Chiswick Baths – Chiswick, NSW 2046

Chiswick is named after the riverside suburb of London My experience in the pool Chiswick Pool in south west London is where I finally learnt to do front crawl, or freestyle as they call it in Australia. That was back in the 1990s. But I couldn’t help thinking of those swimming lessons as I strode into the water at Chiswick Baths. The name is about where the similarities between the two Chiswicks end, though. And the Thames is a very different beast from Sydney Harbour. Chiswick Baths Read more [...]

Bronte Bogey Hole – Bronte, NSW 2024

My experience in the pool Bronte Bogey Hole has always taken second place on my previous visits to the area because Bronte Rock Pool is one of my favourites of all the NSW ocean pools. But I needed to have a swim in the bogey hole one day to complete my coastal quest. I’d partly shied away from trying to swim in the bogey hole because I couldn’t work out exactly where the swimming area actually was. But my friend, and fellow swimming blogger, Therese put me right when we met last weekend: Read more [...]

McIver’s Baths – Coogee, NSW 2034

Sydney's women-only rock pool is named after Rose McIver, who was founder of Randwick & Coogee Ladies Swim Club in 1922. My experience in the pool This wasn't of course 'my experience in the pool' - fortunately my wife was able to jump in and give her impressions of swimming at McIver's Baths. Two female friends joined me, and the day we visited there was quite a swell, with waves crashing over into the pool, and a bit of a ‘washing machine’ effect in the baths.  One Read more [...]

Norah Head Rock Pool – Norah Head, NSW 2263

Norah Head lighthouse was the last staffed lighthouse along the NSW coast. My experience in the pool Norah Head rock pool has to be my favourite of the many ring of stones rock pools along the NSW Central Coast. Catch it on the right tide in sunny weather, as I did in mid December 2016 and it is a great spot to play safely in the waves. Norah Head is probably best at high tide, when you can easily manage a few strokes of freestyle in between the waves and unlike the other ring of rocks Read more [...]

Avoca Beach Rock Pool – Avoca Beach, NSW 2251

Avoca is an Irish name meaning 'great estuary'. My experience in the pool Avoca Beach rock pool is really more of a wading pool than a swimming pool, to be honest. Even at high tide, the water barely gets above my thigh level even on a big wave, with the depth most of the time hovering around my knees. On a previous visit - in winter and to visit the fabulous cinema right by the beach here - a lifeguard told me the rock pool here is really more for kids to play safely in the water and Read more [...]

Brooklyn Baths – Brooklyn, NSW 2083

Brooklyn NSW is named after its New York counterpart whose bridge was designed by the same company. My experience in the pool Brooklyn Baths up on the Hawkesbury River have really useful depth markers against the shark fence on the riverside of the pool and along one of the sides in the shallower waters. These are essential for swimmers as the tides can vary the water depth enormously, and with the water being a bit murky - at least on the December morning I pitched up - there'd be no other Read more [...]

Manly Cove Swimming Enclosure – Manly, NSW 2095

My experience in the pool I'd never seen the swimming enclosure at Manly Cove so busy as on the hot morning I visited in mid-December 2016. With overnight temperatures barely falling below 28C and a daytime high of 38C forecast, the waters by the Manly Ferry wharf suddenly became popular. I've walked past this shark-netted enclosure hundreds of times over the years and hardly ever seen anyone in the water. I was here myself just a week earlier and had stared at the choppy waters for a good Read more [...]

Little Manly Baths – Manly, NSW 2095

Holiday excursion steamers used to dock at Little Manly from 1861 My experience in the pool They don't make shark-protected swimming enclosures like the baths at Little Manly any more. There's no shark net here. Rather, they keep the big fish out with a row of snugly fitting vertical wooden sticks in this bathing area not far from Manly that was first built as long ago as 1879! I wasn't at Little Manly at the best of times, though. The tide was out, so the swimmable area was much reduced Read more [...]