The popular Perth swimming hole, Serpentine Falls, has been immediately and indefinitely closed due to the discovery of the potentially deadly bacteria, Naegleria Fowleri.

If anything’s been made explicitly clear to the We Are Explorers team in recent weeks, it’s that you simply cannot predict or control nature. It just does its thing with no regard for those of us who want to explore it. All we can do is heed the warnings and make the most informed and sensible decision at the time.

Due to the Australian bushfire crisis, we’ve had to be careful not to write about areas that are currently under threat of fire and dangerous to enter. When the White Island volcano explosion occurred, we had to put a lot of volcano-related microadventures on hold.

Brain Eating? Surely Ya Jokin’

And now, not even a week after sharing a microadventure about the gorgeous Serpentine Falls in Perth, we’ve had to plaster a big, fat warning on the article because a water sample tested positive to a potential brain-eating amoeba. Yep. Brain-eating amoeba. You read that right.

The bacteria found is known as Naegleria fowleri, and can cause the rare but potentially deadly infection, amoebic meningitis. Infection most commonly occurs when water is forced up a person’s nose with high pressure, from jumping, diving or falling into the water.

Symptoms usually occur within five days of infection and include;

  • severe and persistent headache
  • high fever
  • sore throat
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • neck stiffness
  • confusion and hallucinations
  • drowsiness
  • coma


If you or someone you know has been swimming at Serpentine Falls and are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact a medical professional. The waterhole has been closed indefinitely and it’s unknown whether anyone has yet been infected.

Let this be a warning to all of us in these unsure time – before going out to explore, double and triple-check that the area is open, not on fire or infected with deadly bacteria. It could just save your life, or at least, a lot of wasted time.

In the meantime, we’ll keep trying to stay on top of all of the updates of places we can’t go – WE’RE DOING OUR BEST HA HA.

Feature photo by Jonathan Tan