Link the Bullawarring and Pipeline trails in Heathcote National Park to make the perfect overnight hike to Kingfisher Pool that’s accessible by train.
- Easy overnight hike that you can start in the afternoon
- Two tranquil freshwater holes, Kingfisher Pool and Mirang Pool, to swim in
- Don’t need a car! Easy walk to and from Sydney train stations
Heathcote National Park?
Have you heard of Heathcote National Park? Sounds familiar.
Have you been? Didn’t think so.
Two weekends in a row I visited Heathcote National Park and was shocked at how few people were around. On 30 degree days. In Sydney.
You’ll find it on the western side of the Princes Highway near Waterfall, so like, across the road from the Royal National Park, but without the congregations of people who bathe at Wattamolla. Parking’s a cinch and there are no entry fees to cough up.
Granted, there aren’t any beaches either, but there are multiple tranquil freshwater swimming holes that you might just get all to yourself.
This simple and super accessible overnight hike links up a few different tracks, has two different campground options, both right by gorgeous natural swimming pools, and can be easily accessed by train!
My mates and I started the hike in Waterfall and camped at Kingfisher Pool campground, but it’s just as easy to start at the Heathcote end and camp at Mirang Pool campground. Both campgrounds are only about 1.5km from the trailhead, so no need to rush in!
In fact, the later in the day you start the better! Hopefully by late arvo the handful of day trippers will have cleared out and you’ll be able to enjoy your swim, undisturbed!
Day 1 – Waterfall Station to Kingfisher Pool Campground
Time: 45 mins
We didn’t even start this hike until 4:30pm on a Saturday arvo and still made great time. How good’s daylight savings?
If you’re utilising the trains, rock up at Waterfall Station and cross the bridge over the highway. You’ll wander through suburban streets for about 10 minutes, before reaching the trailhead at the end of Warabin St.
Follow the Bullawarring track into the rainforest, with its giant gymea lilies and red-tinged gums twisting their limbs about.
Watch your balance down the oversized sandstone steps as you descend towards the waterline. There was water across the track in one spot, but nothing drastic enough to send you off course.
After around 30 minutes of wandering, you’ll hear the splashing of the waterfall. Just before the lookout over Kingfisher Pool, you’ll find a clearing on the right with a single toilet cubicle. This is Kingfisher Pool campground.
Walk to the edge of the rocky outcrop and look out over your own private swimming pool and waterfall. You bloody beauty!
If you timed it right, there should just be enough time to cool off, set up camp, and cook dinner before the sun says goodnight.
Day 2 – Kingfisher Pool to Heathcote Station
There’s no need to rush off in the morning. Wake to the trickle of the river right by your tent and start the day with a coupla laps. Soak up the surroundings, enjoy a hearty breakfast and a cuppa or two, before packing up just in time to greet the first day hikers on the trail.
The hike begins with the climb through the forest and up out of the valley. The path is relatively obvious, but can be very rocky and rooty, with some big steps up sandstone rocks, so watch your footing.
After a kilometre or two, the path flattens out for a while and you can catch some glimpses of the valley below.
There are a few intersections along the way, so be sure to follow all signs leading to Battery Causeway and then onto Heathcote Station. Battery Causeway is a great place for a break and bite to eat.
The causeway is where Bullawarring track meets the Pipeline Trail. It won’t take long to figure out how this trail got its name. From here, you’re walking along a fire trail most of the way, which isn’t the most immersive kind of hike, but it soon brings you to Mirang Pool, which is the best kept secret in Heathcote National Park.
Don’t you dare walk past the Mirang Pool sign without descending the stairs to take a dip. Cross the first waterway and follow the trail through the scrub until you reach a clearing and fire pit. This is Mirang Pool campground.
The best place to enter the pool is just by the fallen tree. A little further along the bush track you’ll pop out at some small tumbling waterfalls and lots of big sunny rocks to bake yourself on.
Once you’re sufficiently refreshed, head back up the stairs and continue along the fire trail. It’s only about another 850m until you turn right onto the Friendly Track. Clamber up the sandstone staircase for the last jaunt through the rainforest before you pop out on a suburban street in Heathcote 10 minutes later.
From here it’s just a 15 minute stroll to Heathcote Station along Boundary Road and then Oliver Street. We caught the train back to Waterfall Station and walked to our car parked by the Bullawarring trail head. We were home in time for a late lunch!
- Camping setup
- Hiking boots, preferably with ankle support
- Swimmers and towel
- Something to make coffee!
- Opal card
- 3L of water
How To Get There
Via public transport
Catch the train to Heathcote or Waterfall stations. The trailheads are only a 10 minute walk from each station.
If starting from the Waterfall end, take the Princes Highway and exit at Waterfall. Head to Warabin St and park wherever you can. The track starts at the end of the cul-de-sac.
If starting from the Heathcote end, take the Princes Highway to Heathcote and turn onto Oliver St. Drive to Boundary Rd and then turn onto Freeman Rd. Park on the grassy vacant blocks on the left hand side of the street. The trailhead can be found behind the old scout hall.
Although the hike’s relatively straightforward and not too long, the trail can be quite overgrown and unstable, with lots of rocks and tree roots to navigate, which can be tricky with weight on your back.
Distance Covered / Time Taken
10.5km / 2 days with 3hr 45min of walking