Cool summers wading in water holes

By Jay Chabon

It’s about this time of year that nostalgia for the dwindling summer weather intensifies.

One fun way to savour what’s left, however, is to dive into Sydney’s many water holes.

The water hole experience is different from the experience of the public pool or beach. It often involves walking tracks and completely natural settings.

Here are some of the most idyllic spots to cool off at while it’s still warm enough.

Secret swimming spots abound in national parks


Deer Pool

Deer Pool nestles in the heath of Australia’s oldest national park, the Royal National Park.

It’s a prized pit-stop on the 8km-return trail that joins Bundeena Drive with Marley Beach.

The locale got its name from the deers that used to lap up the water when they were a greater population in the park.

Bushwalkers, beach-goers and tourists enjoy the pocket-size oasis for the small waterfalls that snake down the sandstone ledges and into the natural pool water.

It’s an ideal place to enjoy the surrounds of perfumed bushland and get some sun while you stretch out on the sand.

Water holes are ideal in summer


Hyde Park Reserve on the River Lett

The River Lett, which ambles through Hartley’s bushy Hyde Park Reserve (in Hartley) for about 700 metres, has a deep spot that’s become increasingly popular with locals and tourists in recent years.

You won’t find facilities or infrastructure here but that’s part of the charm for those who are enamoured by the romance of the wild.

In the summer months, you can spread out a picnic by the water’s edge and submerge in the granite gorge’s water hole.

When the weather is cool, it’s well worth the visit purely to absorb the quiet scenic beauty. The site is also revered for its Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Jellybean Pool

You’ll be in awe of the majestic cliffs that loom over Jelly Bean Pool. But you first need to conquer the many steps of the picturesque Jellybean track – in the Glenbrook area of the Blue Mountains – to reach your spot.

Jellybean Pool is blessed with sand banks, sandstone cliffs and gum trees that throw spades of shade. It’s a great place to float in the stillness while you keep your antenna dialled to the barks of wildlife such as lorikeets.

Upper Gledhill falls

This secluded swim spot in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park remains a pretty well-kept secret. It has to be said, too, those in the know have plenty to feel smug about.

Large boulders and stacks of rocky ledges peppered with ferny bushland play amphitheatre at this calming water hole. As you paddle in the small pool space, you’re in the company of a busy waterfall too.

Upper Gledhill Falls is only about a 45-minute drive from Song Hotel Sydney. When you’re done relaxing in the water, you can pick up your gear and continue to explore the vast network of trails, flora and fauna that makes Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park a much-loved destination.

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