Wooldridge Recreation and Fossicking Reserve Swimming Hole
Uralla, near Armidale, NSW, Australia
Wooldridge Fossicking Reserve is home to a couple of wide sandy-bottomed pools along a magically beautiful stretch of river teeming with wildlife. Each of the pools has its own sandy beach which makes this spot perfect for kids to play at safely and the water and sand are both full of flecks of fool’s gold, meaning that these are literally golden sands. The water hole nearest to the campground is shallow and great for smaller kids to paddle in. 20m downstream is a deeper pool which is big enough for a small swim. A rainbow of different coloured dragonflies frequent the pools as well as various finches, lizards and butterflies, making this a great spot for wildlife watching.
How To Get There: Take the New England Highway to Uralla. From Uralla follow the Kingstown Road for 4.5km then turn right onto Devoncourt Road and follow it to the end. There is a cattlegrid and an information board marking the entrance the Wooldridge Recreation and Fossicking Reserve. There is plenty of parking here. Make your way down to the river and you will see the first and shallower of the two swimming holes.
Difficulty of access: 2/10 – It is almost possible to drive up to the swimming hole and only a small walk to the water. The sand slopes down into the water making it very easy for small children or less mobile people to get in and out.
Opening Times/Seasons: All Day/All Year
Entrance Fee: Free
Facilities Nearby: There are non-flush drop toilets in the campground and a lot more facilities in Uralla
Other Activities: Look for treasure! This is a fossiking reserve which means that you can search for gold and semi-precious gems here. Gold pans can be hired from the Uralla Visitor Information Centre and the kids will love collecting the shiny specks of Mica which sparkle in the water. Alternatively you could sit quietly and watch the incredible variety of small creatures who live here go about their business.
Other Places of Interest Nearby: McCrossin’s Mill Museum has an exhibit about Captain Thunderbolt (who gave the name to the local Thunderbolts Way road). Aboriginal rock art made with red ochre can be seen at Mount Yarrowyk Nature Reserve.
Wildlife: A huge array of insects, birds and lizards as well as the occasional kangaroo or wallaby.
Places to Eat: Cafes and bakeries in Uralla
Where to Camp: Right here. Camping is basic but free in the reserve with drop toilets being the only facilities. There is plenty of shade under the ghost gums though and this is a really peaceful spot. You will need to bring your own drinking water and firewood. For more facilities try the Country Road Caravan Park or the Uralla Caravan Park.
Other places to Stay: There are a couple of cottages and B&Bs in Uralla and many more in the surrounding area.
Nearby Towns: Uralla, Armidale, Walcha, Tamworth, Port Maquarie, Coffs Harbour, Forster
Other Swimming Spots Nearby: Blue Hole Picnic Area