9 Top Wild Swimming Spots In Sydney

Last year I was sent an amazing book called Wild Swimming in Sydney. It covers all of the wild swimming spots as far north as Newcastle and as south as Jervis Bay. It’s a great book offering the top hikes for families, explorers etc. I went on a mission to find as many of these spots as possible and had an amazing time doing so.

Summer in Sydney lasts quite a long time (woohoo!) and usually after New Year’s, I’m wanting to be more active on the weekend and it’s the best reward after hiking in the bush and having an awesome swimming spot to go to at the end.

After spending every weekend for most of the summer exploring some of the pools, I thought I’d share with you my 9 best wild swimming spots in Sydney (and in no particular order). All weren’t too difficult to get to and you don’t need to be super fit to hike to them.

1.Mares Forest Creek Canyon, Wombeyan Caves

Even 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 there 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

Where: 3 hour drive South West of Sydney, 30 minute hike to the pools, allow 2-3 to go through the canyon and back

2.Macquarie Jump Pass Rock

This was one of the first wild swimming spots 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. I loved it there!

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

3. Winefred Falls, Royal National Park

We were actually on our way to another wild swimming spot but came across this one 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 nato, 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. 

4. South West Arm Pool

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

We were heading to this pool when we stopped off at Winefred Falls but its incredible that once you walk another 300 metres along the river, you come to South West Arm Pool which was completely deserted. I couldn’t believe it. It was stunning and 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. 

5. Mermaid Pools, Tahmoor

This is one of those pools I had 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 to the sheer beauty of this pool and it was a sacred land for women in 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 ambo 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.


5. See Through Pools, Tahmoor

As much as Mermaid Pools were completely breathtaking, it was a let done with the amount of people there. We did instead go back up the rive 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.

6. Minerva Pool, Dharawal National Park

There’s quite a few pools to visit in Dharawal national park but we opted for this beauty. There we just the people in this picture and us and it felt like a 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. 

7. Empress Falls Blue Mountains

We went here 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.

8. Karloo Pools

We went here 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 nicer than I remembered.

where: 1hr drive to Heathcote then 30 minute walk

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 1 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 this pool as it was the first time we had been to a wild swimming spot 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

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 🙂

8 tips before you visit the Figure 8 Pools

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

Thanks for reading

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9 Top Wild Swimming Spots In Sydney
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