The Best Waterfalls Near Sydney to Swim Under & Explore
Chase waterfalls with our edit of the best waterfalls in Sydney to visit ASAP!
It’s been over 25 years since the geniuses behind TLC told us not to go chasing waterfalls, urging us to instead stick to the rivers and the lakes that we were used to but today we’re boldly going to take a stand against the 90s girl group and encourage you to spread your wings and discover the best waterfalls in and around Sydney. You know we wouldn’t contradict a girl group if we didn’t have to but these waterfalls, natural rockpools and hidden waterfront spots are way too beautiful to be ignored.
Discovering our beautiful natural landscape is one of our favourite things to do in Sydney. From secret swimming spots to major natural wonders, each and every one of these stunning waterfalls is well worth a visit. So get ready to bust out the TLC at the 10 best waterfalls in Sydney.
The Best Waterfalls Within An Hour of Sydney
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
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
The Best Waterfalls Within Two Hours of Sydney
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
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
The following falls need know 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
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 earnt 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 Within Three Hours of Sydney
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, carpark 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
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 flower, 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
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
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 in Sydney and the rest of Sydney’s gorgeous natural landscapes? If you’re interested in getting more into the great outdoors, check out these Sydney walking tracks with killer ocean views.
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