Gordon Fetterplace Aquatic Centre – Campbelltown, NSW 2560

“Australia’s First Green City” My experience in the pool My first visit to Campbelltown Aquatic Centre was in September on a bright, sunny day with the pool looking immaculate. Sadly, it was still closed to the public although the water looked perfect. So I had to make the most of a return visit to Campbelltown in November to actually get in the water. I arrived on a cool, cloudy morning to find the pool deserted apart from a few water polo players having a throw around at the Read more [...]

Dee Why Rock Pool – Dee Why, NSW 2099

When swimming in public first became legal, this area was all owned by the Salvation Army… My experience in the pool My first ever experience of an Australian beach was at Dee Why, back in 1967 – I was promptly sent flying by an incoming wave as I paddled along the water’s edge, expecting things to be like the North Sea back home in Yorkshire. This was the nearest beach to our home for that year but I only have that first memory still engraved in my brain all these years on… I Read more [...]

Mahon Pool, Maroubra – NSW 2035

Aboriginal word meaning place of thunder My experience in the pool When I first came to Maroubra Beach a few years ago to kill some time before a flight out of Sydney, I had no idea there was this gem of a rock pool just around the headland to the north of the beach. What a miss. This is surely one of the most delightful ocean pools in NSW. You see it first as you approach past the big Mahon Pool sign on the grassy expanse above the ocean. Down a snaking path to the rock platform and Read more [...]

ABC Open catches up with Ocean Pools NSW

A journalist from the ABC Open channel joined me the other day at Coledale Rock Pool. ABC Open bills itself as for "real stories made by real people from all around Australia". I think the idea is to connect with local communities across the country, often with citizens' journalism, but in this case with a pro reporter catching up with someone like me, who is tapping into local communities via their swimming pools and coffee shops. The result of a very pleasant morning at my favourite Illawarra Read more [...]

Clovelly Ocean Pool – NSW, 2096

Indirectly named after a North Devon village My experience in the pool The great thing about Clovelly is you can have two completely different rock pool experiences: there’s the 25m lane pool with marked lanes and nice clear water; and there’s the big ocean water in Clovelly Bay itself. The bay is basically one big rock pool, since it’s protected from most of the surf and rips by a reef or old wall at the bay entrance, which is the remains of an attempt to build a causeway back in Read more [...]

50th Birthday Party at Oak Flats Pool

  Oak Flats Pool first opened its doors on 13 November 1965. My experience at the pool I couldn't resist returning to Oak Flats Pool at the weekend when I heard that Shellharbour City Council were organising a bit of birthday bash to mark the 50 years since Oak Flats Pool opened. The weather wasn't particularly kind to the organisers, with many probably put off by the soaking rain that fell through most of the morning. But by the time I arrived at the pool around 1pm, it had Read more [...]

Ulladulla Sea Pool – Ulladulla, NSW 2539

Aboriginal word meaning ‘safe harbour’ My experience in the pool It took me three visits to Ulladulla to actually get into the water in the sea pool. The pool only opens from November to April (and it’s closed for a weekly clean on Tuesdays so beware of that too). We didn’t read the small print well enough when we first dropped by in September, and trusted to local knowledge, following the advice of a gent who advised us to come back after the long October weekend (he must have Read more [...]

Freshwater Rock Pool – Freshwater, NSW 2096

In 1925, Freshwater rock pool became the first ocean pool on Sydney’s northern beaches. My experience in the pool Freshwater Rock Pool is a perfectly-positioned 50m Olympic Pool, with lane markings on the floor. It sits right under the cliff on one side at the northern end of Freshwater Beach, but unlike neighbouring Queenscliff, this doesn’t prevent the sun from warming the pool up pretty quickly in the morning because the cliff isn’t so high here. Its position also leaves you looking Read more [...]

Pearl Beach Rock Pool – Pearl Beach NSW 2256

The first NSW Governor, Arthur Phillip, dropped by Pearl Beach in March 1788… My experience in the pool I was a bit troubled at first by the little group of 10 year old kids staring intently at the green slimy steps into this pool, and shouting eagerly: “There it goes.” No, this was no bluebottle jellyfish or blue-ringed octopus; this was merely a sea slug, not that I really know what one of them is or does… It did, however, make me regret not bringing my rock pool shoes (a gift Read more [...]