In Western Australia’s Pilbara Region, the Millstream Chichester National Park is a stunning natural attraction that is famous for its lush forests, pristine streams, and spring-fed waterholes. Often described as an “oasis in the heart of the desert”, this national park is recognized as one of the best places to camp in the Pilbara Region.
There are two spring-fed pools where visitors are permitted to swim are the Python Pool and Deep Reach Pool. Both pools are gorgeous and have their own unique set of characteristics. For tourists in the park, the Python and Deep Reach Pools are “must-see” attractions.
Additional activities in the national park include hiking, cycling, fishing, kayaking, and taking scenic drives. Being remotely located, many visitors will take the chance to stay multiple nights in the area as they explore the beautiful scenery of Millstream Chichester National Park.
Being located in the desert, there is surprisingly plenty of water in this national park from rivers to creeks and waterholes. Water flows from and between the two mountain ranges, Millstream and Chichester, which are within the national park’s boundaries.
The rivers and creeks in Millstream Chichester National Park are freshwater, but there are a few spring-fed waterholes too. Typically, the best time to visit the park is from April to October, which is when temperatures are cooler and there is less rain.
The rivers and creeks in the park tend to flow year-round. However, the waterholes like Python Pool and Deep Reach Pool can change drastically with the season. During very dry years, there may be little to no water in the pools. When there is a lot of rain, the water quality of the pools degrades as it becomes dirty with mud and debris.
The Python Pool
Accessible by the Roebourne-Wittenoom Road and by walking trail, the Python Pool is the most popular swimming spot in the Millstream Chichester National Park. This waterhole sits at the base of the Chichester Range and features a seasonal waterfall.
The water filling the Python Pool comes from an underground spring, but it is not heated. Typically, the water is warm, but not too hot. Visitors can still swim and cool off during the hot summer months. However, when the water temperature gets too warm, visitors should check for algal blooms. When algae are blooming, it’s not recommended to swim in the pool.
Facilities at the Python Pool include a picnic area, barbecue, and toilet. Visitors are permitted to swim or bushwalk in and around the pool. There are multiple walking trails that lead visitors to the pool from various parts of the park. Walking from the parking area to the pool takes about 20 minutes. Although the trail is maintained, it does have uneven surfaces.
Currently, the Python Pool is not wheelchair or handicap accessible. The trail to the pool from the parking lot is a gravel path with various small inclines along the way. At the pool’s edge, everything has been kept natural. There is a small gravel beach where visitors can wade in and out of the water, but there are no ladders or stairs into the pool.
Deep Reach Pool
The second pool and a permanent body of water all year long is the Deep Reach Pool. Called Nhanggangunha by the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi indigenous people, the pool is a sacred space and culturally significant.
Specifically, the Yindjibarndi people believe that the Deep Reach Pool is home to the Warlu serpent (Barramundi fish). Visitors are encouraged to respect the pool and keep noise at a minimum. Activities that are permitted at the pool include swimming, kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, picnicking, fishing, and bushwalking.
The Deep Reach Pool gets its water from an underground aquifer. The temperature is often perfect for cooling off on hot summer days. Clearwater gives the pool a deep blue color and the surface is often calm enough that you can see the surrounding forest and sky in perfect reflections.
For those that are swimming at the pool, park rangers remind visitors to be cautious because Barramundi fish do live in Deep Reach Pool.
Facilities at the pool include an elevated walkway and viewpoint deck, where visitors can see the entirety of Deep Reach Pool. There are also toilets, shade shelters, and picnic tables available to guests. There is a parking lot just a short walk away from the pool with about 40 vehicle bays. Clearly marked paths will take visitors from the parking lot to the pool.
Additional Park Activities
Beyond the two swimming pools, visitors are encouraged to participate in more activities at the Millstream Chichester National Park. There are dozens of walking trails that range from easy to challenging in difficulty that will take visitors to some of the park’s most stunning scenes.
Visitors may also enjoy fishing in the park or observing the local wildlife. There are also scenic drive loops for those who want to see more of the park but are on a limited schedule.
Tours of the park are available or visitors can go on their own. When planning a visit to the Millstream Chichester National Park, it is important to be prepared because of the area’s remote location.
Visitors who are in the park from November to April should be prepared with water and sunscreen. Summertime temperatures can exceed 122°F (50°C) in some areas of the park.
There are two campsites at the Millstream Chichester National Park called the Miliyanha Campground and the Stargazers Campground. Both campsites must be reserved ahead of time and have nightly fees. No pets are allowed at either campground.
The Miliyanha Campground is close to the Millstream Homestead Visitor Center and it has 27 compacted gravel campsites. All sites are unpowered and generators are only permitted in certain areas. Facilities at this campsite include toilets, sheltered food areas, barbecues, picnic tables, and benches.
Much more remote and with only 15 sites is the Stargazers Campground. However, this campground is highly sought after because it is just 1.5 miles (2.5km) away from the Deep Reach Pool. Visitors can take the Red Roo Trail to reach the pool, as well as the Cliff Lookout and Millstream Homestead Visitor Centre.
Campsites at the Stargazers Campground are unpowered and are linked by internal paths. There are toilets, barbecue, and picnic facilities. Unlike the Miliyanha Campground, which is open year-round, the Stargazers Campground is only open from April to October.
Millstream Chichester National Park is in a remote area of the Pilbara Region in Western Australia. There are several small towns around the park but the two closest are Pannawonica and Karratha, which are 61.6 miles (99.2km) and 88.4 miles (142.3km) away.
Roads throughout the park are maintained by park rangers. However, the roads can become impassable after heavy rains. The dry season is the only time when 2WD vehicles will be able to navigate the roads. For current road conditions, visitors can call the national park’s main office.
Address: Kanjenjie-Millstream Road, Millstream WA 6716, Australia
Coordinates: 21.5915°S, 117.0712°E
Phone: (+61) 08 9814 5144 – Park Office
Season: Year-round – however, certain areas may be open/closed seasonally
Age Restrictions: None
Pets: Not permitted
Entry: Paid entry by vehicle, campground fees apply