Taking a dip in a natural waterhole is a quintessential Blue Mountains summer experience. Here are five of the best places to bathe in the bush.
It’s hot. You’ve just been for a hike. Or maybe you just want to spend a day in the Blue Mountains doing something interesting, fun and insanely pleasurable.
Time to seek out a natural swimming pool.
Below are some of my favourite swimming holes in the Blue Mountains. Most are very popular in summer, so be prepared to share your patch of poolside sand (or rock) with lots of other visitors and locals.
Click on the links for more photos, details on what each waterhole is like and how to get there.
Lastly, while safety warnings are boring I’m obliged to remind readers that swimming in the Blue Mountains can be dangerous – the water is cold and conditions can be unpredictable, especially after rain. So be safe! Wear sun-protective clothing if planning to swim (sunscreen can damage the water’s delicate ecosystems). Check the water depth before jumping. Look at the weather report. Make sure you know how to swim. Check out Think Before You Trek if planning a walk. And most of all – enjoy.
JELLYBEAN POOL, GLENBROOK
Being so close to Sydney makes this pool as busy as an urban water park in summer, but a large sandbank means there’s usually enough dry real estate to lay down your towel while you take a plunge.
Read more about Jellybean Pool, Glenbrook.
INGAR CAMPGROUND, WENTWORTH FALLS
** UPDATE: INGAR CAMPGROUND IS CURRENTLY CLOSED TO CARS. Check the NSW National Parks website for updated information.
This once very popular campground in Wentworth Falls is adjacent to a very large waterhole that used to attract both the camping crowd and day-trippers. Unfortunately, the road that accesses it has been closed to cars due to private building works, and Ingar is now only accessible by foot. The trek in alone is 11km.
Once upon a time you could drive straight to the pool – no laborious walk in our out – just a 10-minute drive down a bumpy dirt road. If you can handle the the 11km “stroll”, or if you can hold on indefinitely for road access to reopen, other rewards include shaded picnic tables nearby and a kid-friendly shallow area with a sandy base (no slipping over!).
Read more about Ingar Campground, Wentworth Falls.
MINNEHAHA FALLS, KATOOMBA
I adore this waterfall and swimming hole, not least because of its cute name.
Minnehaha Falls (or Minni-Ha-Ha Falls) in Katoomba provides the double reward of a spectacular lookout over the 20m waterfalls plus the bonus of being able to swim beneath the cascade.
Read more about Minnehaha Falls, Katoomba.
SILVER CASCADES, MOUNT VICTORIA
Prepare for a steep 400m descent and an even longer (it feels) walk out from this swimming hole at Silver Cascades in Mount Victoria. Keep in mind, though, that the more arduous the walk in, the more private and peaceful your swimming experience will be.
Read more about Silver Cascades, Mount Victoria.
PARADISE POOL, LINDEN
This oasis in Linden is my favourite of the bunch. It’s a lesser known swimming hole but one of the most beautiful due to its picture-perfect waterfall, sandy shore and photogenic rock ledges for jumping.
The track to the pool is tricky to find, and a short way in it crosses a rocky outcrop, which is difficult to navigate if you don’t know where you’re going.
And you know what? That’s the way I’d like to keep it.
Some local secrets are best left untold 😉
If that infuriates you, I do offer directions on how to get there to guests of my studio accommodation in the Blue Mountains… Other than that, Paradise will just have to remain a dream!
What’s your favourite natural swimming hole in the Blue Mountains? Please share (or hint at the details…) in the comments!