At the bottom of West Head Road, just past the junction with McCarrs Creek Road, is a small parking area. While most of the cars are cyclists heading up to West Head, this is also the starting point to visit the Duckhole. Directly below the small carpark is a grassy area with a couple of picnic tables. Below the grassy area is McCarrs Creek, which runs under West Head Road and across a rocky platform. (Upstream from here, on the other side of West Head Road, is Upper Gledhill Falls – a “secret” swimming hole accessed by a short walk.)
A little downstream is a small set of cascades, and the first of a few swimming holes.
A rough track follows McCarrs Creek dowstream along the left bank, soon reaching the main swimming hole which is known as The Duckhole or Duck Hole (I’ve also seen it incorrectly referred to the Duck Pond). The deep pool, with its large sandy bank on one side, is a popular spot for families on weekends.
Below The Duckhole is another cascade and a longer pool, which is less suitable for swimming.
The track then veers away from the creek, and the valley starts to get a bit steeper. A side trail leads down from the main track to the water, where there’s a view of another set of cascades and another wide pool.
From here it gets (unexpectedly) a lot more dramatic, as the valley gets steeper and deeper. McCarrs Creek plunges over a steep cliff, forming an impressive waterfall (the Lower Gledhill Falls). Near the top of the falls it’s possible to scramble down to the creek, and peer down the sheer drop to the barely-visible pool below.
The valley is so narrow here you could almost call it a canyon, and it feels like you’re miles from civilisation. Even though McCarrs Creek Road is less than a hundred metres above the falls.
The main track continues a bit further, staying well above the creek. There are a few rock ledges where you can peer down at the pool below the waterfall, which is surrounded by steep cliffs.
The end of the track – at least as far as I go – is a vertical slab of rock, with a rope attached to a protruding root. The rope seems OK, but it’s a pretty steep descent and with the recent rain everything is pretty wet and slippery. I might come back and tackle this another day…
More information on The Duckhole
There is no formal trail beyond the picnic area – but it’s fairly easy walking to the Duckhole and up to the top of Lower Gledhill Falls. Extreme caution needed to descend to the base of the falls, as it’s very steep and slippery.
Guide to West Head