Bushwalking / Kid friendly / SUBW

Paradise found

Party: Tim and Michelle Vollmer, Leah Charlson, Naser Ghobadzadeh, Colombina Schaeffer, Jana Fromm, Naomi Rellum, Yumi Hong, Terence Nhan, Murray Booth, Adrian Dries (and friends)

A steady stream tumbling over a waterfall into a large, deep pool which is skirted by a beautiful sandy beach and towered over by cliffs on one side.

From the first glimpse you get as the track breaks free of the bush onto a rocky outcrop above the water hole, it’s no surprise that the area is known as Paradise Pool, or more simply Paradise, to the locals.

Swimming across the water hole at Paradise

With a forecast of beautiful clear blue skies, without the full heat of summer, it seemed a perfect day to spend a few hours enjoying the sunshine in our own little private escape.

We all arrived in Linden just before 10am — which was a tad miraculous given CityRail was providing the transport for half the group — cramming into the three cars to get down to the starting point of the walk at Caley’s Repulse.

I’d been introduced to this swimming hole about five years ago by some local friends, and on that occasion we’d been abused after using their traditional entry route through private property. I’d decided to have a look at the map and spotted an easy access route that would hopefully save us any of that trouble this time!

We were quickly up on the ridge top where we briefly followed a fire trail before a relatively new National Park’s sign appeared (it certainly wasn’t there when I last went through), indicating the start of the track without actually saying what was down there.

I’d advertised this trip as possibly the easiest I’d had ever run, and I was true to my word. The track was quite clear, there were only a couple small scrambly sections as we descended, and within about 25 minutes we were at our destination.

In fact we’d done it so quickly most people hadn’t even worked up a sweat, and most of the pool was still shaded.

After some relaxing on the beach and some snacks, people slowly slipped into their swimmers, first wading into the chilly water before we started climbing up above the waterfall to some of the spectacular water jumps that are possible into the pool.

Most of the group did at least one, if not several, first leaping off the waterfall itself before moving up to a rock ledge about a metre higher that actually offers the easiest and safest jump, even if it can seem terrifyingly high from the top.

We all enjoyed lunch on the beach, which was basking in sunshine by now (I have the sun burn to prove it!) before a few more swims, jumps and a buddha impersonation on the rock shelf under the waterfall.

We even found a few interesting volcanic rocks, which were examined by our resident geologist Terence.

I had to get back to Sydney for work later in the afternoon, so not long after 1.30pm we packed up and set off back up the track.

Leaping off the high ledge into the deep pool

After a brief navigational blunder (I’m lucky Michelle had her eyes open or we’d have ended up in Woodford) we were climbing back up the track to the cars.

Back at the cars a local started chatting to us, and was telling us about some volcanic rock in the headwaters of the creek, which explained where our little specimens must have come from. It was good to know, as the closest volcanic activity I knew of was about 8kms away on the other side of the range.

We drove back to the station, where half the group departed for the train, while the rest of us cruised back onto the highway and headed for home.

It was a nice way to start a work day, and a pleasure to meet so many new faces from the club. Best of all, it was a reminder of just how magnificent this little Paradise on earth is. I’ll have to remember to visit more often!

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40 thoughts on “Paradise found

  1. Hi, I was unwell and unable to come on this walk – will you be doing this walk again at some point or other easy, short walks? Many thanks

    • There will definitely be some other short, easy walks coming up. Because I am now working nights I’m trying to do some trips on weekdays that finish by about 2pm. Over the next month or so there will also be some similar short, easy introductory canyoning trips.

  2. Hi Tim,
    Thanks for putting that all together. It was nice to re-watch the waterfall jumps! Looking forward to the next adventure, Naomi. 🙂

  3. Hi Tim, I was the ‘local’ who chatted to you as you came back to your cars. Glad you had such a great day out at Paradise.

    Some of the basalt formations I described are pictured here: http://is.gd/0zuoyw

    Please visit us any time you like! However, be mindful that closed shoes (Blundies are good) and sturdy, long pants are advisable for the walk down to Paradise- I have spotted brown snakes in my back yard and in the adjoining valley out by the fire trail. The adult snakes are usually smart enough to avoid you but juveniles may be surprised and try to bite you. Not a good thing.

    Have fun!

    Cheers,

    Brian

    • Brian, thanks so much for the info. Glad you tracked us down!
      I’ll have to come out there and have a look at those rocks, bringing one of my geologist mates with me. From the photos the rock looks very interesting, but it doesn’t strike me as basalt (from what I’ve seen of the basalt caps on Mt Banks / Mt Hay / Mt Tomah etc). The lava flows that formed that particular rock, about 25 million years ago, look very different, and are mostly eroded from lower down in the mountains. I am only aware of diatremes / volcanic vents down your way. Those swirly rock formations look a lot like iron stone pillowing (there is a nice example of this I recently saw on Hat Hill at Blackheath). Either way, it is very unique looking and I’d be really keen to hear what a geologist has to say about its origins.
      As for the shoes, I always walk in Volleys, in places far more remote and snake-ridden than Linden! The brown snakes don’t worry me much these days. It was the tiger snake that nearly got me in a canyon that made me a little more nervous!
      By the way, you’re a lucky bastard living in Linden. My wife and I have been talking about moving up that way for years. One of these days we’ll make it. I’d argue that ‘paradise’ is a term that could be used to describe most of the mountains, not just this water hole!

      • Brian,
        I just got a response from a geologist friend who I’d forwarded your photos to. He agrees that the rock does not appear to be volcanic. His comment was that “the rocks in the photos don’t fit the texture of basaltic rocks or folded volcanics.”
        He had the following to say about the likely makeup and creation of that interesting rock formation:
        “From what I can see in the photos the rocks are all sandstone. It’s a nice outcrop of weathered sandstone. The structures and formations that can be seen are the product of weathering since it was laid down 250 million years ago. I was actually excited to hear of folded volcanics in the Blue Mountains and that an outcrop was easy to get to, but its all a pile of nicely weathered sandstone. I suspect the formations are due to ironstone or a high concentration of iron in the matrix of the sandstone.”

  4. Hi Tim, thanks for the replies.

    If this stuff isn’t basalt, it’s an odd sort of sandstone. It’s much harder than the typical tan-coloured sandstone you find in the Blue Mountains plateau. This case study identifies a ‘basalt’ cap on Mt Hay (~7km NW from here); this layering appears remarkably similar to the geological construction of the rock formations in my ‘back yard.’

    There’s a spot about 75m beyond my back gate, where a ~150mm thick layer of gray, finely grained, very hard rock (which I previously identified as basalt as a result of the aforementioned Villanova case study), has eroded and has exposed the underlying sandstone. This is forming a new cave. If this capping layer is not basalt, but rather iron concentration in the sandstone, I’m wondering why it’s grey and not reddish.

    All that aside, I need to offer a bit of advice on parking to reach the fire trail that leads to Paradise. Caley Lane does not have improved drainage, so the grassy area on the downhill side (across the street from the houses) of Caley Lane, where you folks and others have been parking of late, can become very soft & muddy when we have had a lot of rain (and it’s been nearly incessant recently). I had to hitch up a chain to my ute to pull out a visitor’s car which had become stuck out of the grassy area the other day. Thank heavens the driver didn’t just gun it and hope for traction, because that car would have gone sideways over the cliff & likely have landed upside down on Glossop Road.

    There is another public access point to the fire trail which you can find about 30m west of the intersection of Tollgate Drive and Railway Parade. There is a large sandy clearing right at the mouth of the fire trail where there is room to park at least 4-5 cars. This spot is not prone to becoming muddy. It is public land, along a power line easement corridor, so no one will give you any grief for parking there. You can walk straight on to the fire trail without having to contend with the normally overgrown Caley’s Repulse.

    Also, since there’s been an increase in the numbers of bushwalkers on the fire trail, I’ve set up a WiFi access point in the back of my house (SSID DawesParkFreeWiFi) which will cover about 50m of the trail behind my house, for the use of anyone who needs it. 3G coverage up here is really poor, so please feel free to use it. You should find signal right around here. There’s no password required, but please be kind to my 200Gb/month data allowance. A couple of Gb per day for visitors should be fine.

    Also, should you be a twitterer, you can find me @weezmgk.

    Cheers,

    Brian

    • well brian i dont know if you still live here but if you do it would be really nice that you advise your bushwalking buddies to not leave rubbish on railway parade as its not a tipping ground the other thing is NRW and the council are going to gate this access to safe the remaining coxs road gutter and power poles have been marked out of which these bushwalking people keep removing to park their cars and will cause grief as the power company has to keep sending the surveyor to put them back it is not a parking ground

      • Yes, I still live on Caley Lane.

        I have no control over the behaviour of people who visit. I can only hope they pack out what they pack in. My WiFi hotspot has been discontinued.

        Traffic to the Paradise site has become destructive and problematic. A few bogans have spoiled it for everyone.

        Paradise pool is part of the Woodford Special Area and swimming is prohibited. Fines are stiff. Rangers may begin enforcing the Special Area limits due to the rubbish & graffiti.

  5. Hey how are we happy bush walkers?Could anyone help me find paradise pool.Iv’e lived in the mountains for ten years have always bushed walked and have looked and looked for a water hole like this one and never been lucky enough to one so fantastic.Brain or any other fello bush walker’s please email me or reply on this web site.Thanks

    • Taji / Gemma,
      I suppose I can spill the beans on this one.
      The grid reference on the new series Katoomba map is 673667. Walk in from Caleys Repulse (marked on the map). There is a NPWS sign where the track turns off. From Google Maps you can see most of the track as it runs down the spur into the creek. You can also see the beach and pool of Paradise if you look closely: http://g.co/maps/68fas. It is also possible to walk in from Woodford along the fire trails, although it is longer and less scenic.
      My one request for anyone who uses these directions is to please take care of this special place. Make sure you take your rubbish out (and anyone else’s you find) so it can remain a little piece of paradise!

  6. Thanks Tim cant wait to check it out.Also feel the same bout looking after our wildlife so dont worry i’ll leave Paradise Pool how i found it.Thanks again!!

  7. I live in the mid Blue Mts and always on the lookout for more nude places close to home & this looks excellent. Always suspected there was something like this behind Bulls Camp. Will go in from Woodford on the MTB next week to suss it out. Thanks!

      • Tim, yes I got there, and what a beautiful place it is – I rode the MTB down the fire trail from the northern side of Woodford near the “Weroona”property, turned right at the 2nd set of power lines and followed all the way down to where there’s the remnants of a rusty old gate. It’s very easy and fairly level to this point, but beyond here the track is suitable only for walking. It seems there’s two options from this point – keep following down to the creek and head north towards the dam (which is what I did), or take what appears to be a short cut via the gate.
        Although I rode most of the way, it’s quite practical (by my standards) to walk the distance. The place does get well used by the look of it, and gets winter sun for a good proportion of the day. Judging by the graffiti on a rockface (unbelievable this far into the bush), and the shorter walk, I gather most would go in via Linden.

      • Sounds good. I may have to make a loop walk of it next time to come in from this side. I’m sure the track gets a fair bit of use from Woodford locals, especially in summer.
        The graffiti is unfortunate. We also carried out a few empty booze bottles last time we were there. (I’d be very surprised if the two weren’t linked). That bogan element is one of the reasons I rarely provide precise details on places I do trips — there is always enough info for a genuine bushwalker to find it, but rarely enough for someone who is up to no good to stumble upon it!
        In the case of Paradise, it is pretty well looked after by the locals, so rubbish is generally taken out, and I’m sure if anyone was caught in the act defacing the area they’d be taken to task.

  8. Hi there. Wow sounds like a beautiful place! I would so love to go there. We have a little baby, so we need a track that is relatively easy and We llove water holes. Do u have directions of how to find the track and get to paradise pools? It will be our first bush adventure with our little one and we r going to the blue mountains this Friday 🙂 ps my email address is info@yabadoo.com.au. My name is Ravi.

    • Ravi, if you look at the comments above I have provided some details on how to find this spot. While I have walked there carrying a child, be aware that it is not a marked or maintained track. It requires some minor scrambling down rocks. It is also easy to get lost if you are not use to the Blue Mountains. I would suggest you take a topographic map with you.

  9. used to be a local spot, such a shame, 😦 grubby kids graffiti on the walls and beer bottles been left around i have actually not seen it this disturbed in the past 20 years.

    • That’s such a shame to hear. I haven’t been there this summer, but last summer I did notice a small amount of graffiti in the cave above the waterfall and a few empty bottles which we packed out. I’d hoped that behaviour was a one off, but obviously not!

      • I, and many other Linden residents, are disturbed by the increase in graffiti and rubbish. This is a recent development. Now, a number of Linden residents go down with bags to bring back the rubbish. Paradise is being trashed! I understand that it is good to share lovely places but once on the web, these places are then open to people who don’t take care. Paradise pool looks ‘unused’ as stated earlier, as the locals have taken care of it – and we continue to do so – which is why it looks OK (Bill). I know not all people who have discovered the pool via the web have been doing this – and it is great to know others take out the rubbish. There is some responsibility when opening up this knowledge via the web. I’m interested in your thoughts about this Tim….and other people’s thoughts too.

      • Judy, we totally share your concern about the rubbish and graffiti. It’s no surprise it’s getting more popular though. Not only is there that NPWS sign at the start of the track — not there the first few times I went there — but even the local real estate agents have started including references to the spot in the ads for houses in Linden! From what I’ve seen, it’s usually groups of young teenagers that cause most of the problems. This is also the reason I don’t provide track notes or details of exactly where it is. If you’re a bushwalker, it’s easy to find, but if you’re looking for somewhere private to get up to mischief, you’ll have trouble finding it from the post here. Unfortunately, like many other popular spots in the mountains, the best we can do is make sure we all take out any rubbish we see while down there, and also chat to other users we see to educate them about protecting the area. Of course, if you see someone with a spray can down there, I totally endorse tossing them off the waterfall! 😉

      • Thanks Tim. I know you come from the ‘responsible’ side of the fence and I understand that you don’t put details. Thanks for that. I agree – bushwalkers can find the trail. Others though are marking trees and scratching in rocks to make the path more obvious. This is a small microcosm of what is happening in our larger world with far more disastrous environmental issues than rubbish and graffiti that we humans are part of. We are working on the local issues – that now include illegal parking and damage to and trespassing on property – that is part of having 50-60 visitors some days. Yes the word is getting round in places other than your site. I appreciate your reply and I can tell you we have thought of all kinds of responses to anyone we find in the act of spray painting!

  10. Went there today- small amount of glass in an old fire and some graffiti on the rocks-otherwise ok- water nice. Six teenage boys having fun jumping from the top. Our family of seven youngest 8 weeks , oldest 73 enjoyed the walk and swim

  11. I’ve seen what happens to places like this before. It’s the usual story…there’s a small secluded spot that’s visited by locals and a few clothing optional swimmers. Everyone keeps it tidy, sometimes to the point of providing rubbish bags; some even do weeding and look after some of the native plants.
    Then one of two things happens; 1)the bogans move in, or 2)some authority ‘discovers’ the ‘hidden gem’ and thinks that making it ‘accessible’ would be ‘a benefit the community’. So, in go all the new paths, signs, and picnic tables.
    The regulars never return and the place becomes a boganised graffiti area strewn with garbage. Paradise isn’t yet there, but at times looks like it’s headed in the general direction.
    As a Woodford entrant to Paradise I wasn’t aware of things at the Linden side; 50-60 a day must be pretty horrific. I guess I’ve been lucky to have been there in quieter times. Back when I actually lived in Linden, I couldn’t imagine where so many cars could be parked.

  12. I visited Paradise last week . Beautiful spot and had a lovely swim but I was disappointed to see that some Cretan(s) had lit a fire right on the beach and had cut down a live Water-gum (Kanuka Box). There was also graffiti on the cliff walls. On my way back I picked up some rubbish beside the track (foil, Coke can, plastic bottle top). Chatted to a couple of locals at the top not far from the NPWS sign who assured me the rubbish is a common problem now. Great spot though.

  13. If you approach the dam from Woodford, you see this sign:

    ‘Paradise pool’ is part of the Woodford Special Area and heavy fines (up to $44,000 ) apply if you’re caught, particularly in the water. See http://www.sca.nsw.gov.au/science-and-education/education/learn/special-areas

    I haven’t see Rangers enforcing the Special Area limits recently but that doesn’t mean they won’t.

    Traffic to the area has increased exponentially since this blog item & YouTube video were posted. I live on Caley Lane and usually see about 50 people on a warm weekend day heading for the pool.

    Please don’t park in Caley Lane residents’ front yards if you visit. We’re annoyed enough with finding cars in our yard that we’re considering having cars towed away. Please don’t make this necessary.

    Thanks

    Brian, 4 Caley Lane

    • Brian, have they started putting up signs anywhere around Caley/the fire trail behind you?

      My wife & I went there for a swim and picnic on the 18th of November and saw no signage… also no rubbish, but we noticed the graffiti on the rocks GRRR

      If NP/Syd Water do put up signs maybe we could appeal and mount a protest because paradise is technically not in the red exclusion zone as woody lake is.

      If we could prove we would keep it clean and appoint caretakers and put in bins… yeah I know I’m dreaming 😦

      Michael

      PS: I know you from the VK LOGGER forums, in a discussion about SOTA peaks you posted a picture of the view out your back yard and I recognised it 😉
      My call sign is VK2EAR

      • Hi Mike,

        No, there are no signs on any of the several approaches to Paradise from Linden as there are on the approaches from Woodford.

        It’s possible that Paradise might be outside the ‘red zone’ but the map on the sign is a bit short on detail. It’d be a matter of a few tens of metres if it’s not actually within the red zone. NPWS rangers are not known for their reasonability and are likely to cite swimmers first & prove their case later, at no small expense or inconvenience to the visitor/s.

        Case in point, a couple of years back, due to illegal dumping, NPWS arbitrarily decided to gate the fire trail which runs behind my house & to the top of the trail leading to Paradise near the Railway Parade junction with a scant 5 days notice to Caley Lane & Glossop Rd residents. You’ll see bollards installed on the trail, 25m from the Railway Pde junction, with holes bored in them for a slipper gate. Caley/Glossop residents went ballistic. We have no particular legal right to the use of the trail but due to the topography, residents have no other way to access the backs of their lots for utility purposes like firewood & heavy materials deliveries without using the trail. In exchange for the courtesy of not gatign the trail, we do monitor it and remove rubbish, fallen branches etc. The trail also is the first line of defence against our nightmare scenario of fire in the back valley driven by westerly winds (very nearly happened on 23 Oct 2013). The trail runs through two jurisdictional areas, some NPWS and some Blue Mountains City Council. When confronted, NPWS claimed that residents were dumping the rubbish, were storing boats and caravans along the trail and were damaging the remnants of Cox’s Rd which exists alongside the trail. None of NPWS’s claims were true. Residents mounted a letter writing campaign to BMCC, NSW MPs & NPWS management. NPWS didn’t relent but agreed to delay gating the trail pending an ‘intergovernmental review’ which, to the best of my knowledge, has never happened.

        The reason the gating kerfuffle occurred at all is because I reported 3 incidents of illegal rubbish dumping in 2010 & 2011. It was such a critical issue that it took NPWS 18 months to address the cleanup(!) but it was sufficient to cause some low-level jerk to unilaterally decide to gate the trail. The response of the residents definitely wasn’t anticipated.

        The last thing we need is complaints to start rolling in about rubbish & graffiti along the fire trail (yes, I pick up candy wrappers & chip packets pretty much every Monday) at Paradise or or about dogs being brought into the National Park (which happens often). There’s recently been a ban on smoking in National Parks implemented as well, and it’s common to see people carrying eskies & smoking while walking the trail toward Paradise.

        Given the large uptick in visits since the appearance of this blog post, I fear it’s only a matter of time before rangers begin patrolling the Dam.

        *sigh*

        73 de Brian VK2AAF

    • Bugger, I just took a closer look with Google maps and the red zone comes closer than I thought to Paradise 😦
      It comes right up the swamp below and around paradise by the looks of it…

      • I think you’re right. Further to that, since Paradise’s pool is part of the catchment (even if not at this moment specified within the ‘red zone’), it’d be reasonable for NPWS/SWC to claim Paradise is part of the Woodford Special Area.

  14. I’ve always gone in from Woodford , and that sign has always been there for a long time. It’s at the gate just past the Weroona property.
    If you take the map to scale, PP is outside the boundary. I would estimate it to be roughly near the bend in Bulls Creek below the red boundary. So, no I’ve never worried about it.
    What I find strange is that they go on about it being a water catchment area, yet the filtration plant up the top of Linden ridge was switched off some years ago and the water from Lake Woodford is no longer being used.
    My enthusiasm for PP has dropped off somewhat with all the out of towners now visiting and can’t see myself visiting on weekends anymore.

    • Yep, the filtration plant was shut off eons ago. Regardless, SWC still have the dam classified as a ‘future water supply’ and Paradise pool is directly connected to the dam. If NPWS/SWC want to enforce the swimming/fishing/boating ban at Paradise, I’d bet they’d win a court case on the matter.

  15. I’m a BM local and visited today for the first time today – it’s a lovely enchanting spot. I’ve only just stumbled upon this blog after a friend pointed me to it. We did see and collect some rubbish, and as we left we passed a large party of 10-15 people with pool noodles etc en route to PP. I think as long as people treat the area respectfully and don’t damage plants and leave behind rubbish it should remain a great place to visit. And for those that do leave rubbish, well…do what we do, take your own home ‘and a bit more’. And always be respectful to those that live nearby by keeping the noise down as you pass near property boundaries, and find somewhere to park that isn’t in their front yard/driveway/blocking their street.

  16. Hi,
    A few of us tried to find this today with no luck!
    We found Caley’s Repulse and walked up, following a few pink markers on the trees, however, could not find the track! 😦
    We turned left at the “BLUE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK” sign but ended up going in circles…any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!

    • The pink ribbon tape markers were placed by Council to demarcate the edges of a firebreak to be cleared behind the Caley Lane & Glossop Rd houses. Nothing to do with directions to Paradise. Thank you kindly for not parking in my front yard. 🙂

  17. Went to paradise, it was really hard going down, (a goat track) and harder walking up. Me and my kids swam and got gastro for 2 weeks for it. The water is really dirty from run off. Its paradise pond not pool!

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