Mermaid Pools

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Mermaid Pools
Photograph: Andrew Harvey

The Mermaid Pools are on crown land, which means you won’t find any of the facilities you’d expect in a National Park, including clear signage. The trail to get to this site is signalled by small blue and yellow markers attached to trees, and it’s relatively easy to get lost, so make sure you bring a friend, and provisions. This spot is where the first recorded European sighting of a koala took place, so keep your eyes peeled for the sleepy marsupials. There are two walking tracks that will get you to the pools, one high and one low. The walk to get to the pools is about five kilometres, and the track is not looped. Once you arrive, you’ll see a stunning green basin, wrapped by cliffs, with the Bargo River flowing into it from above. The site is a sacred space for local Aboriginal community, the Tharawal people.

“You can really feel the energy of the place when you go down there,” says Wollondilly Environmental Education Officer Damion Stirling. Though the Mermaid Pools are sometimes described as a swimming hole, Stirling advises that swimming is not only disrespectful of the site’s religious significance, it’s also downright dangerous. “There's no real easy access way to get down into the pool,” he says. The only way in is to jump, and there are often submerged logs hiding below the surface. “There've been a few incidents down there,” he says, referring to the 2014 death of Campbelltown local Megan Moody. “We advise people take care when walking down the trail, and really stick to [the marked path]. There are a lot of cliffs around that are sort of disguised by shrubbery and that sort of stuff.” Stirling says the best view of the pool is had when you head down the main trail past the pool towards Turmoil Gorge, and then look back up the river at the pool. “You get a sense of what the whole pool is like, and why it is… a sacred place.”

It does get hot in the west, so if you do feel like swimming, Stirling suggests heading to the carpark on the corner of Rockford Road and Charlie’s Point Road. There, the river gets wide and deep, and a great swimming spot is easily visible and accessible straight from the road.  The river is downstream from a coal mine, so Stirling suggests you don’t drink the water, and only swimming “ after there's been a flush of rain.”  “People always need to take caution when swimming in rivers… Have a swim, but take it easy, you know?”

By: Alyx Gorman

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Venue name: Mermaid Pools
Contact:
Address: Mermaid Pools
Rockford Road
2573

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