This pool has an identity crisis. For the record I'm calling it Eddies Pool based on a 1972 NSW government map of the village of
Heathcote and adjoining lands, held in the State Library of NSW, and because being rough and rugged, this place looks like the kind of
swim that a bloke called Eddie would enjoy. In what I suspect (and this is pure speculation) may have been caused by a smudge
from the dot of the letter i, Google Maps and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service map of Heathcote National Park, both
of which are dated after 1972, refer to this spot as Eddles Pool, which to me sounds way too proper and far less inviting. I've also been
informed by a former local resident (see the comments below) that the pool was known as the Scouts Pool, because it was accessible
from the local scout camp. Now that I have that out of the way, what's it like to swim here? Read on...
Above: View from the rock ledge at Eddies/Eddles Pool
(Order this image)
Eddies Pool is actually three sections of water separated by two rock bars in between. I found the two lower pools mostly
too shallow to enjoy swimming in, so I have concentrated this review on the upper pool. This pool, located on the upstream
bend, has a low rock wall on the northern side that runs along most of its length. The wall provides a convenient
place to step off into the deeper water on the outside of the bend. There are however submerged rock shelves, so you need to do
your own reconnaisance in the water first to find the spots with genuinely deep water. This pool is long and narrow, and becomes quite shallow
for considerable distances at either end. Combined with the
access difficulties described below, I would only recommend this spot for swimming if you have already visited some
of the other pools and are looking to explore somewhere new in the Heathcote National Park.
Above: The potholed rock shelf downstream of Eddies/Eddles Pool that you cross to reach the pool
(Order this image)
The unmarked track down to the river was easy to find and follow, just look for the only track leading down to the river on
the bend where the Pipeline Trail momentarily veers away from the pipeline. This track ends at one of the separating rock bars rather than
at one of the three pools. If the weather has been dry for a long period of time and the creek level is low,
you can easily walk along the rock bar directly to the upper pool. However, when the creek is only moderately full, access to
the upper pool involves jumping across the shallow rock bed and following a trail that runs along the opposite bank. At one point
the high rock wall pushes you back towards the river, and the only way to reach the pool is to get your feet wet across
a makeshift log foot bridge in the water. In summary, this pool is fun to explore and offers good swimming at the upper pool,
but save the expedition for a dry spell when access is easier and the pools are more clearly identifiable.
Other Information Before You Go:
Accessible from the Pipeline Trail, Heathcote National Park, near Heathcote,
38 km (approx. 1 hr drive to the start of the walk) south-west of Sydney.
There are several access points for the Pipeline Trail. I started from the Goburra Track, at
the end of Oliver Street in Heathcote, where you can park your car on the side of the road. This track takes you
over the hill and down natural sandstone steps to the Pipeline Trail. Follow the Pipeline Trail south
for approximately 600 metres, where a little unmarked track takes you down to the pool.
Walking is very easy along the Pipeline Trail. You can also catch the train to Heathcote, and then it's a 1 km
walk across the Princes Hwy and down Oliver Street to the start of the walking track.
Maximum water depth:
Greater than 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required:
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog:
No pets other than certified assistance animals, no smoking, no
campfires, no solid fuel burners, no gathering firewood, no generators, no amplified music.
Limited to no shade available in the water. Shade available out of the water under the rock ledges or
Campsites are available at the Mirang Pool Campground
700 metres upstream, for up to 12 people at any one time, limited to one night stays only.
You can book these through the managing authority for a nominal fee ($12 per night last time I checked). If you are
staying overnight in the area and don't want to camp, or want to stay longer than a single night, you can try
accommodation in nearby Heathcote
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Nearby attractions: Goburra Pool
, approximately 700 metres downstream.
Before you head out, make sure to read the
swimming safety information
and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions.
The marker indicates the approximate location of the upper pool.
Thanks to former local resident L. Thomas who provided me with a completely different name for this pool than the ones I was previously aware of:
"I grew up in Heathcote 1955-1966 as did my mother born 1927. I have a photo of my parents at the pools taken before I was born.
This pool is what we would have referred to as the Scouts Pool, which could be assessed through the Scout camp. There was a bridge over the
pipeline and the track to the pool was a short distance from there. I'm interested to revisit this area with my grandchildren, and am now
confused by the new names."
- L.Thomas, Picton, Australia 18/7/2018
These pool names associated with the scouts and rovers were confirmed by a second swimmer:
"Thanks for the info. Yes I grew up like L Thomas in Heathcote in the fifties and sixties. It was then the Scouts Pool.
It had a sandy beach and a rock in the centre. There was a track from the bridge to the pool past terraces where scouts camped.
I learned to swim there and was also there one day when a boy of about 12 drowned. Tragic. I was there in 2018 and the track from the
bridge down was gone. Incredible, as the scouts camp is still there in the Heathcote suburb. The creek was also flooded beyond
recognition, I’d never seen it that high in my youth. The rock was covered. The beach was gone. I loved the pool, but once I
learned to swim we preferred the Rovers pool, now called Goburra. I prefer the Aboriginal names if they are genuine. Where does
Eddies pool come from? Is that some later invention? Is there an Aboriginal name? I’d appreciate any clues. Though I have lived in
Aotearoa New Zealand for many years, Heathcote creek is my spiritual home for want of a better word. I visit when back in Sydney.
I am connected to the place.."
- W.Logeman, Christchurch, New Zealand 2/6/2016
My reply: Eddies Pool was simply the name on the various maps of the area. I did not come across the origin of the name, but if
anyone else has any clues in this regard, let me know.
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I am particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
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