Uloola Falls is a majestic fairly large waterfall in the Royal National Park. It’s conveniently located 5-6 kms from either Heathcote or Waterfall train station making it one of the best spots to visit by public transport and also makes it one of the few spots in the Royal National Park that you don’t have to pay to see.
You can park at either starting point and walk to the falls and back or you can walk through from Heathcote to Waterfall (or the other way around) and catch the train home or back to your starting point.
There is the popular Karloo Pools swimming spot on the way to Uloola Falls and some secret waterfalls and swimming holes right nearby (if you know where to look).
Uloola Falls Key Information
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 without toilet paper Located at Uloola Campsite (150m from Waterfall)
- No drinking water nearby so bring your own
- Muddy path in some section (quite a lot of mud after rainfall)
- Some rock scrambling required
- Decent amount of elevation
Where is Uloola Falls
Uloola Falls in located inside the Royal National Park between Heathcote and Waterfall.
It’s accessible via the Karloo Pools Track from Heathcote Train Station or the Uloola Track from Waterfall Station.
You can get to Heathcote or Waterfall via the T4 Eastern Suburbs line as well as the SCO South Coast train lines. There are direct trains from Bondi Junction, Town Hall and Central Station.
You can do the walk from either starting point and then simply walk back, or you can walk all the way through in a single direction.
Uloola Falls is extremely easy to access via car as there is abundant parking available both at Heathcote and Waterfall Train Stations.
I have visited these spots on hot summer days and I have never had a problem getting parked.
Even if the car parks were completely full there is an abundance of street parking in the local streets so you shouldn’t have to walk far.
For Heathcote parking you want to park on the east side of the train station – off Wilson Parade.
To get here turn left just after the McDonalds on the Princes Highway (heading south) and follow the road until you reach the end.
Park when you see the train station carpark on your right and the Rural Fire Station on your left.
The road continues on to a football field so if you’ve reached that then you’ve gone too far
To park at Waterfall train station take the exit ramp at Waterfall and park in the carpark. There are quite a lot of spots and I’ve never seen it full.
However, if it was to be full then simply drive over the road bridge and park on the local streets.
Things To Pack For Uloola Falls
The only facilities in this area are a drop toilet at Uloola Campsite and there are no other toilets or drinking water facilities.
It’s important to pack enough food and water for the entire trip. There is a small IGA in Heathcote if you need to stock up on supplies and Heathcote train station does have a toilet you can visit before starting out on your journey.
- Enough drinking water for the entire day
- Hiking Boots
- Insect Repellent
Getting To Uloola Falls via Karloo Pools (Heathcote)
If you’re going to walk there and back (not through) then I highly recommend you take the track from Heathcote via Karloo Pools.
It’s a much more interesting walk overall and Karloo Pools is the perfect halfway point to stop and have a picnic, some food and water and even have a swim.
I’ve written a full guide on the walk to Karloo Pools for detailed information about this part of the track.
- Start at Heathcote Station and follow the Karloo Track for 2.5 kms to Karloo Pools
- On the right side of Karloo Pool (the sunny side) follow the sign to Uloola Falls 2.3 kms
- Enjoy sitting on top of Uloola Falls or cross the river (heading south) and follow the path to the left and walk down to the base of the waterfall
- To find the hidden waterfalls near Uloola Falls check out this guide
Heathcote to Karloo Pools
Arguably one of if not THE best track in the national park – the walk from Heathcote station to Karloo pools is diverse and ever changing and it always feels interesting.
From the carpark at Heathcote Station simply follow the Karloo Track signs.
This walk has a variety of sections. From being under a canopy of trees to crossing a small river to some more exposed rocky sections.
The walk is moderately difficult with the elevation at the end being the most difficult part for most people.
There are also a couple of sloped rocks you need cross over which can be a bit slippery and you need to take care – especially when wet.
I feel like these sloped rocks are the most dangerous section, especially with kids, so take your time here and go slow if you need to.
Karloo Pools to Uloola Falls
Once at Karloo pools it’s fairly obvious how to get to Uloola Falls.
On the south side of Karloo pools (the sunny side where everyone hangs out) there is a sign to Uloola falls.
The sign says “Karloo Track” but has an arrow pointing to Uloola falls.
Climb between the two large rocks to find the start of the trail.
This Section Is More Difficult Than The One To Karloo Pools
I will say that the first half of the walk from Karloo Pools to Uloola Falls is steeper and more difficult than the walk from Heathcote to Karloo pools.
There are quite a few steep sections and rock scrambling to be done and this can be slow going if you aren’t fit and agile.
We saw a few groups with people in their 60’s-70’s doing this walk, and while they weren’t as fast as us in our 30’s they were making careful progress and seemed to be doing just fine.
By the end of the day my legs were certainly sore.
It’s Not All Steep And It’s A Beautiful Walk
After the first half of the track the path begins to level out and becomes a mostly casual walk on a nice track.
There is one large open rock section on the way that gives you an amazing view of the city on a clear day, but I forgot to take a photo of it.
The path does get quite muddy at certain sections so hiking boots are ideal but I managed to navigate it in my sneakers without getting too dirty.
Getting To Uloola Falls via Uloola Track (Waterfall)
If you’re doing a there and return hike then I’d recommend starting at Heathcote station, not Waterfall station. However, if you’re planning a through hike then Waterfall can be a great place to start – saving the best park of the walk (Karloo pools) for the end.
From Waterfall station to Uloola Falls is about 6km. With approximately half of that being on fire trails with dense vegetation on either side and not a lot to see.
- Start at Waterfall Station and following the Uloola Track to Uloola Falls
- Enjoy sitting on top of Uloola Falls or the right (before the falls on the south side) and walk down to the base of the waterfall
- To find the hidden waterfalls near Uloola Falls check out this guide
Waterfall Station to Uloola Falls
After parking at the station car park you’ll easily be able to find the sign to the Uloola Track.
The track is pretty wide and after crossing a field it turns into a fire trail.
To be completely honest this track isn’t too exciting and the first half of the track is pretty boring as trails go, but it’s fairly easy to walk which is nice.
Around about the halfway point it starts to become more bushy with lovely trees all around you.
As the path begins to descend you can get a view of the city if the weather is right.
Eventually you’ll come to the toilets and then you know you’re only 150 metres from the waterfall.
Walk down from the toilets and you’ll reach the waterfall.
You can sit on top of the waterfall which is a really nice spot or before crossing the river you can follow the path to the right and there you can get a better view of the falls plus there is a path down to the base of the falls (it does require some rock scrambling though).
Getting To The Base of Uloola Falls
To get to the base of Uloola Falls cross over the river (heading south) and follow the path to the left after the falls.
Off this trail to the left there is a rocky path down to the falls. It’s fairly obvious but you need to look out for it or you’ll miss it.
Getting to the base of the falls isn’t “easy” but it’s not crazy difficult if you are fit and agile.
It’s a steepish climb down with some rock scrambling but never did I feel scared I was going to fall off the side. It’s not that steep.
My partner did miss her footing however and scraped her legs on a rock on the way down so if you do go down be careful.
2 Secret Swimming Holes Near Uloola Falls
Locals and regular visitors to Uloola Campsite might know about the 2 secret waterfalls/swimming holes only a couple of hundred metres from the main Uloola falls, but most people don’t know about them.
This makes them a great private spot to stop and have your lunch in relative peace or go for a swim.
These are tucked away up the river. To find them check out my full guide on how to find the secret waterfalls near Uloola Falls.
Uloola Campsite Toilet Facilities
It’s pretty rare to have the luxury of a toilet on one of these bushwalks. But take the term “luxury” pretty loosely.
There is a toilet block around 150 metres from Uloola Falls and Campsite but the walk to the toilets is quite steep and I would hate to have to do this during the middle of the night.
There is a toilet block with 2 separate drop toilets and they were in fairly decent when I was there and surprisingly they didn’t smell!
That might be different in summer though.
Make sure to bring your own toilet paper as I didn’t see any in the toilets.