With all the crazy rainfall recently, Sydney folk can be grateful for one thing – waterfalls are in full force! This means it’s about time the people of New South Wales go chasing waterfalls for real, and we can assure you that you won’t be disappointed with all the breathtaking cascades you’ll stumble upon. Jump in the car, grab your swimmers and enjoy the great outdoors, the best waterfalls Sydney has to offer are waiting to be discovered.
Best of Sydney Waterfalls
- Best for Hikers: Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains
- Best for a Day Trip: Empress Falls Blue Mountains
- Best for Swimming: Curracurrong Falls, Royal National Park
- Best for a Secluded Experience: Winifred Falls, Royal National Park
How We Chose This List of Best Sydney Waterfalls
This list was compiled through personal experience and online research, plus through commentary from outdoor adventure sites including All Trails, We are Explorers and Destination NSW. We only looked at waterfalls that were open to the public available and feature a rating of 4.0/5 on Google Reviews. Similarly, we took into account the major gripes from the public, including parking, distance and proximity to the city, allowing us to cull it down to the best waterfalls in Sydney.
Best Waterfalls in Sydney
If you’ve never laid eyes on a waterfall before, you’re in for a treat. New South Wales has an extensive list of great outdoor options to visit, each representing something completely different. From the swimming options of Curracurrong Falls to the historical beauty and cultural significance of the Minerva Pool, the best waterfalls in Sydney are primed for exploration. Check them out below.
1. Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains
Best for: Hikers
Perhaps one of the most well-known waterfalls in Sydney, Wentworth Falls can be easily viewed from the iconic Princes Lookout along the National Pass walking trail. Set upon the breathtaking backdrop of the mountain ranges, this waterfall is by far one of the most stunning in Sydney. If you’d like to get a bit more up close and personal, you can opt for the three-hour walk through the bush, seeing a few other smaller waterfalls along the way. After making it back from the looped track, watch the sunset over the cliffs or relax at one of Katoomba’s many pubs – an ideal day chasing waterfalls!
In terms of actually getting there, it’s important to check the weather before you leave. Being in the Blue Mountains, things can get extremely foggy during winter, making it hard to see in front of you. Similarly, the tracks can get muddy, so it’s always important to wear good hiking shoes when you head off, however, the undercliff walk is usually fair game all year round. This is definitely one of the best waterfall locations to hit up if you’re a fan of hiking.
Elevation: 872 m
Postal code: 2782
Location: 97 km (60 mi) W of Sydney CBD; 8 km (5 mi) E of Katoomba
LGA(s): City of Blue Mountains
2. Carrington Falls, Budderoo National Park
Budderoo National Park houses one of the best waterfalls in Sydney, so a road trip here is essential! Carrington Falls is one of the best, and it truly has it all, with flowing cascades, waterholes and rock pools for you to bask in. To get there, put on your hiking shoes and follow the Carrington Falls walking track, not forgetting to stop at the lookout point for some smashing views! Walks, views and swimming – name a better combo!
Importantly, the loop is quite easy, so it’s good for first-time hikers and with its proximity to the nearby Nellies Glen, you’re guaranteed to see some great natural flora and fauna. Throughout the hike, you’ll come across a number of lookouts and viewing platforms, however, the best views come, unsurprisingly, at the end. The main viewing platform, which is known as the Falls View lookout delivers incredible views of the entire waterfall, with an unimpeded shot of the escarpment edge. While you can’t go swimming in the waterfall, it’s definitely one of the best spots for sightseeing.
Distance: 600m loop
Time: Around 30 minutes hike
3. Empress Falls Blue Mountains
Best for: A Day Trip
Another Blue Mountains gem, Empress Falls is one of the more underrated waterfalls in Sydney. Conveniently located on the looped track that takes you down to Wentworth Falls, Empress Falls is the lesser-known cousin of the gushing tourist attraction. Don’t let that fool you, though, Empress Falls is just as beautiful! Many adventure seekers choose to abseil down this one, but if that’s not your cup of tea, a stroll around the rocks will also suffice.
The track is fairly short and sweet, coming in at around 1.4km and will take less than an hour to complete. As a result, Empress Falls is definitely one for the day-trippers and short-stay fans. You can head out to the region, do the walk and drive back to Sydney all within a few hours, which is not a bad day out if you ask us. The track is open year-round, however, many of the walking trails and roads in the Blue Mountains National park have been closed due to recent weather events. Make sure you check the official website before you venture down.
Address: Blue Mountains Nat’l Park NSW 2787
4. Belmore Falls Morton National Park
For waterfall seekers that find themselves down south, Belmore Falls won’t leave you disappointed. Getting to this waterfall requires some work, accessed only via a dusty dirt road with creek crossings – four-wheel drives are recommended! The sightseeing and adventure spot you will find makes the journey well worth it, with a few lookouts along the way, making it the perfect day out in the Morton National Park.
Another short track option, the whole root is only around 1km and is fairly easy to complete. On a quiet day, you can finish off the entire walk in just under half an hour, however, it does get busy during the warmer months. Located near Barrendarry, Belmore Falls is also home to a thriving mountain biking scene, so watch out for anyone speeding past on two wheels.
Address: Belmore Falls Rd, Wildes Meadow NSW 2577
5. Curracurrong Falls, Royal National Park
Best for: Swimming
Fancy a walk? Head just south of Sydney for an 8km circuit that will take you through the leafy Royal National Park, and you’ll also stumble upon Curracing Falls along the way. The walk is easy enough, and there’s a high chance you’ll have the waterfall all to yourself, only accessed via the track. Best of all, this hotspot is actually swimmable, with a large secluded swimming hole located at the foot of the waterfall. Deep enough to swim in, the body of water is great for a quick dip, but be warned, it will be cold.
To get to the waterfall, you’ll need to park at Wattamolla, which will set you back $12, but once you’ve locked it in you can kick things off. There are a few different starting points for the track, but we recommend looking for the coastal track signs, which will point you in the best direction for a scenic hike. Pack a picnic and enjoy that fresh, dewy air.
Time: 3 hours
6. Fitzroy Falls, Morton National Park
Another southern gem, Fitzroy Falls is everything your mossy, rainforest dreams are made of. Located in Morton National Park, this gushing waterfall is just a short drive from the Southern Highlands and is super easy to access, with a car park and visitor centre for all your waterfall-nerd needs. If you’ve got some spare time, there is also a walk you can do that takes you along the surroundings.
To start, take the walk from the Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre and head out along the creek. From there, you’ll stumble across a lookout platform that offers extensive views of the waterfall and the stunning Yarrunga Valley. Sadly, dogs are not permitted, so you’ll have to leave your four-legged friends at home.
Address: Pauls Pass Walking Track, St George NSW 2540
Area: 1,997 km²
Time: 1 hour
Established: 1 October 1967
Management: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
7. Minnamurra Falls, Budderoo National Park
If you like your waterfalls with a side of tropical rainforest, Minnamurra Falls is your guy. Nestled in the tropical oasis that is Budderoo National Park, to reach the waterfall, follow the elevated Falls walk and take in all the moss, ferns and perfectly placed water droplets you could imagine. The 3.7km loop is located near Jamberoo and is generally considered to be one of the more challenging hikes in New South Wales, however, the result is worth it. Once you managed to traverse the 189-metre elevation gain, you’ll find yourself at the base of a stunning waterfall that looks like something out of a storybook.
The entire route will take you about an hour and a half on a busy day, which is an important distinction. As the waterfall is located in Buddero National Park you can expect to encounter a lot of visitors, with the region fast becoming one of New South Wales’ premier destinations for outdoor adventurers. Be warned, the gates do close at 5pm, so get in early.
Address: Gerringong Falls Walking Track, Budderoo NSW 2535
Time: 1.5 hours
8. Minerva Pool and Waterfall, Dharawal National Park
Located in the Dharawal National Park, Minerva Pool and Waterfall is one of our all-time favourite watering holes. With all the rain Sydney’s recently had, it is now also a gushing cascade! To get here, it’s a short and easy bushwalking track through the national park and will also take you through the surrounding oh-so-tranquil scenery, arriving at Minerva Pool, a pristine waterhole with sandstone features.
While there is a water hole for swimming, it’s important to be conscious of the cultural significance. According to National Parks NSW, the Minerva Pool is a sacred site on the land of the Dharawal People. Only women and children are invited to enter the waters as part of Aboriginal culture, so remember to tread carefully and with respect during your visit.
Address: Wedderburn NSW 2560
Time: 1 hour
9. Winifred Falls, Royal National Park
Best for: A Secluded Experience
If your ideal waterfall includes a swim at the bottom, Winifred Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Sydney for you. Pack your swimmers and your walking shoes, it’s a 4km walk to get there. Warning- it gets pretty steep, but it will be worth it for the cascade and swimming hole you will find. This also means you may very well have the place all to yourself!
In addition to the main spot, there is also an abundance of great natural watering holes, so there are plenty of options for swimming. You can also add in the off-trail section to South West Arm Creek and check out the major waterfall and lake lookouts.
Time: 2.5 hours
10. Somersby Falls, Brisbane Water National Park
Only a short 15-minute drive from Gosford, you will find this peaceful oasis to relax away from the hustle and bustle. Located on the eastern side of Brisbane Water National Park, Somersby Falls is surrounded by short walking tracks, plenty of picnic tables and spots for a little dip of the toes. Designed more for families, this spot is very easy to locate with the whole round trip only taking around half an hour. Additionally, the hike has a limited elevation gain, so practically anyone can do this route. This spot can get busy at times, especially with the floods of bush turkeys roaming around!
Address: Hawkesbury Track, Kariong NSW 2250
Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Very easy
11. Maddens Falls, Dharawal National Park
Take in all the scenic waterfall views of your dreams at Maddens Falls, one of the best waterfalls in Sydney. The Maddens Falls walk is super easy, so it’s perfect for a weekend with the kids in tow. You’ll be met with a stunning view of the falls and the pools below. Along the way, you may bump into some local residents, including honeyeaters, red wattlebirds and tree frogs! This hidden gem also houses some gorgeous native fauna- keep an eye out for the rare fern-leaf grevillea!
Time: 30 minutes
12. Mermaids Pool, Bargo River
This peaceful hideaway located in the Bargo River will have you zenning out to the max. Mermaids Pool is as raw as it gets, located on crown land, there are no signs or facilities you would expect from a national park, so be prepared to get adventurous! Follow the blue and yellow markers along the trail for roughly five kilometres until you reach the stunning pools. While described as a pool, swimming is not advised as it is seen as disrespectful of the site’s religious significance, not to mention, it’s also dangerous!
Time: 45 minutes
13. Wattamolla Falls, Royal National Park
For one of the best waterfalls in Sydney that requires the least amount of effort to get to, head to Wattamolla Falls in the Royal National Park. Only an hour’s drive from the Sydney CBD, the final leg of the drive is also incredibly scenic as it takes you through the national park. When you arrive, you will find a huge car park and a short trail down to the falls, which sits next to a gorgeous beach, connected to the ocean by a small lagoon. Remember to pack swimmers, a towel and some snacks, as this spot truly has it all- beach, lagoon, waterfalls, and sand, you won’t want to leave!
Things to Consider for Sydney Waterfalls
- Safety – While every waterfall on this list is freely available to the public, it’s important to stay safe during all trips. A number of the regions outlined require extensive walking and hiking, so make sure you pack supportive shoes, water and all the essentials you need for the day. Similarly, weather can play a pivotal role in how safe a trip is. With the large amounts of rain Sydney has experienced over the past few years, a number of the tracks may be subject to mudslides and closures. Check the official websites for each before you leave to ensure you aren’t disappointed.
- Swimming capabilities – While a vast number of the waterfalls on this list do have lakes attached, not all of them are swimmable. Some are only accessible to locals or cultural groups, while others are simply not safe enough to enter. Make sure you plan accordingly before you leave.
- Getting there – Consider how long you want to travel in order to get to the waterfall in question. Most locations can be found within two hours of Sydney CBD, however, the lengthy travel time, coupled with the actual hike may leave you feeling a little worse for wear on the drive home. Consider if staying overnight is the best option for you.
- Crowd – Do you want something more secluded, or do you enjoy the hustle and bustle of mountain bikes, hikers and walking groups?
Alternatives to Sydney Waterfalls
If you don’t feel like stepping out of your comfort zone and hitting up the more remote areas of Sydney for a waterfall experience, that’s OK. In the meantime, why not check out our rundown on the best things to do in Sydney’s great outdoors?
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- Best Rooftop Bars in Sydney
- Best Views and Lookout Points in Sydney
What is the best waterfall close to Sydney CBD?
The best waterfall close to the Sydney CBD is Wattamolla Falls.
Can you access any cool waterfalls by public transport?
Most of the cool waterfalls in Sydney require a car to gain access.
Which is the best waterfall to swim in near Sydney?
The best waterfall to swim in near Sydney is Winifred Falls.
What is the highest waterfall in New South Wales?
At 200 metres, Ellenborough Falls in the Mid North Coast is the tallest single drop waterfall in New South Wales.