If you’re a true Sydney-sider then you no doubt have a soft spot for The Royal National Park. Which is no surprise really when you note that this little getaway has endless beaches, wildlife, killer views and what we’re all really here for—epic swimming spots.
Start packing your bags because we’ve done you one massive favour and put together the top places to go when you’re hankering to go for a paddle. Some reel in the crowds (it can’t be helped when they look amazing) and some are more on the secluded side.
Here are the best spots to swim in the Royal National Park.
Wattamolla Falls and lagoon is one of the flagship closest comparisons to absolute paradise. If you haven’t already been to this beaut—we’re not judging but hint hint go stat. The view from the top of the waterfall is nothing short of spectacular with the lagoon and it’s iconic palm tree below, and yes that is the ocean you see out in the distance. This little nook is no secret so you’ll want to head here early to really soak up what it has to offer.
For anyone who has done a touch of travelling say to the south-east part of Mexico, Karloo Pools is your little Aussie slice reminiscent of emerald cenotes. Surrounded by tall trees and rocks, you’ll have to endure a bit of (moderate) walking down the Karloo track which starts from the Heathcote train station. And yes, you should definitely bring a picnic along.
It’s been coined the ‘best’ swimming spot in the Royal National Park and this 60m-long gem totally upholds that expectation. Basically, all your wild swimming dreams will come true should you pay this freshwater hole a visit, and if it’s total seclusion you’re looking for, a sneaky mid-week trip should do the trick. This one remains relatively untouched and the water sparkles especially bright due to the fact there are abalone shells lying on the bottom.
The Deer Pool is actually a set of falls that run into a pool with a sandy bank. You can get to this dream sanctuary by entering through the Bundeena Drive to Marley walk which is pretty cruisy and perfect for spotting wildlife.
South West Arm Pool
If you’re a rope swinging kind of explorer, you’ll want to hit up the South West Arm Pool. Drive up to Warambul Road and park at the Winifred Fire Trail entrance to start your mini adventure to this bright blue clearing. There are cliffs on both sides which are perfect for jumping off (and the pool remains relatively deep but as always, you’ll have to still be cautious). And just so you know, yes you can totally bring your blow up flamingo.
Located in the heart of the park, Winifred Falls is another special spot to take a dip. And hey, if you’re not a fan of long walks or any kind of cardio, you’ll like this one even more. Also starting from the Winifred Fire Trail (surprise surprise), this track only amounts to a kilometre so you’ll be splashing about in no time. The falls themself aren’t the cascading type you’d find at Yosemite Valley, but the water is ridiculously clear and yeah, you’ll want to take a few snaps.
Figure 8 Pools
Ah the Figure 8 Pools. No doubt you’ve already heard of these crazy natural beauties. Located at the south end of Sydney Royal National Park, you’ll have to trek through bush, beach and rocks to reach these glorious blue sinkholes. Heads up—a pair of good walking shoes is a must, and you’ll want to watch the tide too because this gem is only accessible at low tide and best in flat surf conditions.
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Image credit: NSW Government | Kevin Parks