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

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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

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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.

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