BLACK DIAMOND LAKE, COLLIE – WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Ever since I saw a photograph of the pristine, bright crystal-blue water of Black Diamond Lake, I wanted to go there.

I mean, look at it.

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Friends and I talked about it, throwing around ideas about road trips and camping trips and the works, but of course, they never actually got put into motion.

And it's only now, because I'm leaving Perth soon (I'm going to live in Melbourne), that I realised there's so much I want to do, and so little time to do it. (Of course, it's not like I'm leaving Perth forever, but to be fair I also don't know when I'll be back, so it makes sense to try and tick off as much as I can from my list).

So when I was down south, I sent my friend Morgan the message - something along the lines of "WE STILL HAVE TO GO TO BLACK DIAMOND - BEFORE I GO!!!" And Morgz, being the enthusiastic person that she is, said 'Yep, what about Thursday?' And that was that.

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Black Diamond Lake is located in Allanson, a community only 5km or so from the town known as Collie, roughly 190km from Perth.

Morgan drove down from Perth, and I drove up from Busselton. My trip was an hour and a half, while hers 2 hours or so. Either way, the lake isn't too difficult to get to - Ferguson Road, the road the lake resides by, comes directly off Coalfields Highway, so there's not a lot of fluffing about in small country-town roads.

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Road Map. Black Diamond Lake, Allanson. Google Maps (2017).

I actually visited Black Diamond on the same day I did Barrabup Pool, so I won't go into the details of the way I went. But if you're traveling from Perth, take Kwinana Freeway South until it turns into Forrest Highway and eventually continue onto Old Coast Road. Then turn left onto Raymond Road, which you follow until you hit South Western Highway, at which point turn left and then a quick right into Coalfields - and then you're on your way to Ferguson!

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Road Map. Raymond Road to Coalfields Highway. Google Maps (2017).

Once you've turned into Ferguson (a right turn onto an unsealed road), keep following for about 600m and you'll see the first glimpse of the lake. Continue until you come to the first carpark on the right (it will be very obvious). There is lots of parking space there and easy access into the lake.

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For those that don't know, Black Diamond was formerly an open cut mine site that ceased operation in the 1950s and has since been filled with water.

Now it is probably at this point that I should mention the danger of the presence of amoeba in the water. There have been a few warnings issued about the water quality at Black Diamond - all the information you need can be found on the council's report and also an article by WA today. (FYI, I put my head under the water and I'm still here kicking).
However, it is best to have all the info and make your own educated decision before you go.

I would recommend going on a really sunny, cloudless day, because this is when the water will look its best, shining the beautiful azure blue colour.

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On the opposite side of the lake to the carpark, there's a rope swing tied to a big tree. We couldn't help ourselves - we had to have a turn. Though I would advise to jump directly straight and land on your feet, as it is very shallow on either side of this bank (and only if you're willing to put your head under).

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In terms of picnicking, the best idea I've seen was those who took tarps to use as shades between two cars (generally utes, but you could make do), or small tents, picnic rugs and tables and chairs. There's not a lot of shade space at the lake, so get creative with your choice of gear and remember to Slip, Slop, Slap!

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We made a full day-trip out of being at the lake. Eskies, rugs, you name it. It was such a beautiful setting, even just to sit and observe.

We found a limestone rock to set up our stuff on, rather than being down on the bank with everyone else around us. The rock gave us a higher view of the lake, but not so high that we couldn't easily enter the water. It was the perfect setting.

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It was a scorching 37 degrees (probably more in direct sunlight) on the day that we went, so we escaped into the cool water, lounging around on blow-up mattresses, watermelons, pineapples and various birds for most of the time.

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Would you believe me if  I said that photos don't even do this place justice?

It is another one of this world's wonders that is worth seeing - especially when we don't know how long we will be able to continue to visit, swim and enjoy the lake for.

I'm glad we made the trip.

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Quick Facts

Last visitDecember 2016
Best TimeSeptember - March
Start / FinishFerguson Road
Unsealed RoadsYes, good condition can be managed in 2WD.
Walking distanceless than 100m from carpark
Time3hr drive from Perth
DifficultyEasy
FacilitiesNone
Lat & Longn/a
NearbyBarrabup Pool, Collie town
Watercoursen/a
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Kathmandu

BARRABUP POOL, NANNUP – WESTERN AUSTRALIA

My obsession with waterholes and pools had me try and cram as much as I could into my recent trip in WA’s South West.

I was staying in Siesta Park Holiday Resort – half way between Busselton and Dunsborough – when I came across an article on SoPerth“Perth’s Top Unique Swimming Spots: Beaches, Swimming Holes, Lakes and Rivers.” (which is ultimately misleading because most of them are not actually in Perth at all). But anyway. I did find a few places I’d never heard of, Barrabup Pool being one of them.

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Located in Nannup, a small country town located inland, though still in the shire of the South West region (and according to Google, about 280km from Perth), Barrabup pool was a mere hour away from where I was staying.

So I thought, what the hell.

I visited the pool with my sister and her boyfriend, and we set out along Caves Road heading towards Busselton, avoiding the town centre by turning right into Bussell Highway instead of going straight ahead, and then left onto the Busselton Bypass. We followed that until Vasse Highway came up on the right.

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Road Map. Bussell Highway to Vasse Highway. Google Maps (2017).

From Vasse Highway we turned right onto Sues Road and then left into Mowen Road when it came up (which used to be gravel, but has now been transformed into smooth bitumen).

Brook Road is the road you’re after to find the pool – which comes off to the left of Mowen Road (or right if you continued to follow Vasse Highway instead). Brook Road is a gravel road, though we managed perfectly fine in a Honda Accord.

If you’re coming from Perth (straight down the Kwinana Freeway which then turns into Forest Highway), it’s virtually the same route – though you’ll turn left into Vasse Highway from Busselton Bypass instead of right. Simple!

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Road Map. Barrabup Pool. Google Maps (2017).

You’ll also notice some signs on your way down Brook Road that point out “Workmans Pool” off to the left. This is because the area was used for saw-milling in the nineteenth century as part of The Old Timberline Trail.

For some reason, the workers weren’t allowed to swim in the Barrabup Pool and so Workman’s Pool was given its name.  Make sure to read all the signs and info when you’re there to gain some knowledge of the history!

Barrabup pool itself is naturally formed, with surrounding trees and shrub making it a very secluded and peaceful spot. We only basked in the pool for a short time, though if you did want to stay longer there is a camping spot nearby with minimalistic facilities (tables, fire pits and drop toilets). If you want more info on camping, visit Park Stay.

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The wooden platform (pictured in the cover photo) has steps on either side allowing you to enter the pool, which at the time that we visited (January), was a bit chilly but not too cold. In fact, it was probably the perfect temperature in hindsight, even at 10am in the morning.

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There are also a few other entry points around the pool, though they are slimy so be careful.

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Once submerged, you can glide through the pool with ease and a very strong sense of being within nature – there is nothing but the sound of the trees, birds, cicadas and the buzz of dragonflies whizzing past (or, you know, landing on your hand while you’re sitting on a log).

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The water may look a tad dirty, but it is actually quite fresh and pristine. We giggled because our arms and legs looked bright orange when under the water – much like Georgia’s botched fake tan in Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (which is still a classic film and I must remind myself to watch it again soon).

And here’s me laying in the fresh water!

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I would highly recommend making the trip to this pool, though if you’re travelling from Perth perhaps try to fit in a few others along the way to make the trip worthwhile.