Wild Swimming, Sydney, AustraliaOctober 13, 2015
To celebrate the launch of Sally Tertini's new book Wild Swimming, Sydney Australia, we asked Sally to reveal her five favourite wild spots for an outdoor dip. There are 250 in the book, so this was no easy task...
Best for sheer beauty
Grose River at Waterboard Fire Trail, Great Blue Mountains North
The scenery here is ridiculously pretty – enormous, mast-like blue gums line the river, and their ghostly grey trunks form a striking contrast with the vivid bush beyond. Despite being the Grose’s most easily accessible point, this tranquil spot is little visited and makes a superb place to spend the day.
The rich gold water is rather shallow, although there are some deeper navigable channels for swimming. It’s such a beautiful spot, though, that it’s actually quite wonderful just kicking back in the shallows and soaking in the ambiance!
Best wild beach
Little Marley Beach, Sydney South
This beach is one of the hidden surprises of Royal national Park. It has a wild and remote feeling, and if you were going to be washed ashore, you could do little better than find yourself here!
Only accessible by foot, it’s relatively quiet, and also has some of the calmest ocean-facing waters in the park.
Best for a family getaway
Dunns Swamp, Great Blue Mountains North
The name is a bit misleading as this 3km serpentine length of water is actually a dammed section of river. Bordered by cliffs, rock pagodas and pockets of reeds in which moorhens hoot and dragonflies flicker, Dunns is a smashing place for a swim!
Although jumping and diving are prohibited throughout the entire national park, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the rock ledges jutting out over very deep water are seemingly made for it. For younger kids there’s also sections of shallow, still water perfect for paddling.
The river adjoins a large, busy bush campground, so pack up the kids and head here for a weekend of fun and relaxation!
Best for adventuring
Wollangambe River Canyon, Great Blue Mountains North
This is for those that want to shake off the monotony of city life and be an adventurer for a day. Parts of the canyon are popular, but such is its beauty and otherworldliness that it’s easy to still feel like you’re the first person to ever venture here. With water of changing hues and looming, sculptured canyon walls, the scenery is knockout. Swimming here makes for a challenging day, but the pioneering spirit it arouses can’t be beat!
The pristine waters of the Wollangambe flow through this narrow canyon in the untamed Wollemi Wilderness. The water is chilly, and even in summer you need to wear a wetsuit. The only way to experience this otherwise inaccessible environment is by lilo – simply recline and gently paddle with your hands downriver. It’s a lot of fun and also limits your exposure to the cold. Anytime you want to experience the river by being in it and swimming, just park up your lilo and hop in!
Best rock pool
North Curl Curl Rock Pool, Sydney North
There are so many rock pools in the Northern Beaches, but this one stands out for its isolation and wildness. Stuck out on Dee Why headland, it juts out to be among the vast ocean and sky and quietness of it all. It’s the kind of place that you can’t get to by accident and its admirers seem to like it that way.
The unbridled ocean is just metres from its edge, and the pool uniquely still contains two monolithic rocks. It’s a slightly wonky 32m rectangle, with a rock shelf bottom that changes with the tides. Although generally calm inside, the occasional cracking wave crests up and over the surrounding rocks, sending water sheeting down into the pool.
Wild Swimming Sydney Australia: 250 Best Rock Pools, Beaches, Rivers and Waterholes by Sally Tertini and Steve Pollard (wildthingspublishing) - available from all good bookshops!