It is absolutely the time of year to go chasing waterfalls. And whilst waterfalls in Sydney might be a little scarce in the heart of the city, there are plenty of excellent waterfalls close by. To help you do summer right, I’ve assembled a list of the best waterfalls near Sydney for you to explore.
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Wattamolla Falls, The Royal National Park
Wattamolla Falls in the Royal National Park has something for everyone. The waterfall itself is always packed with ‘jumpers’ – people who defy the signs saying not to dive and jump into the lagoon below. Whilst I’m not sure I’m game to do that, it definitely can be interesting to watch. Wattamolla Lagoon is swimmer friendly and what better way to warm up after a refreshing dip than to laze on the golden sand and watch the ocean through the heads.
Katoomba Falls, Blue Mountains National Park
Katoomba Falls is a large segmented waterfall in the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains, perfectly positioned for breathtaking views. The best way to see the falls is on the Scenic Skyway from Scenic World where a cable car suspends riders over the lush Jamison Valley below, right in front of the falls with the iconic Three Sisters rock formations on the other side.
The Prince Henry Scenic Walk is another fantastic way to take in a hike and see the falls for free with plenty of lookout locations along the way to take in the views. No swimming is permitted at Katoomba Falls.
Fitzroy Falls, Morton National Park
Fitzroy Falls is a hugely impressive wall of water located in the Morton National Park, easily accessible from the Southern Highlands, Berry or Kangaroo Valley. Standing at 81m tall, Fitzroy Falls is just a short and easy walk from the Fitzroy Falls visitor centre where there is plenty of carparking available.
Best viewed after fresh rainfall when the waters are roaring, these falls are utterly breathtaking. The walks around the area are lovely too, and if you’re lucky you might spot some of Australia’s unique wildlife on your trail.
Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains National Park
Wentworth Falls is a major drawcard to the Blue Mountains. It is a spectacular tiered waterfall surrounded by beautiful bushwalks, located near the township of the same name.
Charles Darwin, himself, once walked these trodden dirt paths and took in the views of the falls. And for those who don’t mind heights, the incredible cliff side National Pass walk is definitely worth exploring.
Maddens Falls, Dharawal National Park
Maddens Falls is located in the Darkes Forest area of Dharawal National Park, just south of Sydney. The walk to the Falls is easy and relatively short, so it is suitable for most people.
You can cross the creek at the top of the falls to get to the other side and climb down to the river which offers amazing views and nice rocky picnic spots – though please be careful as there are no rail guards stopping you from going over the top and the rocks can be slippery. Whilst you can’t swim at Maddens Falls, the challenging Jingga Walking Track will take you to a few great swimming holes.
Leura Cascades, Blue Mountains National Park
Leura Cascades is a gentle running string of waterfalls in the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains region. It is a very relaxing walk in the undergrowth right next to a babbling creek with a lovely shady waterfall at the end of the 30 min walk. There’s a picnic area for those wanting a longer stay or who have worked up an appetite after their walk. There’s also longer walks with the Leura Cascades walk intersecting with the Prince Henry Cliff Walk Trail further along.
Upper Gledhill Falls, Garigal National Park
Upper Gledhill Falls is a brilliant natural swimming hole located just outside Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park just off McCarrs Creek Road. There is very limited parking here, so it can be a challenge to get to, but the falls are well worth it. Even though they’re situated close to the road, the swimming hole is surprisingly peaceful and tranquil. Climbing down to the falls is not marked or a designated trail, so sturdy shoes and caution is advised to get down there.
Bridal Veil Falls, Blue Mountains National Park
Bridal Veil Falls is a wispy light waterfall that flits off the sandy cliffs in the Blue Mountains. Accessible from the gorgeous little town of Blackheath, this light waterfall is a little unpredictable, but is very pretty when it catches the light and dances around. The views of the Grose Valley from the incomparable Govetts Leap lookout (my favourite spot in the Blue Mountains) are perfect for the ultimate sunrise viewing. From here it is a short trail to the Barrow Lookout or a more challenging 6km walk for those wanting to take on the Grand Canyon rainforest track.
The Mermaids Cave, Blue Mountains National Park
The Mermaids Cave is a secluded spot located deep in the Blue Mountains National Park. This makes the list of the best waterfalls in Sydney region for its unique sandstone cave and mossy fern gully with water trickling down the rocks. The movie Mad Max: Thunderdome even filmed a scene in this incredible location.
It is a little off the beaten path in the Blue Mountains, so often visitors are able to have the cave all to themselves for a bit of quiet reflection and repose. Parking is limited just across the road from the trail entrance. Keep an eye out for the little brown street sign to the Mermaid’s Cave – it is easy to miss!
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