Whether they’re rugged ocean pools populated by serious lap swimmers or serene harbour-front baths filled with lazy sunbathers, Sydney is speckled with great spots for a splash around. Slip into your cossies and dive in for a swim at these 10 terrific pools around the Harbour City.
The most picturesque aspect of Sydney’s most famous beach is this ocean pool at the southern end of Bondi, which is crowded 12 months a year with lap swimmers battling the white foamy waves that crash into its walls. Admission costs just $7 and includes sauna entry, and after you’ve worked up an appetite in the pool, pop upstairs to the 200-seat bistro for one of the Harbour City’s most enviable vistas.
Wedged between the smiling face that welcomes visitors to Luna Park and the towering arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, no pool in Sydney enjoys a location quite as enviable as this one. There’s also an indoor 25-metre pool and a well-equipped gym to complement the spectacularly scenic outdoor 50-metre pool overlooking the harbour.
Most strips of sand along Sydney’s Northern Beaches — Queenscliff, Dee Why, Freshwater, Curl Curl, Collaroy, Narrabeen, Newport, Avalon, Palm Beach, the list goes on — boast an ocean rock pool, but few are as unique as this one at the south end of Manly. Why? The pair of striking sculptures by artist Helen Leete named ‘The Oceanides’, a duo of dancers elegantly twirling above the water.
Located in the suburb of Balmain in Sydney’s Inner-West, this harbour pool doesn’t have a backdrop quite as jaw-dropping as Bondi or North Sydney, but it’s equally as charming. Named after one of Australia’s most legendary Olympic swimmers, Dawn Fraser Baths is the oldest pool in Australia, surrounded by quaint Victorian-era wooden pavilions dating back to the 1880s.
Stroll from the city through the Domain and the Royal Botanic Gardens and you’ll reach one of Sydney’s most modern pools perched on the shore of Woolloomooloo Bay. Another swimming spot named after an Olympic champion of yesteryear, ‘Boy’ Charlton benefitted from a major refurbishment in 2012, making the heated outdoor pool one of the top options for a quick dip in the inner-city.
This state-of-the-art indoor pool was constructed for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and these days, you can tear up the same water that Ian Thorpe and the rest of the world’s best swimmers did during the Games 18 years ago. Entry costs $8, there’s a stack of fitness courses and events, and there’s even an inflatable obstacle course for kids.
You’ll find these heritage-listed baths just south of Coogee Beach on the walk to Maroubra, sitting beneath an elevated boardwalk that offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and Wedding Cake Island. The canopy above Wylie’s Baths also contains a wellness centre, massage therapy and a super popular event space — you can’t beat that view for a wedding reception!
This icon of the Lower North Shore is one of Sydney’s best kept secrets, hidden amid the historic mansions and rolling green lawns of Cremorne Point. Maccallum Pool has been welcoming swimmers for a seawater dip since the 1920s, and the white picket fence and timber deck — always packed with sunbathers — make it one of the most Instagrammable corners of Sydney Harbour.
Bronte doesn’t attract as much tourist attention as Bondi nearby, but Eastern Suburbs locals know it’s every bit as good. And a big part of the appeal is the cliffside ocean pool at the south end of the beach, which is a little smaller than Bondi Icebergs, but every inch as photogenic. Get there at the crack of dawn to see the sun rise over the ocean.
Surry Hills is better known as Sydney’s dining capital but the neighbourhood also boasts one of the city’s most modern outdoor pools. Sitting right next door to Central Station in Prince Alfred Park, this 50-metre lap pool also comes with a designated kid-friendly family pool as well as plenty of shade umbrellas to escape the scorching sun in the middle of the city.