18 December 2015
No visit to NSW is complete without a trip to some of the local swimming holes. We’ve found the perfect spots around Sydney for a swim and a picnic, upping the ante by making sure they all have a waterfall. They’re closer than you’d think.
Pack a picnic basket and a rug, then take a day trip for a meal and a swim surrounded by nature, all within easy travelling distance of Sydney.
Only fifty minutes south of the Sydney CBD, you’ll find Wattamolla in the Royal National Park. It has something for everyone, with a large lagoon, a waterfall and a beach. The waterfall runs fifty-metres into the deep, tranquil lagoon, at seven-metres high, it’s perfect for swimming under.
Surrounding the water is an abundance of cabbage palm trees, their fronds offering protection from the sun while you eat. After some time spent swimming or picking away at a hamper and relaxing in the shade, you might want to take a bushwalk on one of the many trails through the surrounding national park.
Morning Bay, Pittwater
Forty kilometres north of the Sydney CBD, in the Kuringai Chase National Park, you’ll find one of Sydney’s most untouched swimming holes, complete with a cascading waterfall. The waters are calm, although they’re occasionally broken by the bodies sent flying into the swimming hole courtesy of a swinging rope tied to an overhanging branch.
After a picnic lunch, be sure to explore the surrounding bushland filled with native flora and fauna, keeping a lookout for centuries old sacred Aboriginal art. If you’re interested in slightly more recent history, and the thought of swinging through the sky and into the water on a rope isn’t quite exciting enough, you could visit a nearby house that was used as a hideout for Vladimir Petrov, a Russian spy who defected to Australia in the fifties.
A hidden treasure in Spring Cove, Collins Beach is just over a kilometre away from Manly Wharf. Only accessible on foot or by water, it’s a short uphill walk through the bush from Little Manly. With no road access, it remains one of the city’s most secluded enclaves, despite its charm.
You can swim in the deeper, calm waters of the harbour and find a quiet spot to eat your lunch while taking in the beautiful view of The Heads. Although the waterfall is small, and the water below it isn’t quite deep enough to swim in, it makes for a perfect post-ocean shower, or to wash off the last remnants of your picnic.
If that’s not incentive enough, you could catch a glimpse of the fairy penguins living in the area. That’s worth the trip alone really.