12 incredible waterfalls in & around Sydney

Forget what TLC say, we think you absolutely should go chasing waterfalls. Here are 12 of the best you can discover in Sydney or a short distance away, perfect for a day trip.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Feb 2024 -
min read

Curracurrong Falls, Royal National Park 

The 82m Curracurrong Falls is one of only a handful of waterfalls in the world that plunge over a cliff and directly into the open ocean. On windy days, the water can be blown back up the cliffs, creating a unique ‘reverse waterfall’. It’s just off the popular Coast Track walking trail, around 4km from Wattamolla Beach. 

Sunrise at Curracurrong Falls and Eagle Rock in the Royal National Park, Sydney

Curracurrong Falls, Royal National Park

Collins Flat Beach, Manly 

A small curve of sand tucked into one of the bays of North Harbour, Collins Flat Beach is something of a local secret. Part of the Sydney Harbour National Park, it has calm waters surrounded by bushland – and the city’s only harbourfront waterfall! Cascading over rocks at the back of the beach, it’s a great spot for kids to splash around. 

Collins Flat beach, Sydney Harbour National Park

Collins Flat beach, Sydney Harbour National Park - Credit: Natasha Webb/DCCEEW

Upper Gledhill Falls, Garigal National Park 

Garigal is a small national park tucked within Sydney’s leafy north shore. Hidden within its winding walking paths and mountain biking trails are a few picturesque waterfalls. The best is Upper Gledhill Falls, a small, gentle waterfall with a large swimming hole at the base. 


Maddens Falls, Dharawal National Park 

Around an hour south of Sydney, close to Darkes Forest, the pretty Madden Falls tumbles over multiple levels to reach a quiet creek. It’s easy to access, with a fire trail running from the carpark that turns into a raised boardwalk leading to the lookout. The surrounding bush is bursting with native birds and frogs, and wildflowers bloom at the base of the falls in spring. 

Maddens Falls, (trail 10Z) Darkes Forest Road area in Dharawal National Park, Helensburgh

Maddens Falls, Dharawal National Park - Credit: John Yurasek/DCCEEW

Wattamolla Falls, Royal National Park 

Wattamolla is the most famous beach inside the Royal National Park, but did you know it also has its own waterfalls? Cascading over the cliffs that run around the edge of the calm lagoon, they tumble straight down into the water. Swim out from the beach and feel the spray as they touch down. 

Waterfalls at Wattamolla, Royal National Park

Wattamolla, Royal National Park - Credit: Andrew Elliott/DCCEEW

Winifred Falls, Royal National Park 

One of the smaller waterfalls in the Royal National Park, Winifred Falls makes up for it with an outsized charm. Multiple cascades flow over the rocks into a large pool that’s perfect for a dip. From the carpark, the walk is around 1km along a mostly flat fire trail, though there is a steep section towards the end. Bring a picnic for lunch by the water. 


Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains 

One of the largest waterfalls in the Blue Mountains, Wentworth Falls plunges almost 300m over two drops. You can get great views from the Wentworth Falls Lookout, just a short walk from the carpark, or you can tackle the challenging Wentworth Pass Loop Walking Track to admire it from all angles. 

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains 

Hidden amongst lush forest, Empress Falls tumbles down multiple tiers over more than 30 metres and is one of the prettiest waterfalls in the Blue Mountains. For another perspective, join Blue Mountains Adventure Company and abseil down the rocks as the water cascades past, before hiking and swimming through Empress Canyon

Water flowing down Empress Falls at Empress Canyon, Blue Mountains

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains 

Nellies Glen, Budderoo National Park 

Around two hours south of Sydney, Budderoo National Park is an oasis of pristine rainforest and sparkling waterfalls. Nellies Glen is small but scenic and perfect for families searching for a waterfall day trip. Enjoy a picnic listening to the sound of water rushing over the rocks and have a swim in the calm pool at the base. 

Minnamurra Falls, Budderoo National Park 

Follow elevated walkways and cross suspension bridges through the lush Minnamurra Rainforest to discover the beautiful Minnamurra Falls. Along The Falls Walk there are viewing platforms at both the upper and lower levels of the falls. Keep an eye out for colourful butterflies and the elusive lyrebird. 

Fitzroy Falls, Morton National Park 

One of Australia’s most spectacular waterfalls can be found in the Southern Highlands, around 90 minutes from Sydney. The powerful Fitzroy Falls tumbles more than 80m over a sandstone cliff into thick green forest below. From the interesting Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre you can take the short boardwalk to view the falls or follow the longer East Rim and West Rim tracks for more dramatic vistas. 

Aerial view of people standing at the viewpoint above Fitzroy Falls, Kangaroo Valley

Fitzroy Falls, Kangaroo Valley

Mermaid Pools, Bargo River 

On the outskirts of Sydney in Wollondilly, Mermaid Pools is a secluded waterhole at the start of the Tahmoor Gorge. A waterfall runs over the cliffs that surround the pool as the river meets the gorge. Mermaid Pools is sacred to the local Indigenous people so you’re not permitted to swim here. Instead, have a dip at See Thru Pools further back up the track – they have their own little waterfalls too. 

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