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  • Sydney
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  • The Best Waterfalls Near Sydney to Swim Under & Explore

The Best Waterfalls Near Sydney to Swim Under & Explore

Cool off with a dip under one of the best waterfalls near Sydney.

Curracurrong Falls (Image Credit: Destination NSW)

As the weather starts to cool, we're getting together our bucket list of all the places we hope to swim at before Autumn ends. Luckily for us, Sydney is rife with scenic swimming spots, from hidden beaches to natural rock pools. But there's another body of water that we can't get enough of - waterholes and waterfalls! Nothing feels quite as magical as standing under fresh, tumbling water. And yep, Sydney has a few to choose from! 

 From secret swimming spots to major natural wonders, each and every one of these stunning waterfalls near Sydney is well worth a visit. So, get your bag packed with plenty of snacks and head off on an adventure this weekend...

The Best Waterfalls Near Sydney: Within One Hour

Gledhill Falls

Gledhill Falls, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

One of the best-hidden waterfalls in Sydney, Gledhill Falls in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, is the perfect secret swimming spot. After following a fairly steep trail down to the base of the falls, you’ll be rewarded with a swimmable 10-metre pool. With chilly but calm waters you can even swim directly under the falls. Plus, for the young at heart, rumour has it that there’s even a rope swing into the rock pool. Make a mini break of it by checking out the best things to do in the nearby Northern Beaches. 

Distance from Sydney CBD: 45 minutes

Collins Flat Beach (Image Credit: @lovemanly)

Collins Flat Beach Waterfall, Sydney Harbour National Park

This secluded little spot is one of Manly’s best-kept secrets. Just 1.3km from Manly Wharf, Collins Flat Beach has a waterfall and, wait for it, fairy penguins! When it hasn’t rained in a while, the falls can slow to a dribble but after a big rainfall, you can stand beneath the tumbling water while getting a look back at our gorgeous Sydney Harbour. 

Distance from Sydney CBD: 35 minutes

The Best Waterfalls Near Sydney: Within Two Hours


Wattamolla, Royal National Park

Located just an hour from the Sydney CBD in the eastern section of the Royal National Park, Wattamolla has absolutely everything you need for a day of fun in the sun. With not only a waterfall but a lagoon and a beach, this is your go-to spot for all water-based activities – we’re talking swimming, fishing and snorkelling! Stay close to shore in the calm waters of the lagoon or swim out 50 metres to get to the base of the falls themselves. After an idyllic time swimming, hiking and taking in nature, end the day with a barbecue, picnic or just relax under the shade of the cabbage tree palms. 

Distance from Sydney CBD: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Winifred Falls

Winifred Falls, Royal National Park

A favourite with Sutherland Shire locals, Winifred Falls is a ball after heavy rain. Pack your walking shoes as well as your swimmers because you'll need to trek through the bush to get there. Park your car at Warumbul Road and take the Winifred Falls Fire Trail. It should take you around 30 minutes to reach the falls. Once there, settle in with a picnic and spend your day running in and out of the 30-metre cascade. If you fancy continuing the adventure, follow the falls downstream to South West Arm Creek where you'll find jumping rocks and deeper water - the creek itself is easily one of the best swimming spots in Sydney! 

Distance from Sydney CBD: 1 hour 10 minutes 

Wentworth Falls (Image Credit: Walk My World)

Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains National Park

Located in the gorgeous Blue Mountains National Park, these waterfalls are the perfect spot for those looking to experience world class views not far from Sydney. The dramatic falls are 187 metre high and flow over three platforms into a gorgeous valley. You can spend the day taking in the view from the picnic area or commit to a hike. There are two major walking trails nearby. For history buffs, we recommend the Charles Darwin Walk, which retraces the steps that the naturalist himself took back in 1836. If you’re more of a hardcore hiker, check out the 3.5km Overcliff-Undercliff Track which combines dramatic clifftops, birdwatching and mind-blowing amounts of wild flowers. Make a weekend of it by exploring all the great things to do in the Blue Mountains.

Distance from Sydney CBD: 1 hour and 35 minutes

Katoomba Falls (Image Credit: Encircle Photos)

Katoomba Falls, Blue Mountains National Park

The following falls need no introduction. The Katoomba Falls are some of the best-known waterfalls in Sydney. Central to the Blue Mountains National Park, there are so many ways to take in the falls in all their glory. Check it out from the iconic Scenic Skyway, suspended 270 metres above the Jamison Valley or hit up the Katoomba Falls round walking track to explore it on foot. The 1.5km circuit has spectacular views from Reids Plateau as well as from the romantically named Juliet’s Balcony – both are absolutely lousy with Instagrammable views. 

Distance from Sydney CBD: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Govetts Leap (Image Credit: National Parks NSW)

Govetts Leap (Bridal Veil) Falls, Blue Mountains National Park

The Govetts Leap Lookout is one of the most famous viewing points in Australia and when you arrive at the stunning lookout and take in the breathtaking view, it’s not hard to see why the spot has earned this stellar reputation. Over to the falls themselves, the aptly nicknamed Bridal Veil Falls is a dramatic stream of water that drops a whopping 180 metres to the base of the cliff.  Adventurers looking to get a closer look at the majestic falls can attempt the Govetts Leap Descent, a nearly vertical 1.2-kilometre trek that will take you through towering blue gums and ends at a picnic area at the base of the falls.

Distance from Sydney CBD: 1 hour and 50 minutes

The Best Waterfalls Near Sydney: Within Three Hours

Fitzroy Falls (Image Credit: Visit NSW)

Fitzroy Falls, Morton National Park

A waterfall that truly packs a punch, Fitzroy Falls is a truly magnificent waterfall located in the Morton National Park, south-southwest of Sydney. In Sydney’s Southern Highlands, 20 minutes from trendy Bowral (home to the cutest country cafes, oodles of homewares and wineries), this is one of the most accessible waterfalls near Sydney with a visitors centre, car park and a café, picnic tables and barbecue on site.  An elevated walkway crosses the top of the waterfall offering a great view of the 81-metre drop over a stunning sandstone cliffside and allowing you feel the spray on your face. Make a day of it by checking out the East Rim walk which includes nine lookout points and three smaller waterfalls.

Distance from Sydney CBD: 2 hours and 10 minutes

Belmore Falls (Image Credit: Visit NSW)

Belmore Falls, Morton National Park

Just a few kilometres from Fitzroy Falls, Belmore Falls is one of the biggest and most beautiful waterfalls near Sydney. With three tiers of cascading water that reaches a massive 130 metres at its highest point, this is a truly stunning natural landmark. To observe the falls in all their glory, start at the Hindmarsh Lookout Carpark and head down the Belmore Falls Walking Track. The 1.8km return walk offers amazing views of the falls and sandstone flora such as honey flowers, banksia, wattle and tea tree. For those who really want to get into nature, you can try and make your way to Barrengarry Creek – a secret swimming spot halfway down the falls which is popular with adventurous locals. Getting to the creek can be a little difficult and involves following a fire trail off the beaten track so do your research and remember to watch your step!

Distance from Sydney CBD: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Carrington Falls

Carrington Falls & Nellie’s Glen, Budderoo National Park 

For our money, Carrington Falls is the most beautiful waterfall on the South Coast. A majestic stream of water from the Kangaroo River juts out over the cliff and tumbles 50 metres into the gully below. From the Carrington Falls picnic area, you’ll get a great view of the falls from three lookouts. If you’re looking for one of the best waterfalls for swimming, we suggest checking out the nearby Nellie’s Glen, a picnic spot that connects the top of Carrington Falls to a secluded swimming spot with a rock pool and a smaller waterfall. Looking for more wonderful walks in the South Coast? Check out the best South Coast walking tracks

Distance from Sydney CBD: 2 hours and 15 minutes

The Best Waterfalls Within Four Hours of Sydney

Kanangra & Kalang Falls

Kanangra & Kalang Falls, Kanangra-Boyd National Park 

A two-for-one waterfall extravaganza, Kanangra-Boyd National Park is one of the best spots for waterfalls in New South Wales. Kanangra Falls is the bigger of the two waterfalls, flowing over two tiers and encompassing a major 225-metre drop, Kanangra is perfect for intrepid adventurers but an accessible lookout does offer views of the Kanangra Creek gorges and the whimsically named Mount Cloudmaker. Throw caution to the wind and keep chasing waterfalls by following the Kanangra Falls lookout walk to the end of the trail and then heading to Waterfall Walk which will take you to the Kalang Falls. The Kalang Falls are an absolute must-see, located in a bewitching gully, they splash into a deep typically swimmable pool.

Distance from Sydney CBD: 3 hours and 20 minutes

What better way is there to spend these warmer months than by exploring the best waterfalls near Sydney? If you’re interested in getting even further into the great outdoors, check out these Sydney walking tracks with killer ocean views and Sydney's best dog-friendly beaches, so your furry friend can take a dip, too!

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