Before you pack the car up with an unneccesary amount of beach gear, check out our list of the top five Blue Mountains swimming holes. Guest appearances from the stunning Hawkesbury area included.
The Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains are pristine and picturesque, with expansive views and dense bushland. However, on a hot day, a trip to the beach can turn into a full-on trek for locals.
Take a look at these Blue Mountains swimming holes that’ll keep you cool and save you a couple of hours on the motorway.
Jellybean Pool, Glenbrook
You’ll find Jellybean Pool on the outskirts of Glenbrook in the lower Blue Mountains.
Park your car and take a 15-minute hike through the scenic mountain scrub along Jellybean track. This 1km return trail is your hall-pass to one of the best swimming holes in the Blue Mountains.
With a large semi-circle sandbank, the pool can host stacks of people without getting too crowded.
The pool is surrounded by large rock formations, which make for great platforms to leap into the freshwater below. However, always take care and beware of submerged rocks.
While Jellybean pool is the most popular spot to cool down, you should also trek up the riverbank as you will find several other picturesque spots for you to dip in and out of the water.
If you’re taking the motorway, Glenbrook is an hour’s drive away from the heart of Sydney. From the Hawkesbury area, it only takes around half an hour to get to Glenbrook.
Silver Cascades, Mt Victoria
We promise this is one of the best Blue Mountains swimming holes to add to your weekend. And it’s a bit of a local secret so it will have fewer crowds.
The Silver Cascades is a stunning swimming hole in the upper Blue Mountains, close to Mt Victoria and the trek here is not for the faint of heart. Hence why fewer people find it.
The 400-metre descent into the valley is extremely steep. But once you’ve made it, sweating and puffing, you can immediately jump into the chilly waters of the upper pool.
A rock wall mirroring a long, gradual staircase frames the upper pool. Water from Victoria Creek flows slowly but steadily down, filling the pool below. It may only be shallow, but with its rocky bottom and leafy surrounds, the Silver Cascades is a mountain oasis.
The waterfall at the upper pool is gentle and flat enough for visitors to sit along it, bathing in the cool water whilst enjoying the view.
If you want to heat up a little more before diving into the particularity refreshing water, continue walking down to the lower pool. Fresh mountain water cascades off a 20-metre overhang into a shallow pool below.
Brave visitors can stand atop the overhang, others can watch it from below. Cool off in the natural shower of the waterfall by standing beneath it, the weight of the water plummeting onto your body.
Mt Victoria is the upmost suburb of the Blue Mountains, meaning it takes a little longer to get to. A 45-minute drive from the lower Blue Mountains and about an hour from the Hawkesbury.
But hey, it’s those closer to the city who will have to trek out to the Silver Cascades, with a one way trip from Sydney taking just over two hours.
Minnehaha Falls, Katoomba
Minnehaha Falls near Katoomba is one of our favourite Blue Mountains swimming holes. This mountain oasis is easily accessible but deceptively hidden.
Minnehaha Falls is on the northern side of Katoomba, meaning it’s further away from the more popular tourist destinations in the heart of town.
Up the top, head to the lookout and enjoy uninterrupted views of the 20-metre cascading waterfall and mountains beyond. Or take the 20-minute walk down to the pool, which consists of a 10-minute descent down some particularly steep stairs.
There are quite a few spots around the edge of the pool to set up camp for the day. Closer to the water, rocky ledges gradually descend into the pool, creating an outer rim of semi-submerged seating.
If you’re willing to brave the chilly mountain water, there’s plenty of room to paddle about in the depths. Climb up underneath the waterfall to observe the pool through a shower of fresh water.
The pool is surrounded by looming rock formations covered in foliage, which makes it feel especially secluded. You wouldn’t guess that the main drag of Katoomba was only 10 minutes away.
Minnehaha Falls is the perfect Blue Mountains swimming hole due to its location, seclusion, geography and swim space. The deep blue water and gushing waterfall tempt visitors even on the colder days.
This Blue Mountain’s swimming hole is worth travelling for and you can make several small-town pit stops on the way. It beats the trek through city traffic to a crowded, and frankly overrated, Bondi Beach.
Yarramundi Reserve, Hawkesbury
Yarramundi Reserve, just outside the historical town of Richmond, hides amongst towering pine trees and lush vegetation. The Grose river runs through, gradually narrowing and shallowing.
It’s a great spot for a swim, kayaking or fishing.
Enveloped by old pines with a mountainous backdrop, the crystal clear waters are hard to resist. Add in the fact that it’s family-friendly, with picnic areas and an all-pets-allowed policy, it’s no wonder Yarramundi’s shores fill up on a sunny weekend.
Lucky, this Hawkesbury swimming post has plenty of space. Stay closer to the car park (don’t worry, you can’t see or hear it) for gently flowing ankle-deep water. Head upstream on the rocky foreshore to find hidden coves that double as private beaches along the river.
Rocky bridges act like mini dams at shallower points in the river. During low tide, sandbanks create little islands. Hundred-year-old trees create shady spots to set up camp. But it also has plenty of sun-drenched sand to catch those rays.
This picture-perfect swimming hole may not technically be in the mountains, but it’s only a 25-minute drive from Springwood.
Upper Colo River, Hawkesbury
As promised, we have a couple of great Hawkesbury swimming holes too.
Colo River winds through 86-kilometres of dense Australian bushland, starting at the confluence of the Wolgan and Capertee rivers in Australia’s Great Dividing Range.
This river’s pristine and pure freshwater that will cool you to the bones.
Our favourite section of the river has to be Upper Colo. Here, you can find Upper Colo Camp Reserve, with public toilets and communal BBQ areas. The beach-like shores of this part of the river are stunning. Yet only those willing to brave the bumpy dirt roads will see them.
Follow the bush trails down to the shore, where rocky cliffs spewing with vegetation peer down over the shallow water. Small, natural caves delve into the rock-face down by the river. You can easily access them by wading through the clear, knee-deep water. The crunchy river sand below is a great foot exfoliant.
Other areas of the river have delightful plunge pools, carved into the sand from the gentle but constant current. These pools are perfect if you want to soak your entire body. The water takes on a magnificent blue, making it difficult to deny a dive into the depths.
Colo River is approximately an hour-and-a-half from the Sydney CBD, but only 45 minutes if you’re already in the Hawkesbury area.