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Lake Eckersley Foreshore
Heathcote National Park, New South Wales


 
What I've termed Lake Eckersley Foreshore, so as to distinguish it from my swim at the downstream campground, is the point at which you first encounter Lake Eckersley on the walking track down to the Woronora River. This little cleared area with a span no more than a few metres, provides the only panoramic view of the lake. Here the lake is at its widest point, at around 50 metres across. Stepping off the thick log that is jammed into the bank, entry into the water is immediately waist deep. Looking across Lake Eckersley at its widest point Above: Looking across Lake Eckersley at its widest point, with the rope swing in the distance (Order gifts or prints of this image)

After the several kilometre walk from Heathcote or Waterfall, a dip in the water here seems inviting. However there are a few things to watch out for in the water.
Immediately to the right of this area of foreshore, there was a large semi-submerged snag that you would do well to steer clear of. Secondly, on either side of the entry point, there was visible algal and weed growth. An eel was breaking the surface nearby, and whilst they are fairly placid if you don't provoke them, their presence can be offputting for some. To enjoy this swim, you need to push off from the shore fairly quickly into deeper water away from these hazards and distractions. The current was not particularly strong when I visited, and you can cover quite long distances in the water upstream and downstream, provided you stay away from the lake edge. On the far side of the lake, a couple of rope swings beckon for those who can make the journey across. Looking downstream along Lake Eckersley Above: Looking downstream along Lake Eckersley (Order gifts or prints of this image)

If you are looking for a swim in Lake Eckersley in cleaner water with easier entry, I strongly recommend you head a few hundred metres downstream to one of my favourite swims at Lake Eckersley Campground. This small cleared area that I have termed the foreshore is mistaken by both Google Maps and the managing authority's website as the campground, but it is actually not. The following video covers both areas, including how to get from the foreshore to the campground.

Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Accessible from the Pipeline Trail, Heathcote National Park, near Heathcote, 38 km (approx. 1 hr drive to the start of the walk) south-west of Sydney.
Latitude:-34.096098 Longitude:150.976225
Getting there: There are several access points for the Pipeline Trail. I started from the Goburra Track, at the end of Oliver Street in Heathcote, where you can park your car on the side of the road. This track takes you over the hill and down natural sandstone steps to the Pipeline Trail. Follow the Pipeline Trail for approximately 4 km. About 2 km past Mirang Pool there is a sign clearly indicating the track to Lake Eckersley. This swim is in the small cleared area when you first encounter the lake. Walking is very easy along the Pipeline Trail, but moderately steep down Goburra Track and again down to Lake Eckersley. You can also catch the train to Heathcote, and then it's a 1 km walk across the Princes Hwy and down Oliver Street to the start of the walking track.
Facilities: None
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Sand and gravel with some leaf litter
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Experienced

Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No pets other than certified assistance animals, no smoking, no campfires, no solid fuel burners, no gathering firewood, no generators, no amplified music.
Sun shade: Shade available in the water near the lake edge, but not in the middle of the lake. Shade available out of the water.
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: None
Accommodation Options: Campsites are available at the Lake Eckersley Campground, limited to one night stays only, for a maximum of 6 people at any one time. You can book these through the managing authority for a nominal fee ($12 per night last time I checked). If you are staying overnight in the area and don't want to camp, or want to stay longer than a single night, you can try accommodation in nearby Heathcote.
Managing authority: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Nearby attractions: Lake Eckersley Campground, 300 metres upstream, and the Pipeline/Bullawarring Trail Junction, 500 metres back towards Heathcote along the Pipeline Trail.
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the foreshore area describing this swim. Note that as of December 2017, Google Maps currently incorrectly indicates this spot as the campground. If anyone spots that Google Maps has updated the position of the campground to the correct location, please let me know via the comment box below. Equally, don't be fooled by the photos on the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website for Lake Eckersley Campground, which actually illustrate the lakeside foreshore, not the campground!
Change of Conditions:
I am not currently aware of any change of conditions reported at this site by the managing authority, or by swimmers on this website. If you are visiting this swimming spot and have any further updates on any change of conditions, let me know via the comment form below.
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