Marathon open water swims are gaining popularity rapidly not only around the world but also in Australia.
A marathon open water swim is described as a nonstop, unassisted swim of at least ten kilometres.
These swims can take place in oceans, bays, lakes, and rivers across the world as part of either an organised event, sanctioned solo swim, or a self-organised independent solo swim.
For a marathon open water swim to be recognised by the Marathon Swimmers Federation, a swimmer must follow the standardised rules including completing at least several hours of sustained effort, without assistance or physical contact from their escort vessels, support personnel, or other objects.
With many keen open water swimmings traveling the world looking for their next challenge. We’ve found the top marathon open water swims Australia has to offer.
The Rottnest Channel Swim is one of the most popular marathon swims in the world and has been held annually in February since 1991.
The swim is a 19.7km journey from Cottesloe Beach, Perth, to Rottnest Island in Western Australia.
The Rottnest Channel Swim is the most popular marathon swim in the world with over 4,500 participants.
Swimmers who are wanting to participate in the Rottnest Channel must complete a 10km qualifying swim before entering.
Don’t forget to take in the beautiful sights of the deep blue, reef breaks, and fish below while swimming the channel.
Derwent River Big Marathon Swim
The Derwent River Marathon Swim is a 34km swim down the Derwent River in Tasmania which flows into the Tasman Sea.
Swimmers start at New Norfolk Bridge and swim down the river, finishing at the Tasman Bridge in Hobart.
The Derwent River ‘Big Swim’ route was devised by Christoper Guesdon in 1973 and was first successfully completed in 1975 by Des Renford.
The river is known for its mildly cold water temperature ranging from 13-15 degrees and the strong winds that blow in from Antarctica.
The Derwent River Swim is a part of the Marathon Swimming Foundation’s (MSF) Toughest Thirteen and Australian Triple Crown of Marathon Swimming challenges. It is also tenth in the World’s Top 100 River Swims.
Port to Pub Marathon Swim
The Port to Pub Marathon Swim is a 25km ultramarathon channel swim from North Fremantle to Rottnest Island, Western Australia.
It is one of the longest open water swims in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere, taking place annually in March.
Swimmers participating will complete a 5km loop parallel to Fremantle Beach before crossing the channel to Rottnest Island.
The Port to Pub Marathon Swim is one leg of the Marathon Swimming Foundation’s (MSF) Australian Triple Crown of Marathon Swimming challenges.
Swimmers can either choose to complete the Port to Pub Marathon Swim in the annual race or as a solo swim.
Palm Beach to Shelly Beach Marathon Swim
The Palm Beach to Shelly Beach Marathon Swim is Australia’s longest marathon swim at 27km long.
The relatively new event takes place annually in April, where swimmers swim from Palm Beach in Sydney’s Northern Beaches to Shelly Beach, Manly.
The Palm Beach to Shelly Beach Marathon Swim is one leg of the Marathon Swimming Foundation’s (MSF) Australian Triple Crown of Marathon Swimming challenges.
Swimmers can expect to be swimming between six and nine hours to complete the swim.
On their journey, swimmers will encounter large and deep ocean swells while covering some of Sydney’s most picturesque reefs and if they’re lucky will encounter migrating whales up the coast.
Swimmers can either choose to complete the swim in the annual race or as a solo swim.
Swim Around Keppel
This event is a 20km swim circumnavigating Great Keppel Island and its tropical waters. Along the way, you will pass 17 pristine beaches, coral reefs, and an abundance of marine life.
This swim is one of the longest marathon swims in Australia and is a swim like no other.
Swimmers who want to participate in Swim Around Keppel must complete a 10km qualifying swim before entering. Alternatively, swimmers who have swum a greater distance than Great Keppel Island previously may enter off that swim without the 10km qualifying swim.
Swim the Gold Coast
Swim the Gold Coast is a 21.5km marathon swim that spans the length of the Gold Coast.
Swimmers will start at Coolangatta Beach and swim along the Gold Coast iconic coastline and cityscape up to Surfers Paradise.
The course is one of the most picturesque marathon swimming courses in the world, passing stunning beaches along the way.
Swimmers who want to participate in Swim the Gold Coast must complete a 10km or 20km qualifying swim before entering.