Sydney’s best ocean pools to stay cool this summer
Sydney, abundant with iconic beaches and relaxing, ocean pools. We've got the ultimate list of ocean pools to visit this summer.
The variety and density of swims in Sydney is something that continues to amaze us. There are iconic beaches that gather the masses, yet just around the corner you will find a quiet refuge with a handful of friends. In this abundance there is an inextricable connection between Sydney’s geography and its culture. Ocean Pools are almost exclusively unique to New South Wales, and densely collect around the city. For visitors and locals alike, we’ve put together the ultimate list of ocean pools to stay cool in this summer.
Positioned on the north end of Maroubra Beach, Mahon Pool is at the base of Jack Vanny Reserve. You can’t see this one from the road, because like many ocean pools along this coast, it’s built into the reef below. Waves crash over the outer rock-shelf but rarely spill into the 33-metre pool. While some small fish make their way into the pool, it’s protected from the elements and is also rather shallow, making it a great spot for families.
Off the South Coogee footpath and down a flight of stairs; you can’t help but feel like you are sneaking into a secluded private residence. It’s not until you click through the turnstile and land on the sprawling timber deck that Wylie’s finally reveals itself. Opened in 1907, it is one of the oldest ocean pools in the country and it has somehow withstood the test of time and erosion. The pool was deliberately carved below the high-tide line, flushing twice a day as the sea swallows the pool. This natural bottomed ocean pool is an enduring monument to the golden era of swimming.
McIver's Ladies Baths
Tucked into the cliffs between Coogee Beach and Wylie’s Baths, this is a meditative space to escape and relax. Throw a $2 coin into the donation basket and follow the cream-coloured balustrade as it winds down the hill, leading you to the sunlit pool overlooking Coogee Bay. Since 1876, ladies have swum laps and read books in the sun here, with company of others, giving women of all swimming abilities and cultural backgrounds a safe way to experience the ocean.
Past the Bogey Hole and the toilet block at the south end of the beach, is the oval-shaped 30m ocean-bath. Like many ocean pools, Bronte’s is discreetly tucked into the landscape, bordered by a honey-coloured sandstone wall. Spots to drop your towel are tight but plenty, but somehow there’s always space for yours. It’s a popular spot for a quick dip to cool off, or to laze in the warmth of the summer sun with views out to Tamarama and Bondi.
Bondi Icebergs Pool
Is there a more photographed pool in Australia? The world? If there is, we can’t think of it. Bondi Icebergs is like no other. Icebergs is an icon of Aussie swim scapes, but it is also a much-loved community asset that is central to the Bondi way of life. At any given time the pool is abuzz with swimmers and socialites, here for a ritual dip and a sauna, to catch up with friends or soak up the rays on the tiered white concrete steps (the best seats in the house). No matter how many times we visit and no matter how many photos we see (and take), this pool is no less special.
Tucked into the leafy hillside along the Cremorne Foreshore Walk, this harbour pool has prime views of the glistening city skyline, the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Maccallum Pool was once a members only facility for locals and still retains a certain air of exclusivity. It’s up there with some of the most iconic places to watch the fireworks on New Year’s Eve. The perimeter timber decking catches the afternoon rays and is what makes this such a relaxing (and peaceful) place to sit and meditate on life’s big questions.
Fairlight Rock Pool
Fairlight ocean pool is recognisable for its small, almost-square ocean bath, located one kilometre into the iconic 10km Manly to Spit walk. The natural-bottomed 30-metre pool attracts a diverse group of young families, lifelong swimmers and eager locals keen to outperform their personal best. Fairlight pool is the place to be if you’re a dog lover, as many come to run around under the shade of the trees while their owners enjoy a quick dip. You can also enjoy spectacular views across the Harbour to South Head while you’re there.
Freshwater is not just a beach, it is home to an eight-lane 50m long ocean pool. Situated on a rocky platform under the northern headland, this scenic ocean pool has views spanning across the bay. Lane numbers are handpainted at either end of the pool, with 15m, 25m and 33m lengths marked on the side for swimmers to clock as they turn for a breath. The sun hits this pool for most of the day in summer and is a prime spot for watching the sunset. By early evening friends gather round the fringes, cracking beverages, fishing and walking their dogs as the sun drops. It’s a magical setting.
North Curl Curl
North Curly is an original summer holiday favourite. Even the name is a delight. The North Curl Curl ocean pool is a few hundred metres from the main road and completely surrounded by parks and sea cliff, which automatically gives it a secluded, unspoiled feel. Follow the marked rocks along the reef to find this oceanside oasis. At 25m long, it’s not the biggest on the Sydney coast, however the large boulder in the middles give it character like no other.
Dee Why Rockpool
Throw your towel on the tiered seating and slip into this tranquil 50m pool in the Northern Beaches. Enjoy picturesque views spanning the long stretch of Dee Why Beach as you do your laps, then refresh in the onsite showers. Bring the whole family, as there is a toddler pool for the little ones.