After 13 years of bushwalking around Sydney we are still doing new walks that exceed expectations. The Southern Highlands circuit visiting Mermaids Pool and passing through Tahmoor Canyon was one such walk. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it was fairly popular so it’s evidently not a secret. Mermaids Pool is probably the most scenic pool I’ve seen in NSW, and Tahmoor Canyon was deep and very atmospheric in places. Definitely recommended.
If you are doing the walk in warmish weather then there are numerous swimming holes along the way. Mermaids Pool isn’t really one of them though, because there is no easy or safe access in or out (except maybe from the northern end, which would require entering from Tahmoor Canyon). There have apparently been a number of spinal injuries incurred at this spot.
Track notes at the end.
Mermaids Pool & Tahmoor Canyon: The Scenery
I’m still discovering good new walks in the guide book Best Walks of the Southern Highlands by John and Gillian Souter (2012 edition, although there’s now a 2019 edition out). Their books have good track notes and are in full colour. A rather dedicated volunteer(s?) also left free maps in a box on the track, and I have posted a picture of that below – hopefully you can read it.
The route is marked pretty clearly with a variety of tape, metal markers and paint on rocks. We started on a dirt road near Rockford Bridge, and the junction of Rockford Road and Charlies Point Road. From there you walk on down stream on the true right of the Bargo River, passing Bargo Falls and Mermaid Pools (with short side trips to see both of these). We then did the Tahmoor Canyon circuit anti clockwise, although it seems most people did it clockwise. Just moderately difficult with a couple of steep sections. Possibly harder if the river level is high.
If you are interested in doing more walks in the NSW Southern Highlands then have a browse through the ones I’ve done below. It’s generally not quite as picturesque as the Blue Mountains or Royal National Park, but there are a few lesser known gems to be done.