I have been on the hunt for local waterfalls that are easy to reach with kids for a few years. And am happy to now have this list of 12 kid-friendly waterfalls within about an hours drive of Parramatta to share with you. Most are probably more accurately described as cascades, seeing the water doesn’t fall from a great height. But they are all waterfalls to me and the kids like them all the same!
Nine of the 12 waterfalls are naturally occurring and best visited after some rain. The man made waterfalls at Central Gardens, Nurragingy Reserve and Auburn Botanic Gardens can be enjoyed all year round. PLEASE let me know if I have missed any!!
Plus, after heavy rain you may be lucky enough to see the dam wall at Lake Parramatta turn into a waterfall (like the video above taken at about 5:30pm on 8th February 2020).
Word of CAUTION: Most of these waterfalls are in naturally occurring flood zones and water levels can rise quickly during or just after heavy rain. The area around the waterfalls is generally slippery and the water is of varying depth. Please take care. And gumboots are recommended!
Waterfalls In and Around the City of Parramatta
Here are seven waterfalls in our own backyard! Some are more beautiful than others and I have ordered them from the most to least impressive. Two are man made waterfalls found at lovely local parks, which are worth visiting even without the falls. The others have a nice kid friendly bushwalk to reach them and serve as a highlight of the walk.
1Balaka Falls, Hunts Creek | Carlingford
Address: Ferndale Ave, Carlingford | Summary: Balaka Falls is by far the most gorgeous nearby waterfall and highest falling water. City of Parramatta Council has recently upgraded access to the falls with sandstone steps and improved paths. The most direct access (down stairs) is from Ferndale Ave. You can also walk about 250m from Norfolk Place, 550m from the playground on Lesley Ave and 750m from the playground on Northam Drive. Keep in mind that the falls dry up easily and are best visited after rain. | More Info |
2Central Gardens Reserve | Merrylands
Address: Merrylands Road or Paton Street, Merrylands | Summary: There are two waterfalls next to each other at Central Gardens Reserve. They are man made and operate from 10/11am in the morning until the evening. There is a viewing platform and also seats and picnic spots to enjoy the falls from. Central Gardens also has a free native animal enclosure, street library, two playgrounds, BBQs, lots of open grassed, toilets and on-site parking. | More Info |
3Terrys Creek | Epping
Address: Terrys Creek Bushwalk, Vimeria Reserve, Epping | Summary: The falls at Terrys Creek in Epping seem to be always flowing, though obviously more after rain. This photo was taken during an extended dry spell. You can walk to the falls from either Vimeria Reserve or Epping Aquatic Centre and it is a lovely, well shaded bushwalk along the creek. | More Info |
4Nurragingy Reserve | Doonside
Address: Knox Road, Doonside | Summary: They may be artificial, but the cascade in the Chinese Gardens at Nurragingy Reserve are still gorgeous. And can be enjoyed year round. Plus, there are three playgrounds, lake, kiosk, gardens and lots more to explore at Nurragingy Reserve. | More Info |
5Callicoma Walk | Cherrybrook
Address: 40-44 Francis Greenway Drive, Cherrybrook | Summary: This little beauty comes complete with a lounge to sit and enjoy the serenity! The cascade must need a lot more rain to be as full as the gorgeous picture on Hornsby Council’s website. But it’s still a very lovely spot and walk. We parked on Francis Greenway Drive, near the roundabout with Macquarie Drive (not far from Boundary Road). There’s a sign marking the start, go down the stairs and turn right along the fire trail. Then when you get to the fork go left along the boardwalk. This takes you to the top of the waterfall and you can then continue along the way and head down to the bottoms of the falls. It’s only a few hundred metres to the falls from the road. | More Info |
6Richard Webb Reserve, Murri-Yanna Track (Bidjigal Reserve) | West Pennant Hills
Address: Richard Webb Reserve, West Pennant Hills | Summary: The Darling Mills Cascade is very easily accessed along the Murri-Yanna Track from the end of Heidi Place. The path is a wide, flat fire trail and would be doable with an all terrain pram. There is no sign post at the falls, but a clear path in off the track. You can also walk through the bush to reach the bottom of the falls. And you can also start the walk from the playground on Aiken Road. It’s about 30mins one way from their at a preschooler pace. | More Info |
7Auburn Botanic Gardens | Auburn
Address: Chiswick Road, Auburn | Summary: Tucked at the back of the beautiful Japanese garden at Auburn Botanic Gardens is a lovely small man made cascade/ waterfall. It runs under a bridge, that you can enjoy it from, and down into the pond. The Japanese garden is particularly nice to visit in spring and autumn and is pram friendly. Within Auburn Botanic Gardens there is also a native animal enclosure, playground, toilets, other gardens. There are BBQ and picnic facilities just outside the gardens. | More Info |
8Vineyard Creek Reserve | Telopea
Address: Robert Street, Telopea | Summary: Most of the time this is more of trickle than a waterfall. But the ‘falls’ in Vineyard Creek Reserve can still be heard from the walking track. You do need to clamber down a (slippery) slope to reach them, just before the bridge crossing when coming from Robert Street. And it flows a lot more after rain! | More Info |
Waterfalls Further Afield
These four waterfalls are within about an hours drive of Parramatta and worth visiting with young kids. They are great picnic spots and have lovely bushwalks to reach them or nearby.
9Somersby Falls | Gosford Area
Address: Somersby Falls Road, Somersby | Summary: These is a spectacular cascading waterfall, with two sections. You can get up close to the upper falls and it’s just a short walk from the carpark. The lower falls are down a series of steps but doable with preschoolers+. There are toilets and picnic tables at the top and it is close to Woy Woy. | More Info |
10Wentworth Falls | Blue Mountains
Address: Falls Road, Wentworth Falls | Summary: Pre-kids I spent many weekends walking around Wentworth Falls. And I look forward to taking my preschoolers soon. There is a nice lookout over the full falls and a somewhat short walk down steps to the upper part (pic) where you can sit and enjoy the falls. | More Info |
11Katoomba Cascades | Blue Mountains
Address: Cliff Drive, Katoomba | Summary: Just a short walk down stairs from Cliff Drive, and you’ll be at the bottom of the beautiful Katoomba Cascades. When we last visited, we came from Scenic World on the cable car, around at the Cliff View Lookout. There are stepping stones across the creek and spots to sit and enjoy the cascades from. Plus a nice picnic area at the top. | More Info |
12Wattamolla Falls | Royal National Park
Address: Wattamolla Road, Royal National Park | Summary: We used to regularly visit Wattamolla in the Royal National Park when we lived in Sutherland. It’s a fabulous and very popular family picnic spot, with the falls, lagoon, beach and bushwalks to enjoy. The falls are right near the car park and you cross over them to bushwalk out to the ocean. | More Info |
Map of Local Waterfalls and Cascades
Here is a Google Map showing the location of the 12 waterfalls and cascades listed in this article.