The spring only just began, but warmer weather has everyone thinking about summertime. I once co-wrote an article for Dirt magazine about swimming holes in New Jersey and New York, and while some of my favorite swimming holes feature in that story, they almost do not compare with the swimming holes in Australia. Here are photos from some of my favorite places to go on a hot, tropical day in Far North Queensland.
This picture shows a misty afternoon at Lake Eacham. On a sunny day, the water is an almost unrealistic teal color, and you can see the fish and turtles swimming below. The water is so clear along the shores that you can see straight to the bottom, but this crater lake is so deep that divers haven't even discovered where the bottom is in the middle of the lake. Whether going for a walk around the lake on the rainforest track, a swim across the water and back, a quick dip, or a kayak beneath the overhanging trees, Lake Eacham has never disappointed me. Sunsets over the lake offer a newly colored experience each evening, and amazing wildlife can always be found.
The pictures above and below are of a very secret and special swimming hole known as Hall's Falls. A long drive down a dirt road, I only visited this swimming hole twice, but it was completely devoid of other humans both times. A short walk from the parking lot brings you to this natural pool which is fed by a cool mountain waterfall. From the edge, you overlook a valley permeated by the unique smell of eucalyptus trees. A walk uphill along the rocks leads you to smaller and smaller pools, and finally, the originating stream. The solitude found here is the deepest I have ever experienced.
The pictures above and below are of Behana Gorge, a beautiful area just a short drive outside of Cairns. A leisurely walk along the creek brings you to a swimming area where the water is crisp and cold, but the rocks collect the sun's heat to warm you up. The rainforest is filled with birdlife (and, regrettably, mosquitoes), but the cool water is a treat on a hot day.