The 10 Best Swimming Holes In The World
Where we wish we were.
There’s nothing like a swim on a warm summer’s day – and it’s even better when it’s out in nature and shrouded in secrecy. There’s no shame in planning a holiday around a swimming hole – hell, we thrive off it – so we’ve compiled a definitive list of the best swimming holes across the globe.
#1 Giola Lagoon, Greece
Let’s kick it off with a guaranteed winner – the Giola Lagoon near Thassos in Greece is both incredibly beautiful and steeped in ancient mythology so you know you’re in for a good time. Located right on the edge of the Aegean Sea, this unique water reservoir is rinsed and filled by the lapping ocean water beside it.
The lagoon is flanked on all sides by a rocky cliff-face that rises to a halo around the warm emerald waters. The lagoon is said to be the eye of Zeus, who created Giola for Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love. Magical, indeed.
#2 Gunlom Plunge Pool, Darwin
Bravo, Mother Nature! What a view. This magnificent beauty is found in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. The water is cool and refreshing and there’s a few shady spots under some tall gum trees to avoid sunburn. Sitting on top of a waterfall, Gunlom isn’t the easiest place to get to but once you battle the inclines, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best swimming spots in the country. Possibly the world. Hop to it.
#3 To Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa
While we’ve sung the praises of the To Sua Ocean Trench before, this list just wouldn’t be complete without it. Beautiful green gardens surround the crater entrance so you can float on your back while enjoying all the butterflies and tropical birds that float above you. Heading down the steep wooden steps is the second hardest part, after eventually leaving.
#4 Havasu Falls, Arizona, USA
Situated uphill from the mighty Colorado River, Havasu Falls is a secret swimming spot hidden deep in the Grand Canyon that’ll make you want to skip the helicopter ride and get down on the ground and explore it for yourself. While hiking there’s no walk in the park (prepare yourself for a tough 16-kilometre trek in the sweltering Arizona heat), plunging into that cool blue waterfall will certainly be your well-deserved reward.
#5 Figure-Eight Pools, Royal National Park, NSW
Have you heard about these!? These figure-eight swimming holes have to be the most amazing natural jacuzzis in the country – if not the world. This wonder is tucked away in New South Wales’ Royal National Park and it’s a bit of a trek to get there. If you’re an experienced hiker, it’s possibly the best spot to get out and about on a summer’s day in Sydney.
But beware of the dangers associated with swimming here – the coastal shelf can only be accessed at low tide and visitors will want to wear some waterproof shoes to avoid cuts on their feet.
#6 Jacob’s Well, Texas
An actual hole in the earth that you can jump into might sound a little terrifying, but not when it’s filled with fresh water that’s perfect for a dip on a hot summer day. Jacob’s Well is the biggest underwater cave in Texas and nature’s gift to adventurous swimmers. It descends vertically for around nine metres, then branches off into four channels which divers have found to reach almost 1300 metres below the surface. A popular spot for deep sea divers, you might want to stay close to the surface if you’re not a trained professional as things can get a little dicey down there. And be sure to hang onto that GoPro a little tighter here – if it falls, it ain’t coming back.
#7 Cenote Ik Kil, Mexico
This magnificent beauty is what fairytale dreams are made of. A deep natural pit found near Yucatán in Mexico, this swimming hole opens to the sky with the water sitting about 25 metres below ground level. A carved stairway leads you down towards the water where small catfish swim around and vines falls from the opening above right down towards the water. What a beauty.
#8 Turpins Falls, Victoria
During Melbourne’s regular scorching summer heat waves, locals find solace in the wonders of Victoria’s expansive national parks and hidden swimming holes across the state. Turpins Falls, an picturesque pool an hour an a bit away from Melbourne, is certainly the best of the best in Victoria – you can beat the crowds heading south to St. Kilda or Williamstown and head north-west instead for a refreshing dip in the bush.
In the middle of a 20 metre high gorge, this water hole is fed by the nearby Campaspe river, so the water is delightfully cold and the perfect respite from the blaring sun. Pack your pool floatie and some comfy shoes for the walk down from the car park and you’ll be set.
#9 Tinago Falls, Philippines
This one just might take the cake – take a peak at this wondrous hidden waterfall in the deep ravine of the island of Mindanao, in the southern part of the Philippines. To get down to the falls, visitors descend around 500 steps on a windy staircase that ends at the foot of this blue lagoon. What’s even more enchanting is the hidden cave behind the falls that you can enter to listen to the roar of the cascading waters. Magical, or what?
#10 Homestead Crater, Utah
We’ll end with an actual real-life hole in the earth – the Homestead Crater in Utah is a one-of-a-kind thermal hot spring that has formed below a 16 metre tall limestone rock. The beehive-shaped crater was formed over 10,000 years, with the warm 32-degree water being heated by our planet’s warm centre. This swimming marvel is the only warm scuba diving destination in the United States and thus attracts many diving enthusiasts who wish to explore the depths of this swimming hole. Perfect for snorkelling, scuba or even just a long soak in the pool’s therapeutic waters. What a dream.
(Lead Image: Vicente Villamón / Flickr)