A free-spirit studying psychology at the University of Sydney.
Published March 10th 2015
An article-inspired adventure into the Royal National Park
Over the summer I was inspired by this wonderful article to go for a splash beneath each of the picturesque waterfalls listed. While our goal of accomplishing this by the end of summer was kind of a fail, we did manage a memorable visit to the beautiful Wattamolla.
With rather last-minute planning five of us rendezvoused at Sutherland station one hot and sunny Wednesday. We set off, following Sir Bertram Stevens Drive into the depths of the Royal National Park. Wattamolla sits on the border of this natural sanctuary and the Pacific Ocean, and between Garie Beach and Marley Beach.
The location includes a beautiful beach, a deep low-current lagoon, a shallow river, and of course, the waterfall. An easy five to ten minute bush-walk will take you from the parking area at Wattamolla down to the waterways. As you reach the end of the trail, and the steel bridge that runs along the cliff, you will have a clearer view of the turquoise waters and white sand that make up the beach here. Note, visiting Wattamolla during the week is much more likely to secure you a parking spot than on weekends - especially if waking up early isn't really your thing!
As we set foot on the beach we admired the unique sand banks connecting the beach directly to the lagoon - which then continues all the way up the river. It was exciting to discover that, in this one location, there were so many swimmable points. The waters of the beach seemed pretty calm, although be sure to always watch out for rips. There was a small current where the sea feeds over rocks into the canal leading up to the lagoon. Be mindful of this as it may create a bit of drag on your legs.
Two streams of water plummet from the ten-metre high rock bordering the lagoon. While the periphery of the lagoon before these is shallow, watch out for the sudden drop to depths that don't allow you to see the bottom. This does however make a picturesque contrast of colours in the water. Perhaps snorkelling may have given us a better indication of what lay beneath us. One thing for sure is that there are fish that will meander around you, many of which camouflage with the sand. They didn't bother us though. It was surreal to swim and float around in these very low wave waters.
The balmy, warm waters of Wattamolla were delightful to float around in.
So you know that ten-metre tall rock? It is far from uncommon for visitors to use that as an adrenaline-booster. If you can pluck up the courage - which I could not quite do - take the plunge from atop the falls into the lagoon below. This daring activity could be what makes this a date to definitely remember.
Throughout the day there was a constant crowd of on-lookers floating in the lagoon beneath - whether this be a cheer squad for the brave jumpers, an offer for moral support or a crowd that is genuinely curious. While the jumps looked to be accomplished pretty safely by those we saw, I would stress to do so at your own risk and to take all measures of caution.
We swam over to the small cave beneath one of the falls. Sitting beneath the fall with the fresher water pouring onto our heads felt therapeutic, like a head massage. Additionally we took a leisurely swim, or more accurately, a crawl up the river. Spending a good hour or more simply sitting in the water among the sprawling forests and serenity of nature was a real good dose of relaxation. It was meditative.
A quintessential summer's day - or simply a day in the sun at any time of year - can be spent before the Wattamolla falls. With the beach, waterfall, river and lagoon in the surrounds, it is a water baby's paradise. We were satisfied at finally uncovering a waterfall, however if you look at the article linked above, the picture presented for Wattamolla does not reflect what we have found. Perhaps there is another waterfall somewhere around here. If anyone knows where this other one may be please let me know in the comments below! If you're in the mood for a waterfall marathon whilst in the Royal National Park, don't stop here. Winfred Falls are hidden somewhere else in the sanctuary. Can't wait to find more waterfalls, hopefully before the warmer weather makes way for winter.