Getting Down with Kelly // Kelly’s Falls (NSW)

Drive 5 minutes past Helensburgh and you’ll meet Kelly’s Falls. Go and make friends with her!


Highlights

  • There are various jump rocks into the pool, ranging 1-5m
  • The climb down, while a bit sketchy, feels adventurous, and isn’t too taxing physically
  • Free head massages sitting under the waterfall, with an amazing view of the valley

The weeks were cracking 40⁰C, and then we had a big storm, before leading into another 40⁰C week. In short, lots of water, ridiculous heat; perfect conditions for a bit of waterfall chasing. So I went down past Helensburgh, a whole 5 minutes down the road, and parked at Kelly’s Falls.

After arriving, you’ve got a couple of options. If you walk left, and follow the path along the fence which guards the cliff-face there, you’ll find a couple of creeks and some smaller waterfalls. The biggest one is about 3m high- the first tier of Kelly’s- but the other couple aren’t anything to write home about. The path is such that you jump over the creek and the larger waterfall is below you.

If you want to get down to the bottom of this one for a tan, some photos, or to see the view below; climb down via your right-hand side. I climbed down the waterfall itself, seeing what looked like some steps carved into the side, and went arse over tits on the slimy rocks. Learn from my mistakes.

Anyway, after you’ve enjoyed your first fall, you can climb back up and continue around the path for another 5 minutes. Here there’s a bit of a lookout where you can see every tier the falls, more or less.

Now you’ve sussed out the first level, you can scale the cliffside to the bottom level, and go for a dip or a jump.

You’re going to go back up to the carpark along the path you came down, and chuck a left. This path is pretty sketchy, particularly if you’ve got camera gear. There’s lots of clay and rubble, the path is steep, and it’s a big drop if you stack it.

At one point you need to lower yourself down a rope someone has conveniently tied to a tree, so it’s better if you can at least lift your own bodyweight (you’ll need to climb up on your way home!). I’m not saying you need to be an athlete or into parkour to reach the falls, it’s not physically taxing, but you can’t be stupid, and you can’t be too unfit or lacking in coordination.

This climb itself takes maybe 15 minutes if you take your time, and at the bottom, you’ve got a 20m waterfall above you that you can swim under, or climb up the side of. If you want to jump into the pools, there are smaller rocks to the left (1-2m), and taller ones to the right (3-5m); just make sure you know where the deep water is, as some parts are too shallow to not mess yourself up on.

Essential Gear

  • water
  • good shoes/boots (with grip)
  • sunscreen

How To Get There

Google Maps location

Activities

  • photography
  • wild swimming
  • waterfall chasing

Skill Level

Beginner for the first level, intermediate for the lower levels.

Distance/ Elevation Gained

Sweet F all. The walk down is next to nothing, you just can’t do it quickly. Overall though you’re looking at metres not kilometres!