Harbour Pools

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 [...]

Oatley Park Baths – Jewfish Bay, NSW 2223

My experience in the pool Oatley Park Baths in Jewfish Bay have so many unique qualities, it’s hard to know where to begin. For a start, the shark net here is 320m long so do 3 lengths of the netting and you’ve basically finished the 1km I normally do in my 20 laps of a 50m pool. And yes, the morning we popped down to Jewfish Bay, there were a couple of guys doing just that. One of them told us that on club days, if they want to run a 1km race, they get everyone to just do a circuit Read more [...]

Gymea Bay Baths – Gymea, NSW 2227

The gymea is a type of lily. My experience in the pool Gymea Bay Baths have one of the most beautiful backdrops of Sydney's tidal baths, but boy you need to pick the right moment to come for a swim. So, first the positives about Gymea Bay. The baths are tucked away in a quiet cove surrounded by gum trees so when you get out of the car (and even more so if you catch one of the buses here which drop you off a good hike from the pool) you fill your lungs with the lovely eucalyptus scents. Then Read more [...]

Gunnamatta Bay Baths – Cronulla, NSW 2229

Named for an Aboriginal word meaning 'sandy hills' My experience in the pool You can take your pick at Gunnamatta Baths between the 50m area and the more general shark-netted swimming enclosure along the sandy beach. Locals kept telling me the water can be a degree or two warmer at the northern end (ie away from the 50m pool bit), and there were a couple of guys in that section, but I opted for the proper swimming section, which was laned off with rope markers ahead of the local swim club Read more [...]

Como Tidal Baths – Como, NSW 2226

My experience in the pool I'd never seen anyone swimming in Como Tidal Baths on the Georges River until the morning I pitched up for my swim here. The lifeguard at the little Como Learner's Pool had told me the most popular time for swimming in the tidal baths was early morning, and since on this warm, sunny day in February it was also high tide, I decide to test his theory. And sure enough when I stripped off at about 7.30am, there were two other blokes already in the water plodding up Read more [...]

Kurnell Baths – Silver Beach, Kurnell, NSW 2231

Kurnell is very close to the spot where Captain Cook first landed. No agreement on where the name Kurnell comes from, though. My experience in the pool Kurnell Baths at Silver Beach in Kurnell is just a stone's throw from where another Yorkshireman first landed his boat on Botany Bay back in 1770. I don't suppose Captain Cook's crew were too bothered about sharks back then, but Botany Bay has been the scene of quite a few attacks over the years, so I was glad to have the netted enclosure Read more [...]

Lucretia Baths – Woodford Bay, Longueville NSW 2066

Lucretia is just the name of the nearby street in Longueville. No Roman connections here. My experience in the pool Lucretia Baths! Even the name somehow conjures up 1920s glamour (although the original Lucretia was apparently a woman in Roman times who had water sprinkled on her belly by one Sextus!), and given the pool’s heritage status, there may well be tales to be told of daring costumes showing a bit more than an ankle or collar bone in the early days of the baths. There was Read more [...]

Lilli Pilli Baths – Lilli Pilli, NSW 2229

Lilli Pilli was named for the native tree that grew here on the point. My experience in the pool Our visit to Lilli Pilli Baths on Port Hacking didn't quite go to plan, but when we did finally get into the water here, we loved it, and will surely return before too long. We had underestimated the traffic levels heading towards Cronulla on this hot Sunday morning in February, and by the time we got near to Lilli Pilli, we realised we wouldn't have time for swim followed by post swim coffee, Read more [...]

Paradise Beach Swimming Enclosure – Avalon, NSW 2107

My experience in the pool I really envy the two blokes I saw sauntering down the road to Paradise Beach swimming enclosure, towel in hand, ready to take the plunge presumably just a couple of hundred yards from their home. I drove down to the end of Paradise Road and saw the beautiful baths from the car, but then had to drive half a mile back up the hill before I could find a reasonable place to park. There are at best 6 parking spots by the baths at Paradise Beach and on a hot morning Read more [...]