Summary: Refuge Bay has both a sheltered and protected beach, and a stunning cliff-top waterhole above the beach. It's most easily reached by boat, but can also be accessed on foot via an informal bushwalking track.

Refuge Bay (on Cowan Creek) at West Head has a small and protected beach; it’s a popular spot for boats – so it can get pretty busy on summer weekends. There’s plenty of shade around the beach, and the water is very calm.

AWAT8217 LR Refuge Bay - a stunning beach and waterhole

A waterfall (Refuge Bay Waterfall) plunges onto the back of the beach, and provides a refreshing shower. You can also walk behind the falls.

The star attraction of Refuge Bay is not the beach or waterfall, but a stunning natural cliff-top swimming hole above the falls.

Waterhole above Refuge Bay Watrefall

Although the creek and waterhole can dry up, it’s usually flowing and provides the perfect infinity pool with a view over Refuge Bay and Cowan Creek.

AWAT8185 LR Refuge Bay - a stunning beach and waterhole

More information on Refuge Bay swimming

Getting to Refuge Bay beach

Refuge Bay is mostly easily reached by boat, via the Hawkesbury River – it’s a very protected bay on Cowan Creek, and can get busy on summer weekends. You can also reach the waterfall on foot via an unofficial bushwalking trail; the Refuge Bay Track is accessed by the Salvation Loop and Walleroo Track (allow 3-4 hours return).

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