What do you call a waterfall with no water? In a word, disappointing.
I took the day off from work today to spend with Heather and Brian during their school holidays. Teresa had to work, so it was just the three of us for this adventure.
We drove down south of Sydney, to Royal National Park and parked at the trail head for the Karloo Track, in Heathcote.
We’d done this track 2 years ago, but this time our plan was to go to Karloo Pools, where we stopped last time, and continue past it to the, as I’d read online, the beautiful gem of Royal National Park’s Uloola Falls, supposedly the best waterfall in the park. Remote, seldom visited, refreshing and beautiful. Just my sort of place.
We arrived at the trailhead and hit the trail at 10:30 this morning. The day was warm, not hot, and cloudy, nice hiking weather. Into the bush we plunged, where we were greeted by some very cool plants, a picture of Brian with a medium sized one of them, below.
The track to Uloola Falls is 5 Kilometers and is considered hard, due to the steep trails and the amount of down and up involved. Nothing my crew can’t handle, though.
We arrived at Karloo Pools, where we took a snack break and I convinced the kids that we should continue on to Uloola Falls and swim there, instead. Ha!
An hour later, after some serious elevation changes and taking a bit of a beating from the less travelled, partially overgrown trail, we arrived at the Uloola Falls bush campsite. It was deserted. Looking at the sign showing “You are here” and a vague “Uloola Falls” that appeared to be a bit along the Uloola Track, we headed down a very steep slope, with a lot of scrambling over and down large boulders. We were pretty hot at this point and the going was tough so we were really looking forward to cooling off in the waterfall. Well, I should have done more research about this hike. It turned out, as you’ve already guessed, there was no waterfall. We found where it was supposed to be, but there was nothing but rocks, sand and trees, and three very disappointed bush walkers (two of them pictured, below, where Uloola Falls “should” be).
As always, it wasn’t a waste, since we saw some cool and beautiful stuff on the hike to the falls.
After climbing back up from the “Falls”, we had a choice to make. We could head back up the steep trail, to the campsite, and take an easy but slightly longer trail that would bring us to the Waterfall (name of a town) train station (one train stop away from our car), or we could head back to Karloo Pools, go swimming and do the steep up, down, up, down, up hike again. Our decision was unanimous, back to Karloo Pools!
Arriving back at Karloo Pools, we dropped our packs and hit the water. A few minutes after I first got in, the only other people that were there, headed off and we had it all to ourselves! It was lovely. Peaceful, beautiful and above all, just what we, or, I at least, needed. Not freezing cold, or even cold, really, just perfect and absolutely refreshing for both the body and the spirit.
It took a bit of convincing to get Heather in the water, and it was only I talked Brian to join me that she came in. When we were there two years ago, some “helpful” person mentioned eels that live in there to Heather and she still remembered that and was concerned about being bitten. Anyway, we finally all got in and had a absolutely amazing time.
Finally it was time to say, “So long!” to Karloo Pools, so we geared up and headed back up, and up, and down and up back to the car. We stopped and ate some very average Thai food in Engadine (apparently not an epicurean hotspot) before driving home.
These guys were doing what I wish I was doing on our way home.
(Insert photos of the kids sleeping in the car, still on my phone, will add soon)
All in all, we had a great day, even if Uloola Falls was a non event. I’d like to go back in the Winter, or maybe Springtime when the waterfall actually has falling water, so I might be back that way. Karloo Pools on the other hand, we’ll definitely be back and won’t wait two years for our next visit.
Thanks for joining me for our latest adventure.
Happy trails and love to all!