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Ladies Well: Chichester State Forest Secret Swimming Hole

The allyn river surrounded by granite boulders and dense trees
Photos by Wander. ©

Experience the Magic of Ladies Well In Barrington Tops

If you’re after a day trip to a picturesque location, this is one to add to the list. Ladies Well (or Ladys Well) stands at the foot of Barrington Tops. Located in the eastern portion of Chichester State Forest, New South Wales, it earns fame as a beloved and popular swimming hole during the warmer months.

Surrounded by lush forest, you truly feel as though you’re in another world which makes for an amazing escape from the busy hustle and bustle of life.

Swimming at Ladies Well

There are two main areas that are suitable for swimming.

There is the top area of the waterfall, surrounded by granite boulders, it has a small area you can sit on the edge of the water. This area appears to be quite shallow and would eliminate the need to climb down any rocky areas.

upper allyn river featuring cascades of water entering ladies well

The other area is the lower section which involves a little climbing from what we could see. This area is smaller in size compared to the top swimming area.

warm rocks to sit on during summer months

There is another smaller pool on the lower level that you’d also be able to take a dip in, though it is quite smaller.

This area would suit small children, due to the size and it being significantly shallower than the other two areas.

small rock pool

The waters of the Allyn River are crystal clear and absolutely freezing.

While we visited on a cold, winter’s day, though the water is known for being freezing cold in summer also.

The sun warmed rocks in summer would have you believing otherwise!

Getting there

Chichester State Forest lies north of Upper Allyn, approximately a 3.5-hour drive from Sydney.

The majority of the drive is a sealed road with the last few minutes of the trip being a dirt road.

We found that the dirt road was suitable for our 2WD SUV even in some light, drizzly rain, but I’d encourage you to keep an eye out for potholes as some of them are quite big!

Once you are in the national park area, you’ll come to a fork in the road with a sign which will direct you to various camping areas and attractions.

Entry to Chichester State Forest

Ladies Well is located around 700m from the sign, however we found it a bit of a mission to find as there are a few waterfalls nearby and nothing identifies which one is in fact Ladies Well.

The easiest way to identify which one it is, is as you head along the road there is a parking area on the left that is signposted.

parking area

Directly across from the parking area is the access point to the top area of the waterfall.

access path

There is a small path to the right through some trees (which was mostly grown over at the time we visited) that leads down to the lower section of the swimming hole, or you’re able to climb down another rock area to get down there.

access via rocks

We did find some other tracks that seemed to lead to there, however, a lot of tracks were overgrown and we were unable to find any alternate access points.

There may very well be alternate access points, though given we visited during winter, any worn paths were overgrown. The paths may be more obvious during summer months when there is people visiting more frequently.

A beautiful place to visit year round

Prior to heading off

Heading up towards Chichester State Forest, you will cross a number of causeway crossings along the Allyn River in the later part of the drive.

These causeways can become flooded after periods of rain, which can block traffic from heading in and out of the area, particularly the last causeway which is the deepest.

This was actually our second attempt to head out there, as the first time we drove out there we were blocked from crossing the final causeway prior to reaching the camping areas. We watched a 4×4 drive through it with no issues, though it was a little too deep to handle for our SUV.

Prior to heading out there, it’s recommended to check for any updates on Google Maps to see if the road has been blocked off due to flooding.

We would also strongly encourage that you do not drive through flood water, especially when there is a current.

Can you camp at Ladies Well?

There are multiple camping areas within close proximity. The closest campground we found was Old Camp, which was only a short walk from the swimming hole.

During our search for Ladies Well, we actually stumbled across another swimming hole which we thought was it. It was located right near the Old Camp camping area and was very similar, having its own waterfall.

Other areas where you’re able to camp are Dobbie Rim Campground, Upper Allyn Park and White Rock Campground. All of which would be suitable for a relaxing weekend getaway in nature.

All camping areas are accessible without the need for a 4×4 vehicle.

There are a few places close by that are worth exploring if you choose to camp there. Peach Tree is a short drive up the road and has picnic facilities as well as a short walking trail.

Ladies Well photos

Ladies Well is known for it's cool waters, even in warmer weather

More information about Ladies Well and nearby events can be found at Visit NSW

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