Are you one of those who constantly see numerous and gorgeous photos of natural pools in the middle of the nature but has never actually been to one? Well, I am. I had this in mind for few weeks already when I decided to finally plan this little trip with a friend: we’re going to Karloo Pools! After some researches it turns out that you can actually find plenty of hidden waterholes in and around Sydney.
Karloo Pools are located in the Royal National Park, south of Sydney, and are easily reachable by train as the walk starts right behind Heathcote station. Sandwiches, water, sunscreen in the backpack and swimsuits on, we started the delightful Karloo walking track to the pools. As soon as we began, we were surrounded by hundreds of loud cicadas. Despite it could be quite annoying after a while, it reminded me my summers in the South of France.
It’s an easy track through the forest with nice views of the surrounding bushland. It took us about an hour to reach the pools. It was finally time to enjoy a relaxing lunch and stop for a refreshing dip. Even though the water was not as clear as I was expecting, it still looked pretty good, so without a moment’s hesitation I jumped into it. The main pool is definitely big enough to have a few laps. Just be mindful of the slippery rocks by the water as I saw people falling easily – I have to admit I nearly fell too!
Going back to the track after our lunch break, we headed to Uloola Falls. Not sure how that happened but we unfortunately missed the falls – or they were dry as we had quite hot weather for weeks. The plan was to follow the trail to Engadine station. Given the heat – at 10am it was already 26 degrees – and because we were afraid of running out of water, we decided to take a slight detour at Audley picnic area. Audley is strategically located in the middle of the park and on the road to the most remote beaches of the park. That is also where you can find the Royal National Park Visitor Centre office and a restaurant, which is why quite a lot of people were already there when we arrived.
We didn’t seat for long on the grass before two policemen came to let us know that the area must be evacuated. Wait….what? That is also when we started to hear fire trucks sirens all around us and saw smoke above trees. A bushfire had started not far from Wattamolla Beach and everybody had to leave the park. Even though the fire would probably never reach the visitor center – that never happened according to a Park Official – the wind can very quickly change direction and it could be dangerous. Because we had no car, we were then on a mission to find a lift to the train station – we also wanted to avoid going at the back of the police truck as officers offered this option if we couldn’t find anybody! Fortunately enough, we found an old lady who kindly drove us out of the park. We were back on the train towards Sydney. What a day!