmost coral reef on the planet, and there are hundreds of rock pools scattered throughout the island. The calm waters surrounding them are ideal for children: paddle at the edge, or snorkel above colourful corals just metres from the shore.

HANCOCK GORGE
Karijini National Park, WA

HANCOCK GORGE

Two billion years in the making, Karijini National Park, a two hour drive from Newman, is one of Western Australia's most spectacular natural attractions offering amazing hiking trails through gorges, rock pools and waterfalls. Explore tunnels of marbled rock, clamber over boulders, squeeze through narrow tunnels, paddle through waterways and descend deep into ancient chasms - and the permanent water pools means there's always the chance for a swim.

One of the big attractions of Karijini National Park is that its scenery is easily accessible -you can pull into a car park, walk 50 metres and peer into a 100 metre canyon to see waterfalls and emerald-coloured rock pools.

KANGAROO ISLAND
Stokes Bay, SA

KANGAROO ISLAND 
On Kangaroo Island, walk to the east of Stokes Bay, follow the signs pointing to the 'beach' and make your way through the headland of boulders. There you'll find a white-sand beach surrounded by cliffs, a large rock-enclosed pool that provides protection from the surf, and a safe swimming spot for all the family. And if you don't want to get wet, don't worry - there is even a Rockpool Cafe.

GUNLOM TOP POOLS
Kakadu National Park, NT

GUNLOM TOP POOLS 
Gunlom, located on Waterfall Creek in World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, has a waterfall and plunge pool, with shady gums cooling the picnic areas. The steep climb to the top of the waterfall is tough but worth it, as it provides sweeping views of the southern-most parts of Kakadu National Park.
Gunlom is off a dirt track close to the border of Kakadu National Park, about four hours from Darwin or 2.5 hours from Jabiru.

MIMOSA ROCKS NATIONAL PARK
Bermagui, NSW

MIMOSA ROCKS NATIONAL PARK
There are many little delights hidden around Bermagui, like the large ocean rock pool known as Blue Pool, off Scenic Drive, which is good for snorkelling. But if you drive 18 km south of Bermagui to Aragunnu in the Mimosa Rocks National Park, you'll find some on the most tranquil rock pools around.
The coastal scenery is spectacular with boardwalks to boulder beaches, wildflowers, great fishing and camping and, of course, abundant rock pools.

BULEY ROCKHOLE
Litchfield National Park, NT

BULEY ROCKHOLE 
For convenience that doesn't sacrifice authenticity, you can't go past Buley Rockhole. A series of cascades and rockholes are located just 80 metres from the carpark in Litchfield National Park, and as the pools are spread out, there are plenty of private places to stretch out with a book. It's a great area to play and explore among the plunge pools, or relax and enjoy nature's 5-star spa. There are also several bush walks beginning at Buley Rockhole.
Buley Rockhole in Litchfield National Park is 140km - or, a 1.5 hour drive - from Darwin.

FRASER ISLAND
Champagne Pools, QLD

FRASER ISLAND 
Fraser Island's Champagne Pools are bubbling swimming holes at low tide, and are located at Middle Rocks. These naturally formed volcanic rock recreational pools make this a popular salt water swimming destination, and the foaming water crashing over the rocks is where the name Champagne Pools comes from.
The Champagne pools are situated between Indian Head and Waddy Point. Access to the beach is via wooden paths and this spot is considered a must-do on your Fraser Island tour.

EDITH FALLS
Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge), NT

EDITH FALLS 
The paperbark and pandanus-fringed natural pool at the base of Edith Falls is open for swimming throughout most of the year, and the scenic bush surrounds make Edith Falls an idyllic spot for camping.
The area is also great for bushwalking, with several trails available that can take you through many other natural delights. Edith Falls is located on the western boundary of Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge).

VENUS BATHS
Grampians National Park, VIC

VENUS BATHS
If you want to experience the ethereal Victorian rock pools known as the Venus Baths, you'll have to walk to get there. Known as the Venus Baths Loop, this family walk starts from the Halls Gap shops and is a little over a 2km return trip. It's well worth the effort once you reach the pools - just take care on slippery rocks and steps.

THE BOGEY HOLE
Mollymook, NSW

THE BOGEY HOLE 
Mollymook is home to the Bogey Hole, a large circular rock pool located on the Mollymook headland. The safe shallow waters of the Bogey Hole make it an ideal location for families with young children and for those people who prefer a calm spot for a dip. It also offers safe snorkelling and is a great spot for a picnic day out. You can easily walk to the Bogey Hole from the southern end of Mollymook Beach, or from the other side of the headland at Collers Beach (pictured), near Mollymook's Beachside Golf Course.

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