Karloo Pool

Royal National Park, nr Heathcote, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Karloo Pool is an unexpectedly pristine surprise on the edge of Sydney in the Royal National Park. The clarity of the water is what strikes you first. It’s not often that you can see right to the bottom of a still, trickle-fed pool in the middle of the bush like this, and although the water is clear it has an emerald green sheen which makes for stunning viewing against the darker green leafy backdrop of the bush. Second, you’ll probably be enticed by the uniform, swimmable depth, which makes it suitable for a few laps (you might need them to get the blood pumping if you visit in the colder months). The third charming feature of this swimming hole is the gentle sound of the tiny stream which spreads out over smooth rocks before emptying into the pool. There is plenty of space to spread out for a picnic or an afternoon snooze on the surrounding rocks, although this spot can get quite busy due to its proximity to the city and the train station. Karloo Pool is also part way along a popular hiking route (The Karloo Track) leading to Uloola Falls so there is likely to be some passing foot traffic.

How To Get There: You can park at the Heathcote train station or on Wilson Parade by the fire station. Pass the fire station on your left and continue down the hill until you see a signposted trail in the bush on the left hand side. Follow the trail past the houses on your left and continue following it (it is clear and well-marked) for around 4km until you reach the pool.

This is also a great spot to access by public transport as the start of the trail is on the southern side of Heathcote train station, by the fire staton.

Difficulty of access: 5/10 – The track is pretty clear and well-maintained with some steep sections and rocks to navigate. It is around a 9km round trip.

Opening Times/Seasons: All day/All year

Entrance Fee: None.

Facilities Nearby: There are no facilities at the spot as it’s in the middle of the bush. There are public toilets at the train station and a service station across the main road from there. There is also a fish and chip shop and a bakery across the main road.

Other Activities: The Loftus Loop mountain bike trail begins in Heathcote.

Other Places of Interest Nearby: Jibbon Head, in the northeast of the Royal National Park has a walkway overlooking some of the most interesting and well-preserved aboriginal rock engravings in the region. Another nearby bushwalk is to the ‘Pink Cliffs’ which were the site of early gold exploration and consequently have interesting rock formations.

Wildlife: There is at least one ‘grandfather’ yabby, who must’ve been there quite a while and have some good survival skills to reach his impressive 40cm length. The biggest we’ve ever seen! There are also a host of small birds who seem quite used to visitors and will flit around the surrounding bush whilst you swim.

Places to Eat: Our readers want to know about great places to eat and stay and other activities near swimming holes. If you are the owner of a local business you think our users would like contact us to find out about sponsoring this location.

Where to Camp: Uloola Falls Campground is a little further along the track and is a walk in only campsite with a toilet. There are also several other campgrounds in the Royal National Park.

Other places to Stay: Our readers want to know about great places to eat and stay and other activities near swimming holes. If you are the owner of a local business you think our users would like contact us to find out about sponsoring this location.

Nearby Towns: Sydney, Woolongong, Heathcote

Other Swimming Holes Nearby: Lake Eckersley, Winifred Falls, Engadine Lagoon, Little Engadine Lagoon, The Needles.

Comments: Who knew it was possible to feel this peaceful so close to the city?

Location Map

Have you swum at this spot?

We all want to hear about it. Leave a comment below.


  1. Emi

    From Heathcote Station, near the fire station, there is a sign saying Karloo Track or Karloo Pools. The walk is mostly downhill, except for some flat ground. The walk is fairly easy, with only a few slightly difficult sections. Once down, there is a large pool full of fresh water. It is surround by rocks and bush. Either side of the pool are creeks with slippery rocks that lead away from the pool. It is quite difficult but you can follow them for quite a while (if bothered). There is quite a lot of shade, but no facilities at all. The walk back up was not that hard.

    • Rachel Lewis

      Thanks Emi, We haven’t got around to writing this one up yet, although we have been! So your info is much appreciated. It’s incredibly beautiful isn’t it?

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