Nellies Glen is a small yet mesmerising waterfall in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Found near the more well-known Carrington Falls, Nellies Glen is another must-see natural attraction in the area. By doing just a short walk, you’ll arrive at the picturesque waterfall, where you can go for a swim or chill out at the Nellies Glen Picnic Area.
In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about visiting this charming waterfall. Other than telling you about this waterfall, we’ll also cover details about other nearby attractions and walks to add to your itinerary!
Table of Contents
About Nellies Glen, Budderoo National Park
Found along Missingham Creek in the Budderoo National Park, you’ll find the breathtaking Nellies Glen. The seasonal waterfall is a beautiful spot that’s often overlooked by visitors chasing the nearby Carrington Falls. Make no mistake, if you’re visiting Carrington Falls, you should also visit Nellies Glen.
Reaching Nellies Glen only involves walking 200 metres and is located right near Carrington Falls. So, you may as well call in if you’re already in the area seeing Carrington Falls. Better yet, it’s possible to swim in the Nellies Glen swimming hole. Indeed, it’s one of the best wild swimming spots near Sydney.
Where Is Nellies Glen?
Nellies Glen is located near Kangaroo Valley in the Budderoo National Park in the South Coast area. To help get your bearings, please click on the image below to access an interactive map of the location on Google Maps.
How to Get to Nellies Glen (Directions)
The only way to get to Nellies Glen is to drive there as there is no public transport access. If you don’t have a car, we recommend hiring one for the day. All of the roads leading to the waterfall are sealed roads, so a 2WD will suffice.
From Sydney, it takes around 1.5–2 hours to get there.
Whichever direction you’re driving from, you’ll need to follow Jamberoo Mountain Road, turning onto Cloonty Road. At the end of Cloonty Road, you’ll turn right to follow the Nellies Glen Trail to the end of the road, where you’ll find parking. Although, there are various options for parking, which we’ll cover below.
If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.
Nellies Glen Parking
There are three main car parks that you can use to access the waterfall. Yet, the most convenient option is parking directly at the end of Nellies Glen Trail at the Nellies Glen Picnic Area Car Park.
- Nellies Glen Picnic Area Car Park: this is the most convenient place to park. From here, you’ll walk around 200 metres to access the waterfall. There is space for around a dozen vehicles. Bear in mind, this car park fills quickly on the weekend. So, if you arrive and there is no parking, you’ll have to consider parking elsewhere.
- Carrington Falls Campground Car Park: this is another option for parking, where you won’t have to walk too far to reach Nellies Glen. From this car park, you can join the Nellies Glen Walking Track to reach the top of the waterfall (it’s around a 300 metre walk). You’ll then need to scramble down to the base of the falls if you want to go for a swim. Another option is to road walk along Cloonty Road and the Nellies Glen Trail to reach the Nellies Glen Picnic Area Car Park, where you can walk to the base of the falls.
- Carrington Falls Picnic Area Car Park: this is the least preferable option, as you’ll need to road walk to the Nellies Glen Picnic Area Car Park. But, many people start their adventure in the area here, so naturally walk to Nellies Glen after parking at the Carrington Falls Picnic Area Car Park and seeing Carrington Falls.
FYI – when it’s busy during the weekend, you’ll find people parking on the side of the road on Nellies Glen Trail and Cloonty Road.
Best Accommodation in Robertson
Nellies Glen Walk Details
Here are some details about the walk to the waterfall, starting from the Nellies Glen Picnic Area Car Park.
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 400m
- Time: 10–15 mins
- Difficulty: Very easy
- Trailhead: Nellies Glen Picnic Area Car Park
- Map: Google Maps
Nellies Glen Walk: Our Experience
Personally, I’ve visited the waterfall numerous times over the years. When exploring the area with Beck in 2020, we visited in the middle of the day during a busy long weekend. So, we couldn’t find parking at the main car park and the waterfall was fairly busy. But, on a recent visit on an early morning during the week, there was plenty of parking at the Nellies Glen Picnic Area Car Park. At the parking area, you’ll find several signs and boards, which display useful maps and information.
Nellies Glen Picnic Area
From the car park, you’ll follow a walking trail surrounded by a magnificent eucalyptus forest. It’s a flat trail that’s well-defined. During the short walk, keep an eye out for brightly coloured funghi as well as blue-coloured things, which is a sign of the presence of a male satin bower bird. After 100 metres or so, you’ll pass a single picnic bench. This is certainly a peaceful picnic spot during the week when visitor numbers are low.
After passing the picnic area, you’ll soon arrive at the base of the waterfall, which is also known as Nellies Glen Waterfall and Nellies Glen Falls. As mentioned, it’s a seasonal waterfall. So, hopefully, you time your visit after decent rainfall or during winter when there is usually more rain.
Personally, when Beck and I visited in 2020, we enjoyed a mesmerising waterfall flowing over the rock ledge. Whereas, during my most recent visit, the creek was running dry. So, there was only a trickle to admire.
Swimming at Nellies Glen
The swimming hole is often rated as one of the best wild swimming spots near Sydney. Many years ago, I went for a swim and it was truly delightful.
From the base of the swimming hole, there are several possible entry points for a swim. Admittedly, the swimming hole is essentially a natural rocky pool that isn’t too deep. So, we don’t recommend jumping in from the top of the falls. It’s best to simply wade in from the base of the pool and go for a small paddle from there.
Things to Do Near Nellies Glen
Of course, if you’re visiting Nellies Glen, there’s a high chance that your day started at Carrington Falls. And, that’s fair enough as Carrington Falls is one of the best waterfalls in NSW. But, there is more to the area than just Carrington Falls and Nellies Glen. After looking at some further details about Carrington Falls below, we’ll look at other attractions to see and walks to do nearby.
FYI – we won’t cover details about other nearby attractions in the Southern Highlands such as Macquarie Pass National Park or Minnamurra Rainforest. Below, we’ll just cover attractions and walks in the immediate Carrington Falls precinct.
Alongside Fitzroy Falls (guide coming soon) and Belmore Falls, Carrington Falls is one the most spectacular waterfalls in the Southern Highlands. Fed by the Kangaroo River, Carrington Falls drops an incredible 50 metres!
By doing the Carrington Falls Loop Track, you can enjoy several viewpoints of the waterfall. Additionally, there are walking trails to excellent lookouts such as Izzards Lookout.
Read more: Carrington Falls Guide (coming soon)
Izzards Lookout is one of the best lookouts near Carrington Falls. To get to the lookout, you’ll do a short out and back walk, which starts along the Carrington Falls Loop Track. Although you can’t see Carrington Falls, you’ll enjoy far-reaching views of Kangaroo Valley, where the Kangaroo River winds around.
We’ll now look at some of the lesser-known attractions in the area, which are just as worthwhile visiting.
Also found along Missingham Creek, you’ll find the gorgeous Blue Pool. Unfortunately, when we visited, the pool didn’t have its typical blue colour as it was an overcast day. Certainly, if you want to see the Blue Pool in all its glory, you’ll want to visit on a sunny day.
It’s actually possible to do a circular walk that takes in both Nellies Glen and the Blue Pool. You can find details for this walk here. Personally, we did this walk and highly recommend it as a small and adventurous trail. Bear in mind, that there is some scrambling involved to pass by Nellies Glen to get to the top of the waterfall when doing this walk.
Warris Chair Lookout
The Warris Chair Lookout Track is an excellent walk starting from the Nellies Glen Picnic Area Car Park. The short 1.1km return walk leads you through dense eucalyptus forest to a sensational lookout. At the lookout, which provides epic views of Kangaroo Valley, you’ll find an astonishing rock formation known as Warris Chair.
To find out more details about the walk, please access the map here.
Also starting from the Nellies Glen Picnic Area, you’ve got the Missingham Lookout Track. On a similar style of trail, you’ll walk 2km to reach two lookouts – the Missingham East and Missingham West Lookouts.
Both lookouts provide exceptional views of Kangaroo Valley. Because the walk reaches an area further away than the busy spots such as Carrington Falls, you’re more likely to see wildlife on this walk. I spotted some wallabies near the Missingham East Lookout.
If you’re interested in doing the Missingham Lookout Track and would like further trail information, click here.
Where to Stay Nearby
There are so many lovely accommodation options in the Southern Highlands near Nellies Glen. If you’re looking for accommodation near the waterfall, you should stay at Robertson. It’s a charming small town with excellent accommodation options. Below, we’ve handpicked the best options when it comes to staying in Robertson!
Best Hotel: The Robertson Hotel
If you’re looking for the best hotel option in Robertson, look no further than the superb Robertson Hotel
You can’t camp directly at the waterfall or picnic area but there is camping near Nellies Glen at the Carrington Falls Campground. It’s a basic campground run by NSW National Parks that’s beautifully set in Budderoo National Park. We recommend heading to the official website for further details and to book.
What to Pack and Wear
Here are our hiking gear essentials for walking to Nellies Glen.
Osprey Skarab 30
The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.
Osprey Ultralight Raincover
A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.
BUFF Original Ecostretch
The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.
To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.
Below, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about Nellies Glen.
Is Nellies Glen Child Friendly?
Yes, the walking track to the swimming hole is easy and safe. Of course, supervision is advised when children are near the slippery rocks around the base of the swimming hole. Additionally, accessing the top of the falls requires scrambling so this may not be child-friendly.
Is Nellies Glen Wheelchair Friendly?
Despite the trail being flat and relatively even, the walk to Nellies Glen isn’t wheelchair-friendly. Although, there are wheelchair-friendly trails to some of the lookouts along the Carrington Falls Loop Track.
Is Nellies Glen Dog Friendly?
No, pets aren’t allowed in the Budderoo National Park as per the usual NSW National Park rules.
Is There Signage at Nellies Glen?
Yes, there is adequate signage at the car park. Given how the short walk is from the car park, there isn’t any signage along the trail as it really isn’t necessary.
Is the Walk to Nellies Glen Difficult?
No, it’s a very easy and straightforward walk. It’s just accessing the top of the falls which requires some scrambling, which is challenging.
How Long Is the Walk to Nellies Glen?
From the main car park, it’s only an approx. 200 metre walk to the waterfall.
When Is the Best Time of Year to Visit?
Nellies Glen is a season waterfall. So, if you visit in summer, when there is less rainfall, the waterfall may not be flowing at all. Certainly, for this reason alone, it’s best to visit in winter or any other time of the year after decent rainfall. Ideally, you’ll also want to visit when there’s nice weather as the water looks more vibrant when the sun is shining on it.
Of course, the water is much colder in winter. So, if you don’t mind seeing a waterfall and just want to go for a dip, you could argue visiting when it’s warmer in summer could be better.
Is There Cellular Coverage at Nellies Glen?
Cellular coverage in the area is very poor. You don’t want to rely on mobile phone reception when you’re there. So, make sure to download maps and read about the place before you visit, so you’re prepared.
Is Nellies Glen Closed?
The waterfall and walking track may close from time to time for various reasons. Make sure to check the local alerts for Budderoo National Park on the NSW National Parks website to ensure it’s open when you plan to visit.
Is Nellies Glen Worth Visiting?
Yes, it sure is! If you’re in the area, already scoping out Carrington Falls, make sure to make a small detour to this other waterfall. Better yet, if you’re into wild swimming, this is definitely a spot you’ll want to explore.
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We acknowledge and respect the First Nations people as the Traditional Custodians of the land/water that we visited and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.