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

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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 


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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

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.

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