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Whian Whian Falls
Whian Whian, New South Wales

A waterfall with multiple swimming options. Choose from a small waterfall pool, a long bathtub with overhead shower, or the broader river pools downstream, all of which are in amongst steep rocky outcrops in a bush setting. Swimming at Whian Whian Falls Above: The main waterfall pool at Whian Whian Falls (Order this image)

Let's start with the waterfall pool against the northern bank of the creek. It is only small at under 15 metres long and a few metres across, but unlike your large backyard pool of similar size, you get a waterfall flowing into the pool over a rock wall at one end.
The pool is shallow at the downstream end, which allowed me to wade in gradually over the rocky boulders. Near the falls, the pool is much deeper and I just lost touch with the bottom. It is also possible to drop into the deeper section of the waterfall pool directly from the rock shelf in the middle of the river. On my visit the water was clear and the pool felt cosy underneath the looming rockface and the mature trees overhead. The noise from the falls was present, but not overwhelming. Swimming at Whian Whian Falls Above: Relaxing in the stream of water at the outlet of the smaller waterfall channel at Whian Whian Falls (Order this image)

The southern side of the creek has a secondary waterfall that spreads and fills a long, narrow bathtub in the rock shelf, slightly elevated from the main pool.
I enjoyed relaxing in this channel before finding one of the channel outlets to sit in and partially block with my body, letting the water flow swiftly around me and provide a gentle massage to my legs. If the creek level is just right, a large portion of the rock shelf beside the falls remains dry, with two women having a picnic there on my visit, after having carried their picnic basked across the creek.

Whilst the number of people here at any given time is hopefully limited by the available car spaces, if the waterfall pool is crowded, there are a couple of broader pools in the river downstream. After spending time in the water at the falls, I did not explore these pools downstream, but they are definitely deep enough for bathing and possibly deep enough for swimming in parts of these pools. Swimming at Whian Whian Falls Above: Further river pools downstream of Whian Whian Falls (Order this image)

Finding the waterfall is fairly straight-forward, provided you make one important decision up-front. Turn left from the car park! Do not go along the path straight ahead (as I initially did), which only leads to the river downstream, with access to the water difficult because of the steep gully walls. Instead follow the path that runs alongside the road, back towards the bridge, which then follows the river bank. On my visit the path was heavily eroded at the final approach to the falls, from previous flooding, but was still traversable along a narrow zig-zag path. It could potentially be risky for anyone who struggles with maintaining their balance.

This little swim in a bush setting is one of the most varied and interesting in the Byron-Ballina hinterland.
Other Information Before You Go:
Location: 111 Whian Whian Road, Whian Whian, 21 km (approx. 25 min drive) north of Lismore and 750 km (approx. 8 hr drive) north of the Sydney CBD.
Latitude:-28.662709 Longitude:153.319668
Getting there: From the western edge of Lismore, follow Dunoon Road (Tweed St) north for 18 km, past Dunoon. Head west at Whian Whian Road and follow it for 1.1 km until you reach the roadside parking area on the western side of Rocky Creek. From the parking area, follow the track that runs alongside the road, leading back down to the creek, before turning right to head downstream. It is about a 150 metre walk along this track down to the falls. Do not take the track from the parking area that heads straight into the forest, as it is more difficult to reach the falls via this track.

Facilities: A handful of car parking spaces
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Rocks
Maximum water depth: 1-2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Experienced swimmers recommended due to the unsteady footing, and currents at the base of the waterfall. Inexperienced swimmers can potentially wade in the shallows or in the calmer river pools downstream.
Prohibitions: No motorbikes, no dogs, no alcohol, no fires, no camping.
Sun shade: Shade available at the car park area and on the bank next to the falls. Shade covers the main pool most of the year. Limited to no shade over parts of the falls including the rock bars in the middle of the creek.
Opening times: Always open
Accommodation Options: See my accommodation suggestions close to Whian Whian Falls.
Wheelchair access: None
Managing authority: Rous County Council
Nearby attractions: Bexhill Quarry, 17 km to the south. Bring some loose change for the various produce available in roadside stalls in this area, including (seasonally variable) avocados, tomatoes and macadamias.
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions. Specific to this waterfall, the managing authority advises of cliff edges, falling branches, slippery surface, water, and uneven ground. The managing authority advises that people "Enter at your own risk. Accessing this area is a high risk activity. Be aware of natural hazards and weather conditions. Great care should be taken as conditions can change quickly".
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the car parking area at the start of the walk to the falls. If the map is not zoomed in locally, as can sometimes occur when loading, simply click or tap on "View Larger Map" below.
View Larger Map
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