19 Best Waterfalls In Sydney 2024 Guide (Plus Swimming Holes!)
Looking for the best swimming holes and waterfalls in Sydney, but unsure where to start?Sometimes going to the beach all summer long can get a bit boring, so we’re here to show you some of our favourite Sydney waterfalls and swimming holes you can visit any time of the year.
If you’re looking for some stunning waterfalls in Sydney to visit, you’ll find the likes of Fitzroy Falls, Winifred Falls, Wentworth Falls, Carrington Falls, and so many more listed in this article. Some are definitely worth checking out from the lookout points near to the car parks, others you can use the walking tracks to get down to the bottom of them. Just be super careful when chasing waterfalls in National Parks in New South Wales, always wear hiking boots (trainers and thongs seriously do not cut it) and take a lot of water with you.
Need to use public transport? Unfortunately Sydney public transport isn’t the best so we recommend hiring a car to get to these Sydney waterfalls we mention in this post.
Here’s a waterfalls in Sydney map so you can find all of the places we mention below located in New South Wales.
Best Waterfalls In Sydney
1. Belmore Falls
Budderoo National Park in the Southern Highlands / walk straight from car park to lookout points
Belmore Falls in Budderoo National Park in the Southern Highlands is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Sydney. Read our Ultimate Guide To Southern Highlands to find out more information about this stunning waterfall!
If you’re visiting in Summer, you’ll see a lot of people swimming at the first tier of the waterfall. It is actually illegal to do so and if you’re caught you’ll be paying at least $450 fine.
If you do attempt to walk to the bottom of Belmore Falls, there are a couple of routes to get down to the bottom, and go from the far left hand side of the car park away from the falls (which is the safer route). I’m only saying this because we spoke to a couple during our recent visit who went the wrong way and had to rock climb down, telling us how unsafe it was.
If you ‘re planning on going down to the bottom of Belmore Falls, you’ll see a sign saying it’s illegal near the carpark which is the safer path to take as there’s no rock climbing involved. We know this because we hiked down to the bottom years ago, before it became illegal. Like we said though, please do not attempt this hike as you could be fined.
Watch our video to Southern Highlands which includes this waterfall below
2. Carrington Falls
Budderoo National Park in the Southern Highlands / walk straight from car park to lookout points
Carrington Falls is probably the most spectacular waterfall near Sydney (in our opinion) based in Budderoo National Park in the Southern Highlands! The granite walls encompass this beautiful waterfall near Sydney and it’s a spectacular sight. There’s loads of viewing platforms, but just make sure you don’t jump over any of the fences – they are there for a reason. The walk isn’t long and just a stones throw from the car park for the whole family to enjoy.
It’s not advised to attempt to reach the bottom of Carrington Falls as it’s not maintained by National Parks and the track is dangerous and overgrown. Good news is, there are a couple of lovely swimming spots just a few minutes down the road near the Carrington Falls Picnic Area such as the Blue Pools instead. Check out our guide for the Best Waterfalls In Kangaroo Valley for more details.
3. Fitzroy Falls
Morton National Park in Southern Highlands / walk straight from car park to lookout points
Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park might be the most well known of the Southern Highlands waterfalls and one of the most popular near Sydney, but it’s a gorgeous one too! There are loads of walks to explore different lookout points of the 81m drop waterfall, such as The East Rim Walking Track, Wildflower Walking Track and The West Rim Walking Track.
Warning! Please do not attempt to walk to the bottom of Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park. It’s an incredibly dangerous hike, where rock climbing using ropes is involved on an unmarked and disused path. It’s best to enjoy it from the top from the different lookout points.
Looking for some more off the beaten path hidden waterfalls in Morton National Park? Discover Tianjara Falls and Granite Falls for your next trip! We’ve not visited these yet but will definitely review them next time we’re in the area!
Heading down to Southern Highlands and Kangaroo Valley? Check out our guides:
Macquarie Pass, near Wollongong (South Sydney) / 1h 30 min drive South of Sydney, then 3o minute hike
Jump Rock in Macquarie Pass is one of the first waterfalls in Sydney we trekked to and boy what a sight it is. 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, there’s a rope to swing into the water and a few high rocks to jump off which people were doing. Just be super careful if you do this.
I loved the pools though and there’s even a natural slide going into another pool. This is a fairytale dream of a pool and some of the best waterfalls in Sydney.
Macquarie Pass National Park / 1h 30 min drive South of Sydney, then 15 minute hike
Located again in Macquarie Pass National Park, take the Cascade Falls Walking Track which will lead you down to one of the most Instagram worthy and best waterfalls in Sydney. It’s only a 15 minute walk but just be careful when walking down. Visit in Summer and this beautiful waterfall will be a perfect secret swimming spot.
Tip – head over the road on the Clover Hill Trail go chasing waterfalls including: Rainbow Falls, Mulangong Falls and Clover Falls.
6. Minnamurra Falls
Budderoo National Park / 4.2km return 1-2 hours walk
Minnamurra Falls is located near to the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre. Known at The Falls Walk, the walking tracks will take between 1-2 hours to hike the 4.2km rainforest loop. You’ll have access to viewing platforms at the bottom and top of Minnamurra Falls. No swimming is allowed at one of the best Sydney waterfalls, but it’s definitely worth visiting, especially as you’ll be walking through a rainforest and lush greenery to get there.
7. Winifred Falls
Royal National Park (South Sydney) / The car park is 400m from the junction with Sir Bertram Stevens Dr and park up to find the sign posted trail.
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 waterfall in Sydney exists!
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.
8. See Through Pools
Tahmoor/ 1h 15 min drive south of Sydney to Rockford Road Bridge. Then it’s a 30 minute hike.
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 which is one of the best waterfalls in Sydney to swim in our opinion. Might be small but it sure is gorgeous!
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.
9. Mermaid Pools
Tahmoor / 1h 15 min drive south of Sydney to Rockford Road Bridge. Then it’s a 30 minute hike.
Mermaid Pools in Sydney is one of those waterfalls 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.
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! Even paramedics turned up that day we visited to make sure there were no accidents. There’s no way I’d be jumping in that pool.
We didn’t stay there long as went back up the river a bit and spent time in the beautiful Tahmoor Pools instead. Trust me on this one!
10. Empress Falls
Blue Mountains / 1hr 30min drive west of Sydney then it’s just a 10 minute hike.
We went to Empress Falls in Blue Mountains National Park 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 walking track making it one of the most famous waterfalls near Sydney. Empress Falls is a must visit in Blue Mountains for sure!
11. Minnehaha Falls
Blue Mountains / 20minute hike down to the bottom.
Minnehaha Falls is one of the most accessible waterfalls in Sydney which only takes 20 minutes to walk to. It’s often busy with families and day trippers from Sydney, making it one of the most popular Blue Mountains waterfalls.
Looking for more Blue Mountains walks? Check out our guides:
Blue Mountains / 1 hour to hike down to the bottom.
You’ll definitely want to cool off after the sweaty hike to the bottom of Wentworth Falls but it’s worth it!
Known as one of the best hikes in Blue Mountains, Wentworth Falls has multiple stopping points and viewing platforms from the start to finish. This means you can stop at any time and turn back if you need to.
There’s a lot of steps to be taken on this hike, but it sure is beautiful. After you reach the first tier of the waterfall, the crowds tend to filter out and you might get the entire bottom of the waterfall to yourself like we did!
Watch our wentworth falls video below to see what to expect!
13. Kellys Falls
Stanwell Tops / unsure of timings
Firstly, I couldn’t believe there is 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 Kellys Falls but could only find a very dodgy looking rope. 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. Just be careful if you’re going to attempt this one and I wouldn’t personally bring kids along.
A couple of swimming holes in Sydney
We thought we’d share a couple of fun swimming holes in Sydney too if you’re looking to go swimming in nature!
14. Mares Forest Creek Canyon
Wombeyan Caves (direction of Blue Mountains) / 3 hour drive South West of Sydney – 30 minute hike to the pools – allow 2-3 to go through the canyon and back.
Even though this list isn’t in an order, I have to say the most mind-blowing, incredible thing I have done in Sydney to date is a hike and swim through Mares Forest Creek Canyon! It actually took us four hours to get to Wombeyan Caves from Sydney because we went a long way round, but the scenery was amazing (go the Goulburn way).
It’s a 30 minute hike down to the Mares Forest Creek Canyon from the Wombeyan Caves carpark where you can dump your belonging when you get into the water. Read our Mares Forest Creek Guide before visiting.
TIP! Definitely wear water shoes as it is very rocky and something we regretted not having, and wear a wetsuit as it’s freezing even in Summer. If you don’t have one, get there around 1pm for when the sun hits the water.
15. Figure 8 Pools Sydney
Royal National Park Sydney / 1 hour drive South of Sydney to the Royal National Park. You can get public transport to Otford and then hike from there.
One of the most iconic swimming holes in Sydney is the famous Figure 8 Pool in The Royal National Park in Sydney. The walking track will take an hour from the car park and it’s stunning as you weave down to the beach and along the coast.
Make sure you read our Figure 8 Pools guide before you go as you’ll need to check the tides as you don’t want to drive there and miss out because you weren’t prepared.
16. South West Arm Pool
The Royal National Park (South Sydney) / 1 hour drive south of Sydney, 400m from junction with Sir Bertram Stevens Dr and park up to find the sign posted trail.
We were heading to South West Arm Pool in you guessed it, South West Arm Creek 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 is a stunning creek to swim in, complete with a rope swing.
17. Minerva Pool
Dharawal National Park / 1h 30 min drive to the national park, then a 20 minute hike.
There’s quite a few watering holes to visit in Dharawal National Park but we opted to visit Minerva Pool. The area is sacred to Aboriginal Dharawal women so only women and children are advised to swim here (check National Parks website for more information). It’s an absolutely stunning swimming hole and easily one of our favourites in Sydney by a mile!
18. Karloo Pools
Royal National Park / 1hr drive to Heathcote then 30 minute walk
We went to Karloo Pools whilst on the way to Olympic Pool below but ended up staying here as we simply couldn’t find the track to the other pool at the time. It’s a popular spot for families and gets really busy compared to other waterfalls and swimming holes in Sydney we’ve been to.n
19. Olympic Pools
Royal National Park /1hr drive to Heathcote then 1hr walk
As mentioned in the post above, we stayed at Karloo Pools because we couldn’t find the track to Olympic Pools at the time, 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.
It’s an absolutely beautiful swimming spot, and if someone else was there, we would have felt more comfortable about going for a dip. Apparently, it is 60 metres deep!!
Looking for more waterfalls in New South Wales?
Check out the amazing waterfalls in Dorrigo National Park on the Waterfall Way near Bellingen. You’ll be amazed at some of the gems here, which we talk about in our Things To Do In Bellingen Guide.