Swimming – whether it’s in the ocean, a backyard pool or a public pool – is a big part of the Australian way of life. Although Melbourne may have more winter days than other Australian cities, it fortunately has many heated swimming facilities for locals and visitors to use. Here are the best indoor and outdoor public swimming pools in Melbourne, to enjoy year-round.
Established in the 19th century, St Kilda Sea Baths has been a part of the St Kilda community for generations. Due to the health and therapeutic benefits of natural seawater, the 25-metre heated indoor pool at St Kilda Sea Baths is filled with water direct from Port Phillip Bay. There’s also a hydrotherapy spa, steam room and lounge area with water views. The St Kilda Sea Baths complex is home to a lot of dining options too, including Republica and Captain Baxter.
WaterMarc is another facility with a range of swimming pool options. There’s a 50-metre indoor pool, a learn to swim pool, a warm water program pool, and leisure and toddler pools. But wait, there’s more. WaterMarc also has two water slides and an adventure playground filled with water features for the kids. There’s also a fun pool inflatable that comes out during the school holidays.
Waves Leisure Centre in Highett has a pool for everyone. Firstly, there’s the exclusive learn to swim pool and the lap pools. The indoor 50-metre pool includes a boom, which splits it into two 25-metre pools for lap swimming. Then there’s the Wave Pool, which is heated to 32°C. It has changing water environments, which include waves, bubbles and water showers. Kids will love the Wave Pool and the Splash Zone, with its water features, tipping bucket and waterslide. For the adults, Wave Leisure Centre has spa, sauna and steam room facilities as well.
Knox Leisureworks is a big complex. It has four indoor pools, a therapeutic spa, an 80-metre water slide and two outdoor seasonal swimming pools. Inside, there’s a 50-metre lap pool, a warm water pool, a leisure kid-friendly pool with water features and beach entry, and a pool designated to swim programs. Outside has a 25-metre lap pool, a shaded toddler pool, plenty of open grassed area and free electric barbecue facilities. The outdoor facilities at Knox Leisureworks are open from December until the end of March.
Since opening in 1997, Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre has welcomed over two million customers annually, and has hosted international events for the 2006 Commonwealth Games and 2017 FINA World Swimming Championships. Its state-of-the-art facilities include the world’s first 50-metre swimming pool with a moveable floor outside, 14 diving boards, a hydrotherapy pool, as well as 50- and 25-metre indoor pools. The centre says its establishment cemented Melbourne’s reputation ‘as a world leader in sports and recreational facilities’.
Established in 1881, Brighton Baths Health Club is home to Victoria’s only 50-metre open water lap lane swimming pool. The enclosed outdoor saltwater sea baths in Brighton are open year-round. There’s even an infamous winter swimming club called the Icebergers, which meets three times a week at the sea baths where members plunge into the icy waters in solidarity. It’s also home to Victoria’s only private beach with boardwalk, which members of the public can access through a casual day pass.
Melbourne City Baths first opened in 1860, as an alternative to swimming in the polluted Yarra River. Today, the building’s historical exterior is juxtaposed against the modern interior, which includes a 30-metre pool. It’s the largest swimming pool in Melbourne’s CBD. Melbourne City Baths also has squash courts and massage services available.
Oakleigh Recreation Centre’s aquatic facilities are a seasonal option, as they’re only open in the summertime. But the outdoor facilities include a 50-metre pool; a dive pool with one and three-metre springboards; a multi-purpose pool; and a shaded toddler pool with splash pad. There’s also an expansive landscaped grassed area surrounding the pools, for relaxing between laps.
Brunswick Baths is a popular family-friendly swimming pool option in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. Outside, it has a 50-metre heated swimming pool and Splashpad for kids, which includes a fun and colourful water feature. Heading inside, Brunswick Baths has a 20-metre heated pool and Waterplay pool, with water slides and water cannons. There’s also a spa, sauna and steam room available.
The Prahran Aquatic Centre began in 1924 as simply a large wading pool. Today, it’s home to an outdoor heated 50-metre pool. There’s also a spa, sauna and steam room, and a toddler’s pool that’s only open in summer. The aquatic centre has ample grassed space surrounding the pool, as well as sun lounge chairs.