While Karloo Pools and Uloola Falls are some of the most popular spots in the Royal National Park in Sydney, very few people know about the 2 incredible and relatively unknown waterfalls and swimming holes just a couple of hundred metres from Uloola Falls campsite.
These two pools are the perfect place to stop for lunch or spend the entire day swimming and (in my opinion) are way nicer than the more popular Uloola falls which are right nearby.
Affectionately named Krystal’s Waterfall after the partner who initially told me about this spot you’ll likely get the spot mostly to yourself in winter, with maybe a few people walking through over the course of a couple of hours.
When I went recently on a hot day in winter we were the only ones hanging out and swimming but we did see 3 groups of people pass by in the hour or so we spent there.
I expect that in summer this place would be a little bit busier but still pretty quiet. There is a fair amount of space to sit on the top of the falls or on the rocks down the bottom and if Krystal’s Waterfall is too busy you can walk just another 100-200 metres to Kiki Pool and have a swim and picnic there instead.
Krystal’s Waterfall via Uloola Falls
Distance: 10-11 kms
Difficulty: Moderate (some rock scrambling/elevation)
Opening times: All year round
Best time to visit: Sunny days, winter or summer
Entrance fee: None – Park at Heathcote station or Waterfall Station
- Drop Toilet Located at Uloola Campsite (300m from Waterfall)
- No water nearby so bring your own
- Muddy path in some section (quite a lot of mud after rainfall)
- Some rock scrambling required
The Story Of Krystal’s Waterfall
I’ll keep the story short but Krystal’s Waterfall is special to me because trying to find this hidden waterfall is what started me on my bushwalking journey.
My partner at the time had been to this spot when she was 18 and knew it was somewhere near Uloola falls/Karloo pools but didn’t know exactly where it was.
So we took our combined 4 children (2 of which who were 4 at the time) on an adventure to try and find this swimming hole.
We spent an entire day in the scorching summer sun walking to Karloo Pool and Uloola Falls looking for this pool with no luck. We didn’t pack enough food or water and the kids were exhausted by the end of it but it was a great day…despite our disappointment.
The only clue we had to the pool was one old photo of the waterfall and her sitting on this rock in front of it (similar to the photo above).
Weeks of internet searching later I found an obscure photo in a paid walking guide. I spent over $100 for them to send me out this iPad with the walking guide on it.
Low and behold it had the location of the waterfall on it.
Turns out we were only 200-300 metres from in on that day we took all the kids searching for it!
Getting To The Secret Waterfalls Near Uloola Falls
The secret waterfalls do not have any marked trails or signs pointing towards them.
In fact, you won’t even find these waterfalls on AllTrails or any of the hiking apps that I am aware of.
However, locals in the area and people who camp at Uloola Falls will know about these spots. Maybe they have different names but no one I spoke to new the names of them and I’ve keen calling it Krystal’s Waterfall for years so I’m sticking with that for now.
Summary Of Directions
- Start at Heathcote station and walk to Uloola Falls via Karloo Pools (5km)
- Alternatively start at Waterfall Station and take Uloola Trail to Uloola Falls (6km)
- From Uloola Campsite walk upwards up Uloola Brook 300m to arrive at Krystal’s Waterfall
- Continue a further 100-200m to get to Kiki Pool
First Make Your Way To Uloola Fall/Uloola Campsite
To get to these secret waterfalls and swimming holes you first need to make your way to Uloola Falls/Uloola Campsite.
You can do this in two ways:
- Take the Karloo Pools track from Heathcote Station and then on to Uloola Falls (5km)
- Take the Uloola Trail from Waterfall Station directly to Uloola Falls (6km)
I’ve written a full guide on getting to Uloola Falls so be sure to check that out for more information on how to get to this spot.
Follow Uloola Brook Upwards About 300 Metres
From Uloola Campsite you’ll see a sign that says
- Heathcote via Karloo Pool 4.5 km
- Waterfall 5.5km
Looking at this sign you’ll want to go left in the direction that points towards Waterfall.
But rather than making your way up to Uloola Trail you want to turn off and follow the Uloola Brook (keeping the river on your right side).
There’s a pretty obvious path in the bushes that you take
Keep Uloola Brook on your right and head up the river.
After following the trail for a few hundred metres you’ll come to Krystal’s Waterfall.
It’s an absolutely breathtaking location and I couldn’t contain my excitement when I saw it for the first time.
The pool is so clear and has a large rock near the entrance that you can perch on and walk into the water for a swim.
You can easily walk around to the top of the waterfall and there were lots of places to sit on the top of the waterfall and have our lunch.
I wouldn’t jump from the top of the waterfall into the pool below as it’s quite shallow in most sections. We went in from below and the water was extremely fresh in winter but also extremely refreshing.
I could easily spend the entire day here swimming and relaxing in summer. It was absolutely stunning.
Another 100-200 metres further up Uloola Brook is the place I’m calling Kiki Pool.
It’s not quite as nice a spot as Krystal’s Waterfall but it does has some benefits.
It’s a sandy pool, which makes entering and exiting the water a bit easier if you plan on swimming.
It also gets more sun than Krystal’s Waterfall, so in winter it can be a warmer spot.
There aren’t as many nice spots to sit down at Kiki Pool but you do get the feeling it’s more remote and less visited than Krystal’s Waterfall.
We tried (and failed) to get to the rocks up the top of Kiki Pool as I imagine this could be a pretty cool spot to hang out, but the path was completely overgrown and we couldn’t find an easy way to continue on.
For ultimate privacy and serenity if you can find a way to the rocks at the top of Kiki Pool I’d imagine you’d likely have that spot all to yourself.