Mermaid Pools / Gorge Walking & Cliff Jumping (NSW)


  • Gorge walk
  • Cliff jumping
  • Rock scrambling

If you’re looking for a quick smash and grab day trip adventure from Sydney this is hard to beat.

New to the country I had slightly more tame expectations, but this microadventure sums up the brilliance of Australia to me. Gorge walking, rock scrambling, cliff jumping and a natural swimming hole all within an 1 ½ – 1.5 hour drive from Sydney. Not bad hey?

The walk is about 45mins from the dirt road car park just outside Tahmoor to the Mermaid Pools. It’s a great walk/ scramble that meanders along the Tahmoor Gorge.

There’s no clearly defined path so we picked our way along the river-side on the way there, but on the way back we took the higher, easier and quicker route where there is more of a clearly defined path.

The gorge has created a large natural swimming hole and the only way in is via a cliff jump. There are two options: a 25ft-ish jump and then a ridiculous 50-60ft-ish option. We went for the former.

Although described as a ‘hidden gem’ I gather this place can get pretty busy in the summer, so try to find a quieter time during the year or weekdays. We lucked out by having the whole place to ourselves – both walking and swimming – and it makes a perfect picnic spot after the exhilaration of the cliff jumping.

A note of caution: the only way out is a rock climb via a makeshift rope. This isn’t for everyone. It’s a lot harder than it looks – well I certainly made it look that way with my unusual rock climbing style… But you’d be in a lot of trouble if you can’t deal with the climb out so check it out properly before jumping. There are lots of other swimming options further up the gorge.

Essential gear required

  • Walking boots
  • Swimmers
  • Camera for the air-time shots
  • Post cliff-jumping picnic

How to get there

Head to Tamoor.

Turn right off Rockford road on to Charlie’s Point Road. Immediately on your right you’ll see a dirt road and parking area.

Follow the dirt road from the car park and pass under Nests Ford Crossing bridge.

The path continues to a creek crossing. On the other side you can pick up the Matilda Track which will lead you down to Mermaid Pools.

There are some easy to miss yellow arrows marked on the rocks; one pointing to the more clearly defined upper path that weaves through the trees and the other route is harder-to-follow but more interesting along the river-bed.


    • Cliff-jumping
    • Photography
    • Gorge walking

Skill Level

The walk is easy (Beginner). The jump less so (Intermediate).