When was the last time you saw something so majestic and beautiful your jaw literally dropped in awe? There’s something about waterfalls that’ll do just that. We’ve gathered a list of the best waterfalls in NSW that’ll inspire your sense of adventure and rejuvenate your soul.

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Waterfalls Are Awesome

If you ever needed proof that Mother Nature truly is a creator of utter magic, all you need to do is go chase some waterfalls (I will not make a TLC joke, I will not make a TLC joke, I will not make a TLC joke…)

What is it about waterfalls? They’re somehow more than just a truly epic final destination of a hike or bushwalk. A towering waterfall rejuvenates the soul and has the power to remind us of our smallness in comparison to the vastness of nature. It’s humbling, it’s breathtaking, and it makes us feel something – it makes us feel alive – ya know what I mean?

The good news is NSW is abundant with stunning waterfalls that’ll take your breath away (and not just because you had to hike a couple of kilometres to get there).

Ready to cure whatever it is that ails you? From the Blue Mountains in the west to Morton National Park in the south, to the Royal National Park less than an hour away from Sydney… come on, let’s go chasing waterfalls.

And remember: we love our wild and precious places so as always, leave no trace, respect the local flora and fauna and tread lightly.

Also, be mindful that some NSW national parks require an entry fee, most being $8 per day. See which parks have entry fees.

 

Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains, DNSW

Wentworth Falls

Waterfall Safety

Hiking to waterfalls (and swimming under them where permitted) has its inherent risks and dangers. We don’t want to dampen your adventurous spirit – you should absolutely go explore some waterfalls at every opportunity. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind when visiting NSW waterfalls.

  • Don’t go alone, or if you have to, let someone know where you’re going
  • Take note of all safety signs, and check online before you go in case of closures
  • Wear appropriate hiking gear, including sturdy boots
  • You must know how to swim before you get in the water (if it’s permitted)
  • Check the water depth, speed, quality, and if anything is submerged beneath the surface
  • Take precautions near cliffs and don’t go near edges or jump any fences
  • Use common sense… don’t walk under, near or around the waterfall if it looks unsafe to do so

Read more: Staying Safe Around Swimming Holes

 

 

Best Waterfalls NSW – Southern NSW

 

1. Minnamurra Falls, Budderoo National Park

 

Minnamurra Rainforest Centre, Jamberoo, DNSW

 

Location: Near Jamberoo
Hiking distance:
4.2km return
Difficulty:
Grade 4

Looking for an idyllic waterfall experience in southern NSW? You can’t beat the Minnamurra Falls walks in Budderoo National Park. Fair warning – it’s a decent hike and probably not for beginners thanks to the pretty steep sections along the way.

However, if you’re feeling up to the challenge, you’ll be able to walk alongside bubbling streams and over mossy rocks – it’s truly a delight.

There are breathtaking views at every turn until you reach the viewing platforms at the lower and upper Minnamurra Falls, where you can take in the awe-inspiring views of the waterfall. If you’re lucky you might even spot a lyrebird, or at the very least some beautiful butterflies along the way.

More Info

2. Winifred Falls, Royal National Park

Location: Near Heathcote
Hiking distance:
9km return
Difficulty:
Grade 4

Winifred Falls is another beaut of a hike where you’re rewarded with a jaw-dropping waterfall at the end. The best part? It’s in the Royal National Park – so just a hop, skip and a jump from Sydney.

With varied rugged terrain and the occasional steep climbs with rocky scrambles, this is a challenging hike, so be prepared.

Winifred Falls are formed by large rock shelves that the South West Arm Creek pours over. The good news is you can take a post-hike swim in these falls, or even pack a picnic if you feel like carrying it in (but remember to carry all your rubbish out too!).

More Info

3. Nellies Glen, Budderoo National Park

 

 

Location: Near Robertson
Hiking distance: 2km return
Difficulty:
Grade 1-2

Another stunning waterfall in Budderoo National Park is at Nellies Glen. It’s a moderately easy hike, short in distance and featuring flat but unpaved terrain. From the car park, it’s about a five minute walk to Nellies Glen swimming hole and waterfall.

It’s a beautiful spot for a quiet picnic beneath the falls, with some gorgeous natural swimming holes which are perfect to cool off in for warm summer days (or winter days too, if you’re game). There are several rock pools and smaller waterfalls here which are prime for exploring too.

More Info

4. Gerringong Falls, Budderoo National Park

 

Gerringong Falls, Upper Kangaroo Valley, DNSW

 

Location: Southern Highlands
Hiking distance:
17.4km
Difficulty:
Grade 3-4

Budderoo National Park scores a hat-trick here with possibly the most stunning waterfall in southern NSW. Gerringong Falls stands resolute at 180m tall and is a stunning two-tier waterfall.

Fair warning: it’s a decent 17.4km return hike so if you’re planning a visit, make sure you leave yourself ample time to complete the hike and bask in the beauty of the waterfall too.

Considering it’s such a long hike, it’s likely the waterfall won’t be particularly crowded when you go. And because it’s mostly along a fire trail, you could even take your mountain bike if ya fancy a day on wheels. It’s also worth noting you cannot access the bottom of the falls, so don’t push ya luck there, and be careful around any cliffs, two body lengths from the edge is a good rule of thumb.

More Info

5. Fitzroy Falls, Morton National Park

 

Fitzroy Falls, Morton National Park, DNSW

 

Location: Fitzroy Falls
Hiking distance: 3.5km return (West Rim walking track)
Difficulty:
Grade 3

No visit to the NSW Southern Highlands is complete without a hike to Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park.

An inspiring waterfall that roars down the mountainside, there are two ways you can reach these beautiful falls. I’d recommend the West Rim walking track because this’ll allow you to stop at the lower falls which can’t be seen from the main viewing point (which is just 150m from the car park).

The West Rim walk is beautiful as you amble along a gently undulating track through pristine eucalypt forests and lush rainforest.

For flora lovers, you’ll enjoy the lush ferns and monstrous forest canopy of Coachwood, Bloodwood and Lilly Pilly.

More Info

Best Waterfalls NSW – Northern NSW

 

6. Killen Falls, Tintenbar

 

 

Location: Ballina
Hiking distance:
660m return
Difficulty:
Grade 3

If you’re after waterfalls in northern NSW, definitely give Killen Falls a visit. An underrated paradise, Killen Falls is also home to one of the last standing remains of the big scrub rainforest which once covered the Northern Rivers.

Getting to the Killen Falls viewing platform is about a 660m return walk, but don’t let that fool you – it’s still a grade 3 bush walk because the track is pretty damn steep.

Can you swim there? It’s not recommended due to the variable water quality, sorry kids.

More Info

7. Dangars Falls, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

 

 

Location: Near Armidale
Hiking distance: 1.7km return
Difficulty:
Grade 2

Head north to Oxley Wild Rivers National Park and you’ll find the rejuvenating Dangars Falls (not to be confused with the more popular Dangar Falls in Dorrigo).

Peppered with scenic lookouts along the way, Dangars Falls walking track is short and sweet, with a stunning waterfall that plunders into a deep gorge.

You can view the falls about 100m from the car park, or take a 1.7km return walk to the Falls Look Down viewpoint, which offers a phenomenal view of the waterfall.

More Info

8. Upper Gledhill Falls, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

 

 

Location: Near Ingleside
Hiking distance:
200m
Difficulty:
Grade 2

If you like hidden waterfalls (and who doesn’t?), one of the best hidden waterfalls in Sydney is the Upper Gledhill Falls in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

After following a relatively steep trail down to the base of the falls, you’ll be treated to a gorgeous (and swimmable) pool – and you can even swim directly under the falls.

There are several boulders to battle to access the water but right at the water’s edge, there’s a small, sandy beach – don’t forget to pack a book and a towel for the ultimate day of exploration and relaxation.

More Info

9. Somersby Falls, Brisbane Water National Park

 

 

Location: Central Coast
Hiking distance:
100m return
Difficulty:
Grade 3

The picture-perfect Somersby Falls is a personal fave of mine and is one of the most gorgeous waterfalls on the Central Coast.

The Somersby Falls walking track snakes its way down to the bottom of the falls, with plenty of lookouts to take a quick pic along the way.

There’s local wildlife to spot including water dragons, frogs, and goannas. After visiting the bottom of the falls, why not make your way back to the picnic area and spend the rest of the day in maxo relaxo mode?

More Info

10. Ellenborough Falls, Elands

Location: Forster & Taree region
Hiking distance:
1.9km return
Difficulty: Grade 2-3

Fun fact: At 200 metres, Ellenborough Falls is the tallest single drop waterfall in NSW and one of the tallest in the southern hemisphere!

And, depending on your current fitness level, there are actually four ways to experience Ellenborough Falls. At the top of the falls near the car park is a super accessible view platform, and nearby there’s a short walk to another viewing area.

Or, you can take a 10 minute walk down the timbered walkway to The Knoll. This viewing platform is directly opposite the falls so you’ll get an absolutely incredible top-to-bottom vista of the waterfall.

If you’re feeling super fit, you can descend 641 steps to the base of the falls (keeping in mind that’s 641 steps to ascend on the way back). At the bottom, you’ll be treated to a rock pool and water spray from the falls. It’s well worth it, promise!

Also, Ellenborough Falls is dog friendly, so worst come to worst your best bud can just pull you back up the stairs.

More Info

11. Dangar Falls, Dorrigo

 

Dangar Falls, Dorrigo, DNSW

 

Location: Northern Tablelands
Hiking distance:
1.1km return
Difficulty:
Grade 2

No, we didn’t make a mistake and you’re not seeing double – Dangar Falls (not to be confused with Dangars Falls mentioned above) is a short but scenic trail in Northern NSW.

Another dog friendly trail, Dangar Falls is an out and back route that begins and ends near Dangar Falls Picnic Area and Lookout.

The trail itself is steep but paved, and the improved boardwalk and viewing platform at the bottom is the best spot to soak up the 30 metre high cascade waterfall on the Bielsdown River in Dorrigo.

The waterfall itself is wide and powerful, flowing into a huge waterhole (which you can swim in!) at the base.

More Info

12. Red Cedar Falls, Dorrigo National Park

Location: Dorrigo
Hiking distance:
8km return
Difficulty:
Grade 5

If you’re up for a tough hike that has one of the most awe-inspiring views at the end, might I suggest Red Cedar Falls in Dorrigo National Park?

It’s a strenuous hike no doubt, but you’ll witness sweeping vistas and a World Heritage-listed rainforest so it’s not like there’s no payoff.

Your treat for completing the hike is Red Cedar Falls – the largest waterfall in Dorrigo National Park. Find a spot to picnic, or simply enjoy the sweet sing-song of birds and maybe even the less-sweet sounds of some Barred frogs (they sound like ‘ork ork ork’ – no, seriously).

More Info

13. Crystal Shower Falls, Dorrigo National Park

 

 

Location: Dorrigo
Hiking distance:
4.4km return
Difficulty:
Grade 2

Another stunning waterfall in Dorrigo National Park, Crystal Shower Falls walk is a short but sublime waterfall walk that actually takes you behind the waterfall itself – a truly spectacular experience.

Part of the Wonga walk circuit, you’ll meander through lush rainforest, before reaching a suspension bridge that carries you across the valley and leads you to incredible views of the waterfall.

And, a short side track will take you straight behind the waterfall into a rocky cavern, where you can peer through the tumbling water and feel the energy of the falls surround you.

More Info

14. Wollomombi Falls, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park

 

 

Location: Near Armidale 
Hiking distance:
4km return
Difficulty:
Grade 3

If waterfalls and wilderness are your jam, you gotta take an adventure to Wollomombi Falls in the Northern Tablelands. Wollomombi Falls is actually the second-highest in Australia, with a 220m combined drop.

A relatively unknown waterfall, the gorge at the bottom of the falls is godly, to say the least. Honestly, you have to see it to believe it. You can view both the falls from a viewpoint about 200 metres from the car park, or you can take a mild 4km return hike for a more up close and personal view.

The hike crosses the Wollomombi River where, if you keep your eyes wide and bright, you might see a platypus paddling or a Grey kangaroo snoozing in the shade.

More Info

15. Minyon Falls, Nightcap National Park

 

Minyon Falls, DNSW

 

Location: Nightcap National Park
Hiking distance:
13km return
Difficulty:
Grade 3

Minyon Falls is certainly a popular waterfall in the Byron Bay region and for good reason: it thunders over 100m down the cliffside and is truly a mesmerising sight.

You can view the falls from a viewing platform that’s about 150 metres from the car park, or take a 13km return hike that winds through dense Nightcap rainforest.

There’s even a pool you can swim in at the base of the falls to really make this waterfall adventure one you’ll not be forgetting anytime soon.

More Info

Best Waterfalls NSW – Sydney & Western NSW

 

16. Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains National Park

 

 

Location: Katoomba
Hiking distance:
1.4km return
Difficulty:
Grade 3

Wentworth Falls is possibly one of – if not the most – popular waterfall in the Sydney region. It’s a short but steep walk to get there, but man, it’s worth the effort (and the crowds).

Hike past Jamison and Wentworth lookouts before climbing down 200 steps to the cliff-edge of Fletchers lookout and just look on in awe as Wentworth Falls plunges 100m into the valley base.

If you’re up to it, it’s a few more minutes down steps to the very top of the Falls, where Jamison Creek flows into a shallow pool to one side, and the stunning Jamison Valley can be seen on the other.

Find more info here.

 

17. Minerva Pool & Waterfall, Dharawal National Park

 

 

Location: Campbelltown
Hiking distance:
2.4km return
Difficulty:
Grade 3

Minerva Pool is a must-do, but please bear in mind it’s a sacred women’s place for the Dharawal People. The Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council asks that visitors respect the cultural importance of this site and that only women and children enter the waters.

It’s a short, relaxing bushwalk to reach the falls at Minerva Pool and you really can feel the history and cultural importance as you meander through.

Keep your eyes peeled for some Sydney Golden wattle and Mountain Devil shrub, which the Dharawal People use for bush food and medicine.

At the end of the track, you’ll arrive at Minerva Pool, a large and beautiful waterhole with sandstone features and a small stone island. It’s a great spot for a picnic, with some flat rock area for you to lay back and while the day away reading.

More Info

18. Kanangra Falls, Kanangra-Boyd National Park

 

 

Location: Near Jenolan
Hiking distance:
3.2km return
Difficulty:
Grade 2-3

Kanangra-Boyd National park is one of the lesser-known parks in the Blue Mountains region, but that makes it even more enticing for the adventurous spirits among us.

And, when visiting Kanangra-Boyd National Park, you absolutely must check out Kanangra Waterfall. The relatively easy walk takes you along an exposed spine of ancient rocks and past views of Kanangra Deep, Kanangra Walls and Thurat Spires.

As you head further into the gorge, you may be lucky to spot the native Australian red cedar – with new red growth coming in late spring.

Kanangra Falls is truly massive, flowing over two tiers with a 225m drop. If you want to continue chasing waterfalls, you can walk to the end of the trail and continue on the Waterfall Walk, which will take you to Kalang Falls – a two-for-one deal! Kalang Falls is also an absolute must-visit, but to be fair I’ll say that about any waterfall.

More Info

19. Minnehaha Falls, Blue Mountains

 

 

Location: Katoomba
Hiking distance:
2.6km
Difficulty:
Grade 1

Finally, we get to Minnehaha Falls (epic name, no?) The name derives from a fictional Native American woman, Minnehaha, and loosely translates to mean ‘waterfall’.

A 20m waterfall and swimming hole, the walk to reach the falls is easy enough, although there is about 10 minutes of steep stair-climbing.

Alternatively, you can enjoy it from the top at a viewpoint along the walking trail, but I’d highly recommend tackling the stairs for the best view.

Once you reach the pool, there are several spots to perch yourself on to sit back and relax, or dive in to cool off. It’s also dog-friendly!

More Info

Best Waterfalls in NSW FAQs

Which NSW waterfalls are best to swim in?

Killen Falls, Nellies Glen, Winifred Falls, and Ellenborough Falls are some of the best waterfalls you can swim in.

Can I take my dog to any waterfall in New South Wales?

Most of the waterfalls listed here are inside national parks, meaning your best four-legged friend cannot join you. However, Dangar Falls, Ellenborough Falls, Minehaha Falls and Killen Falls are not within national parks, meaning you dog-gone betcha your doggo can join you there!

Which NSW waterfalls are wheelchair accessible?

Fitzroy Falls has a wheelchair-accessible lookout, and Wollomombi Falls viewing platform is accessible via wheelchair as well.

When is the best time to visit waterfalls?

While any season is a good time to visit waterfalls, be wary that anytime it rains, waterfalls can become dangerous and inaccessible. Always remember to check the official website of the park or conservation area before you head off.

What’s the closest waterfall to Sydney?

South of Sydney you’ll find two falls in Dharawal National Park. In the Royal National Park, there are seven! These are all less than an hour from Sydney. North of Sydney there’s Upper Gledhill Falls in Ku-ring-gai National Park, and Somersby Falls in Brisbane Water National Park. Then to the west you’ll find Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains, which is just 90 minutes from Sydney.

Contrary to what TLC said…

Go on, go chase some waterfalls you adventurous soul, you! Which waterfall are you gonna tick off the list first? Or have you visited any of these beauties yourself?

Drop us a comment and let us know. And if you’re feeling generous, let us know of any hidden waterfall spots you’ve found on your own adventures!

 

Feature photo by @travelmademedoit_

Additional photos thanks to Destination NSW