Pool Reviews

Pittwater Life Magazine – Feature February 2018

Thanks to website reader Kathryn Butler for alerting me to the February 2018 edition of Pittwater Life magazine, which had a fantastic feature article on all the northern beaches rock pools and the people who swim in them. The article covers an amazing 10 pages, with some wonderful shots of all the ocean pools and some great stories on the people who swim there. Here's a link to the online digital version of Pittwater Life. Read more [...]

Aerial photos of NSW ocean pools

I love it when people get in touch to let me know about similar projects to mine, or even to tell me about others who love ocean pools, but approach them from a different angle. At the weekend, I heard about Nicole Larkin, who has both literally and metaphorically looked at the NSW ocean pools from a different angle. She has taken aerial photos of all of them, and included some of the disused ones I didn't venture into. Have a look at this link to her website where you'll find all the photos, Read more [...]

Bruce Steer Pool – Bermagui, NSW 2546

Bruce Steer was a local personality at the heart of Bermagui's community in the post-war years. My experience in the pool Bruce Steer Pool in Bermagui doesn't get as much publicity as the Blue Pool over the headland, but actually on the right day this is a fantastic spot for a protected swim. The first time I came to Bermagui (to swim in the Blue Pool), I took a look at Bruce Steer Pool but the shark net was down for repairs so I didn't really fancy getting in, and nobody else was in Read more [...]

Berry Village Pool – Berry, NSW 2535

Berry was named after the first family of white settlers in the area. My experience in the pool Berry Village Pool is one of those charming little 20m pools most villages in Australia seem to have. Yes, if you're a Pom, you heard that right: a village pool. Back in the UK, I can think of only one area where a set of villages still have an outdoor pool (of a similar size actually) - that's in Cumbria in North West England. Those pools are seasonal, as is the pool at Berry, which Read more [...]

Epping Aquatic Centre – Epping, NSW 2121

Epping was named after the east London/Essex town of the same name. My experience in the pool Epping Aquatic Centre sits surrounded by bush in this leafy northern suburb of Sydney. It's a wonderful place to swim, with those tall gum trees towering over on all sides, and the bush inhabitants squawking or cooing as you plough up and down your laps. I was pleased to get to Epping Pool before we move interstate because this iconic pool was under threat a few years ago, with a campaign Read more [...]

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 [...]