The most incredible ocean pools in Sydney

Make a splash in one of Sydney’s beautiful ocean and outdoor pools. Dotted along the coastline and harbour’s edge, they are a spectacular place to swim, and many are more than 100 years old.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Feb 2024 -
min read

Bondi Icebergs 

Bondi Beach is home to the world’s most famous ocean pool, Bondi Icebergs. Named after its winter swimming club, the bright-white lap pool dates back to 1929 and is an Instagram favourite all year round. After your swim, tackle the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk

Early morning swimmers at Bondi Icebergs Club, Bondi Beach

Bondi Icebergs, Bondi Beach

Bronte Baths 

Just over a kilometre’s walk south of Bondi is charming Bronte. Facing east, it picks up swells and the clusters of underwater rocks makes conditions challenging for swimmers. Luckily, an ocean-fed lap pool is tucked into the south headland, so you can take a dip no matter the weather. It’s free entry, and a wide grassy park behind the beach with barbecues and tables makes a great spot for a picnic. 

Wylie’s Baths 

In Coogee, head for Wylie’s Baths, one of Sydney’s most beautiful tidal pools. Henry Alexander Wylie, a champion long distance and underwater swimmer, established the baths in 1907. It features raised decking built into the cliffs and sweeping 180-degree views over the Pacific Ocean, all the way to the famous Wedding Cake Island. Also in Coogee is McIver’s Ladies Baths, the only ocean pool in Australia exclusively for women and children, dating back to the 1880s. 

Aerial overlooking Wylie's Bath, Coogee

Aerial overlooking Wylie's Bath, Coogee

Mahon Pool 

Further south, and accessible from the coastal walking track at the base of Jack Vanny Reserve, is Maroubra’s Mahon Pool. Cut into the inter-tidal rock platform, the pool is set among exposed rock outcrops providing spectacular views and a sense of seclusion. Steep steps lead down to the ocean pool from a car park on Marine Parade. 

Aerial view of Mahon Pool, Maroubra

Mahon Pool, Maroubra

Murray Rose Pool 

Found just north of Double Bay, Redleaf Beach is another idyllic Sydney Harbour beach you must visit. At the western end, you will find the Murray Rose Pool (formerly Redleaf Pool), providing swimmers with a safe harbourside tidal enclosure. The area measures approximately 90 by 60 metres, and the wrap-around pontoon makes for a lovely walk (and also provides more room for sunbathing). 

Harbour views from Murray Rose Pool, Double Bay

Harbour views from Murray Rose Pool at Redleaf Beach, Double Bay

MacCallum Pool 

At Cremorne Point, the tiny Maccallum Pool started life as a rock pool built by local residents wanting to form a safe harbour swimming hole. The current 33m pool was built in the 1920s and has unmatched views over the harbour and city skyline, and its waterside timber deck is an unparalleled sunbathing spot. 

Students relaxing beside Maccallum Pool in Cremorne Point

Maccallum Pool, Cremorne Point

Fairy Bower Pool 

North of the harbour, the ocean pools are equally special. The tiny triangular Fairy Bower Pool sits between Manly and Shelly beaches, built by local residents in 1929. The Sea Nymphs sculpture by Helen Leete rests on the pool’s edge, making it a great photo spot. 

Couple relaxing by the water at Fairy Bower Pool, Manly

Fairy Bower Pool, Manly 

Queenscliff Rockpool 

Perched at the north headland of Manly, Queenscliff Beach is home to the 50m Queenscliff Rockpool. With markings along the walls, this is a great option for swimming laps. Just around the corner, you will find a secret tunnel called the ‘the Wormhole’ that takes you through the headland to Freshwater Beach. 

Freshwater Rockpool 

Around the next headland is the first ocean pool to be built on the North Shore, the 50m Freshwater Rock Pool, which opened in 1925. Located on the northern end of Freshwater Beach, and the cliff rising up behind is not as tall as many surrounding rockpools, meaning you get a good amount of sun for a warm morning swim. 

Swimmers at Freshwater Rockpool, Freshwater Beach

Freshwater Rockpool at Freshwater Beach, Northern Beaches

North and South Curl Curl Rockpools 

Curl Curl Beach is lucky enough to be home to two rockpools: South Curl Curl Rockpool and North Curl Curl Rockpool, sitting on opposite ends of this pretty stretch of sand. The former is popular with families, helpfully divided by the original wall that dates back to the 1920s, separating the 50m pool and a shallower splash area for little ones. Meanwhile hidden on the northern headland you can find one of the prettiest rock pools in Sydney – during high tide, it can only be accessed via the coastal walk.  

Scenic view of South Curl Curl Rock Pool with Go Beyond Tours, Curl Curl

 South Curl Curl Rock Pool, Northern Beaches - Credit: Go Beyond Tours

North Narrabeen Rockpool 

Situated at the entrance to Narrabeen Lagoon, North Narrabeen Rockpool has a distinctive boardwalk that encloses a 50m by 18m pool within a larger 70m by 40m pool, divided by a timber walkway. Learn to Swim Programs take place here from December to February, and it is a popular spot for swim clubs, so you might need to plan your visit around these times if you are looking for some seclusion. 

Collaroy Rockpool 

Adjoining Narrabeen Beach, Collaroy Beach is slightly more protected from the wind and swell of its southern counterparts, making it a great spot for beginners and families. Sitting at the southern end on a stunning rock shelf, what makes the 50m Collaroy Rockpool so unique is its quirky hexagonal appearance, like a rectangle that has been pushed out of shape. Markings on the floor mean swimmers don’t zig zag… too much. 

Aerial overlooking Collaroy Rockpool, Northern Beaches

Collaroy Rockpool, Northern Beaches

Mona Vale Rock Pool 

Perched at the tip of a sand spit near the northern end of Mona Vale Beach, Mona Vale Rock Pool is actually comprised of two rock pools: a larger pool measuring 30m, and a smaller pool which is suitable for children and less confident swimmers. Both become surrounded by water at high tide, creating the illusion that the pools are floating in the middle of the ocean. 

Aerial shot of Mona Vale Rockpool, Northern Beaches

Mona Vale Rockpool, Northern Beaches 

Palm Beach Rockpool 

At Palm Beach, Sydney’s most northerly stretch of sand, the ocean pool has views up towards the Central Coast, and is overlooked by Barrenjoey Headland and its famous lighthouse. If you are a Home and Away fanatic, you might recognise the pool as it is a popular filming location on the show. This narrow peninsula also has ocean pools at Avalon, Newport and Bilgola. 

Aerial view of the Palm Beach Rockpool, Palm Beach

Palm Beach Rockpool, Palm Beach - Credit: Northern Beaches Council

Dawn Fraser Baths 

Sydney loves to name its pools after legendary swimmers. The Dawn Fraser Baths in Balmain is the oldest harbour pool in the Southern Hemisphere, built in the early 1880s, and the site of Australia’s first swimming club. The baths are a tidal flow saltwater habrour pool – at low tide, there is beach for children to build sandcastles. 

Cronulla Rockpool 

Opened in 1932 as a training facility for local lifeguards and offering vistas over Bate Bay, Cronulla Rockpool lies in the 300m of rocky platforms dividing South Cronulla Beach from North Cronulla. A little ways south, Oak Park Beach Baths are located on the Cronulla Esplanade and a great spot to visit with kids. 

Bird's eye view over Cronulla Rockpool, Cronulla

Cronulla Rockpool, Cronulla

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