One of the best lesser-known and hidden swimming spots in Western Australia is the Ellendale Pool. Naturally formed along the Greenough River, but not spring-fed, the Ellendale Pool sits on a large river bend.
The pool is surrounded by gum trees and backdropped on one side by a rocky gorge. Located just outside of the popular beachside town, Geraldton, visitors flock to the Ellendale Pool to swim, camp, and hike.
Famous in Geraldton, the pool has mostly flown under the radar with tourists in Western Australia. This is partly because the section of the river where the Ellendale Pool is located used to be privately owned. During the 1960s, the land around the pool became public and open to all visitors.
The picturesque river scenes are drawing attention and spreading the word around travelers to visit the Ellendale Pool. With more visitors heading to the Greenough River each year, for now, the pool is still mostly secluded from large tourist crowds. Perfect for a day trip or camping weekend, the Ellendale Pool is an unforgettable destination.
The Ellendale Pool is naturally formed along the Greenough River during periods of drought when the river dried and the land collapsed. With the return of the rain, the pool refilled and became a permanent, naturally formed waterhole on the river.
Resting at the riverbend, local myths state that the pool is bottomless or endless. Some people also believe that within its mysterious depths, the pool holds many secrets. Although the bottomless theory is not true, the Ellendale Pool is still quite deep with local farmers estimating the average depth at 39 feet (12 meters).
Water temperatures at the Ellendale Pool tend to be ambient temperature or warm, even with the river’s slow current. Most of the time, the river is too slow to make the pool cold, which means that swimmers can enjoy the pool year-round. However, most would avoid swimming during the wintertime.
During the summer, the Ellendale Pool can actually get quite hot and there are warning signs along the water’s edge telling swimmers to avoid swimming when the water temperature exceeds 76°F (24°C). When the water gets too hot, the risk of amoebic meningitis rises.
Amoebic meningitis is a bacteria that can be potentially fatal. Warning signs along the river tell swimmers to keep their heads above water and avoid getting water into their noses. Visitors who feel that the water is too warm will swim at their own risk.
Whether the Ellendale Pool is suitable for swimming or not, there is plenty to do around this section of the river. Visitors who aren’t soaking can enjoy lounging along the riverside, hiking, or kayaking on the water.
Close to the pool, there are a few picnic and camping sites with various facilities including flushing toilets, showers, barbecues, shelters, trash cans, and tables. Most of the man-made features are situated along the riverbank. The pool itself has been left natural.
To get into the pool, visitors can jump feet first because of its profound depth. Along the bank, there isn’t any infrastructure to assist swimmers. Visitors will have to wade into the water from open spots along the bank. Close to shore, there are shallower areas before the riverbed drops off into the pool.
Overnight camping is permitted at the Ellendale Pool and there are a few campsite areas that are set up with facilities for visitors. Officially, the campsite is considered to be a single unit, but visitors will find that there are campsites all along the bank.
Campsites further away from the river, but still within walking distance are best for visitors with RVs and large caravans. Further down, closer to the river, is the main camping area, which has most of the facilities. Campers may also choose a spot right next to the river, but should keep in mind that this area is best for 4WD vehicles because of the softer ground.
Visitors camping at the Ellendale Pool can stay for multiple days and will have to pay a small fee per night and per vehicle. The fee can be paid in Geraldton at the Visitor Centre. There are lots of camping facilities available to guests including bathrooms, showers, barbecues, picnic tables, and a children’s playground. For RVs and campers, there are also dump sites.
The two things that the Ellendale Pool does not have are electricity and drinking water. Visitors will need to pack in all of their food and water for the duration of their stay. When cooking at the campsites, visitors are reminded to never leave their barbecue unattended. Each year from the 7th of September to the 7th of April, all open fires at the Ellendale Pool and campsites are prohibited.
Most visitors who are not camping overnight at the Ellendale Pool will travel from the city of Geraldton. This is due to the river’s remote location and Geraldton is the largest urban area that is close to the Ellendale Pool.
The Ellendale Pool is located in a remote spot in Western Australia. Most of the towns in the area directly around the pool are too small to accommodate many travelers. Geraldton is a large city that is 30.6 miles (49.4km) away from the Ellendale Pool.
To get to the Ellendale Pool from Geraldton:
- Take the NW Coastal Highway/National Route 1 to Carnarvon/Mt Magnet/Airport.
- Continue on the NW Coastal Highway/National Route 1 until you get to the Geraldton-Mount Magnet Road/State Route 123.
- Turn left on the Geraldton-Mount Magnet Road/State Route 123.
- Continue to the roundabout and take the 3rd exit onto Edward Road.
- Continue on Edward Road to the Nangetty-Walkaway Road.
- From the Nangetty-Walkaway Road, turn left onto Ellendale Road.
- Continue until you reach Ellendale Pool Road and turn right.
- The road will end in a loop that goes around the campsites.
Address: Ellendale Pool Road, Ellendale WA 6532, Australia
Coordinates: 28.8609°S, 114.9741°E
Phone: (+61) 8 9956 6670 – Geraldton Visitor Centre
Age Restrictions: None
Pets: Dog permitted on lead
Entry: Free for daytime, overnight camping fee applied per night