As you might know, I absolutely love going to wild swimming spots around Sydney and embarking on a bit of an adventure at the weekends. Recently I was finally able to go to the top of Gerringong Falls but because the weather was bad we couldn’t go to the bottom.
At the top of the falls a few weeks ago
Thanks again to Orana car and truck rental, we made it our mission to head back last weekend. If’ we hadn’t hired a van from them to take our bikes, we wouldn’t have been able to go there and this car rental is by far the best I have experienced in Sydney for their fantastic, cheap, reliable service.
It’s actually taken me most of this week to get over the hike as it was very full on. Now, I’m not even going to attempt to tell you how to get down to the bottom because:
a/ this hike was probably the most dangerous hike I have ever done and I have hiked all over the world in the likes of the Himalayas, Myanmar, Peru, Uganda and The Amazon to name but a few.
and b/ there are some very over protective people out there who don’t want this spot ruined which I can totally understand after doing the hike myself. Trust me, I have had all sorts of messages on Instagram this week about even mentioning the top of the falls, and we all know how people can turn nasty on social media.
Point b can easily be turned into a discussion in where do you draw the line of who can join the club of finding out how to get to these places? These clubs are getting smaller and smaller because people are dis-respecting the environment and completely forgetting the whole point of hiking by leaving their rubbish everywhere.
A recent clean up of the bottom of Belmore Falls and look at all those bags, it’s crazy!
(Image taken from @waterfallwondering Instagram’s page)
I was targeted this week on social media as someone who left my rubbish on this on this particular hike. Seeing as I specifically went vegan for environmental reasons, there’s absolutely no way I would ever do that. Turns out the people I met whilst on the hike left their rubbish only to pick up on the way back because their bags weighed a tonne! I have been to various swimming spots where people were drinking, smoking and playing loud music which makes no sense to me as to why they were even there. It then leaves me with hope that the people who read my posts don’t do this at any of the places I recommend, because to me hiking is about appreciating the natural beauty that still lies on this earth. You can always party in a bar!
And you know I’m all for inspiring you all with the places I visit, but with this particular place, I have to say there’s only one thing I can advise, and that’s it’s dangerous for anyone attempting this hike.
Originally I had always planned to write a post about how to get to the bottom because I researched it for ages trying to find out as much information as I could. After doing the hike, it’s very clear that there’s no point in me doing that because of the fear of seeing another report on TV of someone having to be rescued or even worse, because let’s face it, this does happen.
The first thing you should know is that it’s not like the other wild swimming hikes around Sydney. You know what I mean, those hikes that take 30 minutes, maybe 1 hour tops that have a well trodden on path and it’s not too difficult to find the swimming spot at the end. This is a whole new level.
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After cycling an hour and a half (can you believe we missed the turn even though we did it only a few weeks ago, due to concentrating on a black snake we saw on the path rather than where we are actually going?!), we then got to the secret path which no one would ever find in a million years!
Then after 2 hours of trying to find the way down, we found the other correct path. This included a bit of rock climbing and without any rope was a cause for concern let alone incredibly dangerous as you could brake a bone pretty easily with a fall. Because we had spent so long trying to find the way, I was indeed determined to make it to the bottom.
It then took another hour to get to the bottom and it was far from easy. The non existent path was more like bush bashing right next to a steep drop and the worst part was we had to climb over loads of moving rocks and branches that as soon as you stepped on them, the branches crumbled instantly. The amount of times there were falls, near to broken ankles and legs was ridiculous.
By the time we actually reached the bottom it was 4:30pm meaning there was no point in carrying on after our already 4h30min hike to get there because it would be getting dark by the time we had started to turn back. We were also told there were loads of brown snakes on these rocks by the two guys we came across on the way down which wasn’t an ideal situation for us after 4 hours of trying to get there.
The furthest we made it to on the hike. You can see the falls slightly in the background. Apparently these rocks were full of brown snakes you’d have to climb over.
The problem was getting back and we were all actually very worried about finding our way as there’s no actual path. My partner found a bit of shelter that we could have stayed under if it didn’t turn out well – that’s how worried we were.
After a 2h40min climb from the bottom back to our bikes, and to be honest I don’t know how we did find the way, we had an hour’s bike ride back in the pitch black, with no lights. All in all it took us 7 hours.
On the bike ride back
What happened on our hike to Gerringong Falls?
Between the four of us, one had blood spewing out of her ankles from leeches, another kept getting cramp throughout the hike meaning he had to walk the 8.6km cycle ride all the way back to his car and my Aussie slipped so many times, at one point his foot was completely trapped by a rock that the other guy with us had to try to push it off him. If he wasn’t with us, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. The couple we met whilst on the hike had no idea how hard it was going to be and didn’t bring nearly enough water with them.
This hike really made me realise that we are not invincible, things can go very wrong no matter how much you research you do and sometimes there’s a reason why these places aren’t widely known about.
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If you are even considering doing this hike, I strongly recommend against it. Finding the path and then the way down is absolutely impossible and if you do find your way down, it’s a death trap waiting to happen. No place is worth this kind of hike at all.
It leaves me with the question, how far will people go to get that picture or to say ‘I’ve been there’? I’m not too sure anymore.
If you’re looking to find some rewarding hikes near Sydney that involve swimming in waterfalls or secluded spots, check out the below posts: