Bilgola Rock Pool – Bilgola, NSW 2107

Named after an Aboriginal term meaning 'swirling waters'. My experience in the pool For one of the swimmers who contacted me since I began this tour of NSW ocean pools, Bilgola Rock Pool is the best. So I was keen to see what made her make this claim. The pool was a lot busier for a weekday morning than any other I have been in, so Bilgola certainly has a sizeable fan base, and most of those I chatted with made the same claim: it's got to be the best rock pool in Sydney, they all said. It Read more [...]

Ivo Rowe Rock Pool – South Coogee, NSW 2034

Named after a local resident who worked to improve the pool from the 1930s onwards. My experience in the pool The waves were crashing into this tiny, round rock pool south of Coogee when I first arrived, so for a change I decided to go for my coffee and cake before the swim instead of afterwards. By the time I got back there around midday on a hot February day, there were already two other guys in the water, and that makes this pool pretty full. That’s how small it is. They squeezed Read more [...]

Newport Rock Pool – Newport, NSW 2106

I couldn't see any evidence of the times when this place got its name, as Sydney's new port on the northern beaches. My experience in the pool The surf was strong enough to close Newport Beach on the February morning I turned up for my rock pool swim. The pool was perfect, though, with warm water - over 20C - and no sign of bluebottles or beached whales (a reference back to the dead hump back found in the rock pool after a big storm in 2012).  I love Newport Beach Rock Pool for its simplicity. Read more [...]

Wylie’s Baths – Coogee, NSW 2034

The oldest surviving communal sea baths in Australia My experience in the pool They'd closed Wylie's Baths the day before I came in February 2016. Strong surf from the remnants of Cyclone Winston was battering the east coast of NSW, making swimming dangerous, even in ocean pools like this one. Winds had dropped by the time I turned up and the pool was open (thankfully, because I'd come a long way for this swim), but lifeguards were on hand to make sure visitors didn't go anywhere near Read more [...]

Bulgo Pool – Bulgo, near Otford, NSW 2508

Two swimming opportunities in one place – if you get the right tide My experience in the pool It took about 25 minutes to walk down the cliff from Otford to reach Bulgo Beach, but it was definitely worth it. Bulgo is one of the few remaining shack communities inside the Royal National Park. Thankfully the locals were friendly and were happy to send us in the right direction to reach the little rock pool at the southern end of the beach, because without their help, I think we’d just Read more [...]