Sometimes your lazy Saturday needs 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.


Quick Overview

Upper Gledhill Falls is a waterfall located in the Ku-ring-gai National Park in New South Wales. Driving from Sydney, it should take around 45 minutes to reach.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on Guringai Nation, the traditional Country of the Guringai people who have occupied and cared for this land and water for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.


  • Beautiful waterfall and 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

Finding Upper Gledhill Falls

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 ‘car park’ located on my GPS. Turns out, the only place to park is an unpaved two to three car section on the bend of a blind corner. Little bit sketchy; but luck was on our side that there was one free spot for me to squeeze into!

It’s a quick and easy two minute walk to the top of the falls where you can see some ‘No Cliff Jumping’ signs slapped to the side. From there give yourself about three minutes to walk around to the bottom of the falls with some easy rock scrambling.

Read more: Staying Safe Around Swimming Holes

With its close proximity to the city and easy approach, it feels like a 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 here, 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.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!


Essential Gear

  • Your favourite speedos
  • Towel
  • Camera
  • Hat
  • Water
  • Luck (Hope that you’ll nab one of the three car spots)
  • Plastic bag (for your rubbish and any that you find)

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.

Skill Level


The hike is very short, although does involve some rock scrambling

Distance / Duration

200m / 5 min