Summer days spent by Finnish rivers and lakes have made me reminisce about some beautiful inland swimming spots in Tasmania. Here are three of my favourite places for a non-ocean dip in my island home.
1. Lake Rhona
Located in the South West National Park, Lake Rhona is one of the most stunning overnight bushwalks I’ve done. Well at least the destination is. The seemingly endless trudge through button grass to get there is not the most exciting scenery for a walk – if you want constantly beautiful views then head to the Three Capes Walk on the Tasman Peninsula. But once you get to the boulder scrambling final section of the walk, the scenery and tranquility are hard to beat. Not only is the lake itself stunning but there are many day walks to the surrounding mountains and valleys on offer. Check out this site for details of the walk into Lake Rhona and here for some of the extra walks.
2. Apsley Gorge
On Tassie’s famous East Coast, this stunning waterhole is located in the Douglas-Apsley National Park, a short drive from Bicheno. There are camping grounds by the waterhole, accessed by a 15min walk from the carpark. From the waterhole you can also do the Apsley Gorge circuit, which is a 8km, 4 hour loop through the bush to the gorge and waterfalls and then back down the river bed. On the return leg you can stop at large pools for swimming and rock jumping. When you get back to Bicheno be sure to stop at the Apsley Gorge cellar door for some of the best Pinot Noir in Tasmania.
3. Cradle Mountain: Dove Lake & Dove Canyon
Cradle Mountain on Tasmania’s North West Coast is one of the most iconic places in the state. While the Dove Lake at the base of the mountain isn’t very deep near the edges, it’s crystal clear waters are perfect for paddling- if you can brave the icy water!
But the water activity that I really recommend in this area is canyoning through nearby Dove Canyon. This involves abseiling down into the canyon and then making your way down the canyon via various obstacles including six waterfalls, rock jumping and a large pool out of which the only exit is via the 10m high ‘laundry chute’, nature’s version of a waterslide.
I’ve done this trip twice now with Cradle Mountain Canyons and I can’t recommend it enough. I would definitely advise going as close to peak summer as possible, as the water in the canyon is very cold, even with the wetsuits you’re given for the tour. And while the course is ideal for conquering fears and boosting confidence, if you are extremely afraid of heights, jumping into dark water or not a confident swimmer then this is probably not the tour for you, as there is no way to walk around the obstacles. If you’re like me and love to be adventurous in pristine nature, then this is one of the most exhilarating things on offer in Tasmania!