Beyond Ordinary


Welcome to Beyond Ordinary Guides, where we curate gorgeous imagery, locally cherished spots, and accessible stories.  We hope you enjoy!

Places We Swim | Australia

Places We Swim | Australia

Discovering Australia’s best places to swim – lap pools, sea pools, the ocean, waterfalls, hot springs, lakes, rivers.

In March 2017 we quit our jobs, moved out of our house, and decided to spend
the next 12 months exploring our own country. Like so many people, we have
largely taken Australia for granted and focused our travels on cheaper, more
exotic destinations, or European summers. It seemed indulgent to just travel for
a year, so we set a goal to create something at the end. We are documenting
Australia’s best places to swim, not because we are serious swimmers, but
because we have always found ourselves drawn to water. It’s a feature that cuts
through age, class, religion and ethnicity. In this way, swimming is a natural
access point to understanding the Australian experience.

For us, taking time off wasn’t a rejection of society or city living. We loved our
jobs, our home, the regularity and security of our routines, our friends and family.
But we had a feeling that if we didn’t take time off now, we would keep making
excuses forever. We recognised that our lives, careers, and relationship should
survive a long holiday. In fact, they might even benefit from it. It’s not a radical
idea, nor is it a permanent one. Living on the road indefinitely is romantically
naive, not to mention economically unsustainable. The point is to take some
time, of any length, to explore and to be inspired. It’s not a new concept, but it’s
one that so many people only ever wonder about.

Before we left, a friend asked, “How much does your job cost you?” It seemed
like a contradiction at the time. However, the idea steadily grew and unfurled as
we drove across the country. How much of our income goes to paying rent and
eating at the same places? How many opportunities had we forgone because we
had to rush back from our annual leave? How much time and effort had we spent
bouncing from event to event in our city lives? None of it seems too relevant
driving around the Outback in a rusty Landcrusier.

People like to romanticize this kind of lifestyle. We see it in the #vanlife
movement. Carefree living. Setting your own schedule, sleeping under the stars,
etc. There is a lot to be said for the adventure, but nobody bothers to document
the uncomfortable truths. The curated world leaves no room for unpleasant
realities. There are days so hot that even talking is too much of an effort. There
are endless sun baked kilometres of unchanging shrubs. There are the hangry
episodes spent bickering over which noodle shape to cook. Finally, the too
frequent breakdowns that leave you stranded for days.

Most of the time, however, there is the everyday excitement that you will
experience something new. The reality of not knowing where you’ll end up each
night and being okay with it. We have time and space to get lost in thought, or
the freedom to not think at all. There is time to be in love. We have devoured
books and podcasts. And, of course, we’ve found some great swimming holes.
Looking at the year so far, we are reluctant to call it an ‘escape’, but can certainly
see how it looks that way. We would rather think about it as another development
in our careers. A detour. A sabbatical to gather information and experiences that we will benefit from for years to come. When we finish our book we will likely
land in many of our old routines. We will welcome a home and steady paycheck
once again. Like any good holiday, we’re looking forward to returning to our real
lives with fresh eyes, excitement, and some rude tan lines.

Find out more about the best places to swim in Australia by following Dillon and Caroline’s trip on Instagram: @placesweswim

Images in order of how they appear:

  • Cover: Greenly Beach rock pool, SA
  • Castle Rock, WA
  • Making tracks in Francois Peron National Park, WA
  • View out the window on the Dampier Peninsula, WA
  • Dry season beach at the base of Jim Jim Falls, NT
  • Little Lagoon - Denham, WA
  • Broken Head Nature Reserve, NSW
  • The Basin- Rottnest Island, WA
  • Morning light near Whites Beach, NSW
  • Turquoise Pool - The Kimberley, WA
  • Minyon Falls, NSW
  • West MacDonnell Ranges, NT

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Places We Swim | Discovering Australia's Best Places to Swim
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