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

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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

Luxury: Beachcomber Hotel and Resort

Mid-Range: Ocean Front Motel

Budget: The Lakes Hotel


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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.

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