There are so many amazing waterfalls in Sydney you can swim in, so we’re going to share with you our favourites!
Sometimes going to the beach in Sydney all summer long can get a bit boring so we’re here to show you some of our favourite watering holes in Sydney!
There’s honestly nothing better than hiking in Sydney and to finish it with a beautiful swim in a Sydney swimming hole.
If you’re looking for some great waterfalls near Sydney to swim in, we’ve hiked to almost all of the 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.
Need to use public transport?
Unfortunately Sydney public transport isn’t the best so we recommend hiring a car from the below to get to these Sydney waterfalls we mention in this post.
What to bring on these hikes mentioned
There’s a few things you always must make sure you bring with you when hiking in the bush in Australia. We’ve seen some proper questionable people hiking in what looks like beach gear. Make sure you wear and bring the following at all times.
SCARPA is one of the best hiking boot brands in the world and I wear THESE boots on every single hike. The trick is to always buy half a size up – trust me, I’m now on my second pair and I love these. Never wear thongs on any hike in Australia. Ever.
What I love about THIS Marmot Jacket is that it’s really light. You can wear it when it’s down pouring in Summer or in Winter and it will keep you warm. I wore to Everest Base Camp through extreme temps and was fine! I love it!
Everyone needs a stainless steel water bottle in Australia. Honestly it’s a game changer and will keep your water ice cold throughout your hike! We have THIS ONE which is a 1 litre bottle and we take it everywhere.
To be honest… we’ve got a secret to tell you.
We found the majority of these hike after buying these two books.
It was the Wild Swimming in Sydney book which got us hooked on waterfalls. No lie, this is what started it all!
We love the Places We Swim book and use it often to find new hidden gems. It’s a great new addition to our book collection!
Map of the best waterfalls in Sydney to swim in.
Here’s a waterfalls in Sydney map so you can find all of the places we mention.
1. Mares Forest Creek Canyon
Wombeyan Caves (direction of Blue Mountains)
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.
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 to Wombeyan Caves from Sydney because we went a long way round, but the scenery was amzing (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.
Definitely wear water shoes as it is very rocky (you can check some decent ones out HERE). 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 (check out the best wetsuits HERE). 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 because when we went, we were the only people there. We recommend bringing a GoPro because it will get wet. Otherwise buy one of those waterproof cases to put your iPhone in from HERE.
To sum it up, make sure you bring the following on this hike!
2. Figure 8 Pools Sydney
Royal National Park Sydney
How to get there: It’s a 1 hour drive South of Sydney to the Royal National Park. You can get public transport to Otford and then hike from there.
Technically it’s not a waterfall but this list would be odd if we didn’t include the famous Figure 8 Pool in Sydney.
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.
Watch our video below!
3.Macquarie Jump Pass Rock
Macquarie Pass, near Wollongong (South Sydney)
How to get there: 1h 30 min drive South of Sydney, then 3o minute hike
Jump Rock is one of the first waterfalls 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.
It’s also located near to Wollongong so make sure you read THIS post to find out what to do in Wollongong.
4. Winifred Falls
Royal National Park (South Sydney)
How to get there: It takes 1 hour to drive to Royal National Park which is South of 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 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.
5. South West Arm Pool
The Royal National Park (South Sydney)
Where: 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 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.
6. Mermaid Pools
Where: 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.
Climbing back up the rocks
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 make sure there were no accidents.
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 7.
7. See Through Pools
Where: 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.
8. Minerva Pool
Dharawal National Park
Where: 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. 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. This is easily one of our favourite waterfalls in Sydney by a mile!
9. Empress Falls
Where: 1hr 30min drive west of Sydney then it’s just a 10 minute hike.
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.
10. Minnehaha Falls
Unfortunately it’s currently closed at the moment, but keep an eye out for when Minnehaha Falls reopens HERE because it’s a brilliant Blue Mountains wild swimming spot.
Do not attempt to visit this waterfall until it reopens as the track isn’t safe right now.
11. Wentworth Falls
Where: It takes 1 hour to hike down to the bottom.
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 had on this hike but it sure is beautiful. The main thing we noticed is that after we reached the first tier of the waterfall, the crowds filtered out and we got the entire bottom of the waterfall to ourselves.
When you reach the bottom of the falls, jump in and cool off. It’s an amazing spot!
Watch our video to the bottom of Wentworth Falls below!
12. Karloo Pools
We went to Karloo Pools whilst on the way to Olympic Pool below (see below no 13) 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 gets pretty busy compared to other waterfalls in Sydney we’ve been to.
13. Olympic Pools
Where: 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. 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!!
14. Kelly Falls
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 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.
Just be careful if you’re going to attempt this one.
If you’re heading up the East Coast of Australia, there’s two more waterfalls we wanted to mention which have cracking swimming spots.
15. Ellenborough Falls
Where: 4 hour drive north of Sydney, then it’s a 20 minute hike down to the bottom.
Ellenborough Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in Australia which we were lucky to visit recently. It’s located near Taree, about a 4 hour drive from Sydney. And we must say, it’s one of the easier waterfalls to hike to!
Watch our video of our trek below!
16. Dangar Falls
View this post on Instagram
Chasing waterfalls aren’t just a summer activity, found this beauty whilst we were in Bellingen recently. Must have been the easiest waterfall to get down to the bottom in NSW. Would come back for a swim next summer in a heartbeat ❤️ Where’s your favourite waterfall in Australia?
We couldn’t end this post without mentioning the awesome Dangar Falls located near Coffs Harbour in Dorrigo National Park. This incredible waterfall is so amazing, it’s also pretty easy to find your way down to the bottom.
Check out these posts below for more waterfalls near Dangar Falls.