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8 Refreshing Swimming Holes Near Sydney for the Ultimate Cool Down

21/03/2024
8 mins read
Maccallum Pool
Source: David Morgan-Mar

Dive into Nature’s Best-Kept Secrets! Uncover the top 15 swimming holes near Sydney and around New South Wales for an unforgettable aquatic adventure. From hidden gems nestled in national parks to crystal-clear waters just a short drive from the city, these spots offer the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle.

Pack your swimsuits and towels, and get ready to explore these natural paradises. Whether you’re looking for a tranquil spot to cool off or an idyllic setting for a picnic, these swimming holes promise a refreshing and invigorating experience.

At a Glance

Our list of best swimming holes near Sydney and around New South Wales goes like this:

  • For a unique adventure in stunning natural swimming hole: Mermaid Pools
  • For a breathtaking waterfall experience: Somersby Falls
  • For a scenic spot with a perfect blend of swimming and hiking: Nellies Glen

1. Wattamolla

Wattamolla, with its whimsical name and even more enchanting setting, is a coastal utopia where the bush meets the sea. Located in the heart of the Royal National Park, this idyllic spot is a collage of a sandy beach, a lagoon, and a waterfall – all in one panoramic frame. It’s a place where families, friends, and solo explorers gather to enjoy the quintessential Aussie beach day with a twist.

The lagoon’s calm waters are perfect for a leisurely swim or snorkeling, where you might spot an array of marine life. The more adventurous can leap from the waterfall into the lagoon below, while the beach offers a soft bed for sun-seekers and sandcastle architects. Wattamolla is not just a swimming hole; it’s a full-day experience that caters to every whim.

As the day wanes, the sunset paints the sky in hues of orange and pink, reflecting off the lagoon’s surface. Barbecue areas come alive with the sizzle of grills, and laughter echoes through the air, encapsulating the laid-back Aussie lifestyle. Wattamolla is more than a destination; it’s a memory in the making.

2. Maccallum Pool

Perched on the edge of Cremorne Point, Maccallum Pool is a harbourside hideaway that boasts postcard-perfect views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. This historic tidal pool, with its timber decking and picket-fenced charm, is a favourite among locals for its tranquil waters and panoramic vistas. It’s a spot where swimmers can bask in the glory of Sydney’s iconic skyline while enjoying a refreshing dip.

The pool’s modest size and heritage feel give it an air of exclusivity, a private retreat in the heart of the bustling city. Sunbathers can lounge on the deck, while swimmers can enjoy the saltwater lap of luxury. Maccallum Pool is a reminder of Sydney’s past, a timeless nook that continues to delight in the present.

As the city lights begin to twinkle, the pool transforms into an enchanting spot for an evening swim. The reflection of the cityscape on the water’s surface adds to the magic, making Maccallum Pool a must-visit for those seeking a unique Sydney experience. It’s not just a swimming spot; it’s a window to the soul of the city.

3. Mermaid Pools

For the intrepid explorer, Mermaid Pools offers an adventure that culminates in a stunning natural swimming hole. Tucked away near Tahmoor in the Southern Highlands, this secluded spot is the reward at the end of a challenging bushwalk. The journey is part of the allure, with rugged terrain and the thrill of the descent to the water’s edge. The pools themselves are a spectacle, with sheer cliffs framing the emerald waters below.

This is not your average swimming hole; it’s a wild experience that demands respect for nature’s power. The daring can jump from the rocks into the deep pool, while others may prefer to simply admire the beauty from a safe distance. Mermaid Pools is a place of raw beauty, where the only sounds are the call of birds and the splash of water against rock.

Visiting Mermaid Pools is a commitment to adventure, a day trip that will leave you with stories to tell. It’s a reminder of the untamed beauty that lies just beyond Sydney’s suburbs, a call to the wild that is irresistible for those with an adventurous spirit.

4. Lake Parramatta

A stone’s throw from the urban sprawl, Lake Parramatta is a suburban sanctuary that offers a slice of the great outdoors without leaving the city’s embrace. This historic reservoir turned recreational haven is a hub of activity, where the water’s edge is a flurry of families, fitness enthusiasts, and nature lovers. With a designated swimming area patrolled by lifeguards, it’s a safe and scenic spot for a dip.

The lake is encircled by walking tracks that offer glimpses of local wildlife and native flora, making it a perfect locale for a leisurely stroll or a vigorous jog. For those who prefer to take to the water, kayaks and paddleboats are available for hire, providing a different perspective of this natural oasis. Picnic areas dot the landscape, inviting visitors to linger longer in this peaceful pocket of Parramatta.

As the sun sets, the lake becomes a mirror, reflecting the changing sky and the silhouettes of trees. It’s a moment of tranquility in the midst of suburbia, a reminder of nature’s proximity and the simple pleasures it provides. Lake Parramatta is not just a body of water; it’s a community cornerstone that brings people together.

5. Wylie’s Baths

Perched just below the Maroubra headland, Wylie’s Baths is a historical seaside gem that has been offering a saltwater escape since 1907. With sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, this tidal pool is a sanctuary for those looking to swim laps or simply float in the rhythmic ebb and flow of the sea. The expansive wooden deck surrounding the pool is a sunbather’s paradise, perfect for soaking up the Sydney sun with the soundtrack of crashing waves.

Wylie’s Baths is not just about the swim; it’s a cultural experience. The pool’s heritage-listed status speaks to its long-standing place in the community, where generations have gathered to cool off and catch up. The on-site wellness centre offers massages and yoga classes, adding a touch of indulgence to your visit. And for the little ones, the gentle waters make for a safe and enjoyable splash.

As the day unwinds, the baths take on a golden glow, making it an ideal spot for a romantic evening dip or a reflective solo swim as the stars begin to pepper the sky. Wylie’s Baths is more than a swimming hole; it’s a slice of Sydney’s history, a place where the ocean’s timeless allure meets the charm of yesteryear.

6. Dawn Fraser Baths

Dive into the past at Dawn Fraser Baths, the oldest public sea baths in Australia. Nestled in the heart of Balmain, this harbourside haven has been a local favourite since the 1880s. With its wooden boardwalks and vintage changing sheds, the baths exude a nostalgic charm that transports swimmers back to simpler times. The tidal flow ensures the water is always refreshing, and the netted swimming area provides a safe haven for swimmers of all ages.

The baths are more than a place to swim; they’re a community hub where locals converge for morning laps, lazy afternoons, and everything in between. The small kiosk serves up snacks and refreshments, making it easy to while away the hours in this tranquil spot. And with a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge peeking over the horizon, it’s a picturesque place to relax and rejuvenate.

As the sun sets, the baths become a serene retreat, the perfect place to unwind after a day in the city. The gentle lapping of the harbour waters against the baths’ walls is a soothing soundtrack for an evening swim. Dawn Fraser Baths is not just a swimming spot; it’s a living piece of Sydney’s history, a testament to the city’s love affair with the water.

7. Somersby Falls

Nestled in the Brisbane Water National Park, Somersby Falls is a natural haven where the rainforest meets cascading waters. This picturesque spot is a favourite for picnickers and photographers alike, with its lush greenery and the soothing sound of falling water. The falls offer a series of small pools that are perfect for cooling off on a hot day, with the main pool at the base of the falls providing a refreshing natural shower.

The area around Somersby Falls is rich with wildlife, making it a great place for nature enthusiasts to spot local fauna. The well-maintained walking tracks allow for easy access to the falls, ensuring that visitors of all ages can enjoy the beauty of this tranquil spot. Picnic tables and BBQ facilities are available, making it an ideal location for a family day out.

As you sit by the water’s edge, the tranquility of Somersby Falls envelops you, offering a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s a place where you can reconnect with nature and soak in the serene atmosphere, a hidden gem in the heart of New South Wales.

  • Website: N/A
  • Address: Somersby Falls Road, Somersby, NSW
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: Not directly provided; Somersby is approximately 80 km from Sydney CBD, around 1 hour by car.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/vV7qDdegKtJTo3ZaA

8. Nellies Glen

Nellies Glen, located in the picturesque Budderoo National Park near Kangaroo Valley, is a scenic spot that offers more than just a swimming experience. This perfect day trip destination provides visitors with scenic waterfall views, birdwatching opportunities, and a range of short walks. The Nellies Glen picnic area is an idyllic spot to relax under the shade of magnificent eucalyptus forest while being soothed by the sounds of nearby waterfalls.

The area around Nellies Glen is steeped in history and natural beauty, making it an ideal location for those looking to explore the great outdoors. Whether you’re interested in taking a leisurely stroll to soak up the oxygen-laden air or embarking on a more adventurous hike to nearby attractions like Warris Chair lookout track or Carrington Falls picnic area, Nellies Glen has something for everyone.

Nellies Glen is not just a place to swim; it’s a destination that offers a glimpse into the natural wonders of New South Wales. It’s a spot where families and nature lovers can come together to enjoy the beauty of the Australian bush, making it a cherished part of the region’s outdoor offerings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any facilities available at these swimming holes?

The availability of facilities varies by location. Some swimming holes, like Nellies Glen, offer picnic areas and walking tracks. However, many of these natural swimming spots are quite remote and may not have facilities. It’s always a good idea to bring everything you need for the day, including food, water, and sun protection.

Can I swim at these locations all year round?

While it’s possible to visit these swimming holes throughout the year, the best time to swim is during the warmer months when the water temperatures are more comfortable. However, always remember to check the current conditions and any local advisories before you go, as water levels and conditions can change.

Are these swimming holes suitable for families?

Many of the swimming holes near Sydney and around New South Wales are suitable for families. For example, Blue Pool in the Blue Mountains is known as a family-friendly oasis. However, as with any natural body of water, it’s important to supervise children at all times and consider the difficulty of the terrain and the swimming conditions.

Lachlan Taylor

Lachlan aka Lockie is a contributing writer at Humble Trail, known for his down-to-earth style and passion for the great outdoors. Born and raised in the small town of Deloriane, Tasmania, Lockie developed a deep love for nature and adventure from a young age.

His articles are a blend of his personal adventures and insightful explorations, often focused on sustainable travel, wilderness treks, and the serene beauty of untouched landscapes.

Always with his own reusable coffee cup in hand, Lockie loves a good caffeine fix as much as everyone else on the Humbletrail team.

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