For years I’ve been seeing photos of Fonty’s Pool in Manjimup pop up, and some of them almost seemed too good to be true. A few weeks back, we decided to check it out for ourselves, and see if it really lived up to the hype.
Spoiler alert; its pretty amazing, and probably should be on the list of 30 unbelievable camp sites in WA.
What is Fonty’s Pool?
Fonty’s Pool is a dam that was built back in 1907. It was the local pool for many years, and has now been turned into one of the most beautiful and picturesque caravan parks in Australia.
The pool itself holds around 18 million litres of water, and in winter flows at around 44,000 litres an hour! Today, its used regularly by those at the caravan park for swimming, diving and relaxing in giant tubes as the day passes by.
Where is it?
Fonty’s Pool is located in between Manjimup and Pemberton, in the beatiful South West of WA. To get there from Perth you are looking at around 3 and a half hours, and 302km. It’s certainly within reach for a weekend, or longer if you can afford the time!
What’s there that makes it so great?
I wasn’t entirely sure of what to expect when we rolled into Fonty’s Pool, but I was soon left quite impressed. The pool is spectacular, the facilities are exactly what you want and the camping arrangement is great. Top it all off with some of the greenest grass and plenty of beautiful trees and you are onto a real winner.
I love how a select few caravan parks manage to get the perfect balance between space and amenities without being boxed in like a pack of sardines. Fonty’s Pool is a real credit to the owners.
There’s a great old school playground for the kids and the camp kitchen is second to none.
Being a Caravan Park, you have the usual powered and unpowered sites, ranging in size to take everything from tiny swags through to big caravans. The unpowered area is one giant grassy area with a number of trees, and you pick anywhere you want to set up.
We backed ourselves into the far corner under a fantastic tree and had plenty of safe space for the kids to run around and enjoy themselves.
What does it cost?
Camping starts off at $30 per night for unpowered sites, and up to $52 for powered sites. This does vary depending on when you go though, and can be quite a bit more over peak periods. I recall it being quite expensive over busy periods, which did put me off a bit, but I’d happily go back again (outside of peak periods!).
When’s the best time go to?
Being one giant pool, when its warm enough to swim is the time to be at Fonty’s Pool. That said, there were some brave kids swimming in September when we visited, and you can swim any time if you are up to it.
In Autumn you get amazing tree colours coming through as the leaves prepare to drop, and in winter you’d have the best fires on freezing cold nights. For me though, Spring, Summer and Autumn would be the best time to go.
I love the Manjimup/Pemberton/Bridgetown/Nannup area in the south west. It’s got incredible local produce, great people and so many things to see:
In Pemberton is a brilliant little tram way, which is quite popular and super picturesque. It isn’t cheap, but it takes you through the center of town (they literally block the main road when crossing!) and out into the stunning bush land surrounding Pemberton.
If you own a 4WD Yeagarup is the ultimate playground with some of the biggest sand dunes in Australia. Make sure you are competent though, as recoveries here are expensive and you won’t always see people there.
Pemberton fire trees
There are a couple of massive trees in the Pemberton/Manjimup region that you can climb up. These were used for watching out for fires in the past, and are now just a tourist attraction. They aren’t for the faint hearted though; its quite adventurous!
Manjimup Heritage Park
If you are after a big playground with the lot, the heritage park at Manjimup is worth a visit. There’s stacks of play equipment for the big and little kids, along with BBQ’s, tables and plenty of shade.
Find an amazing river
The rivers in this region are spectacular, especially after a heap of rain. You can literally find a blue line on Google and check it out; you’ll love the wildlife and picturesque locations you stumble upon.
Big Brook Dam
Big Brook Dam is located right next to a spectacular Karri forest, and has a small sandy beach for swimming, along with plenty of fishing opportunities if you have a fresh water license.
D’Entrecasteaux National Park
If you can’t pronounce it, don’t fret; lots of people stumble! This national park is huge, and encompasses Lake Jasper, Black Point and a heap of other great spots. Most of the park requires a 4WD, but its absolutely worth a look.
Fires at Fonty’s Pool
You are allowed fires in season at Fonty’s, but it must be contained in a fire pit. There are a number that you can use for free, but if they run out and you don’t have your own then you’ll have to do without. You can purchase wood at the office, or bring your own in, but they frown at timber brought in from the bush.
There is a Lodge and a number of Chalets that you can stay in at Fonty’s Pool, which are well looked after and very popular.
I’m not one to head to Caravan Parks unless I really have to, but Fonty’s has won me over. It’s brilliant, nothing more and nothing less, and I’m pretty confident you’d enjoy yourself there too!
See you out there!