The 5 Best Waterholes for Swimming Around Alice Springs

Visiting the Red Centre, but worried the nature walks will be too hot to handle? Are you scared that your Instagram pics won’t feature waterfall shots and choice bikini butt opportunities if you spend this year’s holiday in the desert?

Well, have no fear; the Red Centre has you covered with these 5 natural and unbelievably refreshing watering holes that, if they had eyes, would no doubt be glad to CU in the NT.

Redbank Gorge

Image courtesy of ABC News

Redbank Gorge is a near permanent swimming hole located 155km west of Alice Springs via Larapinta Drive. Redbank Gorge has a number of walking tracks to warm you and your mates up for some cool water paddling.

Like most waters in the NT, Redank Gorge is F-FU -FU- FREEZING and it is recommended that you alternate time in and out of the water to avoid hyperthermia.

Take a rubber floatation device, like rings and duckies, to drift through the waters and absorb the serenity – HOW’S THAT SERENITY, ‘AY?

Camping options are available and you can choose from either the Woodland Camping area or the Ridgetop Camping area as both have facilities like fire pits, picnic tables and dunnies. Though, if you want to BBQ, and it would be un-Australian not to, you should camp at the Woodland area, as it contains free gas barbequing services.

Glen Helen Gorge 

Originally established as a cattle station in the 19th century, Glen Helen Gorge has become one of best places for both tourists and Northern Territorians to escape the dry red heat of the desert.

Located west of Alice Springs via Namatjira Drive, taking a car to Glen Helen promises to provide you with a view of the sun kissed landscape, where you will also be able to see the spectacular McDonnell Ranges.

Ellery Big Hole

Ellery Big Hole is one of the rare gems of the Red Centre, as it not only provides breath taking views of Mother Nature’s design, it’s also one of the only locations to boast permanent waters.

Located to the east of Glen Helen and the McDonnell National Park, Ellery Big Hole can also be reached by Namatjira Drive and is roughly 140km from Alice Springs.

If you plan to make a day trip – go early, as many locals and backpackers tend to fill up the waters in summer, making claiming a spot for your towels and Esky harder than it needs to be.

John Hayes Rockhole, Trephina Gorge

Travelling 80km east on the Ross Highway will take you to an unsealed outback road, where you will need to travel another 5km to reach Trephina Gorge.

If you’re thinking of making the drive yourself, make sure you rent a 4WD as the roads can get hairier than a Byon Bay armpit and access to the John Hayes Rock hole isn’t possible with any other vehicle.

Generally, it’s recommended you visit in the cooler months, as the dry heat of the outback will cause the waters to dry up. And no one wants to make a trip to look at a dry riverbed; there’s plenty of sand to be seen elsewhere.

Lasseters Casino

Ok, so clearly not everyone is suited to roughing it in the bush and for those Pommies, sorry people, the best place to swim will be the pool located roughly 50 steps (I guess) from the hotel lobby in the Lasseters Casino.

Image courtesy of Lasseters

These waters are heated (like you need that in the desert) and are adjacent to one of the most popular watering holes (Pubs) Alice Springs has to offer.

This location offers many attractions like games (gambling), amazing views (hotel gym) and a variety of local delicacies (room service and Maccas isn’t too far away) for you to try.

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