Visitors to The Shire are spoilt for choice when it comes to wild swimming spots with this gorgeous region extending to include large swathes of The Royal National Park as well as plenty of pockets of suburban bushland. Whether you’re after a quick dip, a day parked up by the falls or a longer bushwalk with a gem at the end, here we count down The Shire’s best hidden swimming holes…
You could travel the world over and Karloo Pools will still stand out as one of the most picturesque swimming holes. Surrounded by the muted green of the Australian bush, this natural pool is quite large at approximately 20 x 10 meters. It’s a popular destination but there is plenty of space to bask on the sun-warmed rocks and float about in the clear water. If you’d like to visit Karloo Pools you best be prepared for a hike! It’ll take you around one hour following the Karloo Walking Track east from Heathcote Station and a smidge longer on the way back due to the incline.
This swimming hole is more on the petite side and best after a decent amount of rain. It’ll take you about an hour of hiking on a moderately difficult and exposed track but the seclusion is worth it! The sandy bank and cascade of the falls provide an ambient rich experience. It’s a bit tricky to find the entrance to the track which is located on the northern side of Bundeena Drive but if you can spot the Marley Track sign you know you’re in the right spot.
If you’re wanting to jump into a wild swimming hole, stat, Winifred Falls could be the spot for you. Just a cruisey 30-minute walk along the Winifred Falls Fire Trail off Warumbul Road, you’ll be guided by the sound of the waterfall. There are rock platforms surrounding the falls that make for the perfect picnic flats whilst venturing a further 300m downstream will take you to the deeper South West Arm Pool.
Looking for somewhere to swim that both you and your doggo can enjoy? The Needles in Engadine is a dog-friendly swimming spot and just a 20-minute meander from nearby parking at the junction of Woronora Road and Carmel Place (the walk begins at a locked gate after which you’ll need to take the right fork down the hill).
Another doggo-friendly track, Barden’s Creek trail begins directly opposite ANSTO and Rutherford Avenue. Park up and make your way down to the fire trail, taking the first path to your left. We recommend making use of the app AllTrails to help you stay on track as this walk is not signposted. The trail will have you following Barden’s Creek until it emerges onto a divine blue swimming hole, nestled amongst a rocky amphitheatre. It’s a bit steep to get down to this swimming hole so do be careful. But we promise the brisk dip will be totally worth it!
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Gerrale Street, Cronulla
1 Kingsway, Cronulla
T: 02 8536 3600
1 Tonkin Street, Cronulla
T: 02 9523 2990
522 Kingsway (Corner of Jackson Avenue), Miranda
T: 1800 004 321
20-38 Gerrale Street, Cronulla
T: 02 9710 0333
Cnr. Pitt St. & Rawson Ave (Old Princes Hwy), Loftus
T: 02 9542 3646
1229-1233 Princes Highway, Engadine
T: 02 9520 8166
20 - 26 The Kingsway, Cronulla
T: 02 9527 3100
2 Seabreeze Lane, Bundeena
T: 0419 254 981
Old Princes Highway, Engadine