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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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

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Luxury: Headlands Austinmer Beach

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Budget: Five Islands Hotel 

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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

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.

View on Amazon

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.

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