Nethercote Falls is harder to access nowadays, but with its vertical rock walls in a gorge filled from the waterfall incised at the far end, it
is still worth the effort to visit. The bonus is that with fewer people able to make the trek by foot to the falls, you are likely to have
the place to yourself.
Above: Nethercote Falls
(Order this image)
At the falls you can sit at the edge of the pool at stream level, with the sound of the gushing falls channelled
towards you through the gorge. This is accompanied by a gentler gurgling sound from the stream making its way
over the pool exit behind you. The pool is around 40 metres long and up to 15 metres wide.
For the more adventurous and sure-footed, it is possible to sit high up on the side of the gorge, by clambering
up the back of the wall for a bird's eye view of this waterfall. People have injured themselves and worse along the
creek bed above the falls, which is an area best avoided.
Getting to the falls was harder than I anticipated when I visited and has since been made even harder. Previously
there was road access along the link road to either the upper or lower car park. Road access to the car parks has
since closed, and the only way to get there is by foot. On the walking track from the lower car park there is one
shallow river crossing. I managed to get across on the rocks and logs placed in the river as a makeshift bridge
and not get my feet wet, but it would have been much easier just walking through the water in sandals or thongs. Getting
to the falls would be difficult and dangerous after rainfall when the river is high.
If you are planning to have a picnic here, there was a solitary picnic table at the falls which may or may
not still be there.
Your Seasonal Guide:
|Reliable flow over the falls all year round. Avoid visiting after rainfall, because the
walking track across the creek will be difficult and possibly dangerous to cross when the river is high.
||Visit from mid-morning onwards to see the falls in full sun. The falls will be in shadow in the early morning.|
Permanent Closure of Nethercote Falls:
NSW Forestry Corporation announced (on 17/8/2015) plans to permanently close access to Nethercote Falls. Here is
a copy of the media release
from NSW Forestry Corporation.
My public statement in response to this issue
has been published
online and in print in the Merimbula News Weekly, which is the local paper circulating in the area which first reported on this issue.
Reducing risks to public safety at the falls is extremely important, however in annoncing the decision,
NSW Forestry Corporation does not appear to have considered other alternatives, such as safety barriers, improved signage and widening of the access road to the upper car park. For the record,
I supported the closure of the very steep and narrow access road to the lower car park, but opposed the closure of the falls without evidence that other alternatives to improve
safety have been duly considered and trialled. This swimming hole is nationally significant, and all effort should be made to keep it open to the public by making safety
improvements at the site. A petition opposing the closure of the falls attracted over a thousand signatures, which pressured NSW Forestry Corporation to soften its stance and retain access by foot to the falls,
but to stop vehicle access. The last I heard (see below under prohibitions), access was prohibited, but the NSW Forestry Commission was not prosecuting anyone who walked to the falls.
Other Information Before You Go:
Nethercote Falls Link Road, Nullica State Forest, 470 km (approx. 6.5 hour drive) south-west of the Sydney CBD or 260 km (approx. 3 hr 15 min drive)
south-east of Canberra.
From the Princes Hwy immediately south of Pambula, head west along Mount Darragh Rd for 5 km then south along Back Creek Rd for 5 km until you
reach Pipeclay Rd. Head east into Pipeclay Rd then veer right into the Nethercote Falls Link Rd about 400 metres later. Follow the link road for 1 km until you
reach what used to be the upper car park. Once you reach this spot, there is a very steep 300 metre descent to what used to be the lower car park. From the lower
car park there is 300 metre walk to the falls including one river crossing. From the Princes Hwy south of Eden, head up the Nethercote Rd then Back Creek Rd until
you reach Pipeclay Rd then follow the directions as above.
2-5 m, depending on flow conditions
Swimming available at the falls: Yes
When road access to the car park was still available, there were toilets, open fire bbqs, tables, and two car parks.
No shade on the water. Limited shade near the pool entry. Plenty of natural shade at the picnic tables remote from the falls.
Unknown at the current time, as I haven't visited since the closure. Access
is prohibited, but according to an article in the local paper
after the closure (Merimbula News, 28/8/15
NSW Forestry Corporation are not prosecuting people if they visit the falls.
Forestry Corporation of New South Wales
Magic Mountain in Merimbula if you want some theme park water fun
Before you head out, make sure to read the
waterfall safety information
and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions.
The marker indicates the approximate location of the start of the walk to the falls. as can sometimes occur when loading, simply click or tap on "View Larger Map" below.
View Larger Map
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I'm particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
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