Adventure

Find The Secret Sea Cliff Bridge Lookout And Tranquil Swimming Holes On This Epic Sydney Day Trip

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Since lockdown, this inner-city dweller suddenly found a desperate need to own a car — it was a mix of desperately need to see something other than the brick building beside my window and renewing my appreciation for the humble road trip and weekend adventures that didn’t involve the germs of public transport.

Last week, I finally got my little bomb of a car — but the engine works and that’s all that matters.

For our inaugural trip together, I created an itinerary that I believe is one of the best day trips from Sydney you can make with a car. I’m sharing it with you now because I’m nice like that.

Stop 1: Sea Cliff Bridge

Drive: About one hour from Sydney.

 

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A post shared by Kassia Byrnes (@probably_kassia)

Despite being certain that I’ve driven on this Insta-famous road about halfway between Sydney and Wollongong more than once, I’d been living in envy of all the epic photos people were taking from a viewpoint overlooking the Sea Cliff Bridge in Clifton. It was time to fix that.

The (fairly official) unofficial Sea Cliff Bridge lookout view point would be a little hard to find, except for the fact many people walking along Sea Cliff Bridge have just done it and are happy to point you in the right direction.

You’ll find the worst-kept-secret entrance to the short but steep hike in a little hole in the trees on the inside of road where a small gravel parking area sits just in front of a Sea Cliff Bridge sign. It comes up as a searchable landmark on Google maps, so you’ll find it.

The entrance is marked by a yellow paint mark on the trees, and a cute little tree tunnel that opens up to reveal a steep obstacle course of trees and ropes to help you climb your way up the sometimes slippery dirt tracks. Look, it is steep, but most people will be fine with it and it’s kind of half the fun.

One of my friends and a couple of other view seekers were pretty nervous about the whole thing though, so it’s lucky we happened to run into a kind and chatty middle-aged local who’s made it his unofficial mission to maintain the track. He’s the one who trims the bush back off the path, and tied all the ropes that make the climb possible.

Image: Provided by Natarsha Tezcan

He lets us in on a lesser known path to the view point. Just passed the entrance we used, on Clifton School Parade, you can follow the road up passed the playground and along the railway tracks. Yes, there’s a ‘Danger keep out sign’, but as our delightful friend (who didn’t want to be named) explained, that was because they only just put a fence up between the path and the railway track to keep people out of the way of the trains. My friend took photos (above), so as long as you’re seeing views like this, you’re on the right path.

The path is only a little longer, and is just a flat, easy walk to the same view point. You’re welcome.

Stop 2: Scarborough

Drive: About three minutes from Sea Cliff Bridge.

Just along the road a short way, you hit the suburb of Scarborough. It’s the perfect place for a lunch stop with heaps of cute cafe options and still beautiful views — The Scarborough Hotel is particularly popular for good reason. Otherwise, if you’re more organised than me, I highly recommend packing a picnic and eating it on the beach here.

You could also stop for a swim of course, but today I’m chasing waterfalls so I resist the temptation.

Stop 3: Budderoo National Park

Drive: About one and a half hours from Scarborough.

 

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A post shared by Kassia Byrnes (@probably_kassia)

After you fuel up, hit the road again, continuing south passed Wollongong to Budderoo National Park. I’m here because Instagram had been giving me FOMO yet again, this time about a natural swimming hole that apparently features bright blue water. They aptly named it ‘Blue Pool’.

Once you hit the national park, you just want to head off Jamberoo Mountain Road at the Carrington Falls turn off. If you’ve hit the popular Robertson Pie Shop, you’ve gone too far.

I’m just going to give you a quick spoiler here — Blue Pool is not always blue. In fact, on the day I showed up it was downright dark green. Instead, I chose to follow the water downstream until I hit the extremely picturesque Nellie’s Glen (pictured). The walk only took about 10 minutes maximum from the Blue Pool carpark, but there’s another carpark at Nellie’s Glen if you refuse to do extra walking.

 

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A post shared by Jasper Burrows (@night_runner.exe)

If you’re up for a longer walk, there’s an approximately eight kilometre trail from Blue Pool to Carrington Falls, a 50-metre plunge waterfall that is pretty epic to look at. Or you could just drive around the the Carrington Falls picnic area of you’re short on time or energy.

There’s also a few short walks you can do from Blue Pool, that are very pretty — Warris Chair Lookout and Missingham Lookout. It’s basically a choose your own adventure.

(Lead Image:Instagram / @probably_kassia)