Nethercote Falls has a large, deep pool nestled in a rock gorge with a sizeable waterfall at one end. You can sit on the rocks 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. Alternatively 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.
Above: Nethercote Falls
(Order this image)
After viewing the waterfalls and swimming in the pool, one of the most popular activities is jumping off the rock wall into the water below.
Most people jump off a ledge about 3-4 metres up. There are warning signs advising people not to dive or jump into the water, and I know of one case
reported in 2013 when a teenage girl fell unconscious into the water after slipping on the rock ledge, nearly drowning and only regaining consciousness
again in hospital.
If you are thinking of jumping, assess the risks on the day (including submerged rocks), watch others closely and be very careful
on the way up, particularly if you have wet feet. Having said that, when I visited, someone was jumping every few minutes.
Getting to the falls was harder than I anticipated. The link road in is quite narrow, so on a busy day, be prepared to face other cars head on. From the upper car
park, the walk down to the lower car park is very steep, and it is even steeper on the way back up! Keep your load to a minimum - I was carrying a 12 kg child and it left
me gasping for breath most of the way up. 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.
If you are planning to have a picnic here, there is a solitary picnic table at the falls that gets occupied early in the day. There are several tables and open
fire barbecues at the upper car park, but that is well away from the falls and the river.
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 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 support the closure of the very steep and narrow access road to the lower car park, but oppose the closure of the falls without evidence that other alternatives to improve
safety have been duly considered and trialled.
Here is a petition opposing the closure of the falls
over a thousand signatures. You are also welcome to leave a comment at the bottom of this page for others to read - I'd love to hear more
about your personal connection with the falls and why it is such an important place to keep open. If you want to tell the NSW Forestry Corporation what it should do instead,
please send those comments directly to the NSW Forestry Corporation, the Bega Valley Shire Council or local media.
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 the upper car park. The link road is dirt and mostly only enough width for one car. 2WD cars ok in fair weather. Once you reach the car park, if you have a 4WD
with a small turning circle, you can attempt the very steep descent to the lower car park, otherwise it is a 300 metre walk down to 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:
Toilets, open fire bbqs, tables, car park
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.
There are no designated camping areas in the Nullica State Forest. If you want to stay in the area near these falls, you can try the following options.
All distances below are by road, not as the crow flies.
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. If the map is not zoomed in locally, as can occur with some browsers, simply refresh this web page.
View Larger Map
If you would like to leave a comment about this waterfall, please fill in the comment box below.
I'm particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
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© Brad Neal 2021. All rights reserved.