Mumbulla Creek Falls is a natural rock water slide with a lip at the bottom to launch yourself into a deep pool. No one knows exactly how deep the pool is - you can't see or
touch the bottom. To reach the top of the slide, you need to scramble up the rocks on the right hand side of the falls. If it's your first time here, it's best to watch
someone else show you the way. Once at the top, you can either jump off the rock ledge into the pool a few metres below, or wander futher across to the top of the slide. Take
the right hand chute, edge yourself forward and hang on. Both options are totally invigorating.
Above: Launching off the rock slide at Mumbulla Creek Falls
(Order this image, prints or photo gifts)
Clearly there are several chances to severely injure yourself here and it's a long way back to Bega Hospital if you do. Therefore, don't swim there alone and assess your own
risks. If you choose not to slide or jump, the pool itself is a great swimming spot in its own right and offers a relatively safer, picturesque and thoroughly refreshing swim.
The falls are a sacred site for the Yuin people. The information boards along the boardwalk tell you some of their story.
According to Biamanga National Park Chair Paul Stewart, from an ABC radio interview in March 2015, the pool is a place of quiet reflection
for young Aboriginal men. Whilst I have never seen any young Yuin men on site during my multiple visits, if the Yuin people are using the falls,
be respectful of their presence. Further, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service advises that "The Aboriginal custodians request that
visitors, through respect, do not swim in the Mumbulla Falls area - a site that is sacred to the Yuin People."
I have personally swam at this spot many times prior to National Parks issuing this advice, as have locals and regular visitors to the
south coast for many decades. I understand from swimmer feedback that the site, as a swimming hole, is of ongoing cultural significance to
the broader community, and believe that restricting swimming at the falls at times when young Aboriginal men are not using the site for quiet
contemplation would represent an unnecessary encroachment on those cultural values. Such statements by National Parks highlight a one-sided,
"politically correct" representation of cultural significance. Where, for example, do National Parks acknowledge the ongoing cultural value
of the site to swimmers and local non-Aboriginal teenagers? On any given summer day, you can find dozens of people, including young men
(and thank goodness, women too), undertaking their own rites of passage down the rock slide or off the rocks above the pool in displays of
courage and daring. This kind of limited risk taking in a natural environment is a rare and unique experience that I believe is invaluable
for personal and social development, and for fostering a broader environmental and cultural awareness in people.
Here is a video that captures the joy of sliding and jumping into the water at the falls.
The bbq's here are in a pretty good spot, close to the car park but still in the middle of the bush. Pack a hamper and enjoy a few
snags after your swim.
Change in Route to Access Mumbulla Creek Falls:
The shortest access road to the falls from Princes Hwy (via Glen Oakes Road and Clarkes Road) is now closed. According to the Bega District News (19/11/2015) the reason
for the closure is because part of the road runs through private property. When that property recently changed hands, the new owners decided that they no longer wanted
through traffic passing through their land. What that means is that instead of the 11 km trip from the highway that used to take around 25 minutes to reach the falls,
you now have to drive from Bega, up over Dr George Mountain for 24 km, which will take you just under an hour. Apparently this alternative access route is narrow in parts
and mostly dirt road, so drive carefully.
Other Information Before You Go:
Mumbulla Creek Road, Biamanga National Park, 420 km (approx. 6 hour drive) south-west of the Sydney CBD or 240 km (approx. 3 hour drive)
south-east of Canberra.
From Bega take Tarraganda Lane on the eastern side of town, which then becomes Dr George Mountain Road. Follow this road for 11 km then turn
left into Mumbulla Creek Road and follow it to the falls for 13 km. Access to the falls from Glen Oakes Road on the Princes Hwy at Brogo is now closed.
Toilets, bbqs, tables, boardwalk, scenic lookout
Maximum water depth:
Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required:
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
No campfires, no solid fuel burners, no gathering firewood, no pets, no smoking.
Limited shade at the pool entry, but plenty of natural shade nearby and at the picnic tables
Access to the viewing platform, but there are steps to the base of the falls
Camping is not permitted at the falls. If you are staying overnight in the area, you can try
accommodation in nearby Bega
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Yuin people (traditional owners)
For swimming, Cuttagee Lake
, 33 km to the north-east.
Before you head out, make sure to read the
swimming safety information
and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions.
The marker indicates the approximate location of the waterfall.
If you would like to leave a comment about this swimming spot, please fill in the comment box below.
I am particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
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© Brad Neal 2019. All rights reserved.