Pool Reviews

Blacktown Aquatic Centre – Blacktown, NSW 2148

Blacktown's name has its origins in the Stolen Generation as there was a 'Native Institution' here in the 19th century. My experience in the pool Blacktown Aquatic Centre has one of those outdoor swimming pools that look so tempting when you speed past in the train. When I spotted it over the tracks, it looked pristine, with sky blue tiles looking magnificent in the sunshine, and seemingly hardly anyone in it. It proved a bit harder to get an actual swim in Blacktown! My first Read more [...]

Ballina Wading Pool – Shelly Beach, NSW 2478

Ballina probably has both Irish and Aboriginal connections linguistically My experience in the pool Ballina Information Centre at first shook their heads when I asked about the whereabouts of the ocean pool in town. "Well, there's a local campaign to have a new ocean pool built in Ballina," they said, "but there isn't one yet".. When I pressed them and mentioned a wading pool, they still looked bemused, but finally a face lit up and one lady talked of the children's pool, 'but it's tiny Read more [...]

Yamba Rock Pool – Yamba, NSW 2464

Yamba is an Aboriginal word for either shellfish or headland. My experience in the pool Yamba Ocean Pool is the most northerly of the real ocean baths along the NSW coast. It may well also be the most recently built - constructed in the 1960s - though it may also be the more modern building methods and materials that made it more vulnerable to closure on a regular basis. It was officially closed still on the day we visited in mid-November - locals told me there was a crack in the concrete Read more [...]

Sawtell Memorial Rock Pool – Sawtell, NSW 2452

Mr Sawtell was a local landlord in the early 1900s. My experience in the pool Sawtell Memorial Rock Pool sits at the northern end of a beautiful sandy beach, which we reached at low tide. The pool lay empty when we turned up early on a Friday afternoon in November, and from the cliff top where we parked it looked at first a bit shallow to swim in. But once we got down to pool level, we could see the deep end was actually probably about 2m depth, and when we got in the water down at the Read more [...]

Petersham Pool, Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre – NSW 2049

My experience in the pool Petersham Pool, in Sydney’s inner west, had its name changed a few years ago to Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre. Now, the great thing about the pool in Petersham is that, if you’re like me and went, “Fanny who?”, they provide a potted history of her swimming achievements on little information plaques that line the wall outside the aquatic centre. I’m sure anyone who stops and reads these will be impressed by one of the first women in Australia to Read more [...]

Figure of Eight Pool – Royal National Park, NSW 2232

My experience in the pool All the blogs I've read about getting to Figure of Eight Pool talk of how tough the route is to get to the spot, and many emphasise the need for energy to get back up the cliff afterwards. The estimate in the Garawarra Farm Car Park, which is the nearest place to leave your car, is that the round trip to Figure of Eight Pool takes 2.5 to 3 hours. With a pause for a dip, a quick remedial massage treatment on someone I came across with sore legs, and a rest in the shade Read more [...]

Wollondilly Leisure Centre – Picton, NSW 2571

My experience in the pool Picton's Olympic Pool has had a few names over the years, it seems. It's now known as Wollondilly Leisure Centre, which is probably appropriate as the pool complex (indoor and outdoor pools) sits about half way between Picton itself and the next village of Tahmoor. But hanging on the wall of the centre are photos of earlier versions of the pool, which looks as if it was basically built in the middle of a field, and seemed to be called Picton Baths or Picton Read more [...]

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 [...]