Sydney's outdoor pools
Make a splash in one of Sydney’s beautiful ocean pools and outdoor swimming pools. Dotted along the coastline and harbour’s edge, they are a spectacular place to swim and many are more than 100 years old. You’ll be protected from waves and currents – and won’t get any sand in your swimsuit.
Bondi Beach is home to the world’s most famous ocean pool, Bondi Baths (known locally as 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, take the coastal walk to Bronte Baths, built in 1887.
In Coogee, head for Wylie’s Baths, built in 1912 and one of Sydney’s most beautiful tidal pools. It features raised decking built into the cliffs and views over the ocean to 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.
Further south, and accessible from the coastal walking track, 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. Join the locals for a dip in Malabar Ocean Pool, one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets.
North of the harbour, the ocean pools are equally special. The tiny triangular Fairy Bower Pool sits between Manly and Shelly beaches and The Sea Nymphs sculpture rests on the pool’s edge. 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.
Curl Curl Beach’s ocean pool includes a shallow natural beach area, making it a favourite with young families. North Narrabeen Rock Pool has a distinctive boardwalk that encloses a 50m by 18m pool within a larger 70m by 40m pool. Other popular pools in this area include Queenscliff, Collaroy and Dee Why.
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. This narrow peninsula also has ocean pools at Avalon, Newport and Bilgola.
Opened in 1932 as a training facility for local lifeguards and offering vistas over Bate Bay, Cronulla Rock Pool lies in the 300 metres 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.
Tucked right beside the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, North Sydney Olympic Pool is a striking art deco pool filled with seawater – currently closed for renovation. At Cremorne Point, the tiny Maccallum Pool started life as a rock pool built by local residents. The current 33m pool was built in the 1920s and has unmatched views over the harbour and city skyline.
Sydney loves to name its pools after legendary swimmers. The Dawn Fraser Baths in Balmain is the oldest harbour pool in the southern hemisphere and the site of Australia’s first swimming club. Murray Rose Pool is a tidal enclosure in Double Bay. The Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool hugs the edge of The Domain. Fairlight Rock Pool at Fairlight Beach is a great way to break up the Manly to Spit Walk.