Last updated: February 16, 2021
Sydney has a lot to offer when it comes to beautiful natural scenery. The coastline, the beaches, the mountains, the valleys, as a Sydney-sider you have an endless amount of options for great day trips to undertake.
But if there is one thing we all love watching when out and about, it has to be waterfalls. The water plunging down into a valley or into a natural water hole, the beautiful noise they often generate, waterfalls are a true gift from Mother Nature.
Chasing waterfalls is a fun way to go out and about and discover the beauty and variety of Sydney’s national parks. To help you get inspired, we have selected 12 of the prettiest waterfalls in and around Sydney that you can get very close to.
|1||Somersby Falls||Brisbane Water National Park|
|2||Winifred Falls||Royal National Park|
|3||Curracurrong Falls||Royal National Park|
|4||Maddens Falls||Dharawal National Park|
|5||Minerva Pool and Waterfall||Dharawal National Park|
|6||Wentworth Falls||Blue Mountains|
|7||Empress Falls||Blue Mountains|
|8||Katoomba Falls||Blue Mountains|
|9||Minnamurra Falls||Budderoo National Park|
|10||Carrington Falls||Budderoo National Park|
|11||Belmore Falls||Morton National Park|
|12||Fitzroy Falls||Morton National Park|
Top 12 Great Sydney Waterfalls
Some of these waterfalls are easy to get to, while others are a bit more challenging to find and require some bushwalking.
To help you find each of these waterfalls, you will find a link to the map location underneath each picture.
1. Somersby Falls
Brisbane Water National Park is a relatively small protected national park in the Central Coast region, just north of the Hawkesbury River.
One of the many highlights in this national park is Somersby Falls, a series of small waterfalls with a 500m walking path following Floods Creek to the bottom of the falls.
There is also a nice picnic area at the start of the walk, right next to the parking area, with excellent facilities, such as barbeques, picnic tables, toilets, garbage bins and information signs.
Conveniently located close to the freeway, the Somersby Falls picnic area is a popular rest stop along the NSW Central Coast route.
2. Winifred Falls
A short yet scenic bushwalk starting from Warumbul Road in the Royal National Park brings visitors to pretty Winifred Falls, a small but impressive waterfall on South West Arm Creek.
It’s a great spot for a picnic, as you can relax and settle in on one of the many rock platforms surrounding the waterfall.
Although the trail to Winifred Falls is only 1km, there are some challenging steep sections. The surface is also covered with loose rocks and tree roots, so it’s recommended to wear appropriate hiking shoes.
If you’re feeling energetic, the walk can be extended along the creek to visit the South West Arm Pool and Anice Falls.
>> Our list of the best walking tracks in Royal National Park.
3. Curracurong Falls
Curracurrong Falls in the Royal National Park is a unique waterfall, as it’s one of the very few waterfalls in the world that drop straight into the ocean.
When the winds are strong the water can often be seen being pushed back up, which makes for a pretty spectacular sight.
A scenic coastal walk starting at Wattamolla not only lead to this waterfall, but also to Eagle Rock, an iconic landmark that strongly resembles an eagle’s beak.
This 8km return hike to Eagle Rock and Curracurrong Falls starts at Wattamolla Beach, and is part of the 26km long Coast Track between Bundeena in the north and Otford in the south.
4. Maddens Falls
Maddens Falls is a stunning cascade waterfall in the rural locality of Darkes Forest in Dharawal National Park, located 50km south of Sydney.
A short and easy 1km bushwalk through upland swamp communities, brings visitors to a scenic viewing platform with beautiful views of the waterfall and the surrounding landscape.
Dharawal National Park is a relatively unknown protected national park in the Illawarra region of New South Wales near Helensburgh. The park is characterised by an extensive network of creeks, swamp areas and heath vegetation.
A visit to Maddens Falls is not complete without a visit to the Appleshack at Glenbernie Orchard, a small farm shop where you can taste and buy fresh produce.
>> Our list of the highlights in Dharawal National Park.
5. Minerva Pool and Waterfall
The second waterfall in Dharawal National Park that is worth visiting is the one flowing into Minerva Pool.
This popular natural water hole is accessible via a short and relatively easy walking track through unspoiled bushland.
A fenced lookout platform located towards the end of the walk provides scenic views of the pool, the waterfall, and the surrounding scenery.
This is certainly not the biggest waterfall in Sydney, but after a period of rain, it’s a very pretty waterfall with all that water thundering into Minerva Pool.
6. Wentworth Falls
The name Wentworth Falls refers to the famous 3-tiered, almost 200m high waterfall, but it is also the name of the town where the waterfall is located. It is one of the most popular bushwalking destinations in the Blue Mountains region.
Wentworth Falls is by far the most impressive and highest waterfall in the Blue Mountains, especially after a period of heavy rainfall when large amounts of water drop into Jamison Valley.
There are various walking tracks to choose from in the Wentworth Falls area, some very short and others quite long and challenging. In addition, there are also several lookout points that offer spectacular views of the waterfall and the valley.
Read our extensive Wentworth Falls hiking guide for the best walking tracks and lookout points in the area.
>> Our list of the most scenic waterfalls in the Blue Mountains.
7. Empress Falls
A short walking track starting at the Conservation Hut in the Wentworth Falls area brings visitors up close and personal with Empress Falls, one of the most underrated waterfalls in the Blue Mountains.
Several lookout points along the track to Empress Falls offer panoramic views of the Jamison Valley and the high cliff walls surrounding the Valley of the Waters.
The views from the Queen Victoria lookout are the best, and reach as far as Mount Solitary straight ahead, and Kings Tableland and the Lincoln’s Rock lookout on the left.
The track continues beyond Empress Falls following the path downstream along the creek where two more waterfalls await you. Both Sylvia Falls and Lodore Falls are pretty waterfalls that are very much worth the extra effort.
8. Katoomba Falls
Tucked away between Echo Point and Scenic World in the Katoomba area of the Blue Mountains, Katoomba Falls drops almost 150 meters into Jamison Valley.
A short but picturesque circuit walk starting at Scenic World guides visitors through lush rainforest to the waterfall, with panoramic views of the valley and beyond.
The start of the Katoomba Falls Round Walk is located between the car park and the main entrance to Scenic World. This is also the starting point of the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, a 7km hike to the Gordon Falls lookout in Leura.
The path to Katoomba Falls includes several lookout points which provide excellent views of the waterfall in its entirety.
Here is a sneak preview of this amazing waterfall:
9. Minnamurra Falls
Minnamurra Falls is a stunning two-tiered waterfall on the Minnamurra River, quietly hidden away in a thriving rainforest in Budderoo National Park.
The waterfall can be accessed via a moderately challenging rainforest walk starting at the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre.
The walk to Minnamurra Falls is challenging in the sense that it is rather steep, but it is a well-maintained track and suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
10. Carrington Falls
Also located in Budderoo National Park, Carrington Falls is a spectacular waterfall that drops 50 metres down into a deep gorge.
A car park is located close to the waterfall, where you can do an easy circuit trail with three main viewing platforms to enjoy great views of the waterfall and its beautiful surroundings.
Also worth visiting is Nellies Glen which has a great picnic area and a small but scenic waterfall. It’s only a short drive away from Carrington Falls, and is a starting point of a couple of great bushwalking tracks.
11. Belmore Falls
Perhaps not as popular as the Royal National Park or the Blue Mountains, Morton National Park in the Southern Highlands deserves a lot more attention.
Remote wilderness, steep gorges, scenic waterfalls, exciting walking tracks and panoramic lookouts, this national park has something for everyone.
One of the highlights in Morton National Park is Belmore Falls, a stunning plunge waterfall with two drops on the Barrengarry Creek.
A short walking track takes in several lookout points, including the Hindmarsh Lookout from where you can enjoy panoramic views of Kangaroo Valley.
Interestingly enough, it never really gets very busy at Belmore Falls, so you will have plenty of great photo opportunities.
>> Our list of the best walking tracks in Morton National Park.
12. Fitzroy Falls
The second major waterfall in Morton National Park is Fitzroy Falls, a spectacular waterfall on the Wildes Meadow Creek that drops 80m into the Yarrunga Valley.
Follow the boardwalk from the Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre to a lookout with spectacular views of the waterfall and the valley below.
Fitzroy Falls is also the name of the village where the waterfall is located, with a population of just over 200 people.
The waterfall and the village were named after Sir Charles Fitzroy, Governor of New South Wales, who visited the area in 1850.