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Karloo Pools
Royal National Park, New South Wales


 
There are a couple of pools on Kangaroo Creek at Karloo Pools, but one stands out for swimming due to its size and depth. Surrounded on three sides by sandstone rock ledges, this main pool affords effortless swimming on the short 15 metre dash across, or up to a 40 metre swim along its length, depending on how full the pool is. You can wade in or dangle your feet from one of these ledges, as one canoodling couple were doing on my visit, then it's straight into deep water for some duck diving and exploring under the water. Dangle your feet in the water from a rock shelf at Karloo Pool Above: Dangle your feet in the water from a rock shelf at the main Karloo Pool (Order gifts or prints of this image)

The main pool is easy to spot. Once you reach the flat rock bed of Kangaroo Creek, the main pool is immediately to your left.
On a hot weekend expect to see quite a few people gathering around the pool's edge, watching the antics in the pool or taking in the views of the surrounding bush. If you want a quieter swim, come during the week when there's a better chance of avoiding the crowds. Because the water gets deep almost immediately, an inflatable ring could come in handy. The rock ledges also can be a bit slippery if they haven't been flushed for a while, so be careful getting in and out of the water. From the middle of Karloo Pool, looking upstream Above: From the middle of the main Karloo Pool, looking upstream (Order gifts or prints of this image)

Getting to the pool is about a 45 minute to 1 hour walk along the Karloo Track. Designated as hard by the managing authority, it's pretty easy most of the way during dry conditions, except for the steep descent as you approach Kangaroo Creek. On my first visit I made one mistake coming back just as I crossed Heathcote Brook, and ended up walking the last few hundred metres back to Heathcote along a narrow track that ran parallel to the main track. It popped out onto the road about 50 metres away from the main trail head, but was much harder going, so watch out for that on the way back. If you sense that the track is getting narrower and more overgrown immediately after crossing Heathcote Brook, I'd suggest you backtrack to the brook and take the northernmost track option.

After your swim at Karloo Pools, you can continue walking another couple of kilometres to Uloola Falls campground, but I haven't ventured that far yet.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Karloo Track, Heathcote National Park, near Heathcote, 38 km (approx. 1 hr drive or train ride to the start of the walk) south-west of Sydney.
Latitude:-34.091822 Longitude:151.029767
Getting there: By car, from the city head south along the Princes Hwy (A1/M1) to Heathcote. Head east along Wilson Pde and park on the side of the road at the trail head, just after passing the train station car park. By train, hop off at Heathcote Station and walk out onto Wilson Pde. Walk south about 100 metres where you will see the trail head. The walk from Heathcote to Karloo Pools is 2 km one way.
Facilities: None at Karloo Pools
Entrance fee: There is a nominal fee for access to Royal National Park ($12 per vehicle during my visit), but if you are coming from Heathcote, you actually park outside of the national park and walk in.
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Sandstone
Maximum water depth: Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Experienced

Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No pets, no smoking, no bicycles, no camping, no fires, no littering.
Sun shade: No shade availabe in the water. Limited shade available from vegetation overhead, out of the water.
Opening times: Open 7 am to 8.30 pm daily, but there are no gates preventing access outside of these times.
Wheelchair access: None
Accommodation Options: No camping is permitted at Karloo Pools. The closest bush campground is at Uloola Falls, a further 2.3 km walk along Karloo Track to the north. You can book these through the managing authority for a nominal fee ($12 per night last time I checked), with a maximum one night stay. If you are staying overnight in the area and don't want to camp, or want to stay longer than one night, you can try accommodation in nearby Heathcote.
Managing authority: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Nearby attractions: Goburra Pool, also accessible from Heathcote but in the Heathcote National Park on the other side of the Princes Hwy.
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information. Specific to this site, the managing authority warns that there are cliff edges along the walk, and to check fire danger warnings before heading out.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of Karloo Pool.
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.
Comments:
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