Pool Reviews

Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool – Woolloomooloo NSW 2011

Named after Australia’s 1924 Paris Olympics gold medal winner, who famously beat a world record-holding Swede as a teenage in pools at this site My experience in the pool I visited here with swimming buddy and fellow writer Therese on the pool’s penultimate day of opening before they closed for the 2015 winter. What makes this pool so special is its setting and its history. You’re right on Woolloomooloo Bay, with naval dockyards opposite and the old Navy shipping sheds in sight Read more [...]

The Entrance Ocean Baths – NSW 2261

The 'Pelican Capital of Australia', where Natalie Imbruglia went to school! My experience in the rock pool At least there was already one guy swimming in this pool when I got there on a cool July afternoon, so I knew it was possible. But he was wearing a wet suit and all I had were my brief bathers, having left at home my wet suit and my goggles. But the warm(ish) afternoon sun made the pool look irresistible, and I couldn’t help thinking: if he can do it, so can I. And there’s always Read more [...]

Huskisson Sea Pool – NSW 2540

Named after the British MP who was the first ever victim of a fatal rail crash (knocked down by Stephenson’s Rocket), though probably named here for his role as Colonial Secretary in the 1820s. My experience in the rock pool It’s a slightly strange experience to swim in a pool closely guarded by high metal fences on all sides, though this is apparently the result of the insurance industry (or local authority fears of such). I’m not sure why Huskisson has been victim of this rather Read more [...]

Wally Weekes Pool – North Bondi, NSW 2026

Named after a local boxer who was also a member of the North Bondi surf life savers My experience in the rock pool It took me three attempts to get into this pool, so it needs a bit of forward planning if you are going to North Bondi especially for a swim here… The first time I tried the tide was high, the swell was big and the waves were crashing into the pool. I’d just been starting to have problems with my shoulder and decided it was safer not to take any risks by going in at Read more [...]

Bronte Rock Pool – NSW 2024

Bronte named after Lord Nelson, who was Duke of Bronte (Sicily) My experience in the rock pool This must be one of the most photogenic and irresistible pools along the NSW coast. It’s a 30m pool, but who needs Olympic size when it’s as exquisite as this. I was there on a bright, sunny day in May, with air temperature around 20C but a chilly breeze making it feel cooler, and water temperature at about 19C. It’s in a fantastic spot, carved into the cliff face. There’s a coastal Read more [...]

Fairy Bower Pool – Manly, NSW 2095

Two fishermen from Fairy Bower were the first lifesavers to patrol Sydney beaches in 1903 My experience in the rock pool This was always my preferred pool on previous holiday visits to Manly. It’s a great spot for practising your languages as well as your swimming strokes, since there always seem to be visitors from overseas in here. It’s a safe and picturesque option if you don’t fancy Manly’s crashing surf. This is not a pool where you can expect to do your 20 laps, though. Read more [...]

Queenscliff Rock Pool – NSW 2096

It is claimed that the first big wave surfing was at Queenscliff My experience in the rock pool Unlike the pool at the southern end of Manly Beach – Fairy Bower – Queenscliff rock pool is a 50m pool designed for serious lap swimmers. That’s not to say the fun-seekers can’t come into the water here. In fact when I last swam here I had the pool to myself, though it was a June morning, so the air temperature was about on a par with the water at about 16C. Some say they like this Read more [...]

Cronulla North Rock Pool – NSW 2230

'Place of the pink sea shells' My experience in the rock pool This was another pool it took me three goes to get into. First time in Cronulla, there was a cold wind blowing on a grey day and I was still nursing a sore shoulder so just went for coffee instead; second time here, there was repair work on the promenade so no access to this pool. On a warm winter’s day in June, though, it was irresistible. Even the paddle through the sand to reach a depth I could swim in was a pleasure, Read more [...]

Cronulla Beach Rock Pool – NSW 2230

'Place of the pink sea shells' My experience in the rock pool I came here on a bright, sunny morning at the end of April. From the promenade that goes along the beach around the headland, the pool looked inviting in the way all pools do with blue sky and sun on them. The only problem was that this was one week after the Big Storm that had hit Sydney (2015) and the big surf had thrown an enormous quantity of sand into the pool. This meant that in much of the pool the water barely reached Read more [...]

Wombarra Rock Pool – NSW 2515

Wombarra is an Aboriginal word for ‘black duck’ My experience in the rock pool I didn’t see any black ducks in this secluded pool at the northern end of the Illawarra. Unless those thin black sea birds sitting on the pool railings pretending to be Batman are indeed black ducks, but I don’t think so. It actually took me three goes to get into this pool. The first time I came, it was just on high tide and the 5m walk across the rocks to gain access to the pool looked pretty Read more [...]