Walking to Edith Falls’ Upper Pools

After our lunchtime siesta, we decided to get the blood pumping and walk off all the Easter spoils with a trek to the Upper Pools at Edith Falls, or Leliyn in the local Jawoyn language.

It’s a one kilometre track including a steep 500-metre climb up a rocky path before you reach the Edith Falls Lookout. The lookout itself is quite overgrown, but you can see glimpses of the falls into the bottom pool. After a quick fly of the drone, we made our way down an equally steep bouldered path before hitting the Upper Pools.

Lookout down to the lower pools at Edith Falls.

And what a sublime swimming hole! Volumes of water poured in at speed from the waterfall at one end, a rocky island in the middle created two rapid ‘rides’, another waterfall trickled down a cliff into a bottomless hole, and plenty of calmer shallows perfect for wallowing.

Arriving at Edith Falls' Upper Pools.

We stripped off quickly; the cool water beckoned our hot and sweaty bodies. We crossed a couple of bridges around to the calmer area of the swimming hole to wade in with the boys. D-Man loves to swim but isn’t confident yet. While our other little fish loves to swim and has all the confidence in the world – but at just 14 months of age has no fear and seems to forget that it’s me holding him afloat at his weekly swimming lessons! We bought a floatie seat thing from Clarke Rubber for Red, and D-Man likes the safety of his life vest. And, lets face it, when you’re exploring an unknown watering hole it’s just safer for everyone.

But our excited entry in the water was not… D-Man wanted nothing more than to paddle in the rocky shallows, while Red was screaming blue murder to get out of his floatie! Ahhh…. The joys of parenthood.

Tantrums tamed, we swam over to the rocky island as a perfectly ‘normal’ family. We scaled to the top of the rock – D-Man in the lead – and marvelled at the force of the cascades as we were sprayed with water.

Over the next couple of hours we explored this croc-free waterhole. My favourite part by far was riding the rapids with D-Man. After being shown the ropes with The Husband, D-Man was keen to take me out for a whirl in the rapids. We swam over to the rocks and I only just managed to grab on from the force of the current. We climbed up and scaled our way along to the smaller of the two natural rapids. “Mum, you go in here, put your hand here, then step down and lift your legs up,” D-Man instructed. “You go first Mum.”

Sitting in the rapids for a selfie at the Upper Pools in Edith Falls, Nitmiluk National Park.

And with such perfect instructions, how could I refuse! Following them to the letter I was quickly swept down and spat out the other end. Smiling with delight we both turned right back to the rocks for another go.

Confidence brimming, D-Man and The Husband set off to tackle the larger rapids. The first go was a winner for both! But D-Man swallowed water on the second and was a little upset. It quickly was forgotten asking to go one more time. But this was the last. As the rapids seemed to pull D-Man under, The Husband pushed him upwards, but was sucked under himself! While no one was hurt, it's a perfect reminder about being safe around waterholes.

We decided to take the loop walk back to camp. Its 1.6 kilometres of a more overgrown path down the other side of the water system and back to the lower pool.

Heading home on the loop walk.

Even after all that swimming and the steep walk into the pools, D-Man was keen to lead the way, never complaining of sore legs – such a little champ!

We got home on dusk and just as sweaty as when we arrived at the Upper Pools, just now we were sans refreshing waterhole to cool us down. So we just made do with a cold shower.

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