12 BEST Boutique Hotels in Sydney to Stay in 2024

Boutique Hotels in Sydney

Looking for recommendations for the best boutique hotels in Sydney?

Boutique hotels in Sydney have become increasingly popular for travellers seeking a more immersive, intimate and personalized stay.

For each of the boutique Sydney hotels options, they offer a unique concept and vision that reflects the overall character, cultural diversity and relaxed atmosphere that Sydney as a whole collectively provides.

In this guide I have narrowed down all the boutique Sydney hotels options to specifically the 12 BEST Boutique Hotels in Sydney to Stay in 2024, including all the necessary information about each one to help you decide which one is best for you.

Also in this guide, I have included some useful information on where to stay in Sydney, popular tourist attractions in Sydney, useful things to know when travelling to Sydney and links to other guides I have written which you might like to check out.

12 BEST Boutique Hotels in Sydney to Stay in

Quick picks: 3 best Boutique hotels in Sydney

Best Luxury Boutique Hotel in Sydney

Boutique Hotels in Sydney - The Langham Sydney

The Langham Sydney

  • One of the best luxury hotels in Sydney with panoramic views
  • Stylishly decorated rooms, mahogany furniture, lavish marble bathroom
  • Exceptional personalized service for guests
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Best Mid-Range Boutique Hotel in Sydney

Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Rydges Sydney Harbour

Rydges Sydney Harbour

  • Convenient location minutes from Circular Quay
  • Stunning views of Sydney Harbour
  • Superb all round comfort and service
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Best Budget Boutique Hotel in Sydney

Boutique Hotels in Sydney - The Ultimo

The Ultimo

  • Stylish modern accommodation in a heritage building.
  • Central location next to Chinatown, Darling Harbour and main public transport.
  • Pet friendly courtyard rooms are a standout feature.
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12 BEST Boutique Hotels in Sydney

In a world where travellers are seeking more personalized, fun experiences, it makes sense why there has been a huge rise in bookings for specifically boutique hotels in Sydney.

Whether you’re on a short stay in Sydney, a romantic staycation or in Sydney for an extended time; you are spoilt for boutique Sydney hotel options that will cater for all kinds of travellers and trips planned.

> BOOK NOW: Skyfeast at Sydney Tower

In Sydney, you will find boutique hotels strategically placed across the entire city network; from downtown inner city, to the outer city suburbs and neighbourhoods and even along the beach.

While picking a hotel in the inner city seems appealing as you will be close proximity to major experiences, sights and tourist attractions in Sydney, I recommend staying in one of the nearby neighbourhoods. This will allow you to immerse yourself in the local community, explore the wide cultural diversity, vibrant hot spots and trendy districts; which will in turn allow for a more authentic Sydney experience.

I have compiled a list of 12 boutique hotels in Sydney, which I highly recommend.

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Medusa Hotel

Medusa Hotel is a mid-range boutique hotel located in Darlinghurst of Sydney’s Inner East, the most popular nightlife area in the city. This location is conveniently a few minutes walk away from Kings Cross Train Station or 5-10 minute drive from all major sights and Tourist attractions in Sydney.

This hotel offers 18 individually designed rooms, ranging from cozy single rooms to lavish suites, that are styled with contemporary artworks and chic furnishing.

Each room comes equipped with all necessities to assist with your stay, including a flat-screen TV, free toiletries, small kitchenettes, a desk and private bathroom.

One of the most popular features of Medusa Hotel is that it is a pet friendly hotel.

Hotel Class – Mid-Range

Star Rating – Three Stars

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Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Medusa Hotel
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Medusa Hotel
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Medusa Hotel

Crystalbrook Albion

Crystalbrook Albion hotel is located in the heart of the vibrant neighbourhood of Surry Hills in Sydney City Inner East. It is only a 10 minute walk to central station and nearby tram stops.

This hotel has been built in a heritage listed building dating back to 1903, which used to be a school convent but was later turned into a modern-luxury boutique hotel in 2018.

The hotel consists of a variety of guests rooms, each influenced by 1920’s and 1970’s interior styles with its selection of art installations, unique furnishings, and stylish decor elements.

You get everything you need for a comfortable and personalised stay, including a 24 hour desk team to provide individualised service, as well as necessities provided in each room such as air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a hairdryer, free toiletries and robe.

A highly appealing feature to many guest is the hotels commitment to sustainability; whereby they use no plastic, innovative use of technology to reduce use of paper and they partner with amazing organisations such as Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef.

Hotel Class – Luxury

Hotel Rating – 5 Stars

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Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Crystalbrook Albion
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Crystalbrook Albion
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Crystalbrook Albion

Rydges Sydney Harbour

Rydges Sydney Harbour is an amazing boutique hotel located in prime location at the historic precinct, The Rocks, next to Circular Quay.

When you stay at this hotel, you are only within a 15 minute walk away from major tour attractions in Sydney, such as Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.

The hotel has its own bar and lounge with an extensive range of Australian beer and wines. Breakfast is served daily in Playfair Terrace Restaurant within the hotel.

There is a rooftop terrace with pool, spa, outdoor lounges for relaxation and picturesque views of Sydney Harbour.

Hotel Class – Mid-Range

Star Rating – Three Stars

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Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Rydges Sydney Harbour
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Rydges Sydney Harbour
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Rydges Sydney Harbour

Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is located in a highly exclusive nook of the Eastern Suburbs along Sydney Harbour. Depending on traffic you are about a 20-25 minute drive from main CBD or alternatively a 30 minute ferry to Circular Quay.

This boutique hotel is perfect for those wanting a coastal-luxury kind of stay, away from the busy CBD. This privileged location invites guests to indulge in leisurely strolls along pristine beaches, explore historic landmarks, stunning coastal walks and relax in tranquility right on their door step.

Watsons Bay, Sydney
Watsons Bay, Sydney

This Hotel offers a range of bespoke rooms, including king rooms, king suits and loft suites, with some offering unmatched panoramic views of the breathtaking Sydney Harbour.

Each room has been individually designed with a contemporary flair and coastal elegance, which offers an overall personalized and luxurious experience. The interiors are infused with chic nautical vibes, which captures the essence and sophistication of Sydney Harbour seaside.

The venue also has its own popular waterfront restaurant, which offers a menu that celebrates locally sourced ingredients and an on site bar, allowing for some fine wine and dining with one of the best views and backdrops in Sydney.

Hotel Class – Luxury

Star Rating – Four Stars

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Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

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Spicers Potts Point

Spicers Potts Point is one of the most beautifully elegant boutique Sydney Hotels, located in the fashionable neighbourhood of Potts Point in Sydney’s Inner East.

The location of this hotel allows convenience of close proxmity to fashionable shops, trendy cafes, restaurants and bars and only within 2km away from major tourist attractions in Sydney.

Spicers Potts Point has been built in an 1880 Victorian Terrace House. The hotel houses 20 stylish rooms that have been meticulously crafted to provide a refined luxury.

The hotel offers world class amenities such as a guest bar, garden court yard and even a private meeting room. The hallmark of this hotel is their exceptional personalized service, whereby the staff ensures that every guests are met with warmth and needs attended to instantly.

Hotel Class – Luxury

Star Rating – Five Stars

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Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Spicers Potts Point
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Spicers Potts Point
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Spicers Potts Point

The Old Clare Hotel

The Old Clare Hotel is a stunning, luxury boutique hotel located in Sydney’s inner city South, conveniently only a five minute walk from Central Station and in close proximity to Haymarket, Chinatown and Darling Harbour.

This Hotel boasts a great range of luxurious rooms and suites, with each one featuring elegant furnishings and necessities such as air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, an electric kettle and a private bathroom.

This hotel overall has been carefully designed with a combination of contemporary, modern aesthetic and historic architecture, providing a perfect blend of the old and new.

The Old Clare Hotel offers other high-end amenities, such as exclusive restaurants with five star quality food and a rooftop pool and bar with stunning views of the city.

Hotel Class – Luxury

Star Rating – Five Stars

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Boutique Hotels in Sydney - The Old Clare Hotel
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - The Old Clare Hotel
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - The Old Clare Hotel

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202 Elizabeth

202 Elizabeth is a five star boutique hotel located in Surry Hills within the city’s Inner East; less than 10 minutes walk from central train station and around the corner from a wide selection of trendy cafes and culturally diverse restaurants.

The hotel offers 38 rooms that range from smaller, more intimate rooms to larger suites. Each room has been uniquely personalized with its own chic contemporary aesthetics. Adding to the extra level of personlization to the rooms are their own names, such as ‘The Surry’, ‘The Sussex’ and ‘The Oxford’.

Each room features a desk, private bathroom fitted with a shower and free toiletries, flat-screen TV and air conditioning. Selected rooms also boast a balcony with amazing Sydney Skyline views. The hotel also has it’s own restaurant and bar and rooftop terrace.

You can further expect world class personalized service from the staff, whereby the property has a 24-hour front desk and a concierge service.

Hotel Class – Luxury

Star Rating – Five Stars

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Boutique Hotels in Sydney - 202 Elizabeth
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - 202 Elizabeth
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - 202 Elizabeth

The Ultimo

The Ultimo Hotel is a fantastic boutique hotel option to stay in without breaking the bank. Whilst it is more on the budget side for Sydney boutique hotels, it is one of the best options for location and conveniency to all major sights and tourist attractions in Sydney. It is right next to China Town and very close proximity to Darling Harbour, Central Train Station and tram stops.

The Ultimo Hotel is a testament to Sydney’s commercial heritage, whereby it has been built in an old warehouse originally constructed in 1911. In 2016 it was renovated and transformed into a hotel that blends contemporary design with its heritage-listed charm.

The hotel features 95 thoughtfully curated stylish and modern rooms, ranging from cozy single and studio rooms, to larger queen and single rooms perfect for couples or families; whilst also boasting pet-friendly courtyard rooms.

There is a rooftop terrace that offers panoramic views of the Sydney skyline and also provides an intimate space to unwind and enjoy a beverage. The Hotel also has its own onsite pub and restaurant. Alternatively, guests have easy access to an array of authentic Asian cuisines and trendy eateries in Chinatown, as well as a wide selection of dining options in Darling Harbour nearby.

Hotel Class – Budget

Star Rating – Four Stars

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Boutique Hotels in Sydney - The Ultimo
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - The Ultimo
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - The Ultimo

The Langham Sydney

The Langham Sydney is, in my opinion, the most luxurious, sumptuous and elegant of all boutique Sydney hotels, and luxury hotels in Sydney as a whole. It is located in The Rocks, just a 5 minutes walk from Darling Harbour, 10 minute walk to Circular Quay and around the corner from Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Langham Sydney offers a wide selection of meticulously designed styled rooms and suites featuring mahogany and plush furniture, lavish marble bathroom, flat-screen TV and unmatched stunning views of Sydney Harbour.

The hotel offers an array of on site world class facilities. There is a lavish swimming pool, fitness centre with a sauna and a wellness and spa centre and tennis courts.

The culinary and dining experiences offered at the Langham Hotel is unmatched with any other of the boutique Sydney hotels. Their signature restaraunts ‘Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood’ and ‘the immersive Palm Court’ each showcase the diversity and richness of Sydney’s culinary scene. The Observatory Bar offers unique cocktails and the finest shared style food.

Hotel Class – Luxury

Star Rating – Five Stars

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Boutique Hotels in Sydney - The Langham Sydney
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - The Langham Sydney
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - The Langham Sydney

Ovolo Woolloomooloo

Ovolo Woolloomooloo is one of the most unique boutique hotels in Sydney, located at Woolloomooloo Wharf, along Sydney Harbour. It offers a unique blend of contemporary modern and historic design.

This hotel provides options for private and loft suites style rooms, each including a mix of luxurious and contemporary furnishings, free minibar, free WiFi and a LCD Smart TV. You will also get unmatched views of Sydney Harbour or cityscape right from your window.

Ovolo Wooloomooloo boasts many five star amenities, such as a fitness wellness centre, swimming pool, as well as your own personalized valet laundry and dry cleaning service.

One of the hotels proudest on-site facility is its own renowned ‘Alibi Bar & Kitchen’, an award-winning plant-based restaurant, with a five star culinary experience.

Hotel Class – Luxury

Star Rating – Five Stars

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Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Ovolo Woolloomooloo
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Ovolo Woolloomooloo
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Ovolo Woolloomooloo

QT Sydney

QT Sydney is an amazing five star boutique hotel, conveniently placed in the heart of the city. It is right next to the main shopping district of the city, only a few minutes from Town Hall Station, tram stops, as well in close proximity to all other major tourist attractions in Sydney.

This hotel offers a range of chic and eclectic designed rooms that each has bold and dark aesthetic colour palettes and designer furnishings, together creating an overall clean and vintage look. All rooms offer luxurious bedding, a sofa, private bathroom, desk and tea/coffee making facilities.

QT Sydney provides guest with a range of artful amenities, including the luxurious ‘spaQ’ and its range of revitalizing treatments and also world class dining options – Gowings Bar & Grill serving contemporary and elegant cuisine and The Gilt Lounge, which offers a sophisticated setting for cocktails.

Hotel Class – Luxury

Star Rating – Five Stars

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Boutique Hotels in Sydney - QT Sydney
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - QT Sydney
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - QT Sydney

Coogee Bay Boutique Hotel

Coogee Bay Boutique Hotel is a modern-luxury hotel perched on the stunning shores of Coogee Beach in the Eastern Suburbs. This boutique hotel is a perfect option for guests wanting to stay along the beach and are therefore seeking options for luxury hotels in Sydney along the seaside.

The hotel itself closely resembles a retreat with an overall coastal chic aesthetic design. The interiors have been meticulously designed to reflect the laid-back beach vibes and overall Sydney coastal lifestyle, combining this with a taste of boutique elegance.

Coogee Beach, Sydney
Coogee Beach, Sydney

Coogee Bay Boutique Hotel features an array of spacious and beautifully appointed rooms. Each room comes with all the necessities for a pleasant stay, such as air-conditioning, free WiFi, TV, a refrigerator and a private bathroom. Rooms come with balconies that provide unobstructed stunning views of the ocean and Coogee Bay area.

The hotel has a rooftop terrace, perfect for relaxing and unwinding with the best views of the ocean. It also features three bars, a beer garden and a night club.

Hotel Class – Mid-Range

Star Rating – Four Stars

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Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Coogee Bay Boutique Hotel
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Coogee Bay Boutique Hotel
Boutique Hotels in Sydney - Coogee Bay Boutique Hotel

What else does Sydney have to offer?

As well as planning for where to stay in Sydney, you should also consider the wealth of things to do, including experiences and tours you can book, to enrich your overall stay.

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Things to know before travelling to Sydney

Best time to visit Sydney – In my opinion, the best time to travel to Sydney is around October-November or March-April. The climate is still warm in these times of the year and you will avoid the summer holiday period for the local Sydney population.

Pack a broad mix of clothes – Sydney is a highly diverse area with a vast variety of things to do and see, such as walking adventures, restaurants and beaches, which therefore each require a suitable type of attire. You must also consider that the climate in Sydney is subtropical all year round, meaning it fluctuates consistently from dry to wet periods. Plan appropriately for all of this.

Cost to travel – I highly recommend you set yourself a strict, yet flexible budget when travelling to Sydney. The cost of living expenses in Sydney, and therefore the cost for travellers is highly expensive.

Book accommodation well in advance – Sydney is a highly visited and tourist city, whereby accommodation in most popular places can book out well in advance. Hostels in particular for backpackers in Sydney can be booked out for many months ahead. Plan your stay in Sydney well in advance to ensure you get to stay at your preferred choice of hotel.

Transport in Sydney – Sydney has a great transport network in place, offering a variety of ways to get around, including trains, buses, trams and even ferries. Consider getting an Opal Card for easy and cost-effective access to all modes of public transport.

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More Guides

For years I have been adventuring to some of the most incredible places nature has to offer. From locations in my own backyard, to epic road trips, all the way to breathtaking travel destinations.

The goal of my blog is to ultimately inspire you to step outside of your comfort zone to get outdoors and immerse yourself in so much that mother nature has to offer, as well as provide travellers with invaluable information and advice.

You can check out my most recent blogs by clicking the links:

Summary – Best Boutique Hotels in Sydney

I hope you enjoyed reading this in-depth travel guide on the 12 BEST Boutique Hotels in Sydney to Stay in 2024.

From this article, you would have learnt that Sydney offers a huge array of boutique hotel options that each offer their own unique and personalized touch of elegance, design and luxury.

These selected Boutique Hotels in Sydney are perfect for anyone staying in Sydney and looking for a more intimate, personalized and luxury kind of stay.

If you have any questions about boutique hotels in Sydney, where to stay in Sydney or any general questions about travelling to Sydney, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.

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Book any form of transport, from buses, ferries, trains and even private transfers all over the world.

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Where To Stay In Sydney: BEST Areas & Hotels in 2024

Looking for where to stay in Sydney?

Sydney is the largest and most populated city in Australia, which also boasts the highest amount of visitors annually.

The city of Sydney and surrounding regions seamless merge a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and vibrant urban life to create a location to suit all kinds of travellers and visitors.

I will be using this guide to provide invaluable information on where to stay in Sydney, including the best areas and hotels for anyone ranging from luxury travellers, to families and for those on a budget.

So let’s jump right in and make sure to read until the end to find out where to stay in Sydney and the best hotels!

Quick picks: 3 best hotels in Sydney

Best Luxury hotel in Sydney

Hyatt Regency

  • State of the art service
  • Modern decor and deluxe amenities
  • Stunning views of Darling Harbour the surrounding Central Business District
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Best Mid-Range Hotel in Sydney

Rydges Sydney Harbour

  • Convenient location minutes from Circular Quay
  • Stunning views of Sydney Harbour
  • Superb all round comfort and service
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Best Budget hotel in Sydney

Nomads Sydney

  • Central location to most major attractions as well as bars and cafes.
  • One of the most popular hostels for backpackers in Sydney
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Staying in Sydney: FAQs

Before diving into where to stay in Sydney and my most highly recommended hotels for each, I will answer some questions frequently asked by travellers looking to come to Sydney.

What is the best area to stay in Sydney?

Sydney’s Inner city North would be the best all round area to stay in Sydney as it is most central and only minutes away from all locations and major attractions, shopping centres, restaurants, cafes and public transport.

Where to stay for backpackers in Sydney

Whilst most areas of Sydney offer cheaper options for backpackers in Sydney, the Inner City South offers more options including the highly popular Wake Up! Sydney Central, YHA Sydney Central and 790 on George Backpackers.

These hostels are also minutes away from the largest train station in NSW – Central Station, as well as major bus terminals and tram stations.

This area is also the cheapest area to stay in Sydney, which is perfect for backpackers in Sydney.

Where to stay in Sydney for families

Darling Harbour is up there on top in terms of family-friendly destinations in Sydney. This area offers some of the best entertainment, experiences and tourist attractions in Sydney that cater for all ages.

You will also find amazing places to eat in Sydney including luxury and budget food options, as well as a wide range of family friendly hotels to choose from, that are right on the door step of Darling Harbour.

Where to stay in Sydney for Nightlife

Whilst there are amazing nightlife options spread across all of Sydney, the Inner City East boast the most lively nightlife scene. Places like Kings Cross, historically known as Sydney’s ‘Red-Light District’, and Darlinghurst offer a mix of bars, nightclubs, and cocktail lounges; while Surry Hills has a mix of historic and trendy bars and pubs.

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Where To Stay In Sydney: Areas & Hotels

If you are planning a trip to Sydney, Australia, deciding on a place to stay is key to ensure you make the most of your stay and time in the city.

From the more modernised inner city, to historical sites, urban towns, nature escapes and beaches, Sydney as a whole has something for every kind of traveller.

I have broken down this guide into seven main areas you can stay in Sydney and will provide my most recommended luxury, mid-range and budget hotel for each. These areas include:

  • Inner City North – Best all round area to stay
  • Inner City South – Best area for backpackers
  • Darling Harbour – Best area for Families
  • Inner City East – Best area for nightlife and bars
  • Inner City West – Best area for culture and food
  • Eastern Suburbs – Best area for the beach
  • Lower North Shore – Best area for nature and exploring

Wikitravel.org have clearly identified these areas within Sydney City and have put together a very useful map, which you can visually refer to in this blog as I delve deeper into each of these areas below.

Map of Central Sydney Districts. Credit Wikitravel.org

Inner City NorthBest All Round Area

Whether you’re a family, couple or solo traveller, The Sydney’s Inner City North is the best area to stay in Sydney as it offers a wealth of accommodation options and is conveniently close to major tourist attractions, sights and things to do in Sydney.

The Inner City North includes major places and attractions in Sydney such as Circular Quay – the main ferry terminal, the iconic Sydney Opera House; The rocks – a historic precinct offering a blend of heritage and rich Sydney history and the modern world, botanical gardens, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Hyde Park.

This area is also where the major shopping district of Sydney is, including hundreds of shops along George and Pitt Street and also Sydney Westfield, which is here you can see and visit the Centre Point Tower (now known as Sydney Tower).

> BOOK NOW: Skyfeast at Sydney Tower

When you stay in the Inner City North, you will be only minutes away from the major Town Hall Station, as well as many tram stops, to assist you in navigating around.

Here are my recommended hotels in the Inner City North.

Circular Quay and the Opera House, Sydney
Circular Quay and the Opera House

Best Luxury Hotel in Inner City North – Crown Towers Sydney

Crown Towers is one of the new five star hotels in Sydney and also the largest building in Sydney, opening in December 2020, standing as a pinnacle of luxury in one of the most exclusive and vibrant areas in Sydney, Barangaroo

Whilst the exterior of the building is a masterpiece of contemporary architecture, inside the building is even more jaw dropping.

It’s lavish accommodation has been carefully designed to exude a refined ambiance. From the hotel rooms and ammenities you will get unmatched picturesque views of Sydney Harbour, the skyline and Darling Harbour.

Crown Towers Sydney further boasts culinary excellence with signature restaurants and world-class amenities.

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Crown Towers Sydney
Crown Towers Sydney
Crown Towers Sydney

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Inner City North – Rydges Sydney Harbour

Rydges Sydney Harbour is one of the best boutique hotels in Sydney, located in prime location at The Rocks next to Circular Quay.

When you stay at this hotel, you are only within a 15 minute walk away from major attractions such as Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.

The bar and lounge offers an extensive range of Australian beer and wines. Breakfast is served daily in Playfair Terrace Restaurant within the hotel.

Overall this is a great option when searching for accommodation for families in Sydney.

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Rydges Sydney Harbour
Rydges Sydney Harbour
Rydges Sydney Harbour

Best Budget Hotel in Inner City North – Nomads Sydney

Situated in the heart of Sydney’s Central Business District, Nomads Sydney is a budget-friendly accommodation, perfect for backpackers in Sydney.

Nomads Sydney has a range of both dormitory-style and private rooms, whilst also providing a comfortable and communal atmosphere for all kinds of travellers to meet and socialise.

The Scary Canary, one of Sydney’s popular nightclubs, is right next to Nomads, offering epic events most days a week for people to meet, as well as serving complimentary pancakes and putting on an awesome lunch menu.

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Nomads Sydney
Best Budget Hotel in Inner City North - Nomads Sydney
Nomads Sydney

Inner City SouthBest Area for Backpackers

The Inner City South area is an ideal place to stay when travelling to Sydney, particular for backpackers in Sydney or if you’re generally travelling on a lower budget. It is the cheapest area to stay in Sydney with many hostel options available. That being said, it is still an all round beautiful area to stay in Sydney that will suit any kind of traveller.

This areas includes Chinatown, Haymarket, Prince Alfred Park and Broadway. While these suburbs are a bit further away from the main attractions, it is only minutes away from Central Train station, major bus terminals and tram stations – making getting around the city and seeing the main attractions convenient and hassle free.

Right next to Chinatown is a shopping centre called Paddys Markets, opened every Thursday-Sunday, where you can find major discounts and low prices on souvenirs and other essentials.

Here are my recommended hotels in the Inner City South.

Inner City South Skyline
Inner City South Skyline

Best Luxury Hotel in Inner City South – The Old Clare Hotel

The Old Clare Hotel is a stunning boutique hotel located in Broadway, just south of Haymarket and only a five minute walk from Central Station.

This hotel has been carefully designed with a combination of contemporary, modern aesthetic and historic architecture, providing a perfect blend of the old and new.

The Hotel boasts a collection of luxurious rooms and suites, including elegant furnishings and high-end amenities. Each room consists of conditioning, a flat-screen TV, an electric kettle and a private bathroom.

The hotel offers high end restaurants with excellent quality food and a rooftop pool and bar with great views of the city. It is easy to see why the Old Clare Hotel is one of the best boutique hotels in Sydney.

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The Old Clare Hotel
The Old Clare Hotel
The Old Clare Hotel

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Inner City North – Mantra Sydney Central

Mantra Sydney Central is the perfect mid-range hotel situated in the midst of Sydney’s Central Business District. It is directly around the corner from Paddy’s Markets and only a short 5-10 minute walk away from both Central Station and Darling Harbour.

The hotel has well-appointed guest rooms to spacious suites, each filled with contemporary furnishings. There is an onsite restaurant offering a delightful culinary experience breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The hotel features a fitness centre, and for those in town for business, the hotel provides state-of-the-art conference and event facilities and versatile spaces equipped with modern technology to assist with meetings.

The hotel also offers high end restaurants with excellent quality food and a rooftop pool and bar offering great views of the city.

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Mantra Sydney Central
Mantra Sydney Central
Mantra Sydney Central

Best Budget Hotel in Inner City North – Wake Up! Sydney Central

Wake up! Sydney Central is one of the best hotel options for backpackers in Sydney and those travelling on a budget. It has everything a budget traveler could ask for.

It is situated just steps away from Central Station, tram stops and bus station, which makes getting around Sydney convenient.

Wake Up! Sydney Central caters for a range of accommodation options, including shared dormitory for the social experience or a private room for added privacy. Each space features contemporary furnishings.

The hostel offers an array of amenities, including a fully-equipped communal kitchen, on-site cafe for breakfast and it’s own bar that turns into a nightclub – Sidebar, hosting events most nights.

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Wake up! Sydney Central
Wake up! Sydney Central
Wake up! Sydney Central

Darling Harbour: Best Area for Families

Sydney’s Darling Harbour is a waterfront precinct in the Inner North. It is by far the most exclusive area to stay, as well as the best area to stay in Sydney specifically for Families.

Darling Harbour is an entertainment haven offering an abundance of fun and interactive activities, attractions and experiences perfect for all ages and types of travellers. From museums to wildlife, an award winning playground, to indulging in some Sydney’s finest culinary experiences and family-friendly dining options – this part of Sydney sure offers something for everyone.

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Darling harbour is only a short ten minute walk from the major train stations, Central and Townhall, or alternatively take a scenic walk with panoramic views towards nearby waterfront neighbourhood areas – Barangaroo and The Rocks.

Darling Harbour specifically offers the best accommodation for families in Sydney, with all hotel types from Luxury to budget being in close proximity to all the fun attractions.

See below my most recommended hotels in Darling Harbour.

Best Luxury Hotel in Darling Harbour – Hyatt Regency

Hyatt Regency is a world class and one of the best five star hotels in Sydney. It is personally my top recommended hotel in all of Sydney in terms of accommodation and amenities, overall value and location.

It is situated in prime location enabling unparalleled views of the vibrant waterfront and skyline, as well as only being footsteps away from the major attractions.

From stylish guest rooms, to expansive suites with plush furnishings, each space is designed to create a haven of luxury and relaxation.

It further includes state-of-the-art facilities, such as an exclusive space for business travellers, a 24-hour fitness centre and heated indoor pool for rejuvenation.

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Hyatt Regency Sydney
Hyatt Regency Sydney
Hyatt Regency Sydney

Highly Recommended Luxury Hotel in Darling Harbour – Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

The Sofitel is another world-class Luxury hotel in Darling Harbour that is on par with other top five star hotels in Sydney and therefore I couldn’t pass up recommending on this blog.

Sofitel Darling Harbour offers both rooms and suits, which are meticulously designed with plush furnishings and modern amenities. The rooms are fitted with a flat-screen smart LED TV and free WiFi.

The hotel has a restaurant offering fine dining in a contemporary space, three bars, including one rooftop pool bar, rooftop infinity pool, 10 meeting rooms for those staying on a business trip, a Ballroom with a capacity for up to 450 people and also a state-of-the-art fitness, spa & wellness centre.

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Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Darling Harbour – Aiden by Best Western

This is the perfect-mid-range four star hotel to stay at in Sydney, located on the western end of Darling Harbour and only a minute or two away from the main attractions. It is highly suitable for couples and families looking for a cosy place to stay without all the bells and whistles.

You get everything you need in your rooms including air-conditioning, a coffee machine, a fridge, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Most rooms offer a balcony with panoramic vibrant city and harbour views.

The hotel has it’s own restaurant and bar, otherwise you are conveniently across the road from Habourside Shopping Centre which offer a heap of restaurants and bars.

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 Aiden by Best Western
 Aiden by Best Western
 Aiden by Best Western


Best Budget Hotel in Darling Harbour – Ibis Sydney Darling Harbour

Ibis Sydney Darling Harbour combines affordability with comfort, in central location to all the major attractions offered in Darling Harbour.

Despite its budget-friendly approach, this hotel provide rooms with modern furnishings and essential amenities, creating a cozy retreat after a day of city exploration.

There are various dining options, from small bites at the lobby bar to larger meal options at the hotel’s restaurant.

Overall, this hotel provides a practical option for those wanting to immerse themselves in the most exclusive location of Sydney City without breaking the bank.

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Ibis Sydney Darling Harbour
Ibis Sydney Darling Harbour
Ibis Sydney Darling Harbour

Car Rental – Compare and safe

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Inner City East: Best area for nightlife and bars

Sydney’s Inner City East is another fantastic area to stay in Sydney that includes suburbs such as Paddington, Surry Hills, Kings Cross, Darlinghurst, Woolloomooloo, Elizabeth Bay and Rushcutters Bay.

The Inner City East seamlessly blends the busy CBD with peaceful leafy residential streets and lively commercial hubs, allowing visitors to explore a wider diversity of offerings in Sydney.

As mentioned already, this is the best area to stay in Sydney for nightlife. You will find a broad mix of bars, nightclubs and cocktail lounges in sububs like Kings cross and Darlinghurst. Suburbs including Surry Hills and Paddington offer a mix of traditional, historic and trendy bars and pubs.

The Inner East is also known for its heritage-listed architecture that fantastically showcases the area’s historical significance. These include terrace houses in Surry Hills, historic boutique shops in Paddington and elegant Georgian and Victorian structures in Potts Point. You can also expect to see some of the best boutique hotels in Sydney here.

See below a list of hotels I recommend in Sydney’s Inner City East.

Sydney Harbour taken from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair

Best Luxury Hotel in Inner City EastOvolo Woolloomooloo

Ovolo Woolloomooloo is one of the most unique boutique hotels in Sydney, located at Woolloomooloo Wharf, along Sydney Harbour. It offers a unique blend of contemporary modern and historic design.

This hotel comes with private and loft suites style rooms, each including a free minibar, free WiFi, contemporary furnishings, a LCD Smart TV and luxurious bedding. The rooms also provide stunning views of the harbour or cityscape.

Ovolo offers its own renowned Alibi Bar & Kitchen, an award-winning plant-based restaurant, with five star culinary experience right on your door step.

Ovolo Wooloomooloo has a fitness wellness centre, swimming pool, as well as your own personalized valet laundry and dry cleaning service.

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Ovolo Woolloomooloo
Ovolo Woolloomooloo
Ovolo Woolloomooloo

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Inner City EastThe Bayswater Sydney

This hotel is situated in the heart of Potts Point, one of Sydney’s most colourful and fashionable neighbourhoods. It is conveniently 100 metres away from Kings Cross station and only a 15 minute train trip from Circular Quay and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Each room features air-conditioned rooms free WiFi and an LCD TV. There are also suites that have a seating area with a sofa bed and coffee table. Many rooms feature expansive windows, providing unparalleled views of cityscape and skyline.

Another thing to mention is guests are only walking distance from a heap of trendy cafes, award-winning restaurants and stylish bars.

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The Bayswater Sydney
The Bayswater Sydney
The Bayswater Sydney

Best Budget Hotel in Inner City EastMad Monkey Kings Cross

This option is perfect for backpackers in Sydney looking to immerse themselves in Sydney’s local culture.

The hostel itself prides on creating a vibrant atmosphere that promotes an energetic social scene through regular social events.

Mad Monkey offers a variety of accommodation options, from shared dormitories to private rooms, designed to provide a superb level of budget-friendly comfort.

The hostel is conveniently central and short walking distance from from trendy cafes, restaurants and popular nightlife spots; as well as a short walk from Rushcutters Bay Park, which is a great spot to relax & take in the harbour views. It is also in close proximity to some of Sydney’s popular landmarks, as well as to public transport making it convinient to exploring around the city.

Mad Monkeys offer all the facilities a backpacker needs, such as a communal kitchen, TV Room, on-site bar and laundry mat.

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Mad Monkey Kings Cross
Mad Monkey Kings Cross
Mad Monkey Kings Cross

Inner City West: Best area for culture and food

Sydney’s Inner City West is the most vibrant, culturally diverse area to stay in Sydney, with each suburb displaying a perfect blend of Sydney’s rich history and modern culture. The suburbs include Pyrmont, Ultimo, Chippendale, Glebe, Darlington and Newtown.

This area is perfect for travellers wishing to explore the diverse celebration of cultures in Sydney. From street fairs showcasing talents of local artists and musicians, to weekly food markets where global flavours converge, and suburbs like Glebe and Newtown with their bohemian atmosphere and diverse eateries on offer.

The Inner City West provides the best and most cultural diverse culinary experiences for travellers who are food enthusiasts. You will find trendy cafes in Glebe, to exclusive waterfront dining options in Pyrmont and historical and bohemian pubs and restaurants in Newtown.

This area of Sydney is in close proximity to light rail options, bus networks, and pedestrian-friendly streets allowing for convenience to exploring and venturing into other parts of Sydney.

See below a list of hotels I recommend in Sydney’s Inner City West.

Anzac Bridge Sydney - Sydney Inner City West
Anzac Bridge, Sydney

Best Luxury Hotel in Inner City West – The Star Grand Hotel

The Star Grand Hotel is a luxury five star hotel located at Star Casino in Pyrmont, right next to Darling Harbour.

This hotel offers classic modern rooms with an elegant contemporary and classic luxury design, whilst also offering 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suits with private balcony and kitchen.

The Star Grand Hotel provides a world class dining experience with many award-winning culturally diverse restaurants – from modern Italian cuisines, to traditional Australian steaks to an array of Asian food options.

There is a rooftop pool that provides panoramic views of Darling Harbour and the city skyline, as well as a spa and wellness centre and fitness centre .

The Star is also a place to stay for entertainment. The on-site Star Casino offers one of Australia’s best gaming experience and the event centre hosts frequent world-class performances and events.

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The Star Grand Hotel
The Star Grand Hotel
The Star Grand Hotel

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Inner City WestHaven Glebe

Haven Glebe is a fantastic option if you are seeking more of a quiet and peaceful area to stay in Sydney. This 4-star hotel is located in the Historical town of Glebe, which is only 15 mins out from Sydney via light rail.

Each room are stylish, contemporary modern rooms with a 40-inch LCD TV, free wifi and necessary amentities. The hotel also offers an outdoor terrace to relax on.

With Glebe renowned for its diverse culinary scene, your stay at the Haven Glebe will have you in close proximity to some amazing culturally diverse and bohemian restaurants and cafes

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Haven Glebe
Haven Glebe
Haven Glebe

.

Best Budget Hotel in Inner City WestNesuto Chippendale 

This a fantastic option if you wish to stay in a more apartment style of accommodation without breaking the bank, whilst still remaining in close proximity to Sydney CBD and all the attractions.

Nesuto Chippendale offers self-contained studio and one-bedroom apartments. They all come with its own kitchen, laundry and balconey.

The hotel also provide guest with necessary amentites including a rooftop terrace and swimming pool, sauna and fitness centre and also provides covered security parking (at an additional surcharge).

This hotel overall is one of the best accommodation for families in Sydney who are travelling on a lower budget.

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Nesuto Chippendale 
Nesuto Chippendale 
Nesuto Chippendale 

What else does Sydney have to offer?

As well as planning for where to stay in Sydney, you should also consider the wealth of things to do, including experiences and tours you can book, to enrich your overall stay.

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Eastern Suburbs: Best area for the beach

For travellers looking to stay at and explore more of the beach side to Sydney, then the Eastern Suburbs is the perfect area to stay in Sydney.

It is in the Eastern Suburbs that you will find the most popular and highly famous Bondi Beach, which is a haven for beach lovers and surf enthusiasts.

Bondi Beach, Sydney
Bondi Beach, Sydney

Other popular beaches for travellers along the Eastern Suburbs include Bronte, Coogee and Maroubra, which are highly picturesque settings for seaside strolls and oceanfront relaxation.

As well as beaches, the Eastern Suburbs is also home to some of the most affluent neighbourhoods in Australia, which you will find along Sydney Harbour, such as Watsons Bay, Rose Bay, Point Piper and Double Bay.

No doubt you will be staying in coastal luxury at the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. That being said, here are my most recommended hotels to stay here.

Coogee Beach, Sydney
Coogee Beach, Sydney

Best Luxury Hotel in Eastern SuburbsInterContinental Sydney

It doesn’t get much more luxury living in Sydney than staying in one of the richest suburbs in Australia – Double Bay, just a 10 minute drive outside of city centre. This is where you will find the five star hotel InterContinental Sydney.

This hotel offers luxurious seaside accommodation in prime habourside location. Ranging from spacious rooms to lavish suites, each room is a sanctuary of luxury containing all necessities for a five star stay, including sophisticated decor, air-conditioning, flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bath tub.

The hotel has a rooftop area and pool featuring comfortable lounges and cabanas with an overall perfect setting for relaxing and enjoying panoramic views of Sydney Harbour.

A unique feature of this hotel is the signature gin bar and restaurant called Stillery, which has over 100 gins to select from and showcases modern Australia Cuisine.

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InterContinental Sydney
InterContinental Sydney
InterContinental Sydney

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Eastern SuburbsAdina Apartment Hotel

Adina Apartment Hotel is a 4-star mid-range hotel that holds an incredible value for money status given its overall luxury look and being steps away from the world famous Bondi Beach and wide range of restaurant options.

This hotel offers self-contained apartment style rooms, which therefore makes staying at Adina Apartment Hotel the perfect choice of accommodation for families in Sydney.

Each of Adina’s stylish apartments are designed for modern comfort and convenience. Each room has a balcony and windows with panoramic views of Bondi Beach or the Sydney skyline. You will also get a sofa, kitchen and desk.

The hotel also features a rooftop pool and terrace that provides stunning views of Bondi and beyond.

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Adina Apartment Hotel
Adina Apartment Hotel
Adina Apartment Hotel

Best Budget Hotel in Eastern Suburbs – Wake Up! Bondi Beach

Wake Up! Bondi Beach is the perfect accommodation for backpackers in Sydney looking for a budget-friendly coastal stay along the beach.

The hostel is located along Campbell parade, whereby Bondi Beach is conveniently right on your doorstep, directly on the other side.

You have a choice of room types, from private, twin and double rooms to 4 and 6 share mixed dormitories. Each room is designed to reflect the laid-back elegance that defines the Bondi lifestyle.

Wake Up! Bondi Beach boasts a rooftop terrace furnished with umbrellas and deck chairs and has panoramic views of Bondi Beach, which is a perfect spot to have a morning coffee and watch the sunrise.

One of the most popular services on offer here is the free surf board hire. They also offer complimentary lifestyle activities such as rooftop yoga classes, personal training sessions and guided Bondi to Coogee walks.

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Wake Up! Bondi Beach
Wake Up! Bondi Beach
Wake Up! Bondi Beach

Lower North Shore: Best area for Nature and Exploring

The Lower North Shore area of Sydney is located directly on the other side (north side) of the Harbour Bridge and includes suburbs such as Cremorne, Crows Nest, Lane Cove, Lavender Bay, Kirribilli, Milsons Point and Mosman.

This is a fantastic area to stay in Sydney for those who prefer to explore and immerse themselves in nature. There are a vast number of harbourside walking track options, whereby I have written an entire guide on one of the most popular ones – Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk.

View from Bradleys Head, Lower North Shore
View from Bradleys Head, Lower North Shore

This area also boasts many secluded and popular beaches to relax along the harbour and is also in close proximity to Sydney Harbour National Park, which has many bush tracks and coastal walks on offer to explore.

The Lower North Shore is also an amazing area to stay in Sydney for Families as two of the most popular family-fun attractions in Sydney is located here – Luna Park, the largest theme park in New South Wales and also Taronga Zoo.

> BOOK NOW: Taronga Zoo Sydney Ticket

There are no budget-friendly accommodation options here, so below I will provide my most recommended luxury and mid-range option to stay in Lower North Shore.

View of Sydney Harbour from North Sydney
Sydney Harbour From North Sydney

Best Luxury Hotel in Lower North ShoreMeriton Suites North Sydney

Meriton Suites is a modern luxury hotel nestled in the tranquil town of North Sydney. When you stay here, you are prime location being in very close proximity to North Sydney Train Station, three minute drive to Luna Park, less than 10 mins drive to Taronga Zoo and only 3km out from the main CBD.

This hotel provides contemporary modern designed spaces, ranging from one-bedroom suites to lavish penthouses. All spaces come with contemporary furnishings, bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens and internal laundries.

You will get breathtaking, panoramic views of the Sydney Harbour and iconic landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge right from your own lounge, bedroom and balcony.

The hotel also boast other onsite world-class facilities, including unlimited wifi, indoor heated lap pool, a large 24-hour fitness centre, spa and sauna.

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Meriton Suites North Sydney
Meriton Suites North Sydney
Meriton Suites North Sydney

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Lower North ShoreView Sydney

This modern-boutique hotel is perfect for those that don’t have the fortune to spend on five star accommodation but wish to stay in a tranquil, lavish five star location.

This hotel is the perfect accomodation for families in Sydney, whereby Luna Park is right on your step, along with other key attractions, cultural hotspots, North Sydney Train station and the wider CBD being in close proximity.

The View Sydney provide sophisticated, cozy rooms, that range from twin, deluxe, queen, king and superior king rooms. There is also an option to book a pet friendly Queen room! Each room comes with air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV, work desk and tea/coffee making facilities.

The hotel has a rooftop retreat and terrace that provides a serene escape above the city buzz. There is also an on-site restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

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View Sydney
View Sydney
View Sydney

Things to know before travelling to Sydney

Best time to visit Sydney – In my opinion, the best time to travel to Sydney is around October-November or March-April. The climate is still warm in these times of the year and you will avoid the summer holiday period for the local Sydney population.

Pack a broad mix of clothes – Sydney is a highly diverse area with a vast variety of things to do and see, such as walking adventures, restaurants and beaches, which therefore each require a suitable type of attire. You must also consider that the climate in Sydney is subtropical all year round, meaning it fluctuates consistently from dry to wet periods. Plan appropriately for all of this.

Cost to travel – I highly recommend you set yourself a strict, yet flexible budget when travelling to Sydney. The cost of living expenses in Sydney, and therefore the cost for travellers is highly expensive.

Book accommodation well in advance – Sydney is a highly visited and tourist city, whereby accommodation in most popular places can book out well in advance. Hostels in particular for backpackers in Sydney can be booked out for many months ahead. Plan your stay in Sydney well in advance to ensure you get to stay at your preferred choice of hotel.

Transport in Sydney – Sydney has a great transport network in place, offering a variety of ways to get around, including trains, buses, trams and even ferries. Consider getting an Opal Card for easy and cost-effective access to all modes of public transport.

Must have adventure & Travel accessories

Stainless Steel Drink Bottle

This insulated premium stainless steel, BPA friendly iron flask is the perfect drink bottle stay hydrated during outdoor adventures.

View on Amazon

Portable Powerbank

Keep your devices always charged with this 10,000mAh INIU Powerbank!

View on Amazon

Pocket Blanket

A lightweight, compact sand and waterproof picnic blanket

View on Amazon

Lightweight Backpack

This 15L lightweight, pocket sized day backpack by Kathmandu is a perfectly compact ‘pack&go’ travel and hiking solution.

View on Amazon

Mobile selfie stick & Tripod

Never miss capturing a moment along your travels and adventures with this TONEOF60 all in one tripod and selfie stick with wireless remote.

View on Amazon

More Guides

For years I have been adventuring to some of the most incredible places nature has to offer. From locations in my own backyard, to epic road trips, all the way to breathtaking travel destinations.

The goal of my blog is to ultimately inspire you to step outside of your comfort zone to get outdoors and immerse yourself in so much that mother nature has to offer.

You can check out my most recent blogs by clicking the links:

Summary – Best Areas and Hotels in Sydney

I hope you enjoyed reading this in-depth travel guide on where to stay in Sydney, including the best areas and my most recommended hotels to stay in.

From this article, you would have learnt that Sydney is a highly culturally diverse city, with areas that each offer something different for everyone and playing its role as a complete all round city. It’s therefore easy to see just why Sydney is consistently voted in the top five for global liveability ranking.

If you have any questions about where to stay in Sydney, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.

Travel Resources

Here are some useful resources you can use to help book and plan your next travels and adventures and even grab some amazing deals to save money along the way!

Search and book accomodation worldwide on the worlds most popular booking website.

Search Booking.com

Find the best deals on car rentals world wide.

Search Discover Cars

Find, compare and book the cheapest airfares anywhere.

Search Skyscanner

Find discounted prices on tickets, tours and experiences worldwide.

Search Viator

Low cost travel insurance for your next trip.

Search Heymondo

Find great deals on tickets, tours and experiences specialized especially in the Oceania region.

Search Klook

Book any form of transport, from buses, ferries, trains and even private transfers all over the world.

Search Book A Way

Amazing Waterfall Circuit Near Sydney – The Ultimate Guide

If you are a waterfall lover like myself and looking to seek an adventure, you probably think to yourself ‘where are some waterfalls near me?’. well if you are in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW) you will be happy to know that there is a waterfall circuit located in the most southern end of Sydney, leading into the Northern end of the Illawarra.

It features three amazing waterfalls – National Falls, Kellys Falls and Maddens Falls, which are a few of the best waterfalls in NSW to see. Adventuring to these picturesque waterfalls provides an awesome day out when travelling through either Sydney or further south in the Illawarra.

The best way to navigate through this Waterfall Circuit is to begin at National Falls in ironically the suburb Waterfall. You will then continue along Lady Wakehurst Drive in the Royal National Park towards Kellys Falls in Helensburgh, before continuing onto the Princes Highway leading you to Maddens Falls in Darkes Forrest.

If you prefer, then alternatively you can complete this circuit in reverse order, starting from Maddens Falls, however for the purpose of this guide we will begin at National Falls.

I have put together an Ultimate Guide to visiting this Waterfall Circuit Near Sydney, including how to arrive and get down and what to expect, for each Waterfall.

Map of Waterfall Circuit

RELATED ARTICLE –  MINNAMURRA RAINFOREST – COMPLETE VISITORS GUIDE

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Arriving at National Falls

National Falls is situated on the most southern point of Sydney in The Royal National Park, about 47km (50 minutes) South from Sydney CBD and 47km (36 minutes) North from Wollongong CBD.

By far the best way to get to National Falls is by vehicle. After driving down or up the Princes Motorway, you will turn off into McKell Avenue. After driving Passed Waterfall Train station and entering the Royal National Park, continue driving for five more minutes. You will reach a small carpark on the side of the road along the bend to park your vehicle.

How to get to the Waterfall

The walk down to National Falls is very quick and easy. At the end of the carpark you will see a set of wooden stairs for you to walk down leading to a short bush track, whereby within only one minute you will reach the fence at the bottom.

If you are comfortable to do so, climb over the fence if you wish to walk onto the rocks and towards the waterfall.

What to expect at National Falls

While you cannot swim or dunk yourself under these falls, National Falls is incredibly relaxing and picturesque, perfect for sitting down, chilling and admiring its flow and the surrounding nature.

Just further down from the falls, towards the cliff face, offers you a stunning spot to sit down, maybe have a picnic and admire an incredible view over the valley through the Royal National Park. Be careful not to sit too close to the edge though, as the drop down to the bottom section of National Falls is very high.

By far the best feature of National Falls though is an off track, which you can enter from the bottom of the wooden stairs, which takes you into a cave-like spot behind the Waterfall.

 

Arriving at Kellys Falls

The next stop is Kellys Falls. Continue Driving down McKell Avenue and onto Lady Wakehurst Drive. From here you will continue driving through the Lush, beautiful and Historic Royal National Park for about 15km.

After driving through Stanwell Tops and upon entering Helensburgh, you will turn right, just before Walker street. Continue along this narrow road for one minute until you reach the Kellys Falls Picnic area and main carpark.

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How to get to the Waterfall

The trail down to Kellys Falls from the carpark is fairly steep and can be tricky and unsafe if not treaded with caution.

At the start, enter the bush track on the right (Princess Marina Track). After 100m, you will reach a fence. Just before that fence is a small opening into a pathway which wraps around towards a bunch of rocks. After treading down these rocks, you will reach a rock platform with a ladder to climb down.

From here, follow the fairly steep bush track down for a further few hundred metres until eventually it leads you to the bottom of Kellys Falls.

Keep yourself safe along your adventures!

Keep yourself safe during your adventures against the risk of potential minor and major injuries with this First Aid Kit.

View on Amazon

What to expect at Kellys Falls

Kellys Falls is the swimming waterfall of the circuit, and is arguably one of the best swimming waterfalls in NSW. It is a large waterfall, boasting a whopping 48-metre single drop, which has a nice consistent flow into a pristine pool, perfect for a refreshing swim in the cool fresh water.

However, there is more to Kelly Falls than just swimming. There are plenty of rocks around the water to sit, chill, eat (remember to clean up your rubbish), admire the attractive waterfall or even sun bake. There are even plenty of trees if you wish to set up a hammock.

Arriving at Maddens Falls

Your final stop at the waterfall circuit is Maddens Falls, which is only about a 10 minute drive from Kellys Falls.

Make your way up to the Princes Highway (do not turn onto the motorway) and follow the road towards Darkes Forrest. Take a right onto Darkes Forrest Rd and continue driving for about a few minutes. You will eventually reach a patch of dirt on your left which is the carpark for 10z Trail, the main track eventually leading you to Maddens Falls.

How to get to the Waterfall

The track down to Maddens Falls is very short and easy. Start off by walking down the bush track (10z Trail) for a few minutes until you reach the bottom. Eventually the track connects to Maddens Falls Track, which is part bush track and part metal track. In three-five minutes you will arrive at the end, which is a look out overseeing the pristine Maddens Falls.

If you wish to get closer to the falls, just before the lookout is a small opening through the bushes which leads onto the rocks.

In order to get to the next level down and under a section of the falls, you will need to cross the water at the top and head to the other side of the rocks. You will then need to climb down and make your way through the bushes towards the edge (Extreme safety caution is required here and should only be attempted if you are an experienced hiker).

What to expect at Maddens Falls

Maddens Falls is a highly picturesque waterfall, perfect for viewing from the lookout platform. The platform also overlooks a stunning view through Maddens Plains.

The top of Maddens Falls also offers plenty of small water holes to cool off, and plenty of spots along the rocks, to sit and chill, enjoy the sun and even a lovely picnic.

While you cannot swim at Maddens Falls, if you do choose to head down the bottom of the Falls, you can enjoy a refreshing shower under the far left section of the Falls. However, please take extreme caution as the rocks can be slippery upon approaching the water.

After successive days of rain, you can expect this waterfall to truly come to life with an arena-like display of water rushing over the entire width of the rock face. It is truly an incredible sight to see.

Must have adventure & Travel accessories

Stainless Steel Drink Bottle

This insulated premium stainless steel, BPA friendly iron flask is the perfect drink bottle stay hydrated during outdoor adventures.

View on Amazon

Portable Powerbank

Keep your devices always charged with this 10,000mAh INIU Powerbank!

View on Amazon

Pocket Blanket

A lightweight, compact sand and waterproof picnic blanket

View on Amazon

Lightweight Backpack

This 15L lightweight, pocket sized day backpack by Kathmandu is a perfectly compact ‘pack&go’ travel and hiking solution.

View on Amazon

Mobile selfie stick & Tripod

Never miss capturing a moment along your travels and adventures with this TONEOF60 all in one tripod and selfie stick with wireless remote.

View on Amazon

More Guides

For years I have been adventuring to some of the most incredible places nature has to offer. From locations in my own backyard, to epic road trips, all the way to breathtaking travel destinations.

The goal of my blog is to ultimately inspire you to step outside of your comfort zone to get outdoors and immerse yourself in so much that mother nature has to offer.

You can check out my most recent blogs by clicking the links:

Final Word On This Amazing Waterfall Circuit

I hope this waterfall guide finds you well and helps you plan a fun and thrilling day chasing some of the best waterfalls near Sydney. From experience, given I visit these three waterfalls near me a lot, they never fail to disappoint. If you have any questions regarding this waterfall circuit, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment below or contact me.

Travel Resources

Here are some useful resources you can use to help book and plan your next travels and adventures and even grab some amazing deals to save money along the way!

Search and book accomodation worldwide on the worlds most popular booking website.

Search Booking.com

Find the best deals on car rentals world wide.

Search Discover Cars

Find, compare and book the cheapest airfares anywhere.

Search Skyscanner

Find discounted prices on tickets, tours and experiences worldwide.

Search Viator

Low cost travel insurance for your next trip.

Search Heymondo

Find great deals on tickets, tours and experiences specialized especially in the Oceania region.

Search Klook

Book any form of transport, from buses, ferries, trains and even private transfers all over the world.

Search Book A Way

13 AWESOME Things To Do On Fraser Island (K’Gari) – A Complete Guide

lake mckenzie Aerial Fraser Island

There are so many things to do on Fraser Island, originally known as K’gari by the traditional owners of the land – the Butchella People, which is arguably one of the most epic and beautiful places you can visit on Australia’s East Coast. 

Fraser Island is a world heritage listed island in southern Queensland, made of entirely sand and is officially renown as ‘the largest sand island in the world‘.

From 4WD driving on wide open beaches and epic inland tracks, to swimming in natural waters offered by the many lakes, rivers and ocean pools; camping, stargazing, hiking and admiring the vast variety of wildlife and marine life – Fraser Island has something for everyone.

I have been on a few trips to Fraser Island recently and have put together this guide on my most recommended things to do on Fraser Island, as well as other helpful information to help plan your trip; including how to get to Fraser Island, 4WD on Fraser Island, camping on Fraser Island and options for accommodation in Fraser Island

Things to do on Fraser Island

Where is Fraser Island

Fraser Island is located off the southeastern coast of Queensland, Australia. It is about 3.5-4 hours drive (Approximately 250km) north from the state capital city of Brisbane and sits just above Rainbow Beach and to the East of Hervey Bay

Click here to see the location on Google Maps

How to get to Fraser Island

Since Fraser Island is located off the mainland of South Eastern Queensland, the only two ways to get to the Island is by sea or air from either Rainbow Beach or Hervey Bay.

The most common way people get to Fraser Island is by 4WD and catching the ferry/barge over to the Island. You can also jump on these ferries as a foot passenger as well (if departing from Hervey bay).

Car Rental – Compare and safe

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Find the perfect rental car for your trip at the best price guaranteed!

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Best time to visit Fraser Island

Best times to visit Fraser Island is during Spring (September-November ) and Autumn (March-May) each year. These time periods offer good weather, whereby temperature wise it is still warm. You will also get a reduced number of tourists during these months as well.

Unless otherwise, I would personally avoid going to Fraser Island during school holidays and public holidays, especially over the summer, as these periods attract a lot of visitors, particularly from the locals, and you can expect large crowds at most attractions.

13 AWESOME Things To Do On Fraser Island

Swim and relax at Lake Mckenzie

Lake Mckenzie, Fraser Island
Lake Mckenzie
Lake Mckenzie

Lake Mckenzie on Fraser Island is one of the most visited natural spots on the Island and is arguably one of the most stunning swimming spots in Australia’s East Coast.

The most obvious and beautiful feature of the Lake is its white sand surrounding the clear, bright blue water, which almost makes you feel like you are at Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays. The sand is 98% silica, giving it that extremely fine, soft feel. It also acts as a filter, contributing to the high clarity and purity of the water.

Lake Mckenzie
Lake Mckenzie

The lake is also a ‘Perched Lake’, meaning that it is completely filled with rain water (as opposed to ground water), streams do not flow into the lake, nor does water from the lake flow into oceans. Over time, sand and organic matter have formed an impervious layer at the base of the lake, which prevents the water from draining away.

Lake Mckenzie is located in the middle of the southern half of Fraser Island. You can drive here by 4WD from either Kingfisher Bay or Eurong.

There is a large carpark for visitors, barbecue facilities, toilets and showers as well as camping facilities.

View S.S Maheno Shipwreck

The S.S Maheno Shipwreck is one of the most famous and historical landmark on Fraser Island, making it extremely popular to visit by tourists. It is located along the shores of 75 Mile Beach, and just a few minutes drive north from Eli Creek.

If you’re a drone operator or photographer, the shipwreck is known for getting awesome aerial shots, particularly topdown shots, as well as a beautiful location for sunrise photos.

This shipwreck had been operated for over 30 years as both a passenger and hospital ship around the world. During its final journey to Japan, it got caught in a cyclone and drifted towards the East Coast of Australia. The ship eventually beached on Fraser Island, where it sits today.

S.S Maheno Shipwreck, Fraser Island
Topdown Aerial of S.S Maheno Shipwreck
S.S Maheno Shipwreck up close
S.S Maheno Shipwreck up close

Float down Eli Creek

Eli Creek is another popular tourist attraction and swim spot on the Island. The creeks pours on average four million litres of fresh, clear water into the ocean every hour.

Whilst Eli Creek is a very popular swimming location, visitors mainly flock here with various of different floats and float down the creek from the far end of the board walk, back towards the ocean. The current of the water is very calm and is therefore highly safe for kids to use as well.

As well as swimming and floating down the creek, visitors also spend a large part of their day at this location on the beach. There are also picnic facilities and toilet facilities as well.

Eli Creek, Fraser Island
Entering Eli Creek from far end

Watch turtles at Lake Allom

Lake Allom is another Perched lake, located along the Northern Forests Scenic Drive, within the top half of Fraser Island, inland and inline with the Cathedrals. Whilst this lake is less touristy compared to Lake Mckenzie, many tourists still flock to this lake to take in all its beauty.

One of the of most well-known features of this lake is that it is filled with hundreds of turtles. The lake has a viewing platform with steps, enabling you to get up and close to these turtles, watching them as they swim around and peep their heads up. Whilst the clarity of the water is relatively low, and not exactly clear, the water is perfectly safe to swim in as well.

The Lake Allom day use area also contains a picnic area to set up lunch, nestled within the towering rainforests. It also contains a picturesque circuit walk to hike and adventure around the lake.

Lake Allom
Lake Allom

Walk to Lake Wabby

Lake Wabby is another lake in the lower half of Fraser Island and is the deepest dune lake on the Island. The walk to the lake is 4.1km one way starting from 75 mile beach at One Tree Rocks camping area. The walk is relatively easy most of the way, containing only a few steep sections.

At the end of the walk, you will end up at Hammerstone Sandblow. You can continue to Lake Wabby lookout on the other side of the sand blow, which gives you breathtaking 360 views of the lake and the ocean. Walk down the dune to the lake for a refreshing dip in the cool, fresh water.

When you reach the lake, you will instantly notice all the fish that swim up and back. The lake contains 12 species of fish, including the rare Honey-Blue Eye.

The lake was formed by migrating sands exposing and creating the dunes, which eventually blocked a coastal creek. It is said that within the next century the lake will be swallowed by the dunes as sand constantly blows down and fills the lake.

Lake Wabby, Fraser Island
Lake Wabby

Take a Dip at Champagne Pools

Champagne Pools
Champagne Pools

The Champagne Pools are naturally formed rock pools on the edge of the ocean and is one of the best natural attractions and things to do on Fraser Island.

Located at the North East section of the Island between Waddy Point and Indian Head, these pools offer the safest place to swim in the ocean on Fraser Island. This is widely due to the strong current and riptides, as well as a huge abundance of sharks, whereby these pool create a natural barrier to these threats.

Swimming in the the Champagne Pools is described as sitting in a pool of bubbly champagne. Each time a wave hits these pools, they are renewed with fresh new salt water, creating a jacuzzi like feeling with sea foam surrounding those within them.

Despite these pools offering the safest place to swim in salt water, the Champagne Pools can be quite dangerous if caution isn’t taken.

During low tide the pools are calm and safe to swim in. However, during high tide the pools are extremely rough from large waves crashing in, creating a strong current. This can cause danger to those in them from crashing into the surrounding rocks. My advice is to therefore only attend these pools during low tide, especially if you wish to take a dip in them.

Champagne Pools
Champagne Pools

Explore Unique Tropical Rainforests

When you think of Fraser Island, you think of sand – as it is the largest sand island in the world after all. However, what makes Fraser Island even more special and unique are the huge abundance of rainforests across the island grown on top of this sand.

What makes these rainforests even more unique is that despite being grown on sand, which typically lack necessary nutrients to grow trees, they are the largest of its kind in the world, with some growing upwards of 200m tall.

These large ancient trees have managed to form roots on the base of the island, which creates a vibrant rainforest stretching across the vast majority of the inner Island.

Amongst these rainforests are epic 4WD tracks, beautiful scenic walks and even secret fresh water swimming holes to explore.

> BOOK NOW: K’gari (Fraser Island) Day Tour

Visit Indian Head

Indian Head is the most easterly point on Fraser Island, located north, at the end of 75 Mile Beach, just before Champagne Pools.

It got the name ‘Indian Head’ because when James Cook sailed passed the Island in 1770, he claims to have seen native people on top of the headland. It is therefore used as a reference to the local population.

Indian Head provides panoramic, breathtaking views of the Island, ocean and coastline; whereby you can also spot a vast variety of wildlife in the ocean close by, such as dolphins, manta stingrays, fishes, sharks and whales (during their migration season).

One of the most unique features of Indian Head is that it is one of the only view spots on the Island whereby it isn’t made of sand. Instead, it is made from volcanic rock, said to have formed millions of years ago.

Indian Head
Indian Head

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Visit the Sandy Cape Lighthouse

Sandy Cape Lighthouse is located at the northernmost point of Fraser Island, offering stunning ocean views, as well as views of the wider coastline of the Australian mainland.

The lighthouse itself is the tallest lighthouse in all of Queensland, and the second ever to be built. It was built and placed at Sandy Cape, specifically due to the breaksea split, whereby the waters that surround the cape claimed over 20 ships – almost destroying James Cook’s ship during his journey.

As well as the views the lighthouse and Sandy Cape offers, today it remains a popular attraction to visit on Fraser Island. There are a few walking tracks around, including the 1.2km hike to the lighthouse itself from Orchid Beach. There is also a museum located at the bottom floor of the lighthouse.

Stargazing on the beach

One of the biggest features of Fraser Island, which would appeal to stargazers and photographers, are the abundance of stargazing spots, with some of the most popular being at Lake Mckenzie, S.S Maheno Shipwreck and Champagne Pools. However, can be witnessed from almost all parts of the Island with open space.

Due to the lack of pollution around Fraser Island, as well as lights, this significantly increases the transparency and clarity of the stars and constellations, making stargazing an incredible event to witness almost every night on the Island.

Some of the most notable attractions you will see in the night sky include the widely known Southern Cross, or ‘The Crux’ as it is formally known as. You can also see the a dark nebula known as ‘Coalsack Nebula’, which is known as the head of the emu in Aboriginal culture. You can also witness the ‘Centaurus Constellation’, which contains Alpha Centauri – the nearest star system to Earth

Stargazing at Fraser Island
Stargazing at Fraser Island

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4WD on Fraser Island

When it comes to things to do on Fraser Island, the most obvious one would be to 4WD, because this is literally the only way you can get around the Island. That being said, there are specific 4X4 tracks, which I recommend and are an absolute must when getting around and exploring Fraser Island.

Firstly, known as the highway of Fraser Island , is 75 Mile Beach. This starts from Hook Point, the drop off point from the barge when travelling from Rainbow beach, and ends near Orchard Beach. This is an easy drive along the sand, which takes you to a lot of the locations mentioned already, including Eli Creek, S.S Maheno, start of bush track to Lake Wabby and Champagne Pools.

4x4 on Fraser Island
4WD on Fraser Island

Next highly recommended are the Northern Forests & Lake Garawongera tracks. These tracks combine together to form an adventure-filled loop, taking you through breathtaking sights inland of Fraser Island. These tracks do have a difficult rating, with a mix of low and high clearances. Starting at Worali Road, you will firstly come across a beautiful lookout overlooking Knifeblade Sand blow, before taking you deep into the rainforest. You will eventually lead to Lake Allom and Boomerang Lakes.

Last (but not least) recommended is the Southern & Central Lakes Scenic Drive. This drive is a difficult drive that does consist of low range and high ground clearances, with many sandy and winding sections. This 75 km return scenic drive will take you to unique, freshwater perched lakes, including Lake Boomanjin, Lake Barga, Lake Birrabeen and the most famous Lake Mckenzie. Nearby is Central Station, which is the most popular camping location and also an ideal midpoint to camp overnight.

Sandy 4x4 tracks
Sandy 4×4 tracks

Camping on Fraser Island

If you are planning to stay overnight or multiple nights, then camping on Fraser Island is an absolute must. Not only is it the most common and cheapest option of places to stay on Fraser Island, but it is the best way in term of fully immersing yourself and connecting with what the Island has to offer. 

The most popular campsite is Central Station, which is right near Lake Mckenzie. This campsite is fenced, allowing it to be family-friendly. Other family-friendly sites include Lake Boomanjin, Dundubara and Waddy Point.

There are many campsites along 75 mile beach, which are ideal if you are someone wanting to wake up to a stunning sunrise. 

 

Whale Watching

Fraser Island is arguably the best location for whale watching. This is because when whales travel up from the Antarctic along Australia’s East Coast, they end their journey in Hervey Bay, which is right next to Fraser Island.

It is here that offers warm sheltered waters for the mothers to rest and teach their newborns the necessary survival skills they will need to survive back in the Antarctic waters.

Whales off Fraser Island

Between July and October every year, you can therefore expect to see many whales resting, frolicking and playing in the ocean surrounding the Island. The first time I went to Fraser Island was in September, to which I witnessed many whales breaching while travelling up 75 mile beach. So if you choose to travel to Fraser Island during this period, don’t forget to keep a lookout on the ocean!

Whales off Fraser Island
Whales off Fraser Island

Things To Consider When Travelling To Fraser Island

Dingoes are widely spread across Fraser Island. Dingos come from the wolf family but easily looks like a cute dog walking around. It is for this reason that people, particularly kids, are easily enticed to go up and feed or pat them. However, extreme caution needs to be taken as they are wild animals who can be quite vicious unexpectedly, with many incidents reported each year to authorities

They have been known to roam the beaches, bushes and even campsites scavenging for food. It is for this reason that you should never walk alone when at Fraser Island, as you could be at risk of being threatened and attacked. 

Dingoes at Fraser Island
Dingoes at Fraser Island

As mentioned, camping on Fraser Island is the cheapest and most common way for staying on the Island. However, an important thing to know is that camping permits do apply for camping on Fraser Island. It is $6.95 AUD per person, per night. There are family rates available as well. These are purchased at information centres before going onto the Island.

Swimming in the ocean waters is strictly a no go zone for a few reasons. Firstly, the ocean waters surrounding Fraser Island consists of extremely rough currents. Secondly, there are no lifeguard patrolled beaches on Fraser Island, therefore you run risking your own life and safety by swimming in the ocean. Thirdly, Sharks are highly prevalent and regularly seen; we all know how dangerous they can be. Lastly, dangerous stingers, such as Irukandji Jellyfish and Blue Bottles, are prevalent in the ocean It is therefore advised to only swim in the beautiful lakes and creeks on the Island, as well as the west side on Platypus Bay. 

Buying food on Fraser Island is extremely expensive, with only a a couple of food store options on the Island. It is therefore highly recommended you pack your own food to bring on the Island during your stay. 

Since 4WD is the only way to get around the island, I should emphasise that you will need a permit to 4WD on Fraser Island, which you can obtain here.

Accommodation In Fraser Island

As mentioned before, camping on Fraser Island is by far the cheapest and most common way for staying and on the Island. 

However, if camping isn’t your thing and you are looking for other accommodation in Fraser Island options, then there are a few hotels and holiday homes to choose from. 

Kingfisher Bay Resort

A luxury, eco-friendly resort, which offers self-contained rooms featuring air conditioning, washing machine, a balcony overlooking breathtaking views, bath and kitchen. 

The resort itself contains 4 swimming pools, wellness centre, restaurant and bar and beach front

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Orchard Beach Retreat

A 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom holiday home situated on 1.25 acres of land, offering everything you need to have a pleasant stay whilst on Fraser Island. 

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Fraser Island Beach Houses

These beach houses are situated in Eurong and only 200 metres from 75 mile beach. Rooms come fitted with everything you need to have a relaxing stay, as well as a swimming pool, free private parking and barbeque facilities. 

Check on booking.com

FOR ALL OTHER ACCOMMODATION IN FRASER ISLAND, SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM 

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More Guides

For years I have been adventuring to some of the most incredible places nature has to offer. From locations in my own backyard, to epic road trips, all the way to breathtaking travel destinations.

The goal of my blog is to ultimately inspire you to step outside of your comfort zone to get outdoors and immerse yourself in so much that mother nature has to offer.

You can check out my most recent blogs by clicking the links:

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog on my highly recommended 13 AWESOME things to do on Fraser Island. When it comes to places to visit along Australia’s East Coast, Fraser Island is an absolute must with so many unique and natural wonders for everyone to explore. There is simply no place on Earth like Fraser Island.

If you have any questions or queries about things to do in Fraser Island, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you. 

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12 Amazing Waterfalls in Sydney to Swim in (2023)

The waterfalls in Sydney are arguably some of the best waterfalls in NSW. In this guide I have narrowed down all the incredible waterfalls in Sydney to visit, to specifically 12 Amazing Waterfalls in Sydney to Swim in, including where to find them and what to expect at each one.

All of these waterfalls are located in the main Sydney region and also the surrounding regions, including south in the Illawarra, north in the Central Coast and West in the Blue Mountains. They are each within a couple of hours drive from Sydney CBD.

Also in this guide, I have included some useful information on where to stay in the Sydney and links to other guides I have written which you might like to check out.

Waterfalls in Sydney to swim in

12 Amazing Waterfalls in Sydney to Swim in

Visiting waterfalls is one of my favourite things to explore in nature. However, nothing gives me more of a refreshing feeling and energy buzz than swimming under a cool, pumping waterfall.

If you are based in, or travelling to Sydney and are a waterfall lover like me, you might be thinking ‘where are some of the best waterfalls near me?’ Well I have got you covered.

Sydney and its surrounding regions is home to many waterfalls that also offer swimming spots. Therefore, I have compiled a list of 12 waterfalls in Sydney that you can swim in, which I highly recommend.

Kellys Falls

Kellys Falls is located in the northern end of the Illawarra region. It is about 30 minutes north from Wollongong and 55 minute south from Sydney CBD.

Kellys Falls is one of the best swimming waterfalls in NSW, not just Sydney. You can therefore expect it to be very busy on weekends and during the summer season.

Kelly Falls Aerial
Kelly Falls Aerial

Getting down to the bottom of the falls can be tricky. Some sections of the walking track are uneven, steep and some parts require a slight climb down/up. However, with knowledge of how to get down and treating it with caution, you should have no problem reaching the bottom. You can read more about how to get down in my Kellys Falls – 2022 Complete Visitors Guide.

As soon as you reach the bottom, you will notice the huge scale of the falls. It boasts a whopping 48-metre single drop, which has a nice consistent flow into a pristine pool, perfect for a refreshing swim in the cool fresh water.

Kellys Falls
Kellys Falls

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Winifred Falls

Winnifred Falls is located in one of the best places to visit from Sydney – Royal National Park. It is about 45 minutes south from Sydney CBD, whereby you will park in front of Winifred Firetrail, along Warumbul Rd.

The firetrail down to the falls is relatively easy. It is 1.4km each way, whereby the first half is flat and second half is fairly steep, but not overly challenging.

Upon arriving at the bottom, you will see the wide cliff edge, offering stunning views of the falls. You can access the falls through very small tracks that lead down to the falls.

Winifred Falls
Winifred Falls

The best time to visit Winifred Falls is after a few days of downpour. This when you can expect the waterfall to be heavily flowing, and the pool to be fully filled up, making it one of the best waterfalls in Sydney to swim in. Without rain, you can expect the pool to be fairly drained out.

The waterfall cliff edge offers a beautiful spot to relax and have a bite. So make sure you pack some lunch if you wish to spend most of your day here.

Kariong Brook Falls

Kariong Brook Falls lies within Brisbane Water National Park in Woy Woy, Central Coast, 1.5 hours drive north from Sydney CBD and is one of the more popular Central Coast waterfalls in NSW. It can therefore get very busy on weekends. If you can time your visit for a weekday, you will get to enjoy it with fewer people or possibly even have it to yourself!

It features a 3.2km walking trail, starting along Woy Woy Rd, opposite Staples Lookout. The walking trail involves two connecting trails – Tommos Loop Firetrail and Hawkesbury Track.

There is a stunning pool at the bottom large enough to properly swim in. The pool becomes very shallow closer to the rock face, allowing you to stand up and take a nice, refreshing shower under the falls! After a spell of rainfall you can really expect this waterfall to come to life, forming a mini arena-like display of flow down the cliff.

Full Blog Post – Kariong Brook Falls

Kariong Brook Falls
Kariong Brook Falls

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls is one of the taller waterfalls in Sydney and surrounding regions, whereby it is located in Katoomba, Blue Mountains. It is highly regarded as the best swimming waterfall in the Blue Mountains region. It is also one of the few waterfalls around which is dog friendly. It therefore attracts a lot of tourism and visitors, so I encourage you to visit these falls early morning or throughout the week if you wish to avoid the crowds.

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The start of the walk is located in the carpark at the end of Minni Ha Ha Rd. The walk down is about 1.5km each way. Overall it is a fairly easy track with only some sections that is a bit rough and steep, including various sets of staircases and steps.

Once you reach the bottom you will see Minnehaha Falls towering above, which generally has consistent flow all year around. The pool is easily accessible from various entry points around the base. It is quite a large and deep pool, which makes it perfect for swimming in.

Minnehaha Falls
Minnehaha Falls

Cascades Falls (Macquarie Pass)

Cascade Falls is one of the main waterfalls at Macquarie Pass in the Illawarra, whereby Macquarie Pass is personally one of my favourite places to visit for waterfalls in NSW. I often refer to this place as a ‘waterfall theme park’. Cascades Falls specifically is located at the bottom of Illawarra Highway at Cascades Picnic Area. It is roughly 1 hour and 40 mins south from Sydney CBD

The trail to the base of the falls is 2km return and is suitable for anyone of all ages and levels of fitness – therefore a popular spot for families. As soon as you enter the track, the sounds of the cascades and surrounding lush green plants straight away teleports you into a magical rainforest.

Cascade Falls (bottom)
Cascade Falls (bottom)

As soon as you reach the base of the falls, there will be plenty of spots around the base to sit and admire the bottom of the stunning Cascades Falls. You will also notice a small pool in front if you wish to take a refreshing dip.

While this is the bottom of the falls, Cascade Falls actually consists of several tiers, whereby each tier offers a seperate waterfall to visit, with a few of them also offering a pool for swimming. To access the upper tiers, the track is on the far right of the bottom falls. However, extreme caution is to be taken on this track as it is extremely steep, uneven, slippery and therefore should only be attempted by experienced or serious hikers.

Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls (Tier 2)

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Minerva Pool

Minerva Pool is located in Dharawal National Park, just over a one hour drive from Sydney CBD. It offers one of the best swimming waterholes to visit in Sydney, and of course a waterfall.

The track starts from the main carpark, which is at the end of Victoria Rd in Wedderburn. After a couple of hundred metres along the bush track you will turn right into Minerva Pools Track. The track is about 3km return and is relatively suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

Upon reaching the bottom, you will notice a lookout that overlooks Minerva Pool. Further along the track will take you down onto the cliff edge and over the waterfall. The cliff edge has various access points to the falls and swimming hole.

It should be noted that Minerva pool is actually considered culturally significant to the Dharawal traditional owners. New South Wales National Parks advise visitors for only women and children to enter the waters.

Minerva Pool
Minerva Pool

Wattamolla Falls

Wattamolla Falls lies in Royal National Park at Wattamolla beach, along the Coastal Track and is one of the more popular places to visit from Sydney. It is about 50km south of Sydney CBD at the end of Wattamolla Rd.

Wattamolla is a perfect location for family and friends. It contains many picnic areas to have lunch and a beach and lagoon, where you will find the falls.

You can access the top of the falls at the north end of the carpark. The edge of the cliff is fenced off for safety reasons to avoid people jumping off, and is deemed as prohibited. However, this often does not stop people who dare to do it. The top of the falls does offer amazing views over the lagoon, beach and ocean.

View from top of Wattamolla Falls

To access the bottom, head to the south end of the carpark and follow the signs, leading you down a bush track and eventually to the beach. Once at the beach you will be greeted by the beautiful and calm waters in the lagoon and also the falls in front of you.

The best time to visit Wattamolla is early morning, afternoon or through the week. You can expect crowds during the weekend and is often full by early morning on public holidays.

Wattamolla Falls
Wattamolla Falls

Upper Gledhill Falls

Upper Gledhill Falls is located in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park along Mccarrs Creek. It is Approximately 40 mins drive from Sydney CBD, making it one of the more closer swimming waterfalls in Sydney to the CBD on this list.

Something important to consider is that parking fees do apply everywhere throughout Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, which is $12. Alternatively, these fees are covered in the NSW National Park’s ‘Multi Parks’ or ‘All Parks’ Pass

To access the falls, follow the bush track from the carpark, which will take you right in the bushes. Shortly after the track starts, it will descend down some rocks, which isn’t difficult but caution should be taken. Once at the bottom there is a bit of walking over the rocks until you reach the base of the falls.

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Once there you will see plenty of rocks in front to sit down and have a bite. The pool is easily accessible from various entry points around the base and is perfect for swimming in.

You can expect it to be quite busy here, especially on weekends, as it is one of the main waterfalls in the Ku-ring-gai National Park area that offers a pool for swimming.

Upper Gledhill Falls
Upper Gledhill Falls

Jump Rock (Macquarie Pass)

Jump Rock is another major section in Macquarie Pass National Park. The track is specifically located at the bottom of Illawarra Highway, on the other side of the road to the Cascades Picnic Area.

Out of not just the swimming waterfalls near me, but all waterfalls in Sydney, Jump Rock is personally my favourite one to visit. Whilst the track to the falls is officially closed, this doesn’t stop the locals and tourists from visiting what could be one of the most picturesque and fun waterfalls in NSW.

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The track to the falls starts at the end of the carpark. You will eventually walk the entire time parallel to the Macquarie Rivulet. At times the track to the falls can be muddy and slushy, uneven and some parts very narrow with a risk of falling if you are not careful. After about 30-40 mins of walking you will eventually reach the falls where there are a few access points to walk down to the bottom.

Once you reach the base of the falls, you will notice plenty of space in front to sit down and admire the falls. There are a couple of pools at the bottom, and also at the top, which is perfect for swimming in. As the name suggests, there is a rock you can jump off, which is extremely fun but please attempt it with safety! From the top of the falls, you can also slide down to the bottom. Again, very fun but please do it with caution!

Jump Rock (Macquarie Pass)
Jump Rock Falls

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Empress Falls

Empress Falls is located at the end of Fletcher St in Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains. The carpark where the track starts is at the conservation hut. It is about one hour and 30 minutes from Sydney CBD.

Empress Falls is one of the more popular Blue Mountains waterfalls and also waterfalls in NSW, to visit. This is particularly because it is also a popular spot for abseiling and canyoning. It is essential to visit here throughout the week or before 10am on the weekends if you wish to avoid the crowds.

Empress falls is the first major waterfall located along the Valley of the Waters Walking Track. The section to Empress Falls is fairly short yet steep and takes only about 25-30 minutes to reach. The track is a mix of leafy bush track and both wooden and metal stairs.

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Once you reach the bottom you will notice two tiers to the waterfall. The top tier is where you will see a pristine pool under the falls to have a dip in, while the bottom tier gives you an entire view of the beautiful Empress Falls. This is also where the track continues further if you wish to see more stunning waterfalls further along, such as Sylvia falls and Lodore Falls.

Empress Falls
Empress Falls
Empress Falls (Top)
Empress Falls (Top)

Curracurrang Falls

Curracurrang Falls is one of the more hidden and secluded swimming waterfalls in Sydney. It is located along the Royal National Park Coastal Track, halfway between Wattamolla and Eagle Rock. It is therefore best to Park at the top of the Wattamolla carpark.

To get here, continue walking south along the coastal track from Wattamolla until you reach Curracurrang Cove. Just before the cove, there is a track on the right that you can turn off into. After a few minutes of walking you will reach the end, whereby you will be met by a secluded waterhole and stunning waterfall.

This spot is perfect for swimming in and at back is a shallow spot for you to stand and take a refreshing shower under the falls. There is also plenty of space in front of the pool to relax and have something to eat.

Curracurrang Falls
Curracurrang Falls

Mulangong Falls

Mulungong Falls is located in upper Macquarie Pass along Clover Hill Rd Trail. It is about a further 5 minutes drive up the Illawarra Highway from the bottom at the Cascades Picnic area, and therefore around an hour and 45 minutes south from Sydney CBD

The track down to Mulangong Falls starts at the end of the main carpark in Clover Hill Rd. It is a relatively easy track until the end where it starts to descend down to the bottom at Macquarie Rivulet. The entire track and Clover Hill section screams Jurassic Park vibes, which makes it one of the most unique places to visit from Sydney and surrounding regions.

Once you reach the bottom, cross the rivulet to the other side where you will see the track continue. You will notice the huge boulder which is balancing with the water flowing around it. Follow the track, past this boulder and eventually you will arrive at Mulangong Falls.

These falls are popular for families and tourists to visit and offers a pristine pool to swim in. There are plenty of rocks around the base to sit down and have some lunch. If you are an experienced hiker and wish to explore more around the area, Rainbow Falls before Mulangong Falls, and Clover Hill Falls further up is also worth visiting and each have pools to swim in.

Mulangong Falls
Mulangong Falls

Where to stay in Sydney

Whether you are a luxury traveller or budget backpacker, Sydney has hundreds of accommodations to choose from that suit you. See list of recommended accommodations in Sydney below:

Luxury: Hyatt Regency 

Mid Range: Travelodge Hotel

Check on booking.com

Budget: Maze Backpackers 

Check on booking.com

FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN SYDNEY, SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM

Must have adventure & Travel accessories

Stainless Steel Drink Bottle

This insulated premium stainless steel, BPA friendly iron flask is the perfect drink bottle stay hydrated during outdoor adventures.

View on Amazon

Portable Powerbank

Keep your devices always charged with this 10,000mAh INIU Powerbank!

View on Amazon

Pocket Blanket

A lightweight, compact sand and waterproof picnic blanket

View on Amazon

Lightweight Backpack

This 15L lightweight, pocket sized day backpack by Kathmandu is a perfectly compact ‘pack&go’ travel and hiking solution.

View on Amazon

Mobile selfie stick & Tripod

Never miss capturing a moment along your travels and adventures with this TONEOF60 all in one tripod and selfie stick with wireless remote.

View on Amazon

More Guides

For years I have been adventuring to some of the most incredible places nature has to offer. From locations in my own backyard, to epic road trips, all the way to breathtaking travel destinations.

The goal of my blog is to ultimately inspire you to step outside of your comfort zone to get outdoors and immerse yourself in so much that mother nature has to offer.

You can check out my most recent blogs by clicking the links:

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog on my highly recommended 12 amazing waterfalls in Sydney to swim in. Whilst I am a Sydney local and regard these as the best waterfalls near me, they are also some of the best waterfalls in NSW and most beautiful places to visit from Sydney.

If you have any questions about the best swimming waterfalls in Sydney to visit, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.

Travel Resources

Here are some useful resources you can use to help book and plan your next travels and adventures and even grab some amazing deals to save money along the way!

Search and book accomodation worldwide on the worlds most popular booking website.

Search Booking.com

Find the best deals on car rentals world wide.

Search Discover Cars

Find, compare and book the cheapest airfares anywhere.

Search Skyscanner

Find discounted prices on tickets, tours and experiences worldwide.

Search Viator

Low cost travel insurance for your next trip.

Search Heymondo

Find great deals on tickets, tours and experiences specialized especially in the Oceania region.

Search Klook

Book any form of transport, from buses, ferries, trains and even private transfers all over the world.

Search Book A Way

Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout – 2023 Complete Visitors Guide

Finding the Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout in the Illawarra NSW has become one of the most popular things to do near Sydney. It was very much a secret until it went viral all over social media. With knowledge on how to get to the top exposed, and the track made public friendly and easily accessible, the lookout is now one of the most popular places to visit near Sydney, amongst the locals and tourists.

In this guide I have included everything you need to know about visiting the Sea Cliff Bridge and specifically the iconic lookout, including how to get there, best time to visit, things to know before you go, best way to reach the lookout and what to expect once you arrive there.

Also in this guide I have included some useful information on where to stay in the Illawarra – the surrounding region of the Sea Cliff Bridge.

Sea Cliff Bridge Aerial
Sea Cliff Bridge Aerial

WHERE IS THE SEA CLIFF BRIDGE

The Sea Cliff Bridge is located in the Illawarra region of NSW, in the suburb Clifton. It is approximately a 30 minutes drive from North from Wollongong CBD and is about a 1 hour drive from Sydney CBD.

The bridge is situated along the Grand Pacific Drive, which offers beautiful, oceanic views the whole way, making it the perfect Sydney day trip.

Click here to see the location on Google Maps.

HOW TO GET HERE

The most popular and common way to get to the Sea Cliff Bridge and the lookout is by private vehicle. Alternatively, there are plenty of places in the Illawarra and Sydney to rent a vehicle if required.

Another option is via the train, whereby the closest train station is either at Coalcliff, which is only about a 10 minute walk from the start of the Sea Cliff Bridge at the northern end, or if you would rather just see the lookout and not walk over the entire bridge, Scarborough train station is 10-15 minute walk from the south end of the bridge.

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BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit the Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout would have to be in the mornings before 10am. You will get to experience the lookout with fewer people, or likely even have it to yourself. You can expect tourists to flock here shortly after 10am.

Since the lookout offers some of the best coastal views near Sydney and arguably Australia, I therefore specifically encourage you to hit up the lookout at sunrise if you are a photography enthusiast like myself.

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Despite it becoming a lot more public accessible and easier to reach the top, it is advised that you still exercise extreme caution when walking up. The track is very steep, uneven and can particularly be very slippery and muddy. I highly recommend you pack a good pair of walking/hiking shoes.

You can find toilet facilities at the south end of the bridge in Rube Hargrave Park and the north end at Coalcliff bridge

ARRIVING AT THE SEA CLIFF BRIDGE

When you arrive at the Sea Cliff Bridge, you are best to park on the south end, as this is where the lookout is. Along the road you will see parking on the side. If it is full, the nearest carpark is a couple hundred metres up at Rube Hargrave Park.

Sea Cliff Bridge Carpark
Sea Cliff Bridge Carpark

BEST TRACK TO THE SEA CLIFF BRIDGE LOOKOUT

There are a few different ways you can hike up to the Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout, however for the purpose of this being a visitors guide, I will detail the easiest and most public accessible way. This method is quite short and usually only takes me 10 minutes maximum to walk up.

On the cliff side of the road, just before the Sea Cliff Bridge sign, you will see a small opening in the bushes with a danger sign next to it. Proceed through here. As soon as you enter, you will straight away see rope and yellow markings on branches guiding you through the track.

Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout Walking Track Entrance
Walking Track Entrance
Start of Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout Track
Start of walking track
Yellow markings along Sea Cliff Bridge Walking Track
Yellow markings along the track

After walking for a couple of minutes, you will come to a section where you are required to turn left and head directly up, climbing a very steep incline. Extreme caution is to be taken especially from here on. 

Follow the rope and markings all the way to the top until eventually you see the opening for you to enter the top of the Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout.

Steep incline along Sea Cliff Bridge Walking Track
Steep incline along walking track
Last section before entering the lookout
Last section before lookout

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WHAT TO EXPECT

When you finally reach the top of the Sea Cliff Bridge lookout, you can expect to see plenty of space to walk around, chill, relax and admire the view of the stunning Sea Cliff Bridge. You will quickly see why it is regarded as one of the best lookouts in Sydney and surrounding regions.

Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout top viewing area
Top viewing area
Sunrise views of Sea Cliff Bridge
Sunrise views at Lookout

The lookout contains a few different areas, each with amazing views to take some beautiful photographs. Not only do the views show the Sea Cliff Bridge, but also the wider coastline, including the Royal National Park.

Interestingly, within the last year there has even been a seat placed at the lookout if you find yourself wanting to sit down on it.

Keep yourself safe along your adventures!

Keep yourself safe during your adventures against the risk of potential minor and major injuries with this First Aid Kit.

View on Amazon

WHERE TO STAY IN THE ILLAWARRA

With the Illawarra boasting an abundance of beautiful beaches, sights and attractions to visit, this therefore makes it a popular tourist region. You can expect no shortage of accommodations to choose from that suit you.

Whether you are a luxury traveller or budget backpacker, I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay in the Illawarra:

Luxury: Mantra Wollongong

Luxury: Headlands Austinmer Beach

Check on booking.com

Budget: Five Islands Hotel 

Check on booking.com

Budget: Lakeside Inn Wollongong

Check on booking.com

FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN THE ILLAWARRA, SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM

Must have adventure & Travel accessories

Stainless Steel Drink Bottle

This insulated premium stainless steel, BPA friendly iron flask is the perfect drink bottle stay hydrated during outdoor adventures.

View on Amazon

Portable Powerbank

Keep your devices always charged with this 10,000mAh INIU Powerbank!

View on Amazon

Pocket Blanket

A lightweight, compact sand and waterproof picnic blanket

View on Amazon

Lightweight Backpack

This 15L lightweight, pocket sized day backpack by Kathmandu is a perfectly compact ‘pack&go’ travel and hiking solution.

View on Amazon

Mobile selfie stick & Tripod

Never miss capturing a moment along your travels and adventures with this TONEOF60 all in one tripod and selfie stick with wireless remote.

View on Amazon

MORE GUIDES

For years I have been adventuring to some of the most incredible places nature has to offer. From locations in my own backyard, to epic road trips, all the way to breathtaking travel destinations.

The goal of my blog is to ultimately inspire you to step outside of your comfort zone to get outdoors and immerse yourself in so much that mother nature has to offer.

You can check out my most recent blogs by clicking the links:

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout has quickly become one of the most popular places to visit near Sydney, providing a perfect Sydney day trip. With views of the iconic bridge and further views of the coast, it is no wonder that this is one of the best lookouts in Sydney and the surrounding regions.

I hope you enjoyed reading this guide. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.

Travel Resources

Here are some useful resources you can use to help book and plan your next travels and adventures and even grab some amazing deals to save money along the way!

Search and book accomodation worldwide on the worlds most popular booking website.

Search Booking.com

Find the best deals on car rentals world wide.

Search Discover Cars

Find, compare and book the cheapest airfares anywhere.

Search Skyscanner

Find discounted prices on tickets, tours and experiences worldwide.

Search Viator

Low cost travel insurance for your next trip.

Search Heymondo

Find great deals on tickets, tours and experiences specialized especially in the Oceania region.

Search Klook

Book any form of transport, from buses, ferries, trains and even private transfers all over the world.

Search Book A Way

Karloo Pools – Complete Visitors Guide

Karloo Pools is found in the beautiful Royal National Park and is one of the best and most popular swimming holes in Sydney. It features a 2.5km walking trail down to the pools, which is one of the best Royal National Park walks and walks in Sydney, and a pristine, emerald pool big enough to swim laps in!

I have put together a complete guide of Karloo Pools, including where it is, best times to visit, things to know before you visit and what to expect at the Pools.

Also in this guide I have included some useful information on where to stay in the surrounding city of Sydney

Karloo Pools
Karloo Pools

Where is Karloo Pools

Karloo Pools and the start of the Karloo Walking Track is located in the Suburb Heathcote, which is in the Southern Sydney region of the Sutherland Shire. It is around 45 minutes drive from Sydney CBD and 40 minutes drive north from Wollongong.

Click here to see the location on Google Maps

Karloo Pools - Google Maps

How to get here

The most popular and common way to get to Karloo Pools is by private vehicle. Alternatively, there are plenty of places in Sydney to rent a vehicle if required. There is plenty of parking along Wilson Parade and the fire brigade carpark.

Another common way to get here is via train, whereby the entrance to the Karloo Walking Track is only a 1-2 minute walk from Heathcote Train Station. You can see the Sydney network train time table via Transport NSW.

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Best time to visit

The best days to visit is through out the week Monday-Friday. Karloo Pools is quite a popular destination for the locals and tourists, so you can expect it to get pretty busy on the weekends. Since it is one of the best swimming holes and more popular bush walks in Sydney, it is generally pretty busy during the summer months.

Things to consider before visiting

Before you leave home to visit Karloo Pools, I highly recommend you pack a good pair of walking/hiking shoes, towel, swimmers, sunscreen and insect repellent.

Some sections of the walking tracks heading down to the pools are quite steep and uneven. I therefore wouldn’t recommend this trail to anyone who is pregnant or has a chronic injury.

Uneven sections along Walking track

There are no catering and food facilities here, therefore I high recommend you pack plenty of food and drink supplies to have there. Alternatively, there is an IGA in Heathcote, or other super markets in nearby towns, such as Engadine, if you wish to grab food along the way.

There are no rubbish bins provided anywhere along the walk and at the pools. So if you have any rubbish or see any lying around the area, please pick it up and take it back with you.

Karloo Walking Track

The walk down to Karloo Pools starts directly after the Heathcote Fire Brigade. You will see a large map of the general Royal National Park area that says ‘Karloo Track’ and displays other Royal National Park walks and sights in the area.

Enter the bush track here. After about 500m you will see another map and sign for the Karloo Track, whereby you will divert right into the start of the track here.

Entrance off the road
Start of Karloo Walking Track

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The start of the walking track is fairly uneven and descends down quite gradually for the first approximately 800m. Due to a lot of recent wet weather in Sydney, you can expect a lot of thick muddy patches along the way.

The next part of the walk flattens for a further approximately 1km. During this section you can expect to walk along a slanted rock with some lovely valley views, the track overall will be less muddy and will only be slightly uneven.

First part of track
The descent at the start
Slanted rock

The next and final section of the track starts to descend quite steeply for a few hundred metres. Whilst it is no scramble and still reasonably easy, extreme caution with your footing should be taken.

Shortly after you will reach the bottom where the track flattens out again for another couple hundred metres before it eventually opens up to Karloo Pools right in front of you.

Steep descent along track
Steep descent along track
Flat section before the pools

Keep yourself safe along your adventures!

Keep yourself safe during your adventures against the risk of potential minor and major injuries with this First Aid Kit.

View on Amazon

What to expect at Karloo Pools

The pool is situated along the stream of water called Kangaroo Creek, which has many hidden swimming holes to explore, however Karloo is by far the more well known and popular one to visit.

The pool itself is quite large and also very deep, which makes it perfect for swimming in. Around the pool on either side are sections to place your bags, sit, relax and even have something to eat. These sections also contain many ledges that slope down towards the water, making it very easy and safe to enter the pool and also for getting out.

The pool is surrounded by rich, dense vegetation, which makes you feel as if you are enclosed within a secret oasis, and it certainly has a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere, especially if you experience it to yourself.

View from other end
View from walking track end
Rest area around the pool

Where to stay in Sydney

Whether you are a luxury traveller or budget backpacker, Sydney has hundreds of accommodations to choose from that suit you. See list of recommended accommodations in Sydney below:

Luxury: Hyatt Regency 

Mid Range: Travelodge Hotel

Budget: Maze Backpackers 

FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN SYDNEY, SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM

Must have adventure & Travel accessories

Stainless Steel Drink Bottle

This insulated premium stainless steel, BPA friendly iron flask is the perfect drink bottle stay hydrated during outdoor adventures.

View on Amazon

Portable Powerbank

Keep your devices always charged with this 10,000mAh INIU Powerbank!

View on Amazon

Pocket Blanket

A lightweight, compact sand and waterproof picnic blanket

View on Amazon

Lightweight Backpack

This 15L lightweight, pocket sized day backpack by Kathmandu is a perfectly compact ‘pack&go’ travel and hiking solution.

View on Amazon

Mobile selfie stick & Tripod

Never miss capturing a moment along your travels and adventures with this TONEOF60 all in one tripod and selfie stick with wireless remote.

View on Amazon

More Guides

For years I have been adventuring to some of the most incredible places nature has to offer. From locations in my own backyard, to epic road trips, all the way to breathtaking travel destinations.

The goal of my blog is to ultimately inspire you to step outside of your comfort zone to get outdoors and immerse yourself in so much that mother nature has to offer.

You can check out my most recent blogs by clicking the links:

Final Thoughts

When you arrive at Karloo Pools, it is easy to see why it is one of the more popular swimming holes and bush walks in Sydney to visit. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a local spot in Sydney to escape to and makes way for a perfect Sydney day trip.

I hope you enjoyed reading this guide. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.

Travel Resources

Here are some useful resources you can use to help book and plan your next travels and adventures and even grab some amazing deals to save money along the way!

Search and book accomodation worldwide on the worlds most popular booking website.

Search Booking.com

Find the best deals on car rentals world wide.

Search Discover Cars

Find, compare and book the cheapest airfares anywhere.

Search Skyscanner

Find discounted prices on tickets, tours and experiences worldwide.

Search Viator

Low cost travel insurance for your next trip.

Search Heymondo

Find great deals on tickets, tours and experiences specialized especially in the Oceania region.

Search Klook

Book any form of transport, from buses, ferries, trains and even private transfers all over the world.

Search Book A Way

Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk – Complete Visitors Guide

The Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk is one of the best walks in Sydney you can do. The walk rewards you with some of the best views of Sydney, including Sydney Harbour, Eastern Suburbs, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the city.

In this guide, I have included everything you need to know about the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk, including how to get there, best times to visit, things to consider before you visit and what to expect along the walking trail.

Bradleys Head to Chowders Bay walk
Taylors Bay

Where is the walk located

The Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk is located within Sydney Harbour National Park in the lower North Shore region of Sydney.

It is one of three coastal walks along the Northern Foreshores between Taronga Zoo and Balmoral Beach.

Click here to see the location on Google Maps

How to get to the walk

The most popular and common way to get to the start of the walk at Bradleys Head is by private vehicle. Alternatively, there are plenty of places in Sydney and North Shore to rent a vehicle if required. You then drive down Bradleys Head Rd located in Mosman, to the very bottom where there is a carpark.

Bradleys Head Carpark
Bradleys Head Carpark

Another popular way is to catch a ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo. Generally ferries will depart every 30 minutes. From there, it is about a 15-20 minute walk directly from Taronga Zoo wharf to Bradleys Head via Bradleys Head Walking Track.

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Best time to visit

The Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk can be visited year-round, whereby the best time in my opinion to embark on the walk is early morning – midday. This allows you plenty of time to complete the walk there and back, at your own pace and to experience everything this location has to offer.

If you love sunrises, then you can particularly experience amazing views of the sunrise from Bradleys Head and other view points along the walk.

If you are not an early bird, that is no problem! Just ensure you allow yourself up to a few hours to complete the walk there and back, including time to admire all the sites and views in the area.

Things to consider before you visit

If you wish to complete this track in reverse order – Chowder Bay to Bradleys Head, that is no problem at all! You would just need to drive to and park at Clifton Gardens.

Parking fees apply at both Bradleys Head and Clifton Gardens carpark. It is $8 all day at Bradleys Head. At Clifton Gardens it is $7 per hour ($25 all day) Monday-Friday or $8 per hour ($28 all day) Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays.

A large part of the walking track is enclosed within dense vegetation and therefore doesn’t receive much sunlight. Therefore, you can expect various parts along the way to be quite muddy, particularly after wet weather. Ensure you wear appropriate walking clothes and shoes and ones which you don’t mind getting dirty.

Various Muddy sections along the track

The Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay Walking Trail

The trail that takes you from Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay is called the Taylors Bay Track. It is a 2.5km trail that takes approximately 40 minutes to just over an hour each way to complete

The track starts a few hundred metres up from the Bradleys Head carpark, towards Chowder Bay, and ends at Clifton Gardens.

Start of Bradley Head to Chowder Bay walk
Start of Bradley Head to Chowder Bay walk
View of Sydney Harbour

Taylors Bay Track is one of the best walks in Sydney in terms of the variety it offers. It is mainly a bush track, with some parts boardwalk. The track does consist of some short, steep sections and multiple sections with stairs. However, the vast majority of it is a flat track, whereby overall it is suitable for most fitness levels and ages.

Boardwalk
Flat, leafy track
Track consists of sections with stairs

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What to expect

When you arrive at Bradleys Head, you can expect quite a number of sites to admire and enjoy. This includes Bradleys Head Amphitheatre, HMAS Sydney Memorial Mast and the Bradleys Head Lighthouse. Bradleys Head further offers some of the best views of Sydney, including Harbour Bridge, the city and the wider parts of Sydney Harbour.

Bradleys Head Lighthouse
HMAS Sydney Memorial Mast
View of City from Bradleys Head
View of Sydney Harbour Bridge from Bradleys Head

During the Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk, you can expect to feel completely immersed in nature, as it becomes enclosed within some dense, lush green foliage. There are various parts along the walk that does offer some stunning views of Sydney Harbour and Taylors Bay, contributing to why it is one of the best Sydney coastal walks.

Start of Taylors Bay Track
Dense vegetation

When the walk reaches Taylors Bay, there are couple tracks that take you down to the bottom if you wish to check out the beach or even go for a swim. As the track approaches the end at Clifton Gardens in Chowder bay, it will start to descend to ground level through various hill sections and stairs.

Taylors Bay
Towards the end at Clifton Gardens
Klook.com

When you arrive down at Clifton Gardens, you can expect plenty to see and do. This includes Clifton Gardens Beach and Baths, a jetty, a playground for the kids and plenty of areas to sit down, relax and even have something to eat.

Clifton Gardens
Clifton Gardens Baths
Clifton Gardens Wharf
Clifton Gardens Beach

What else does Sydney have to offer?

As well as waterfalls, see what else Sydney has to offer by checking out a wealth of outdoor activities you can book.

Find Tours

Where to stay in Sydney

Whether you are a luxury traveller or budget backpacker, Sydney has hundreds of accommodations to choose from that suit you. See list of recommended accommodations in Sydney below:

Luxury: Hyatt Regency 

Mid Range: Travelodge Hotel

Budget: Maze Backpackers 

FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN SYDNEY, SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM

Must have adventure & Travel accessories

Stainless Steel Drink Bottle

This insulated premium stainless steel, BPA friendly iron flask is the perfect drink bottle stay hydrated during outdoor adventures.

View on Amazon

Portable Powerbank

Keep your devices always charged with this 10,000mAh INIU Powerbank!

View on Amazon

Pocket Blanket

A lightweight, compact sand and waterproof picnic blanket

View on Amazon

Lightweight Backpack

This 15L lightweight, pocket sized day backpack by Kathmandu is a perfectly compact ‘pack&go’ travel and hiking solution.

View on Amazon

Mobile selfie stick & Tripod

Never miss capturing a moment along your travels and adventures with this TONEOF60 all in one tripod and selfie stick with wireless remote.

View on Amazon

More Guides

For years I have been adventuring to some of the most incredible places nature has to offer. From locations in my own backyard, to epic road trips, all the way to breathtaking travel destinations.

The goal of my blog is to ultimately inspire you to step outside of your comfort zone to get outdoors and immerse yourself in so much that mother nature has to offer.

You can check out my most recent blogs by clicking the links:

Final Thoughts

The Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk is definitely one of the best Sydney coastal walks you can do. From stunning, picturesque views of the city and Sydney Harbour, to exploring the incredible nature of Sydney Harbour National Park, you honestly cannot go wrong.

This walk is definitely one I highly recommend as a Sydney day trip, since you can easily spend a few hours here, from the walk itself to checking out all the amazing sites in the area.

If you have any questions about The Bradleys Head to Chowder Bay walk, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.

Travel Resources

Here are some useful resources you can use to help book and plan your next travels and adventures and even grab some amazing deals to save money along the way!

Search and book accomodation worldwide on the worlds most popular booking website.

Search Booking.com

Find the best deals on car rentals world wide.

Search Discover Cars

Find, compare and book the cheapest airfares anywhere.

Search Skyscanner

Find discounted prices on tickets, tours and experiences worldwide.

Search Viator

Low cost travel insurance for your next trip.

Search Heymondo

Find great deals on tickets, tours and experiences specialized especially in the Oceania region.

Search Klook

Book any form of transport, from buses, ferries, trains and even private transfers all over the world.

Search Book A Way

Kellys Falls – 2023 Complete Visitors Guide

Kellys Falls is arguably one of the best waterfalls in New South Wales (NSW) to visit, and definitely one of the best Sydney waterfalls. It is also one of three waterfalls around the area, which together make it an incredible waterfall circuit to visit.

In this guide I have included everything you need to know about visiting, including how to get there, best time to visit, things to know before you go, how to get to the bottom of the falls and what to expect once you arrive there.

Also in this guide, I have included some useful information on where to stay in the Illawarra.

Kellys Falls Aerial
Aerial Kellys Falls

WHERE IS KELLYS FALLS?

It is located in the northern end of the Illawarra region. It is specifically within the Garawarra State Conservation Area in Helensburgh, between Sydney and Wollongong.

It is about a 30 minute drive north from Wollongong and 55 minute drive south from Sydney CBD.

Click here to see the location on Google Maps. 

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HOW TO GET HERE

There are no public transport options available to reach the Kellys Falls Picnic area directly. You will therefore need to have you own vehicle to travel here.

Alternatively, there are plenty of places in the Illawarra or Sydney to rent a vehicle.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Kellys Falls is quite a popular attraction amongst the locals and tourists and therefore can get busy on weekends. It is especially busy on hot days during the summer season, since it is one of the best swimming waterfalls near Sydney. If you can time your visit for a weekday, you will get to enjoy it with fewer people.

I highly recommend you visit the falls early morning before 11 or in the afternoon after 3, as this will be the best lighting from the sun.

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Before you leave home, I highly recommend you pack a good pair of walking/hiking shoes. towel, swimmers, sunscreen and insect repellent.

There are no food facilities here, however there is a picnic area with tables and seats. Therefore I highly recommend you pack plenty of food and drink supplies to have if you plan to spend most of the day there.

Some sections of the walking track heading down to the bottom of the falls are quite uneven, steep and some parts require a slight climb down/up. Whilst it is not overly difficult for even the average hiker, extreme caution and safety is to be considered. I therefore wouldn’t recommend this walk to anyone who is pregnant or has a chronic injury.

ARRIVING AT KELLYS FALLS PICNIC AREA

When you arrive in the area and eventually drive along Lawrence Hargrave Dr, you will see the turn off into the road leading to the main carpark.

When you arrive in the Picnic Area, you will see a large carpark with a lot of free parking spaces available.

Turn off to Kellys
Turn off to Kellys
Carpark
Carpark

HOW TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THE FALLS

The walk down to the bottom of the falls starts at the end of the carpark. You will see a sign showing a map of the area, with a bush track on either side. Walk down Princess Marina Track, which is to the right of the sign.

Main sign end of Carpark
End of Carpark

As you enter, you will start to walk through a leafy bushy track and start to head down some stairs. From here, you will need to eventually head down to a separate bottom section, whereby the track continues directly to the falls. There are two ways you can get down there, depending on what you prefer.

Start of Princess Marina Track
Start of Princess Marina Track
Stairs down the track
Stairs at the start

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SHORTER (MORE CHALLENGING) TRACK

After proceeding down the stairs, turn left just before the black fence. Follow the track as it descends down and eventually you will see a white rope. Use the rope to guide you down the next level.

Kellys Falls - Turn left after fence
Turn left here after stairs
Rope to guide down
Rope to guide down

Once there, walk directly across towards the trees straight ahead. You will an overhang rock for you to get across. Extreme caution is to be taken here as the space to move across is small, and often slippery.

You will see a black rope tied to a tree. Use this to guide you down, whereby shortly after you will arrive at the bottom section.

Small cliff face to move across
Overhang to move across
Black rope to guide down
Black rope takes you down

LONGER (LESS CHALLENGING) TRACK

After proceeding down the stairs, continue straight through Princess Marina Track for a few hundred metres. Shortly after the black fence stops, you will see blue tape marked on a tree. Turn left here.

Princess marina track
Princess marina track
Turn left at blue markings
Turn left at blue markings
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You will see a small rock ledge for you to guide yourself down. Follow the track, which is guided by blue tape on trees. After proceeding down, you will enter the main track at the bottom section for you to follow straight along.

Head down rock ledge
Head down rock ledge
Follow blue markings
Follow blue markings

WALKING TRACK (BOTTOM SECTION)

Whether you chose to take the shorter or longer track, eventually both will meet up together at the point where the main track at the bottom begins to descend down steeply.

Follow the track down. Extreme caution to be taken as it is very step and uneven. After a few hundred metres the track will eventually lead onto the bottom of the falls.

Bottom section
Bottom section
start of when the track descends down
Track starts to descend
steep section
Steep section
first glance at the falls
First glance at the falls

Keep yourself safe along your adventures!

Keep yourself safe during your adventures against the risk of potential minor and major injuries with this First Aid Kit.

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WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE FALLS

Kellys Falls is one of the best swimming waterfalls in NSW. As soon as you reach the bottom you will notice the huge scale of the falls. It boasts a whopping 48-metre single drop, which has a nice consistent flow into a pristine pool, perfect for a refreshing swim in the cool fresh water.

There are plenty of rocks around the water to sit, chill, eat (remember to clean up your rubbish), admire the attractive waterfall or even sun bake.

Bottom of Kellys Falls
Bottom of Kellys Falls
Swimming in the falls
Swimming in the falls

WHERE TO STAY IN THE ILLAWARRA

With the Illawarra boasting an abundance of beautiful beaches, sights and attractions to visit, this therefore makes it a popular tourist region. You can expect no shortage of accommodations to choose from that suit you.

Whether you are a luxury traveller or budget backpacker, I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay in the Illawarra:

Luxury: Mantra Wollongong

Luxury: Headlands Austinmer Beach

Budget: Five Islands Hotel 

Budget: Lakeside Inn Wollongong

FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN THE ILLAWARRA, SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM

Must have adventure & Travel accessories

Stainless Steel Drink Bottle

This insulated premium stainless steel, BPA friendly iron flask is the perfect drink bottle stay hydrated during outdoor adventures.

View on Amazon

Portable Powerbank

Keep your devices always charged with this 10,000mAh INIU Powerbank!

View on Amazon

Pocket Blanket

A lightweight, compact sand and waterproof picnic blanket

View on Amazon

Lightweight Backpack

This 15L lightweight, pocket sized day backpack by Kathmandu is a perfectly compact ‘pack&go’ travel and hiking solution.

View on Amazon

Mobile selfie stick & Tripod

Never miss capturing a moment along your travels and adventures with this TONEOF60 all in one tripod and selfie stick with wireless remote.

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MORE GUIDES

For years I have been adventuring to some of the most incredible places nature has to offer. From locations in my own backyard, to epic road trips, all the way to breathtaking travel destinations.

The goal of my blog is to ultimately inspire you to step outside of your comfort zone to get outdoors and immerse yourself in so much that mother nature has to offer.

You can check out my most recent blogs by clicking the links:

FINAL THOUGHTS

Kellys Falls is definitely one of the most recommended and visited waterfalls in NSW, and by far one of the best swimming waterfalls near Sydney.

If you have any questions about visiting Kellys Falls, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.

Travel Resources

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Kariong Brook Falls – Complete Visitors Guide

Kariong Brook Falls is one of the more popular Central Coast waterfalls of New South Wales and also one of the best swimming waterfalls near Sydney.

Featuring a 3.2km walking trail, stunning views over Brisbane Water and wider Central Coast and of course the waterfall itself, which offers a pool at the bottom large enough to swim and cool off in.

I have put together a complete guide of Kariong Brook Falls, including where it is, best times to visit, things to know before you visit and what to expect at the waterfall when you arrive!

Kariong Brook Falls
Kariong Brook Falls

Where is Kariong Brook Falls

Kariong Brook Falls lies in the heart of Brisbane Water National Park in Woy Woy, Central Coast, 1.5 hours drive north from Sydney CBD.

The trail down to the waterfall starts along Woy Woy Rd, opposite Staples Lookout and the waterfall itself is located along Kariong Brook.

Click here to see the location on Google Maps.

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Best time to Visit

The best time to visit Kariong Brook Falls is morning-midday as this is the best lighting from the sun.

As Kariong Brook Falls is one of the more popular Central Coast waterfalls, it can understandably get very busy on weekends. If you can time your visit for a weekday, you will get to enjoy this beauty with fewer people or possibly even have it to yourself!

Since the waterfall is enclosed within dense foliage, it receives very little sun through out the day. The water temperature can therefore be especially cold in the early mornings and late afternoons, just a heads up!

Things to know before you visit

Before you leave home to visit Kariong Brook Falls, I highly recommend you pack a good pair of walking/hiking shoes, towel, swimmers, sunscreen and insect repellent.

When you arrive, there is very limited parking in the provided car park. Alternatively you can park along Woy Woy Rd, however it is quite narrow and personally I would not recommend parking there.

Main carpark

There are no rubbish bins provided anywhere along the walk and at the waterfall. So if you have any rubbish or see any lying around the area, please pick it up and take it back with you.

There are no catering and food facilities here, therefore I high recommend you pack plenty of food and drink supplies to have there. Alternatively, there are plenty of places to eat and grab snacks in the major surrounding suburbs, including Kariong and Woy Woy.

Some sections of the walking tracks heading down to the falls are quite challenging, steep and uneven. I therefore wouldn’t recommend this trail to anyone who is pregnant or has a chronic injury.

Uneven section of Hawkesbury Track

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The walking trail to Kariong Brook Falls

Walking down to the falls involves two connecting trails – Tommos Loop Firetrail and Hawkesbury Track.

From the carpark you will start walking down Tommos Loop Firetrail and remain on this trail for roughly 2.5km. The track is fairly wide, sealed and opened space, offering views at various spots over Brisbane Water.

Start of Tommos Loop Track
Views over Brisbane Water

Along the way there are a couple sections that descend fairly steeply with a lot of large loose rocks, so ensure to tread with caution. At the 2.5km mark you will arrive at a junction. At this point you will turn right into the Hawkesbury Track. The track is sign posted as ‘Girrakool’.

Descending section of Tommos Loop Track
Turn right here onto Hawkesbury Track

The Hawkesbury Track is a significantly narrower bush track. After a couple of hundred metres it will start to descend quite steeply for the rest of the way until you reach the falls.

The track itself is also quite rough and some parts require big rocks to climb down, which does slow down the journey – again, caution should be taken walking down this track.

Start of Hawkesbury Track
Before it starts to descend down Hawkesbury Track
One of the few lot of stairs along Hawkesbury Track
Grassy vegetation

You will eventually reach a large overhang rock, whereby you will get first glance at the stunning Kariong Brook Falls. From here, continue down the track besides the overhang and once you reach the bottom, the waterfall is easily accessible.

Overhang Rock
Bottom of Hawkesbury Track

Keep yourself safe along your adventures!

Keep yourself safe during your adventures against the risk of potential minor and major injuries with this First Aid Kit.

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What to expect at Kariong Brook Falls

The waterfall is situated along the small stream of water called ‘Kariong Brook’. After a spell of rainfall you can really expect this waterfall to come to life, forming a mini arena-like display of flow down the cliff.

The waterfall is surrounded by some rich, dense vegetation and foliage, which does restrict a lot of sunlight entering through. This in turn provides a sense of secludedness to the falls when you are there. You can therefore expect the climate down at the falls to feel quite cool and the water to be very cold, yet extremely refreshing on a hot day!

Left side viewing area
Right side viewing area

There is a stunning pool at the bottom large enough to properly swim in, although it is not overly deep so I wouldn’t recommend diving in. The pool becomes very shallow closer to the rock face, allowing you to stand up and take a nice, refreshing shower under the falls!

There are a number of spots in front of the falls available for you to sit down, relax and have something to eat. Each spot offers clear views of the beautiful waterfall to admire.

Swimming pool at falls
Shower under the falls

Where to stay in NSW Central Coast

The Central Coast of NSW offers many accommodation options to choose from. I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to fit the needs of budget, luxury and everyone in between.

Luxury: Crowne Plaza Terrigal

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Luxury: Beachcomber Hotel and Resort

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Mid-Range: Ocean Front Motel

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Budget: The Lakes Hotel

FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN CENTAL COAST NSW, SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM

Must have adventure & Travel accessories

Stainless Steel Drink Bottle

This insulated premium stainless steel, BPA friendly iron flask is the perfect drink bottle stay hydrated during outdoor adventures.

View on Amazon

Portable Powerbank

Keep your devices always charged with this 10,000mAh INIU Powerbank!

View on Amazon

Pocket Blanket

A lightweight, compact sand and waterproof picnic blanket

View on Amazon

Lightweight Backpack

This 15L lightweight, pocket sized day backpack by Kathmandu is a perfectly compact ‘pack&go’ travel and hiking solution.

View on Amazon

Mobile selfie stick & Tripod

Never miss capturing a moment along your travels and adventures with this TONEOF60 all in one tripod and selfie stick with wireless remote.

View on Amazon

Final Thoughts

When it comes to waterfalls in NSW, Kariong Brook Falls is definitely up there as one I highly recommend. It is arguably one of the best Central Coast waterfalls of NSW and it is particularly one of the best swimming waterfalls near Sydney. I hope you enjoyed reading this guide. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below this post.

Travel Resources

Here are some useful resources you can use to help book and plan your next travels and adventures and even grab some amazing deals to save money along the way!

Search and book accomodation worldwide on the worlds most popular booking website.

Search Booking.com

Find the best deals on car rentals world wide.

Search Discover Cars

Find, compare and book the cheapest airfares anywhere.

Search Skyscanner

Find discounted prices on tickets, tours and experiences worldwide.

Search Viator

Low cost travel insurance for your next trip.

Search Heymondo

Find great deals on tickets, tours and experiences specialized especially in the Oceania region.

Search Klook

Book any form of transport, from buses, ferries, trains and even private transfers all over the world.

Search Book A Way