Harbour Pools

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Sandringham Baths – aka Vanston Baths, NSW 2219

My experience in the pool It was great to be back in the ocean water for my first swim of the new season at Sandringham Baths, which also seem to be called Vanston Baths, judging by the signposts near the pool. This is yet another of those netted enclosures on Botany Bay, but Sandringham is the most southerly (unless you count Kurnell) of that series of bathing areas that starts with Kyeemagh in the north and includes Brighton, Monterey and Ramsgate, with just the Dolls Point enclosure Read more [...]

Little Street Baths – Forster, NSW 2428

My experience in the pool The Little Street Baths in Forster are a funny spot. With such a fabulous ocean pool just ten minutes' walk away, why would anyone ever want to swim in these baths, you might think? I like the idea of netted swimming enclosures in Sydney along the George's River or Port Hacking when locals might feel it's just a bit too far to get to the beach and swim in a real rock pool, but here at Little Street in Forster, it really is close to the town itself. Still, I Read more [...]

Tuncurry Rockpool – Tuncurry, NSW 2428

Tuncurry means 'plenty of fish' in local Aboriginal language My experience in the pool Tuncurry Rockpool would not count as a rock pool in most people's definitions of the term. There are no rocks anywhere, unless you count the material used to build the harbour wall, and it is more a netted beach than a pool as such. Still, for my ocean pools site, which has now expanded into any outdoor swimming spot (as long as it's safe or protected), Tuncurry Rockpool counts. It is a funny place, Read more [...]

Clifton Gardens Baths – Chowder Bay – NSW 2088

My experience in the pool I was the only one swimming at Clifton Gardens Baths in Chowder Bay on a sunny but chilly May morning. Well, unless you count the heron that kept bobbing up and down in the water around the shark net, or the school of pretty big fish - about 50cm long I'd guess - darting about around me in the water. Oh, and the scuba divers in their thick suits just outside the baths themselves. The air temperature might have been a brisk 13C or so but the water was warm, probably Read more [...]

Oatley Bay Baths – Oatley, NSW 2223

Oatley was named after a convict clockmaker - check out the commemorative clock tower in the village. My experience in the pool The kookaburras started chuckling as soon as we entered Oatley Pleasure Grounds and were in full cackling mode by the time we reached the edge of the water at Oatley Bay Baths. As we looked at the uninviting murky water and the cold breeze blew in from the river, we wondered if they were laughing at us for even thinking of having a dip in a pool where nobody seems Read more [...]