Pool Reviews

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 [...]

Botany Aquatic Centre – Botany, NSW 2019

Botany was named for Captain Cook's botanists! My experience in the pool I had the Olympic Pool at Botany Aquatic Centre to myself for nearly all of my 20 laps on a cool Monday morning just a few days before the outdoor pool closes for the winter break. I really liked this pool, and not just because I was there by myself. It's set in beautiful grounds, with lots of grassy areas to loll around on after your swim in summer, as well as an intriguing set of slides right on the Read more [...]

Lane Cove Aquatic Centre – Lane Cove NSW 2066

Named after either a cartographer in Cook’s time or the son of a London Lord Mayor. My experience in the pool Lane Cove Olympic Pool has lots of the attributes I love in Australian outdoor pools. There are the tall gum trees towering over one end, the magpies warbling like only Aussie magpies do, it has a lovely 3m deep end, where once there must have been a diving board presumably, but there is still a set of viewing windows, which you hardly ever see except in competition pools. 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 [...]

Sans Souci Leisure Centre – Sans Souci, NSW 2219

Named after Frederick the Great's palace in Postdam in Germany. My experience in the pool I wonder how any French expats living in Sans Souci pronounce the place. 'Sannz Suzie', said the lifeguard at the Leisure Centre entrance when I asked. So now you know, and don't make my mistake of chucking in a French accent when talking about this suburb tucked between Botany Bay and the George's River. I must have driven past Sans Souci Leisure Centre 100 times without ever knowing it 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 [...]

Shoalhaven Heads Village Pool – Shoalhaven Heads NSW 2535

My experience in the pool Shoalhaven Heads Village Pool is probably the nearest outdoor swimming pool to where I live (if you don’t include ocean pools in that definition). I’m amazed that I didn’t know it existed until someone who lives in nearby Nowra suggested I have a swim there. It’s a lovely spot, within earshot of the surf at Shoalhaven Heads, with beautiful gum trees and a tall pine tree in the grounds just to the side of the pool, and a rather nice set of murals and other 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 [...]