Sometimes going to the beach all summer long can get a bit boring so we’re here to show you some of our favourite wild swimming Sydney.

There’s honestly nothing better than hiking in the Australian bush to finish it with a beautiful swim in a Sydney swimming hole.

If you’re looking for some great waterfalls in Sydney to swim in, we’ve hiked to all 9 swimming spots mentioned in this post. None of them were difficult to get to but always make sure you wear hiking boots and take plenty of water with you.

Wild Swimming Sydney

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1.Mares Forest Creek Canyon

Wombeyan Caves (direction of Blue Mountains)

wild-swimming-in-sydneyEven though this list isn’t in an order, I have to start off with the most mind-blowing, incredible thing I have done in Sydney to date! It actually took us 4 hours to get to Wombeyan Caves because we went a long way round but go to Goulburn then up from there. The scenery on the off road track is amazing.

One thing to be careful of were snakes. Towards the end, I actually saw a massive brown snake in the rocks which freaked me out but it’s obvious they are going to live around there. You’ll be climbing up and down on the rocks between swims but it’s all incredible.  Best of all, we were the only people there!!

TIP: Definitely wear water shoes as it is very rocky. We didn’t know about this and our feet were killing by the end. Also wear a wetsuit if you can because the water is FREEZING!!! We went in summer and read its best to get there around 1pm as the sun will hit some of the water by that point, slightly warming it up! And lastly, make sure you take a camera with you!! It’s so incredible, you’ll be snapping away like there’s no tomorrow!

Read my full post about this swim here

How to get there: 3 hour drive South West of Sydney, 30 minute hike to the pools, allow 2-3 to go through the canyon and back.
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2.Macquarie Jump Pass Rock

Macquarie Pass, near Wollongong (South Sydney)


Jump Rock is one of the first wild swimming spots in Sydney we trekked to and boy what a sight it was. Once parked up at the entrance to the national park, we embarked on an easy 30 minute hike to the falls.

There were a few people there but it wasn’t crowded which didn’t matter because it literally looks like a fairytale setting. As with most wild swimming spots, someone had put a rope in the water used for jumping off into the water and there were a few high rocks to jump off which people were doing. I am afraid of heights so it’s definitely not something I would do.

I loved the pools though and there’s even a natural slide going into another pool. This is a fairytale dream of a pool to visit near Sydney.

Related post: 16 amazing things to do in Wollongong

Where: 1h 30 min drive South of Sydney, then 3o minute hike

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3. Winifred Falls

Royal National Park (South Sydney)

We were actually on our way to another wild swimming spot in Sydney but came across Winifred Falls on the way. It was insanely busy as you can see on the picture, but I couldn’t believe from all of the times I had visited The Royal National Park that I didn’t know this existed! There’s lots of jumping rocks at this one and it’s obviously a popular spot for families. It’s a 30 minute walk down a hill to get there.

Where: 1 hour drive south of Sydney, 400m from junction with Sir Bertram Stevens Dr and park up to find the sign posted trail. 

Related post: Bundeena to Big Marley Beach hike

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4. South West Arm Pool

The Royal National Park (South Sydney)

Pic taken from Wild Swimming in Sydney book (I couldn’t find the one’s I took!)

We were heading to South West Arm Pool when we stopped off at Winifred Falls but it’s incredible that once you walk another 300 metres along the river, this one is completely deserted. I couldn’t believe it! It was stunning and so peaceful.

Where: 1 hour drive south of Sydney, 400m from junction with Sir Bertram Stevens Dr and park up to find the sign posted trail. 

Related post: Best 18 hikes in Sydney

5. Mermaid Pools


Mermaid Pools is one of those swimming pools in Sydney I’d wanted to go to for ages. It’s a 1h 15min drive from Sydney and then a 30 minute hike to the pool, but there are loads of pools on the way.

It has an energy of the sheer beauty of this pool as it was a sacred land for women in the Aboriginal culture to bath in. It’s now open to bush walkers, fisherman and local youths who use the pool to cool down during summer.

Climbing back up the rocks

When we got there, it was unfortunately crowded, full of bogans who were drinking, smoking and playing loud music. What a waste – it’s shame because the whole point is to enjoy nature and peacefulness, but, hey ho!

You can only get into the pool by jumping and then climbing up the rock using a rope to get back up. Be very, very careful with this one. I have read stories of people having serious accidents when they jumped. You are in the middle of nowhere so if something were to happen, you’ll be waiting a long time for an air ambulance to pick you up! Saying that, paramedics did turn up that day to check everyone was alright.

We didn’t stay there long but went back up the river a bit and spent time in an absolutely stunning pool. See below No 5.

Where: 1h 15 min drive south of Sydney to Rockford Road Bridge. Then it’s a 30 minute hike.

Related post: 25 day trips from Sydney you need to tick off your bucket list

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5. See Through Pools


As much as Mermaid Pools were completely breathtaking, it was a let down with the amount of people there. We did instead go back up the river and spent time here at See Through Pools. Just above this waterfall was the most stunning water. It gave me one of those moments of ‘I’m actually here, with myself in the wilderness’ and it was beautiful! I really loved this pool.

Where: 1h 15 min drive south of Sydney to Rockford Road Bridge. Then it’s a 30 minute hike.

Related post: 10 secret beaches in Sydney without the crowds

6. Minerva Pool

Dharawal National Park

There’s quite a few pools to visit in Dharawal National Park but we opted to visit Minerva Pool. There were literally just this couple and us there at the pool and it felt like a proper gem. You can again jump off the rocks but you can easily get into the pool as well for a swim. Just gorgeous!

Where: 1h 30 min drive to the national park, then a 20 minute hike. 

Related post: How to find the lookout point at Sea Cliff Bridge
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7. Empress Falls

Blue Mountains

We went to Empress Falls in Blue Mountains at the turn of winter so there was no swimming to be had but it was stunningly beautiful. People were canyoning down the waterfall and because there’s a restaurant at the top of the walk down to the falls, it’s a very, very busy track.

Where: 1hr 30min drive west of sydney. 10 minute hike.

Related post: 6 Things to do in Blue Mountains

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8. Karloo Pools

We went to Karloo Pools to find another pool (see below no 9.) but ended up staying here as we simply couldn’t find the track to the other pool. Unfortunately it was crowded and full of people playing loud music etc. A total let down seeing as the week before I went to No1. Mares Forest Creek Canyon and to be honest, nothing was going to live up to that day. But, saying that, we returned to this pool again this year, and it was way nicer than I remembered.

where: 1hr drive to Heathcote then 30 minute walk

Related post: 4 secret gardens to visit right in the middle of Sydney
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9. Olympic Pools

As mentioned in the post above, we stayed at Karloo pools because we couldn’t find the track to Olympic Pools, so one year later we went to tackle the route again. It was actually pretty easy, all we had to do is walk alongside the river on the LEFT of the Karloo Pools and follow it around for about an hour.

We came across another pool on the way but it was amazing when we found Olympic Pools as it was the first time we had been to a wild swimming spot in Sydney with no-one else around. Incredible to think of how many people were at Karloo, yet this one was deserted! It was a bit un-nerving as we were both a bit worried about swimming in there and to be honest it, had a bit of a weird energy about the place unfortunately.

Saying that, it was an absolutely beautiful swimming spot, and if someone else was there, we would have felt more comfortable about swimming in there. Apparently, it is 60 metres deep!!

where: 1hr drive to Heathcote then 1hr walk

1 hike we just couldn’t find our way down to the falls…

Kelly Falls

Stanwell Tops

Firstly, I couldn’t believe there was a waterfall right next to Stanwell Tops and the Sri Venkateswara Temple (which is awesome by the way – the food is unbelievable!!). We spent ages trying to find our way down to the waterfall but could only find a very dodgy looking ladder. Neither of us felt comfortable going down it so we had to bail out. Gutting but if you have a dodgy feeling, you have to go with it I suppose.

Where: 1hr drive south of Sydney

AND… one I recently visited which was absolutely beautiful that I’m sure you would have heard of below complete with a video on how to get there!


We visited Figure 8 Pools after we wrote this post but we’re including it anyway because it’s a great hike to this insta-famous spot. It takes 1 hour to walk here but it’s a gorgeous hike and there are loads of pools to discover.

Just make sure you read this post before you go there to time it with the tides etc.

Read more: 8 Tips before you visit Figure 8 Pools

Have you been to any wild swimming spots in Sydney? Which were your favourites? Let us know in the comments below!

Best Wild Swimming Sydney

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