Top 5 Hidden Swimming Holes

by Bianca Mulet

If the crowds at Bondi and Manly are daunting enough to keep you from immersing in a cool body of water altogether, fear no more! We’ve found a handful of sneaky locations to escape the sweltering heat (and the overwhelming masses). Wind down during the last leg of summer with these sacred swim spots located in and around Sydney.



The worst thing about taking a day trip to Wattamolla is packing up and driving home back to reality. While it’s only a stone’s throw away from the metropolitan area, this spot is probably the closest thing to paradise you’ll come across in your Sydney life. Surrounded by kilometres of coastal walks in the Royal National Park, Wattamolla is named after the local Aboriginal word for “place near running water”, perfectly suited to this refreshing oasis. After descending a short but sweet bush trail, you are met with a large freshwater lagoon for shallow swims on one end and rolling waves lapping onto the beach on the other, separated by a sandbar. Sheer cliff faces frame the lagoon, where people have been known to jump from (not advised as it’s actually against the law) with shady trees lining the water’s edge, ideal for picnics or just lazing about blissfully.

Karloo Pools


While the Royal National Park holds a number of swimmable pools, Karloo is the one most locals set their hearts on. Crystal clear waters framed by smooth rock ledges, Karloo is suited to an afternoon kicking back and soaking in the sun. We recommend a quick train trip to Heathcote station to visit this ideal nature spot, as the walking track boasts incredible views through lush greenery – just one unique feature that makes Karloo pools special. A trip to Karloo isn’t complete without going up the creek to check out the beautiful Uloola Falls too. The area makes anyone forget they aren’t at a luxury resort.

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Manly Dam


One of the Northern Beaches’ favourite freshwater swimming holes, Manly Dam is one of the better locations to cool off in the most peaceful way possible. For an urban watering hole, Manly Dam is unique for its ability to offer visitors a glimpse at Australia’s diverse flora and fauna. This utopia of native wildlife is surrounded by 375 of bushland, containing four large picnic areas and a range of complex bush walks to cultivate your curiosity. The area was originally a catchment designed to supply water to Manly and the surrounding suburbs, later becoming a War Memorial Park after World War I. Today, the park is popular among families, water sport enthusiasts and anyone looking to get away from the urban buzz for an energizing dip. You can swim almost anywhere…just steer clear of the water-skiing area.


Glenbrook – Jellybean Pool


Jellybean pool is as picturesque as its name is delicious: a scenic (and conveniently shaped) swimming hole flanked by sandstone cliffs and plenty of shady gums to keep you cool in the warmer months. This great open area is ideal for floating around in your lilo to the sounds and sights of colourful native birds that reside all around. Jellybean pool is located within the Glenbrook Gorge, just at the entrance to the Blue Mountains National Park. Gather some friends and roll out a picnic blanket for a glorious getaway.

Bents Basin

Image credit: Rob Potter/Tumblr

Image credit: Rob Potter/Tumblr

This deep waterhole forming part of a gorge on the Nepean River is ideal for those looking to enjoy a range of water-related activities. Whether you’re into relaxing with book in hand by the water’s edge, trying your luck with a fishing rod or adventuring in a canoe, Bents basin offers something for everyone. A wide and expansive green allows you to take your pick of campsites for tents, caravans or trailers to ensure you make the most of your visit, without stressing about getting home before the gates close. The park provides top-notch facilities and plenty of barbecuing options, so gather the whole family or a group of your favourites to enjoy the last of summer in style.

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If you like our Top 5 Hidden Swimming Holes in Sydney, you’ll love our other Top 5′s:


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  1. awsm

  2. Well they aren’t so hidden any more are they.

  3. Anne O'Brien says:

    Also, Lake Parramatta is very beautiful and now open for swimming…

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