All posts by Simon Duffin

Born in Yorkshire, now living on the beautiful south coast of NSW. Have lived and worked in eight different countries over the years and swum in nearly all of them. Now in Australia, I want this website to reflect a new life, where swimming takes centre stage and there's a pool in nearly every small community.

Greenwell Point Village Pool – Greenwell Point, NSW 2540

My experience in the pool Greenwell Point Village Pool is a fantastic spot for a swim...provided you pick the right time and the right weather. Yes, I came here twice on cloudy days and obviously fell foul of the closed in 'inclement weather' rule. The opening hours are a bit idiosyncratic, but at least they are clear to all. Defining if the weather is good enough to open makes Greenwell Point pool opening times a bit dependent on the subjective view of the manager or lifeguard on Read more [...]

Camden War Memorial Pool – Camden, NSW 2570

Camden was named after a former Minister for War (!) rather than the north London suburb. My experience in the pool Camden War Memorial Pool was a great replacement for a planned trip to Figure of Eight pool in the Royal National Park. Figure of Eight needs good weather and the right tide. Camden Pool would have been fine in the pouring rain, but the steady downpour we had as we left home had passed over by the time we reached Camden an hour or so's drive away. The ducks in Camden Read more [...]

Causeway Baths – Cockatoo Island, NSW 2039

My experience in the pool I was really unimpressed by Cockatoo Island. For a start the Causeway Baths, which are still on the tourist maps they hand out in the Visitor Info Centre have been deleted from the big wall map that stands on the outside of the same Centre, and when you get to the area where the shark net still hangs, presumably still protecting anyone who wants to get into the water here, there is a big, permanent-looking sign saying No Swimming. I would also rename the place Read more [...]

Newcastle Bogey Hole – Newcastle, NSW 2300

My experience in the pool It took me five attempts to actually get into the water at Newcastle Bogey Hole. But wow, it was worth it in the end. I really don't know how those convicts built this bathing area almost 200 years ago, because there seem to be so few days when it is reasonably safe to get into the water here, let alone build the walls and fencing that keep the place 'safe' and made sure that the old convict colony commander could cool off when he needed. I couldn't help thinking Read more [...]

Coomba Park Tidal Pool – Coomba Park, NSW 2428

My experience in the pool Coomba Park Tidal Pool must be one of the most isolated swimming enclosures I've been to since I began this quest to swim the NSW ocean pools, harbour baths and other outdoor pools across the state. The peace on this part of Wallis Lake is extraordinary. Apart from the varying sounds of kookaburras laughing, whip birds catapulting and the occasional other exotic bird making itself known to locals, there was barely a sound at Coomba Park, once the group of five swimmers Read more [...]

Parsley Bay Swimming Enclosure – Parsley Bay, NSW 2030

My experience in the pool I did finally get into the water at Parsley Bay swimming enclosure, with its wonderful footbridge taking pedestrians across the bay high up over the baths, and its views of passing ferries to Manly and Watson Bay. It was a close-run thing, mind you, and even though two blokes were swimming right up against the shark net, a good 80m from the shore, I stayed pretty close to the shallows, not venturing further out than the footbridge. The thing is when I came to Parsley Read more [...]

Carss Point Baths – Carss Park, NSW 2221

Carss was the name of the family who lived here in the 19th century. My experience in the pool Carss Bush Park near Kogarah is a relaxed place at the weekend, full of families at the public barbies, couples strolling along the shore and kids mucking about on the sands. I've popped by here a few times, looking for the best time to get a swim in the shark-netted enclosure, and never ever seen anyone swimming. This warm and busy day was no different. There were a couple of small kids splashing Read more [...]

Forbes Olympic Pool – Forbes, NSW 2871

Forbes was named after a former Chief Justice of NSW My experience in the pool We didn't expect to get a swim at Forbes Olympic Pool. We just dropped by to take a photo of the fabulous Art Deco pool entrance and noticed the shutters were up. I thought pools in country NSW had a very limited season, with swimming only possible in heatwaves between November and February. But that's not the case with Forbes outdoor pool. 'Come back tomorrow', said the cheery manager. 'It's our Read more [...]

Parkes Aquatic Centre – Parkes, NSW 2870

Parkes was named after the town's founder, who came from Coventry, hence its twinning with that industrial city! My experience in the pool My swim at Parkes Aquatic Centre was a bit of a surprise. I had thought outdoor pools in country Australia were not generally open till November and many of them stay shut if the air temperature isn't forecast to rise above 25C, or some such random heatwave number that this Pommy regards as ridiculous. But there we were driving slowly past Read more [...]

Kyeemagh Baths – Kyeemagh, NSW 2216

Kyeemagh means 'beautiful dawn' in the local aboriginal language. My experience in the pool Kyeemagh Baths don't get the best write-up of Sydney's swimming enclosures and many I spoke to on Botany Bay say they never go near the place. Certainly, until the day I finally got in the water at Kyeemagh, I had never seen anyone even paddling in the water here. The first problem is that unless you pick your tide - and high tide is the only real option at Kyeemagh - you have ankle deep water Read more [...]