Welcome to the top 10 Sydney waterfalls list. At Travel Made Me Do It, we consider ourselves waterfall junkies. Name any waterfall in or around Sydney. We have been there. We’ve done our due diligence and checked the web for other similarly named lists. In our humble opinion, this is the most comprehensive one stop shop Sydney based waterfalls list online. The top 10 waterfalls in Sydney are based in the Southern Highlands, Blue Mountains, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Royal National Park.
As you can see, it’s really only the Royal National Park that’s located in Sydney itself. The other waterfalls on this list are located around or close to Sydney. It’s these national parks that have the absolute best waterfalls. Of course, there certainly are other waterfalls in Sydney. But they are nothing to write home about. They’re generally quite small. As a result of the often occurring drought here in Australia, these falls are minimal or non-existent.
Although this can also hold true for some of the other waterfalls on our list. However, they are much larger. So they tend to be present for more of the time anyway. Furthermore, our list aims to describe the experience of visiting each waterfall. Without further ado, here’s our top 10 Sydney waterfalls (and around Sydney) list.
Ideally, having a car is the easiest way to get to most of these waterfalls or to the trails leading to them. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend using RentalCars.com.
1. Belmore Falls
Topping the list is the beautiful Belmore Falls. A 2 drop waterfall over 100 metres tall piercing the Barrengarry Creek. It’s our standout waterfall accessible from Sydney. Belmore Falls is located in the stunning and underrated Morton National Park in the Southern Highlands. Like most of the waterfalls on our list, they are best visited after a solid period of rain. We visited after a wet spell during winter. As a result, the falls were more more powerful and spectacular than usual.
Getting a view of the falls is easy enough from the main viewing point called the Hindmarsh Lookout. That’s where you’ll find a fairly large car park. There is also an easy walking track from the car park that follows the cliff line above Kangaroo Valley. You will find various similar viewpoints. It only takes 20-30 minutes to visit all of these lookout points. You’ll feel faraway from the falls. But it does give perspective to the falls among it’s green surroundings.
Back in the good old days, you could also check out a viewpoint from above the falls. But this lookout is now closed due to safety reasons.
Is There a Trail to the Base of the Falls?
Technically, yes, there is a trail that leads to the base of the falls. But the track itself is closed. Albeit you’ll usually find people walking the unkept track, ignoring the wishes of NSW National Parks. There is a fairly obvious hole in the fence at the Hindmarsh Lookout car park where people start the hike. But there are signs discouraging the trail. Plus, we saw police fining people there recently who were on the trail. Whilst NSW National Park rangers do patrol the area. So we advise against doing it.
2. Fitzroy Falls
Not too far from Belmore Falls are the Fitzroy Falls. A single 80 metre drop fall also located in the Morton National Park in the Southern Highlands. This waterfall is generated from the Wildes Meadow Creek and drops into the gorgeous Yarrunga Valley. Your experience at Fitzroy Falls will be much different than Belmore Falls. This is because there’s an official visitor centre and large car park located at the Fitzroy Falls. The centre is opened from 9am-5pm daily. Parking is $4AUD ($2.60USD). Personally, this took away from the sense of adventure you get at the less established Belmore Falls! But the visitor centre does have some interesting information about the history of the area. As Beck is not from Australia, she found this particularly interesting.
Is There a Fitzroy Falls Trail?
There is a very easy and short walk from the visitor centre to the main viewing point. A neatly paved path will guide you there in only a few minutes. For a longer trail, there are 2 options:
- East Rim Walking Track: The trail is around 7km return and takes 2-2.5 hours to complete. This track is otherwise known as the Wildflowers Walk and for good reason. Check out the pretty flowers and eucalyptus trees. Very Australian!
- West Rim Walking Track: The trail is a 3.5km return track and takes around 1.5 hours to complete. It takes in some glorious views of the Yarrunga Valley and Fitzroy Falls. We much prefer this hike as you get more views of Fitzroy Falls and other waterfalls along the way. For more information on the trail, we thoroughly review the track in the Southern Highlands Weekend Guide.
3. Carrington Falls
We can guarantee that the best waterfalls near Sydney are all located in the slightly less touristic Southern Highlands. The gorgeous Carrington Falls rounds out the top 3. This waterfall is located in the Buderoo National Park. Its water is generated from the Kangaroo River where there’s a 50 metre drop into the deep gully below. It’s possible to visit Belmore Falls, Fitzroy Falls and the Carrington Falls in a long day trip of the Southern Highlands. This is because they are all located within an hour’s drive. But we wouldn’t recommend as you may feel rushed.
There is a small walk from the car park to various view points. The 1km return trail is called the the Izzards Lookout Track. Nice views of these impressive falls can be found along the trail. It should only take half hour to walk. Despite the small distance, it can still get very hot in the Southern Highlands! Make sure to pack plenty of water.
For more information on these waterfalls and others in the are, check out our Southern Highlands weekend guide.
4. Wentworth Falls
The first of the Blue Mountains waterfalls: So the podium finishes for our top 10 Sydney waterfall list all go to Southern Highlands waterfalls. That’s not to say that the remaining waterfalls deserve any less of a mention. Wentworth Falls is a huge 3 tiered, approximately 185 metre waterfall located in the Blue Mountains. The falls are actually situated in the appropriately named Wentworth Falls area. These falls can look particularly sorry without much rain. So try and visit after decent rainfall. This will enhance your visit.
There are an abundance of tracks to do around the Wentworth Falls area in the Blue Mountains. Each offering different viewpoints of the waterfall. Some of the tracks will even take you to other nice waterfalls. Some of which were unlucky not to make this list. Admittedly, all of these trails essentially overlap and crossover each other. So doing one trail after the other will not really work. Please read our 3 Day Blue Mountains guide for more information (coming soon).
5. Curracurrong Falls
The Curracurrong Falls are one of the many highlights of the Royal National Park coastal trail. The falls are located next to the famous Eagle Head Rock. Capturing both the waterfall and the rock in a photo is really special. The plunge type Curracurrong waterfall drops 82 metres into the ocean. It’s an incredible sight.
In fact, it’s quite rare for a waterfall to drop straight into the ocean. Only around 25 of these types of waterfalls exist in the world! Additionally, if you visit on a windy day, you will see the spectacular show of water being swept into the air creating mist. A very unique natural phenomena. Unlike most of the falls on this list, the water is flowing here all year around. Although the exception perhaps being in times of severe drought.
The Royal National Park Coastal Trail
To see the falls, you will need to tackle the coastal trail. Either in full or just in part. The entire coastal trail is approximately 30km from Bundeena to Otford or vice versa. However, for the sole purpose of seeing this waterfall, there is a shorter option available. For more information, check out our Royal National Park Coast Track speed hiking guide.
From the Wattamolla car park, it’s an 8km return hike taking around 3 hours. The $12AUD ($8USD) national park fees apply. However, we actually recommend getting a NSW National Park multi park annual pass. They are $65AUD ($42USD) for 1 year or $115AUD ($75USD) for 2 years. They are easy to buy online. But you can only register 1 vehicle/license plate for the pass. It’s well worth it if you plan on exploring many of NSW’s beautiful national parks with the same vehicle.
For the actual best view of the waterfall, there are a few options. You cannot actually see the waterfall from the official coastal trail. So you will need to head to a rock overhang once you cross the Curracurrong steps. This way, you will get a stunning view of the falls and Eagle Head Rock. Beck and I preferred this spot.
Additionally, some say the best view of the falls is actually along the creek before you cross the steps. So perhaps check out the falls from there too! Along the creek, is it’s very own smaller waterfall as well!
6. America Bay Falls
The America Bay Falls is an underrated waterfall. The trail leading to the approximate 30 metre falls is located at the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. It’s an easy 2km return hike only taking about an hour. The trail will take you to the top of the falls. You can get some nice photos of the falls from here.
Again, like a lot of the falls on this list, we recommend visiting after some rainfall. Unfortunately access to the bottom of the falls seems to be permanently closed. Seldom to say reaching the bottom of the falls is very difficult. As far as we’re aware, there is no actual trail. Scrambling rocks is required and therefore not recommended.
As previously mentioned, if you don’t have an annual pass, you’ll need to pay the $12AUD ($8USD) national park entrance fee. If this is the case, you should add the America Bays Trail to a day trip to the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. This will ensure you get your money’s worth. The Barrenjoey Lighthouse walk, West Head lookout and the hidden beaches walk from West Head are all phenomenal attractions. You should encounter fewer people here compared seeing the Blue Mountains waterfalls as well.
For the ultimate day trip itinerary, check out our West Head Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park article.
7. Govetts Leap Falls
You would think a massive 180 metre drop would earn this waterfall higher on the Sydney waterfalls list. But honestly speaking, this waterfall is rarely at it’s peak spectacular self. This is because, it’s yet again another waterfall that really needs a heavy downpour to look it’s best. Often, the falls are a mere trickle and spray. For this reason, this fall is lower on the list. When Beck and I visited, it wasn’t anywhere near as spectacular as what we had seen in photos. Don’t you hate when that happens?
But when visited at the right time, these falls as well as other Blue Mountains waterfalls are absolutely amazing and among the best you’ll find near Sydney. They are easily viewable from the Govetts Leap Lookout in Katoomba. We recommend the fairly straightforward, approximate 2km return trail to get to the bottom of the falls. Although be careful as the track will likely be slippery if you visit after rainfall. The trail is called the Govetts Leap Descent and should only take an hour.
8. Minnehaha Falls
The Minnehaha Falls in Katoomba, Blue Mountains is a hidden gem. This waterfall really hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. But it has certainly earned it’s place on the list. The falls are not the largest at 20 metres. But with a decent downpour, these falls can be powerful and spectacular. The trail is particularly short. An approximate 2.5km return hike takes around 40 minutes. However, you will need to spend some time at the beautiful pool created by the falls. Beware though, the water is very cold! We consider it a plunge pool.
Fortunately, the Minnehaha Falls walking track is back open after being closed for much of 2020. For more information on Minnehaha Falls and other waterfalls in the area, check out our epic 3 Day Blue Mountains itinerary.
9. Minnamurra Falls
The Minnamurra Falls is the second waterfall on the list that are located in the Budderoo National Park in the Southern Highlands. We can certainly recommend visiting the less frequented Southern Highlands. In regards to waterfall chasing, the Southern Highlands waterfalls are just as good or even better than the Blue Mountains waterfalls! There will be far less people to contend with also. To reach Minnamuarra Falls, you will need to head to the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre that is open 9am-5pm daily.
Reaching the Minnamuura Falls involves completing the 4.2km return Falls Walk. However, to reach the start of this trail, you will need to do part of the Rainforest Loop Walk. Reaching the actual start of the Falls Walk on the Rainforest Lop Walk only takes 20-30 minutes. Give yourself an hour from there to walk to the Minnamurra Falls and back.
Along the walk, you will see obstructed views of the larger lower falls. From there, you will reach the main viewing platform of the upper falls. At 28 metres, the upper falls aren’t quite the same stature of the lower falls. But they have unimpeded views so we prefer them.
10. Katoomba Falls
The Katoomba Falls in the Blue Mountains rounds out the Sydney waterfalls list. It’s a 150 metre drop flowing into the Jamison Valley. Once again though, this waterfall should be visited after some rain. We didn’t explore Katoomba Falls during any drought. However, the photo below shows what the waterfall generally looks like. Not the most powerful and voluminous. Although this shot is from the bottom where you cannot see the entire waterfall.
We recommend trying to time your trip to see Blue Mountains waterfalls after some rain. The Katoomba Falls and the other Blue Mountains waterfalls mentioned on this list will also look more spectacular after rain.
To see the Katoomba Falls, complete the easy 2km Round Walking Track. The trail begins at the entrance to Scenic World. So park there. A green signpost will signify the beginning of the walk. You will quickly reach the Vanimans Lookout which actually provides stellar views to the famous Three Sisters. You till then arrive at Juliet’s Balcony for amazing views of the entire falls. The walk then continues to base of the falls. Competing this trail takes no more than an hour.
Of course, there are many other epic waterfalls in and around Sydney that did not make this list. For information on some of these other waterfalls, check out 5 Best Macquarie Pass Waterfalls and Mittagong hiking and waterfalls itineraries.
Five Hiking Gear Essentials
The warmer layers in summer will be totally unnecessary. But exploring the Southern Highlands and Blue Mountains waterfalls can be very cold business in winter. You’ll be surprised. You may end up even needing to start with a light down jacket.
- Merrell Moab 2 Mid Goretex hiking boots – you’ll want a decent pair of hiking boots when exploring all of these waterfalls. These hiking boots have outstanding traction, waterproofing and breathability.
- The North Face TKA Glacier snap fleece jacket – for the cooler mornings inland from Sydney.
- The North Face Venture 2 waterproof/windproof jacket – if you’re getting close to the waterfalls, you’ll want a waterproof jacket to protect you from the spray.
- Lightweight down jacket – you may even need an extra layer!
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack – a great backpack for exploring outdoors and hiking.
To be fully prepared, consider downloading a GPS guided map before you set out. We recommend Wikiloc or AllTrails. For those not so prepared, if you’re needing navigation help during the hike and don’t have any phone reception, consider using Maps.me. Although you need to have at least downloaded the map of the general area beforehand.
Post COVID-19 Adventures
Thankfully, we are starting to finally see the lifting of some restrictions in regards to COVID-19. This is very exciting for those looking to resume some exploring and travelling. It means that for Beck and me, we can once again explore NSW National Parks and Sydney’s best waterfalls. We hope this list can inspire your next adventure in a post COVID-19 world.
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