Have you ever heard of Paradise Pool at Linden in the Blue Mountains? Neither had I until a new book about wonderful Sydney swimming spots thumped into my mailbox.
This is an extract from a gorgeous new book Places We Swim Sydney by Caroline Clements & Dillon Seitchik-Reardon (Hardie Grant Publishing $39.99). Buy the Book from Amazon Australia here.
Linden, Blue Mountains National Park
A bushy, freshwater oasis tucked into a natural amphitheatre.
Type of swim Waterfall plunge pool
Distance from CBD 80km/1 hour, 10 min drive
Address Access Paradise Walking Track via Old Cox’s Rd, near the cnr of Tollgate Dve and Railway Pde in Linden.
Coming from Sydney into Linden, turn left onto Tollgate Dve and follow it around to Railway Pde. Turn right on Railway Pde and drive about 50m up the hill. You’ll see a small carpark and a dirt road with a locked gate. This is the trailhead and will take you along Cox’s Rd to the Paradise Walking Track.
Cost of entry Free
Kid friendly Yes
Dog friendly No
Ideal tide N/A
Open hours 24 hours
Public transport Take the Blue Mountains line from Sydney Central station to Linden. You’ll have to walk about 2km through some backstreets to reach the trailhead.
Walk along Burke Rd about 750m and turn left on Glossop Rd. The Paradise Walking Track is parallel to Glossop Rd, but the trick is getting past all of the houses. Keep walking up Glossop Rd to Caley Ln (about 300m) and turn right. You’ll see a sign to Caley’s Repulse and Cox’s Rd with a small track between house numbers 1 and 2 on Caley Ln. Follow the track up the hill. Turn right on the dirt road and follow signs to Paradise Pool from here.
We had heard that Paradise Pool was a bit of a secret spot, one that required some knowledge to locate its whereabouts, so we were determined to find this enigmatic pool.
Linden is the smallest town in the Blue Mountains, if you blink you might just miss the sudden turnoff from the Great Western Highway. Take Tollgate Road around until you get to the corner of Railway Parade, where there’s a small pullout for a few cars to park. Some signage at a gated road marks the walking route onward to Paradise Pool. From here, follow historic Cox’s Road through Dawes Park for 500 metres along the back fences of Linden residents, getting barked at by every dog. A well-marked turnoff for Paradise Pool leads to a rough bush track with a steep rocky descent down the ridge about 900 metres to Bull Creek. Then follow the creek another 200 metres to Paradise Pool, past bright waratah blooms, as scents of eucalyptus and tea tree fill your lungs.
You’ll arrive at the top of the natural amphitheatre with a small waterfall pouring over a 5-metre drop into the plunge pool. Take it all in from above, watching swimmers and paddlers float around on inflatable beds, or sitting in the grassy fringes of the pool skipping stones. On busy days people lounge on the small section of sandy beach below. This place does not have a large capacity for visitors so be extra considerate about your impact on the environment here.
To swim, scramble down the rocky side path and enter the water at various sandy points. The beach-like entry drops away to dark water with a silty bottom, getting deeper as you glide towards the falls. The water is clean and fresh, flowing into the pool from Bull Creek, and continuing on further downstream to a valley that feeds Lake Woodford, an unswimmable dam that provides local drinking water.
In this lush, verdant setting, trees grow out of the water and ferns spill from the cracks in the rock like they’re filling an overstuffed sandwich. High gorge walls surround three-quarters of the pool, keeping it in shade most of the morning, but come afternoon, light pours onto the water, warming the surface and keeping Paradise at a very swimmable temperature.
It’s a place we like to settle into. We spend a few hours scrambling around the slippery falls, and swimming back to recline among the sand and rocks at the edges of the pool. Other people come and go, but always with a quiet awareness that this is a place of peace.
In July 1814 a man named William Cox (hence Cox’s Road on which this pool is located) proposed to supervise the construction of a road across the Blue Mountains from the Nepean River at Emu Plains to the Bathurst Plains (essentially from Sydney to Bathurst). He was given 30 labourers and eight soldiers and by January 1815 the men had made incredible progress. They cleared trees, filled in holes, levelled tracks and built bridges, and in only six months the 163 kilometre long road was finished. They must not have had smokos back then.
Wentworth Picnic Area, Wentworth Falls
There are several dramatic mountain walks around the town of Wentworth Falls, but our favourite is the Pass track. It’s a 5-kilometre loop that starts at Wentworth Picnic Area with views out across the Jamison Valley, before descending to the bottom of the lush Valley of Waters rainforest to the base of Wentworth Falls. It’s possible to jump in for a dip here with the misty breeze of the 187-metre-high falls blowing your hair. Then continue on to join cascading Empress Falls before climbing back up the steep valley wall. The full walk will take around four hours and boasts some of the best views in the area.
Black Cockatoo Bakery
1 Staples Cres, Lawson
You only need to see the queues for tasty bread and croissants here to know that Black Cockatoo Bakery is excellent. Using a natural ferment with organic flour, they make delicious crunchy loaves, sourdough baguettes and flaky croissants you’d be happy to drive from Sydney for. The space is a small countertop selling their freshly baked goods, and a handful of seats to enjoy a filter coffee on weekends.
The Carrington Hotel
15–47 Katoomba St, Katoomba Reminiscent of old English pubs, visiting The Carrington Hotel feels like stepping back in time, and worth the drive to Katoomba for a schooner. With stained-glass windows in Art Nouveaustyle, soaring columns, lofty ceilings and timber finishes, this beautiful old pub is a classic spot to stop into after a swim. There are several different bars among the rooms and outdoor areas of this grand old beauty, which also has some accommodation upstairs
Linden + Paradise Pool Map
I really cannot recommend highly enough buying a copy of Places We Swim Sydney, it would make a magnificent present for any Sydney family.
You might also like to read about lovely Congwong Beach at La Perouse, in another extract from this book.
And that’s our family all sorted out for a waterfall swim the next time we find ourselves in the Blue Mountains!
NB If you are looking for somewhere to stay in the Blue Mountains with kids, check out our review of the Fairmont Resort & Spa here.
Our huge list of things to do in the Blue Mountains with kids is here.