Sometimes your lazy Saturday needs just a little spice to keep the blood circulating. Upper Gledhill Falls in the north of Sydney is the perfect pick-me-up for your sloth-like self, or the ideal intro for less adventurous mates. Can you already feel the cool water cascading over your shoulders?


  • Beautiful Waterfall & Swimming Hole
  • Located within Sydney
  • Perfect secluded spot to relax and swim on a hot Summer’s day
  • Easy accessibility to neighbouring Ku-Ring-Gai hotspots

jeremy lam, gledhill falls, northern beaches, north shore, sydney, nsw, waterfall, wild swimming

The Lowdown

This particular weekend started quite late for me. I slept through my alarm and woke to a message from my friend itching to get out and adventure somewhere. Too late to really get out of Sydney and too overcast to hit up the coast, I decided that we’d go out and chase a waterfall!

I had my eye on Upper Gledhill falls for a few weeks already after stumbling upon it on Google Maps and this seemed like the best day to get it out of the way! An easy 45 minute drive later and I’d missed the apparent “carpark” located on my GPS. Turns out, the only place to park is an unpaved 2-3 car section on the bend of a blind corner. Little bit sketchy; but luck was on our side that there was 1 free spot for me to squeeze into!

It’s a quick and easy 2 minute walk down to the top of the falls where you can see some “No Cliff Jumping” signs slapped to the side *hint* *hint*. From there give yourself about 3 minutes to walk around to the bottom of the falls with some easy rock scrambling.

With its close proximity to the city and easy approach, it feels like an private oasis to sit back and relax all day. There’s a beautifully turquoise/blue swimming hole that the falls plunge into, lush vegetation framing the scene, and even some interesting rock painting made by earlier visitors. We ended up spending about an hour there, relaxing, taking photos, writing and wandering into the small cave behind the falls.

With its blissful beauty, Upper Gledhill Falls definitely satiated our desire to add a little adventurous spice to our lazy Saturday afternoon.

Safety Note: Never jump into a swimming hole without checking the depth first.

jeremy lam, upper gledhill falls, northern beaches, north shore, sydney, nsw, waterfall, wild swimming

Essential Gear

  • Balmy Summer’s day
  • Your favourite speedos
  • Camera & Gear
  • Luck (Hope that you’ll nab one of the three car spots)
  • Plastic bag (for your rubbish and any that you find)


  • Swimming
  • Cliff Jumping (at your own discretion – check depth & submerged objects)
  • Photography

How To Get There


About a 45 minute drive from the heart of Sydney, type in Upper Gledhill Falls into Google Maps and follow it into Ku Ring Gai National Park. Once on Mccarrs Creek Road, drive down for 4.7 km where you’ll see an opening for Duckholes Trail on the right.

Slow down because just as you pass it, the parking spaces for the falls will be on your left. Once parked, follow the obvious trail down to the top of the falls and veer right to find the trail to the bottom.

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