When it comes to wild places to swim around NSW, we’re spoilt for choice. Waterfalls, lagoons, lakes, creeks, and rivers – NSW is full of them. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite, more secluded swimming holes NSW has hiding around the state.

 

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands and waters for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

 

10 Secret Swimming Holes in NSW:

1. Nellies Glen
2. Mulligans Hut
3. Scouts Falls
4. Tyagarah Tea Tree Lake
5. Pool of Siloam, Lyrebird Dell, and Weeping Rock
6. Lake Yarrunga
7. Dangar Falls
8. Blue Waterholes
9. Glenbrook Gorge
10. Nethercote Falls

 

Also Read:

Why do we go wild swimming?

Having a swimming hole as the final destination of an adventure can open up a new area for exploration, add an extra element of excitement to your weekend bushwalk, and allow you to literally immerse yourself in your surroundings.

By making swimming the focus of our adventures, we’ve opened up nooks and crannies of the landscape that otherwise might have passed under our radar.

Like dipping into another dimension, immersion transports us out of the ordinary and gives us a new perspective. And it opens something up inside us too, a sense of being fully alive (especially when the water is cold!) and fully present to the wonders of the Aussie landscape.

Maybe you already hike with swimmers and a towel in your backpack, just in case, or maybe this is the first time you’ve ever considered swimming outdoors. Either way, we hope we’ll inspire you to take the plunge and make your next adventure a wild swimming one.

When we find swimmable water, our mantra is, ‘Get in there!’. And we haven’t regretted it yet.

Here are a few lesser-known swimming holes in NSW which we hope will lead you off the beaten track and inspire you to make water a regular feature of your adventures.

Sticking closer to Sydney? 10 Wild Swimming Spots Near Sydney

Wild Swimming Safety

Swimming, especially out in nature, has inherent risks and dangers. This shouldn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves and getting out there, but it does mean we have to take a few things into consideration when we head out looking for swimming holes.

We’ve outlined everything you need to know about swimming hole safety, but the key things to know are;

  • You MUST know how to swim before you swim in nature
  • NEVER swim alone or after drinking
  • Check the water depth, speed, quality, and if anything is submerged beneath the surface
  • Wade in gently first before jumping in

Swimming Holes NSW

 

1. Nellies Glen

Location: Budderoo National Park, Robertson, Southern Highlands

Nellies Glen is a beautiful bushland swimming hole with a picture-perfect waterfall in Budderoo National Park. It’s enclosed by vegetation with a rocky surround and lies just upstream from the incredibly impressive Carrington Falls.

You can get behind the waterfall at the far side and there’s a handy rock seat where you can take a seated waterfall shower. The river flows on down over the Carrington Falls and into Kangaroo Valley, which is home to many more idyllic swimming spots.

 

Nellie's Glen, swimming holes NSW

 

How To Get There

Nellies Glen can be found in Budderoo National Park, 10 minutes south of Robertson. Head east out of Robertson on the Illawarra Highway, and when you reach the Famous Robertson Pie Shop, turn right onto Jamberoo Mountain Road. Follow the road for 5km then turn right onto Cloonty Road. Follow the road to the car park at the end. The swimming hole is a 500m walk from the car park.

 

2. Mulligans Hut

Location: Gibraltar Range National Park

Mulligans Hut is a tranquil pool overhung with greenery and fed by a babbling brook right in the centre of a vast area of national parks and state forests. There are countless amazing walking trails, including the three day Gibraltar-Washpool World Heritage Walk, and probably a million other swimming spots to discover.

This is an area tantalisingly pregnant with potential for secret swims, as much of it’s only accessible on foot and there are plenty of rivers and creeks running through it. A genuine NSW wild swimming paradise.

 

6 Wild Swimming Paradises in NSW Rachel Lewis Andy Lewis Mulligan's Hut, swimming hole, water, trees, waterhole

 

How To Get There

Mulligans Hut is an hours’ drive from Glen Innes along Gwydir Highway. Turn right onto Mulligans Dr, and follow it for 9km to Mulligans Campground. From the campground, take the short walk to Mulligans Hut (the actual building) and follow the Dandahra Falls Walk walking track 200m to the swimming hole.

 

3. Scouts Falls

Location: Sherwood Nature Reserve, Coffs Coast

Scouts Falls is a little known natural swimming hole just north-west of Coffs Harbour. Getting to this spot involves a fun scramble up the riverbed, which means that when you arrive at the deep pool under the waterfall, company is likely to be limited.

To continue the adventure, it’s possible to climb with care up the left-hand side of the falls where there are several shallow pools and then scramble up the riverbed, leading to who knows where…

 

6 Wild Swimming Paradises in NSW Rachel Lewis Andy Lewis Scout's Falls, waterfall, swimming hole, rocks, bushes, water

 

How To Get There

Scouts Falls is a 45 minute drive from Coffs Harbour. Take Coramba Rd out of the city and onto Orara Way. At Glenreagh, turn right onto Sherwood Creek Rd and park on the side of the road just before a high timber bridge. To the right of the bridge is a small trail that leads down to the river. Follow the trail for about 20 minutes to pass the small plunge pool and then the larger pool at the base of the falls.

 

4. Tyagarah Tea Tree Lake

Location: Byron Bay, North Coast

Tyagarah Lake is a must-do during a visit to the Byron Bay area. This tea-tree-stained lake offers plenty of space for a longer swim. The tea tree oil that drops into the lake from the surrounding forest gives the water a dark colour and is rumoured to be great for your skin.

There’s a path that lets you cruise the circumference of the lake. Once you’ve chosen your spot, settle down on the bank with a picnic and enjoy an afternoon of lazy dips.

Visiting Byron Bay? Waterfalls and Swimming Holes Near Byron Bay

 

6 Wild Swimming Paradises in NSW Rachel Lewis Andy Lewis Tyagarah Tea Tree Lake, swimming hole, water, trees, waterhole

 

How To Get There

Tyagarah Lake is located in Tyagarah Nature Reserve a 20 minute drive north of Byron Bay. Take Black Rock Rd through the nature reserve and keep an eye out for a walking trail leading off to the left. Follow the trail a few hundred metres to reach the lake.

 

5. Pool of Siloam, Lyrebird Dell, and Weeping Rock

Location: Leura, Blue Mountains

Although Pool of Siloam and Lyrebird Dell are both easily accessible from the centre of Leura (and the train station), the area is a bit of an overlooked gem in a tucked-away corner of the Blue Mountains.

If you access them from the quiet track off of Carleton Road, the first part of the walk along the Leura Cliffs provides classic blue haze views and a great angle on the Three Sisters with hardly a soul in sight.

 

6 Wild Swimming Paradises in NSW Rachel Lewis Andy Lewis Pool of Siloam, waterfall, swimming hole, rocks, bushes, water

 

There’s an easy 1.5km circular route joining the two swimming spots together with the Gordon Falls Picnic Area but the track opens up a world of possibilities for more adventurous hikes as it connects with several other routes covering a large area of the Blue Mountains National Park.

The Pool of Siloam itself is only just deep enough for a dip and startlingly refreshing with a soft sandy bottom making it perfect for lying back and taking in the gorgeous little falls.

At Lyrebird Dell there’s a cave by the falls which has been a shelter for local Aboriginal people for centuries and continues to provide great protection from the elements today.

Still haven’t scratched your waterfall itch? Check out the nearby Leura Cascades trail and see if you can spot Weeping Rock falls. On a hot summer’s day, it’s a beautiful place to cool off your feet in the shallow rock pools

 

6 Wild Swimming Paradises in NSW Rachel Lewis Andy Lewis Lyrebird dell, waterfall, swimming hole, rocks, bushes, water

 

How To Get There

Drive to Leura in the Blue Mountains. From here, there are multiple trailheads to choose from with tracks that intertwine – it all depends how far you want to walk! The quickest access point to the swimming holes is from the Lyrebird Dell Walking Track trailhead that starts off Lone Pine Ave near the Lyrebird Dell Picnic Area.

 

6. Lake Yarrunga

Location: Morton National Park, South Coast

Lake Yarrunga is a pristine swimming spot about three hours south of Sydney in the beautiful Kangaroo Valley, above Tallowa Dam. Combine your swim with an overnight canoe adventure from Bendeela Campground, making use of one of the multiple campgrounds along the shore of the lake and ending at the dam wall the next day.

The view is an interesting one as you paddle amongst a flooded forest; a remnant of a time before the dam was created. As no powered boats are allowed on the dam, this is the perfect place to settle into the rhythmical peace of a long swim or paddle.

Canoes suitable for carrying you and your camping gear can be hired locally and can be dropped off and picked up at your start and end points. There’s also interesting hiking in the national park with ruined buildings and roads from bygone years to discover, all of which can, of course, be punctuated by swims in the lake.

Campgrounds accessible on foot are at Acacia Flat and Beehive Point, both of which are very simple with just a drop toilet, lots of beautiful bush, and easy access to the water to make going for a dip an integral part of your stay.

 

wild swimming

 

How To Get There

Lake Yarrunga is a 20 minute drive from Kangaroo Valley. Take Moss Vale Rd north out of town and turn left onto Bendeela Rd and follow it as it becomes Jacks Corner Rd. Turn left to stay on Jacks Corner Rd, after 1.5km turn right, after 300m, turn left, and 550m later you’ll arrive at Lake Yarrunga.

 

7. Dangar Falls

Location: Dorrigo

Dangar Falls is just one of the many waterfalls you’ll find along Waterfall Way, the picturesque drive between Armidale and Coffs Harbour. However it’s one of the few waterfalls in the area you can actually swim at!

The falls itself is 30 metres high and you’ll find a large natural swimming pool at the base that runs into a creek. The Dangar Falls is surrounded by luscious rainforest and the pool is easily accessible, with a pebbly entry just near the walking track.

Dangar Falls can be found just a short distance from the main road, making it a pretty popular spot! You can check out the view from above at the lookout and picnic area just by the road, then make your way along the boardwalk, through the rainforest to the base of the falls. The walk to the base of Dangar Falls takes around 5-10 minutes.

After heavy rain the waterfall is pumping, which can make the current strong and the boardwalk is slippery, so be cautious!

Hot tip! Don’t get Dangar Falls confused for Dangars Fallsalthough located close by, this is a much higher waterfall that does not offer an inviting pool at the bottom.

 

How To Get There

Dangar Falls is just a five minute drive out of the town of Dorrigo. Head north out of town on Coramba Rd and after five minutes, you’ll find a grassy picnic area and car park on your right. Park here and take the short boardwalk through the rainforest to the base of the falls.

 

8. Blue Waterholes

Location: Kosciuszko National Park

The Blue Waterholes of Kosciuszko National Park are a bit of a hidden gem in the park. Found in the less-explored High Plains region, these iridescent blue pools are a delight in summer, and a good way to wake up in winter.

The natural swimming hole is surrounded by limestone cliffs that jut up high into the sky and both Clarke and Nichols Gorges can be found close by. The water here is especially blue, thanks to a chemical reaction between minerals in the water and surrounding limestone. Thank you nature and chemistry!

The swimming hole is just a short walk from Blue Waterholes Campground, which is an ideal spot to spend the weekend!

 

Yarrangobilly Caves And Blue Waterholes // Karst In The Kosciuszko (NSW), Photo by Craig Pearce, Kosciuszko National Park, NSW, Alpine, High Country,

Photo by Craig Pearce

 

How To Get There

The Blue Waterholes are an hour and 20 minute drive from Adaminaby. Take the Snowy Mountains Highway north out of town and after 56km, turn right onto Long Plain Rd. Drive 17km then turn right onto the Blue Waterholes Trail and follow it to Blue Waterholes Campground. The swimming hole is a short walk from the campground.

 

9. Glenbrook Gorge

Location: Glenbrook, Blue Mountains National Park

Glenbrook Gorge is a tranquil swimming spot, not far from the outskirts of Sydney that’s a quieter alternative to Jellybean Pool. In fact, you could have all to yourself – if you’re willing to put in the effort to get there.

The swimming hole itself is encompassed by tall gorge walls, and features boulders scattered around the water and a sandy, beach bank to relax on!

To reach Glenbrook Gorge, you’ll have to take the somewhat steep 3km return hike along the Glenbrook Gorge Track. It doesn’t take long to get down to the river, but with a bit of bush-bashing and rock hopping involved, the pace can be a bit slow going once you’re by the river.

Bring a book and a friend and while away the day on this tranquil bush beach!

Please note! After heavy rain the current can be quite strong here with some rapids, so take care. The trail has also seen damage due to rains, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes on the hike.

 

 

How To Get There

Glenbrook Gorge can be accessed via the Glenbrook Gorge Track in the Blue Mountains National Park. The trailhead for the track starts at the car park at the Glenbrook entrance to the national park.

 

10. Nethercote Falls

Location: Pambula, Far South Coast

Sick of feeling all crusty after dipping in and out of saltwater all day long during your summer holiday on the NSW South Coast? Take an inland detour to the freshwater natural swimming hole of Nethercote Falls on the Yowaka River instead.

Nethercote Falls features a nice long and deep pool – perfect for swimming laps! The natural swimming hole is tucked in between two towering gorge walls, with a small waterfall at the far end and some submerged boulders scattered throughout.

This is one of the popular swimming spots around the area, especially for locals, but it’s well worth a visit!

There are two car parks, but only 4WDs can reach the lower car park. The walk down to the lower car park is quite steep (which means a steep climb on the way back up!). From there, the walk to Nethercote Falls is only a few hundred metres but involves a shallow river crossing.

 

Photo by @eutherian

How To Get There

Nethercote Falls is located a 15 minute drive from the South Coast town of Pambula. Take the Princes Highway south out of town and turn right onto Mount Darragh Rd. Drive 5km along Mount Darragh Rd, then another 5km along Back Creek Rd to reach Pipeclay Rd. Drive a few hundred metres to find Yowaka River Trail and follow this to the car park.

 

So there you have it – the best natural swimming holes in NSW! Well, what are you waiting for? Grab your swimmers and towel and get out there!

Photos by @andylewis_photography