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.

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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.

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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.

Click here to book your Private Blue Mountains Day Trip from Sydney 

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

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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 

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Mid Range: Travelodge Hotel

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Budget: Maze Backpackers 

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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

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

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Luxury: Headlands Austinmer Beach

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Budget: Five Islands Hotel 

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Budget: Lakeside Inn Wollongong

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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

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

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

Minnamurra Rainforest – Complete Visitors Guide (2023)

A visit to Minnamurra Rainforest in Budderoo National Park is one of the best nature walks in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia.

Featuring a picnic area,  two walking tracks surrounded by lush greenery, all leading upstream through the Minnamurra River towards the famous Minnamurra Falls.

In this guide, I have included some useful information, including how to get there, best time to visit, things to know before you gO, what to expect from both walking tracks and where to stay nearby.

Where Is Minnamurra Rainforest?

Minnamurra Rainforest is located in Budderoo National Park at the southern end of the Illawarra.

Click here to see the location on Google Maps

From Sydney, it is approximately a one hour and 45 minute drive, and from Wollongong it takes about 35 minutes. From the south, it is about a 20 minute drive from Kiama, 50 minutes from Nowra and approximately one hour and 45 minutes from Ulladulla.

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How To Get Here

Given the location of Minnamurra Rainforest, I highly recommend you use your own vehicle, or a car you have rented out, to visit.

If you are coming from the north, you will head down the M1 Motorway and turn off at Terry St in Albion Park. This will lead you onto Jamberoo Rd, taking you through some unbelievable country side and mountain views.

If you are coming from the South, you will head up the M1 Motorway and turn off at Jamberoo Rd in Kiama. Both roads from either direction will eventually link up at Jamberoo Mountain Rd. From here, follow the signs clearly posted towards Minnamurra Rainforest Centre.

Best Time To Visit

Minnamurra Rainforest is quite a popular attraction and can get very busy on weekends. If you can time your visit for a weekday, you will get to enjoy it with fewer people.

The best time to visit is between 9am and 12pm. This will allow you to adventure through the rainforest with fewer people and is also the best lighting from the sun.

If you are not a morning person, don’t stress! Just make sure you allow yourself 2-3 hours to see everything this beautiful place has to offer.

Things To Know Before You Visit

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

> BOOK NOW: Waterfall Discovery Helicopter Flight on the South Coast


There is a kiosk for snacks and refreshments at the centre, otherwise alternatively I highly recommend you also bring something to eat and drink with you.

While as tempting as it may be, especially on a hot day, swimming along the river and going under the waterfall is strictly prohibited and therefore swimmers are not required.

Parking fees do apply at the centre carpark, which is $12. Alternatively, these fees are covered in the NSW National Park’s ‘Multi Parks’ or ‘All Parks’ Pass

Arriving At Minnamurra Rainforest Centre

When you arrive, there is plenty of parking, including three levels, where you can park your car safely. Remember to purchase your day ticket at the ticket station, if needed.

There are rest rooms underneath the Visitor Centre. There are no toilets along the walks so I highly recommend you go before proceeding!

From the centre, the signs are clearly posted on where to go to start your adventure through the rainforest at either of the two walking trails

The Walking Trails

Minnamurra Rainforest offers two walking tracks – Lyrebird Loop Walk and Minnamurra Falls Walk, however each connect to each other if you wish to do both (highly recommended).

Each track offers its own features to enjoy, allowing you to fully immerse yourself within the rich, remnant and lush rainforest.

Minnamurra Rainforest

Lyrebird Loop Walk

A 1.6km loop that takes around 30 minutes to one hour to complete. This walk is also known as the ‘Rainforest Walk’. This walk is an easy grade walk, perfect for families and for young children.

Minnamurra Rainforest

The walk is predominantly a paved track, featuring two suspension bridges that cross over the pristine Minnamurra River and multiple viewing platforms to admire the tranquil beauty of the rainforest.

Minnamurra Rainforest
Minnamurra Rainforest

The walk also overs a variety of flora, including figs, orchids and one of my favourites – ferns. An abundance of fauna can also be found, so take your time through the walk and see if you can spot some iconic Australian wildlife.

The Lyrebird Loop Walk eventually connects to the Minnamurra Falls Walk if you wish to continue onto that.

Minnamurra Rainforest

Minnamurra Falls Walk

This walk starts either directly from the centre carpark or towards the end of the Lyrebird Loop Walk. The Minnamurra Falls walk is 4.2km return, taking you directly to the stunning Minnamurra Falls

The walk is predominantly a paved track surrounded by the lush rainforest, moss-covered rocks and breathtaking views across the rainforest canopy and canyon. This can be enjoyed from multiple viewing platforms and from along the walk itself.

Minnamurra Rainforest

Please note that this walk consists of multiple steep sections, please be mindful doing this walk if you have an injury, pregnant or have any other physical illness. There are many seats along the way to have a break and enjoy the surroundings if needed.

The walk ends at a large viewing platform, whereby you can admire the gorgeous Minnamurra Falls, and even stop to have lunch.

Minnamurra Rainforest

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

Minnamurra Falls

Minnamurra Falls is a two-tiered waterfall which can be enjoyed at the end of the Minnamurra Falls track from the end viewing platform.

As tempting as it may be, jumping the fence and going directly to the waterfall is strictly prohibited.

These falls are technically known as ‘Upper Minnamurra Falls’. The end of the Falls Track also offers a large second viewing platform, with views across the valley and even down towards ‘Bottom Minnamurra Falls’.

Minnamurra Falls

RELATED ARTICLE: KARIONG BROOK FALLS – COMPLETE VISITORS GUIDE

Places To Stay Near Minnamurra Rainforest

Whether you are a luxury traveller or budget backpacker, the surrounding areas of Minnamurra, including Wollongong, Southern Highlands and South Coast offer hundreds of accommodations to choose from that suit you. See list of recommended accommodations near Minnamurra Rainforest below:

Luxury: Mantra Wollongong

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Luxury: The Sebel Harbourside Kiama

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Budget: Downtown Motel 

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Budget: Kiama Motel 617

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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

I have visited Minnamurra Rainforest many times throughout my life and each time it does not disappoint. It is this reason I was dedicated to putting together a detailed visitor’s guide for everyone else to follow and enjoy.

Overall, it is a perfect place for yourself, families, friends and couples to get out, escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy nature at its absolute finest.

I guarantee you will love this place as well! Feel free to let me know how your adventure in Minnamurra Rainforest was in the comments below.

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