Adventure

The 8 Best Swimming Holes Near Sydney

With Sydney beaches and local lap pools primed to be absolutely packed this summer, we’ve checked out a bunch of road trip-ready swimming holes where you can stay cool, away from the crowds.

Some hidden pockets require a hike or drive to get there, but trust us – it’ll be worth it. 

#1 Karloo Pools

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Just an hour south of the city, and with a walking track that begins at a train station, Karloo Pools and its surrounding areas are both convenient and stunning. It’s an hour-long scenic walk through the Royal National Park, then a descent into a big, clear natural swimming hole.

There’s plenty of rocks nearby to relax on, and if you want to make an adventure of it, you can follow the Uloola walking track to Waterfall station for a different, extended walk back.


#2 Kingfisher Pool

Right at the top of the Royal National Park, on the edge of the Sutherland shire, Kingfisher Pool is one of the closest natural pools to the city. It’s a lovely freshwater stream that concludes a 1.5km walk through Heathcoate National Park, with huge rocks to relax on and – if you really don’t want to leave – a nearby campsite.

It’s not far from Waterfall train station, making it one of the more accessible spots around.


#3 Simmo’s Beach

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Found in Sydney’s south-west suburbs near Macquarie Fields, Simmo’s Beach was named after Bob Simmonds, a local crook who spent much of the ’50s illegally dredging sand along Georges River. He was kicked out in favour of conservation and regeneration in the ’60s but the name stuck and today Simmo’s Beach also boasts barbecues, a picnic area and more.

Locals are divided on the quality of the water, and some days are worse than others, but either way there’s a great sandy inland beach to relax on.


#4 Nellies Glen

Heading even further south, Nellies Glen is a great swimming spot in Budderoo National Park, just outside of Robertson. Easily accessible by car, it doubles as a great picnic spot, making it ideal for the laziest of afternoons.

If you get restless, though, there’s some great walks starting here, like the Missinghan Lookout Track, which leads to some amazing views of the Kangaroo Valley.


#5 Jellybean Pool

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A gorgeous natural pool at the base of the Blue Mountains, Jellybean Pool is one of the area’s most popular swimming spots. At just an hour out of the city and close to Penrith, the pool is easily accessible by car. But to feel as though you earned the swim, park a little earlier at the beginning of the Jellybean Track – a great 45-minute walk that ends right at the pool.


#6 Clarence Dam

 

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Also known as Dargan Creek Dam, this one is further up the Blue Mountains, and is little less accessible, but it’s also arguably the most fun. Located in the middle of what the rock-climbing community calls the “Cosmic County Area”, its highlight is a sheer 10m cliff face overlooking a big, deep dam. It’s basically built for jumping from, and for the outdoor sports enthusiasts, it’s surrounded by spots for canyoning and rock climbing.


#7 Bogey Hole, Newcastle

 

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Jump on the  freeway and head two hours north on the Pacific Motorway to Newcastle for an easy day trip. Newcastle’s Bogey Hole is a natural swimming pool located beneath headland at King Edwards Park.

The pool was built for Major James Morriset in 1819, making it the earliest purpose-built ocean pool in Australia. It provides amazing views of the coastline and often, the waves from the ocean will crash up against the pool and wash over you. It’s like having a splashing fight with nature.


#8 Blue Pool, Bermagui

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While this isn’t exactly “near” to Sydney, it’s a perfect destination for a weekend camping trip or a worthwhile detour on the way to Melbourne.

Head to Bermagui, a small town in the Bega Valley that hosts one of NSW’s most gorgeous ocean pools. Sitting at the base of a cliff face that was once a WWII coastal watch, Bermagui’s Blue Pool was already a popular natural swimming hole before the ’30s, when community spirit (and a bunch of dynamite) doubled its size and created the huge, scenic swimming spot that endures today.

(Lead image: Winam / Flickr)