Put wild swimming and the Northern Territory together in the same sentence, it’s likely that pre-historically tuned, modern day aquatic monsters snap to mind.
Well, you can rest easy my pretties; until Australia plunges underwater again or they suddenly develop a dexterous thumb that can extend out suggestively upon the Stuart Highway, the Red Centre will remain an officially ‘croc free zone’.
We recently travelled through the Red Centre with Tourism NT. As experienced wild swimmers, our snouts alert to all manner of waterholes to cool off within. What we found in the region blew us away. Here are our faves:
Aboriginal Name: Udepata - a special meeting point for the Arrernte people on the fish and honey ant dreaming trail.
Nestled within the wild swimming wonderland of the Tjoritja West MacDonnell National Park, Ellery Creek is quite remarkable. With plenty of places to chill and relax within the towering red cliffs that surround the waterhole, it’s somewhere you could easily wallow away a day doing some hardcore chilling (there’s also a campground here). Don’t try and swim to the bottom though, rumour has it it’s over a 1km deep. #holdontoyourgopro
How to get there: 88km West of Alice Springs on Namatjira Drive (the 1km gravel road to the car park is 2WD accessible)
Glen Helen Gorge
Aboriginal name: Yapalpe - named by the the Arrernte Aboriginal people.
Glen Helen pole-vaults the concept of a roadhouse into road tripping Narnia. A short stroll from the car park and accommodation guides visitors to a serene hideaway on the Finke River, with shaded banks set beneath huge quartzite cliffs that transform in colour as the sun does her thing. You’ll share the spot with a throng of birds, reptiles and marsupials. For the tougher fingered there are deep-water soloing opportunities, as well as a cheeky rope swing and secret beach if you swim through to the right.
How to get there: Glen Helen is located 132 km west of Alice Springs on Namatjira Drive