Killen Falls Swimming Hole
Tintenbar – between Byron Bay and Ballina, Northern NSW, Australia
Killen Falls is a large swimming hole on Emigrant Creek with a 10m waterfall at one end. There are some deep sections and many submerged rocks and shallower areas. The rock has been eroded significantly behind the waterfall forming an impressive cave and it is possible to sit back well behind the falls in the shade and without getting wet. The caves are higher around another part of the swimming hole and provide scope for a bit of bouldering. Despite being so close to main roads and surrounded by a deceptively well-manicured estate, when you are down at the swimming hole there you are surrounded by nature and feel as if you could be in the middle of the bush, indeed this is one of the remaining stands of intact Big Scrub rainforest in this area.
How To Get There: Take the Pacific Highway (north from Ballina, south from Byron Bay) and when you hit Newrybar turn on to Brooklet road. After about 2km turn left of to Friday Hut Road and then turn left again onto Killen Falls Road. After 5km turn left again onto Killen Falls Drive and follow it all the way down to the parking at the end. Park here and follow the trail which takes you to the top of the falls. You can walk across the top of the falls to look down on the swimming hole below from the meadow on the other side, however in order to access the water you will need to turn off the main track up to the waterfall just as the path curves towards the top of the falls. There is another trail, accessed by jumping the fence, which leads down to the swimming hole.
Difficulty of access: 4/10 – There is a short, hilly walk down an unpaved trail to get to the swimming hole. Once there the terrain is uneven but there are plenty of flat areas to sit down.
Opening Times/Seasons: All day/All year
Entrance Fee: Free
Facilities Nearby: There is nothing but vegetation and birdsong at the swimming hole but Ballina and Byron Bay both have plenty to offer in terms of cafes, supermarkets and everything else you could need. There is a gas station/general store on the road into Lennox Head for the basics.
Other Activities: When the water is clear this is a great spot for snorkelling as visitors have reported seeing plenty of larger fish and the uneven, rocky base of the pool makes for interesting exploring.
Other Places of Interest Nearby: There is a local perch fishing spot at ‘Double Bridges’ where Maguires Creek joins Emigrant Creek, and don’t forget to take a selfie next to the Big Prawn at Ballina.
Wildlife: The cliffs are kept constantly moist by the spray from the waterfall and are covered in interesting mosses and other creeping vegetation. If you’re ready for a siesta, you’ll keep good company with the bats in the cave under the falls. An ancient fig-tree stands guard at the base of the falls.
Places to Eat: The Harvest Cafe in nearby Newrymar is a standout with fresh homegrown produce and it’s own wood-fired bakery downstairs. There are also an abundance of choices in both Ballina and Byron Bay which are each about 20 minutes away.
Where to Camp: There is very little in the way of free camping in this area so this may be the time to go upmarket. The North Coast Holiday Park at Lake Ainsworth near Lennox Head has everything you’d need in the way of facilities, a variety of sites and is situated right next to the lake, which is suitable for swimming and a variety of other water sports, and Seven Mile Beach with its famous surf break.
Other places to Stay: Byron Bay and Ballina
Nearby Towns: Tintenbar, Newrybar, Byron Bay, Lennox Head, Ballina
Other Swimming Spots Nearby: Hanging Rock Falls