Ocean Baths / Rock Pools

Black Head Ocean Baths – NSW 2430

My experience in the pool Black Head Ocean Baths ticked all my boxes. The pool is nearer 30m than 50m but that's a good enough lap length, and with the surf pounding just beyond the pool wall, a pod of dolphins darting about in the bay near the pool, a friendly local to talk to, and best of all a local community fully behind the preservation of their fantastic facility, putting on time, money and labour to keep it going. So go to Black Head Ocean Baths and put a donation in the box by the Read more [...]

Forster Ocean Baths – Forster, NSW 2428

Forster is named after a 19th century NSW Premier. My experience in the pool Forster Ocean Baths are an absolute delight. If you're heading north, as I am on this quest to swim in all the NSW outdoor swimming enclosures, make the most of Forster because there aren't many more genuine ocean pools between here and the Queensland border. Forster Baths must have been all the more amazing when they were first built, when they had tea gardens, a dance hall and, of all things, a casino, attached Read more [...]

Little Bay Rock Pool – Little Bay, NSW 2036

Former home of Sydney’s Smallpox Hospital My experience in the pool I got to know a few of Little Bay's secrets when I got chatting to Kevin and John last Friday when I popped down after my Sans Souci swim to take a look at the old rock pool here. I knew this was the ring of stones rock pool put in place for the nurses at the local hospital when sharks were first seen in the bay itself, to give the nurses a safe place to freshen up on hot, unhealthy days. What I didn't know until Read more [...]

Merewether Ocean Baths – Merewether, NSW 2291

Named after the 19th century gent who once owned the land here. My experience in the pool Merewether Ocean Baths has to get my vote as the best ocean pool in NSW. With only a few left to visit, it will take something special going north in the state to beat Merewether for sheer joy, great setting, and a wonderful mix of space for laps with ample room for messing about in the water. We even got lucky with the weather on this end-of-summer Saturday, as clouds rolled in on the horizon and Read more [...]

Aslings Beach Rock Pool – Eden, NSW 2551

My experience in the pool A swim among the fish in the clear waters of Aslings Beach Rock Pool at Eden started our day off perfectly, with an audience of black crabs looking on from every wall and crevice along the sides of the pool. This must be one of my favourite ocean pools yet, for the setting as much as the pool itself. As NSW ocean pools go, Aslings Beach rock pool is a relative newbie, having been built only in the 1960s. It doesn’t always get the best reviews, either from locals Read more [...]

Thompson’s Point Baths – Eden, NSW 2551

My experience in the pool We'd never have found Thompson's Point Baths in Eden on the NSW Sapphire Coast without the help of this site. Well, actually, local gent Rob Whiter found me via my ABC Radio interviews last year and got in touch to make sure I didn't miss his hidden gem, which was the first rock pool in Eden - built very early in the 20th century - but fallen largely into disuse since the old wooden ramps that used to link it to the main cliff tops crumbled away with termite infestation 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 [...]