Sydney’s wild waters
destination in Royal National Park.
The lagoon is fed by two creeks, one of which tumbles off a cliff providing jumping opportunities for the adventurous. There are a few heights, up to 10m, and while officially prohibited, revellers can always be found hurling themselves off its edge with whoops of delight.
BEST FOR WATERFALLS Wentworth Falls
If you need to clear out the cobwebs a swim beneath these awe- inspiring falls will definitely do the trick.
As the falls loom from 187m above, you are immersed in cold water amid a near- deafening rumble; the thrill of it all will leave room for nothing else.
The walk down to the bottom of the falls has stupendous views over Jamison Valley, with the cliff- side track providing one of the most spectacular vantage points in the Blue Mountains. Part of it was made over a hundred years ago by the “Irish Brigade”, a dedicated but clearly crazy lot who cut steps into the sheer sandstone cliffs to enable safe access into the valley. It is difficult to imagine a steeper walk, the last section involves a series of near- vertical caged ladders but your efforts are rewarded.
Swimming allows you to get right up close to the falls, the water billows out, illuminated by the sun, before dropping into the pool hard and fast.
Sometimes it feels like a wondrous massage, at other times its sharp points drill into your skin and burn; yet the ebullient experience will leave you wide- eyed and buzzing.
BEST FOR CAMPING Dunns Swamp
This 3km length of water is bordered by cliffs, rock pagodas and pockets of reeds in which moorhens hoot and dragonflies flicker.
Known as “Ganguddy” to the local Wiradjuri people, the name Dunns Swamp is a bit misleading as it is actually a dammed section of the Cudgegong River, with deep, dark brown water that feels silky on the skin. Dunns was created in the 1920s to provide water for Kandos cement works, yet despite its industrial beginnings the landscape is striking and it is a smashing place for a swim. One thing you notice is that it is startlingly quiet, with just a sprinkling of chirruping birds filtering through the thick silence.
The river adjoins a large busy campground but you shouldn’t have trouble finding a place to yourself if you are seeking solitude. Although jumping and diving are prohibited throughout Wollemi National Park, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the rock ledges jutting out over very deep water are seemingly made for it, one spot facing Platypus Point is particularly popular.
Wild Swimming Sydney, ( Wild Things Publishing) by Sally Tertini and Steve Pollard, £ 16.99. Daily Express readers get 30 per cent off by entering “Express” as a coupon code at wildthings publishing. com