There are so many beautiful waterfalls in NSW to explore. These are our top picks to add to your adventure bucket list when venturing around this state of Australia. All of our top picks include swimming holes to swim in, as we don't like just looking - we like taking the plunge for a true adventure.
Dangar Falls - Dorrigo
Dangar Falls looks like something out of the Northern Territory. It's located in the Dorrigo National Park on the tablelands at the back of Coffs Harbour. It's a classic waterfall that plunges 30m into a deep pool, ideal for swimming in. Featuring plenty of parking, a viewing platform from above and an easy 10 minute walk down to the pools.
Add it to your adventure list while exploring the Mid North Coast. You can have lunch in Bellingen before or after and visit Never Never creek while you are exploring the area.
Killen Falls - Byron Bay
Killen Falls is a 25 minute drive south of Byron Bay. Being an easy walk, it should be on your to do list while venturing Northern NSW. Because it is so accessible, it can get crowded so we recommend to visit during the week to avoid the crowds. Be cautious when entering, as it can be shallow and slippery in some areas with sharp rocks. Enjoy a packed lunch or head to nearby Lennox and enjoy lunch at Shelter Cafe.
Minyon Falls - Byron Bay
Minyon Falls is also located in Northern NSW, 45mins away from Byron. It is a spectacular waterfall plunging 100 metres over the huge rhyolite cliffs. It is especially impressive after a good downpour so make sure you head there after rain.
The drive to Minyon Falls is through beautiful hinterland and the historical town of Federal. If you’re after lunch, visit Doma Cafe for rustic, home-style Japanese dishes in a relaxed outdoor setting.
Park at the top of the falls. You can view the falls from above via the lookout but the real beauty is from below so put on your hiking shoes and start making the descent down! It is 4.5km one way, which does take a good hour. Walk under huge rainforest canopies, cross creeks, and finish off scrambling over boulders to get to the pool and the spectacular view of the falls. We swam in the summer months and the water was very ICY! We would still recommend a dip though, as we felt very refreshed and ready for the hike back up. Bring plenty of water!
For more adventures in Byron and Northern NSW, read here.
Mermaid Pools - Tahmoor
Mermaid Pools is located 75 minutes south-west of Sydney near Bargo. The hike to Mermaid Pools is 3.7km return and is moderately signposted by locals. Whilst Mermaid Pools is spectacular to look at it, it can be quite dangerous to swim in with a few deaths reported. Instead we recommend to swim in the nearby See Thru Pools (image below) which offer a much safer swimming hole under a smaller waterfall.
The walk to get here is 1.5km each way and it’s just 750m from Mermaid Pool (before you reach Mermaid Pool). Lookout for the yellow markings on the rocks - take the path marked as ‘ST’.
If you have time, why not do the full Tahmoor Gorge Circuit Walk, which is 10.3km? If you want to include this, I would allow 3.5 - 4 hours to enjoy the walk and a dip in the See Thru Pools.
Jump Rock - Macquarie Pass National Park
Jump Rock is found at the bottom of Macquarie Pass, 2 hours south of Sydney near Albion Park.
The short hike in is 3.5km and presents a rather tropical track with lush trees covered in vines and ferns, mossy rocks, sandy river beds, birds whistling, and lizards sunbathing. Although a fairly short walk, there are steep sections with rope, climbing across rocks and slippery creek sections so always watch your step. Be mindful of track closures as this track can be subject to landslides after heavy rain.
At the end of the walk, take a dip in the pools and enjoy the scenery!
Caution: This walk is called Jump Rock as many people jump from a high cliff into the water. Bikini Adventures does not condone or recommend this behaviour as it is dangerous and comes with the risk of serious injury or death. We recommend enjoying a swim in the lovely pools, and taking in the scenery. This walk is not recommended after or during excessive rains as the path can become extremely muddy succumbing to landslides and rising fast flowing river sections.
Blue Waterhole - Kosciuszko National Park
The Kosciusko National Park, aka the Snowy Mountains, is the last place you think of when it comes to waterfalls. But low and behold, it's actually home to some pretty impressive rivers, lakes, gorges and waterfalls, ripe for exploring!
You can find this gem at the end of the Clarke Gorge hike from Blue Waterhole Campground at Long Plain. The hike itself is 5km return and winds it's way through the gorgeous limestone gorge, with many river crossings so be prepared to get your hiking shoes wet. You can view the waterfall from the top or you can scramble down rather inelegantly, as there is an extremely steep descent with no guard rails to get to the bottom. I would only recommend the descent if you had hiking shoes and absolutely not kid friendly. Families with kids can admire the waterfall from the top. Take a packed lunch and have lunch beside the waterfall because there are absolutely no cafes nearby. If you want to explore the area more, pitch your tent at the campground.
Clarke Gorge walking track is open between the October and June long weekends, but may have to close during these times due to poor weather or fire danger.
At the beginning or end of the walk, you can take a dip in the blue waterhole. It's very refreshing i.e. freezing!
Curracurrang Falls – Royal National Park, Sydney
You'll find this secluded swimming hole in the Royal National Park Sydney. You can add it as a stop on your adventurous overnight coastal track hike or enjoy it one afternoon from Wattamolla beach car park.
There are no signs posted for Curracurrang Falls and it isn't well known so it is generally a quiet swimming spot. We had it all to ourselves one afternoon where we enjoyed a packed lunch on the surrounding rocks. It's rare to find a quiet spot in the Royal National Park, especially one so close to the popular Wattamolla beach.
From Wattamolla beach car park, where you need to pay $12 for parking, the falls are 4km away. You start the hike along the well known coastal track before turning right at Curracurrang gully creek. From here you may notice a track to the right of the creek where you can follow this track up stream through tranquil palm forest for about 200m before reaching the swimming hole.
Kariong Brook Falls – Central Coast
Kariong Brook Falls is known as the hidden waterfall on the Central Coast, mainly because the track is unmarked so you really need to know where it is to find it. It can be found on Woy Woy Road in the Brisbane Waters National Park.
Park at Staples Lookout before crossing the busy road and head over a locked gate onto a fire trail to start the 6.4km return walk. Part of the walk is actually part of the Great North Walk from Sydney to Newcastle, with a small campsite for overnight hikers nearby.
The last 800m of the walk, you will come across a steep decline to the falls and swimming hole. The falls receives pretty much no sun, so best reserve this walk for a super hot day so you can cool off in the pool. Take a packed lunch or head to the Boathouse at Patonga after for something a little more glamorous.
There you have it - our top picks of waterfalls in NSW to discover while exploring this state of Australia.
Love Bec and Rach x
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