Pool Reviews

Batemans Bay Olympic Pool – Batemans Bay, NSW 2536

Batemans Bay olympic pool

Bateman was a ship’s captain in the days of Captain Cook.

My experience in the pool

I’d driven past Batemans Bay outdoor pool lots of times in the past and always thought it’d be worth giving it a go some day. This 50m Olympic Pool is right by the Princes Highway so you can see the blue pool from the road, whereas you have to go a bit further down the coast to see the Bay itself!

Things didn’t quite go to plan for us in Batemans Bay, though. The pool was (encouragingly) full of kids by the time we arrived at the end of the morning on a Saturday in October. A pool full of kids means no photos in this day and age, and even though we hung around outside the pool at closing time, it was taking the lifeguards all their energy to get these kids out of the water when the pool closed at 2pm.

I felt a bit sorry for the kids, being chucked out at 2pm on a warm Saturday. Really not sure why the pool couldn’t stay open a bit longer if there is so much demand. But I also felt a bit sorry for myself and this blog, since it meant I was still unable to get nice pictures to go in the gallery here.

I could rant on at length at the state of society today where people become immediately suspicious if someone is wandering round a swimming pool with a camera, but hey ho, that is sadly the state of things today, so I have to go with it. And I’ll just have to come back here again, maybe when we are heading further south on this ocean pools quest.

I have to say Batemans Bay – as a town – does shut down pretty early on a Saturday, so just beware of that if you’re visiting for the first time. The pool closes at 2pm; a lot of the shops close their doors at 1pm; and the coffee shop I was targeting for my post swim coffee closed at 12noon, so we missed out on that, too.

Still, it is always a joy to do a few laps outside, just to contrast with the actual ocean pools and swimming enclosures I’ll mostly be in over the summer to come.

The lifeguards here were friendly, too, with lots of banter about the River Clyde (we know its Scottish counterpart well, but there are no bull sharks around Glasgow, except for the occasional metaphorical one) and the water temperature (which was, by the way, a comfy 27C).

They also kindly created a new lane when Anita chose to swim alongside the last of the lane markers and inside the area where the kids were splashing about. So for the duration of our swim, the kids were a bit squeezed, but they didn’t seem to mind.

I had a lane to myself for a brief moment and switched to my usual backstroke. No gum trees providing shade over this pool (and for the first time this season I caught the sun a bit), but there’s a line of eucalypts in the parkland next door so nice views to watch as you go backwards in either direction.

Later in the afternoon we chatted briefly to two ladies campaigning for the creation of an indoor pool on the site of Batemans Bay Olympic Pool. I can see their point: this pool is only open for certain months of the year anyway; there is nowhere else to swim nearby in the winter months; and there is nowhere for people needing aqua rehab.

I’m not sure how successful their campaign will be, since I gather they have been making these arguments for 30 years now, and I know – as they themselves argued to us – there is more to swimming than just ploughing up the lanes doing laps. But I do hope any outcome doesn’t mean the end of the outdoor pool at Batemans Bay.

The kids clearly love it and we certainly did, too. According to those ladies, there have been repeated episodes of closures here due to cracks in the pool, but it seemed good enough to us.

And that also got us discussing on the drive home: how times have changed from the desire to provide basic facilities to the modern-day perceived ‘need’ for all bells & whistles 21st century facilities (as has happened at Nowra – a great initiative and a lovely new outdoor pool, but how many pools don’t get built or repaired because there is a desire now for only the best in facilities when the funding might be available for something a bit simpler?).

Yes, we enjoyed our swim in Batemans Bay pool, but the whole day did make us get into some deep thinking about where society is going today…

Getting there, getting in, getting changed

The pool is right on the Princes Highway on the northbound side. Lots of parking. There are daily buses heading from Sydney to Eden if you really need to take public transport to get here.

Wide and shallow steps at one side of the shallow end, with vertical metal stairs on the other. There is also a disabled hoist towards that shallow end.

The showers are very confusing at Batemans Bay pool. You need to press a button above the shower head to activate the hot water. But don’t then try to move the hot water tap – it is fixed. You actually need to turn the cold water tap to get hot water. The shower is timed for 90 seconds and it took me most of allotted time to work out how you actually get any hot water.

Other practical points

Entrance fee $5

1m depth at the shallow end, and the depth takes some time to increase. At the deep end it is a lovely 2.2m.

Pool opening season October – March.

History and stories of the pool

The pool opened its doors in November 1966 so it is approaching its 50th anniversary. There are no signs of a major celebration, though, which is a shame even if the campaign to change the facilities has been going for more than half the life of Batemans Bay Olympic Pool!

I need to investigate Batemans Bay pool more, though, because in my search for stories about the pool, I saw a reference in once press clipping to an Olympic pool being built in 1938, possibly on the same site as the current complex.

I will drop by Batemans Bay library one weekend, if I can just get to town before everything closes for the day… So watch this space…

People I met in the pool

It was difficult to connect with anyone at Batemans Bay pool, mainly because there were so many kids here and the parents were too busy keeping on eye on their charges. The lifeguards were chatty but there wasn’t really a chance to go into pool stories with any of them.

What’s your story? Any memories of swimming here? Any stories to tell? Or did you just have swimming lessons in days gone by?

Whatever you have to say, however brief, I’d love to hear from you and will add any stories to this section of the site as and when I receive them.  Add your comment or story under ‘Leave a Reply’ below.

Links to other articles on this pool

I have been unable to find any other blog posts or articles written about Batemans Bay pool – If anybody has seen any, drop me a line in the comments below.

Coffee, tea or milkshake after the swim?

The place we hoped to try for a post swim coffee shuts at midday on a Saturday, and the other cafés in town seemed fairly ordinary. Best bet we think is to drive a few kilometres down the coast to Batehaven and check out Crumb Cafe on Beach Road.

15 thoughts on “Batemans Bay Olympic Pool – Batemans Bay, NSW 2536”

  1. Hail, fellow pool blogger!

    I share your fears about the future of the outdoor pool. The one at Narooma, run by the same Council is a smelly abomination….I prefer BB and Moruya (25m). You are right – very friendly people here, and other swimmers are too. I’ve had some good end-of-lap rest chats with friendly locals.

    Did you know Shane Gould is doing a PHD on the role of the public pool in Australian society? Can’t wait for it to be a book!

    1. Hello – good to hear from you. Always good to connect directly with other swimming enthusiasts like yourself!

      Yes, we were very disappointed, when we visited Narooma, to find it only had an indoor pool now. We hope Batemans Bay doesn’t go the same way.

      I didn’t know about Shane Gould’s PhD. Would love to read it. How did you hear about this? Would love to meet her one day

  2. Hi. I am disabled. It would be good if you could say what access there is to a pool. Is it disabled friendly is there steps into the water? Is there a railing? Is there a ramp into the water

    Could you support a bolt on stainless steel into the water. This is the best entry to the water with railing.

    Swimming is often the best exercise for the disabled. Finding a suitable pool would make it a lot easier


    1. Thanks for the comment and question, Sophi – all I saw at Batemans Bay pool was a hoist to make it easier for people with a disability to enter the water. There is no ramp. I’m not sure about the bolt on the railing idea, though – you’d need to contact the pool direct to ask if they have such a facility. I agree, though, that swimming is fabulous exercise for the disabled as much as the able-bodied. Check the search facility under the pool reviews section because I do always mention disabled access if I see it available.

    2. The hoist mentioned is actually a seat which can swing out over the water and then lowered into it paid for by fund raising, not our council. Not sure how long we will keep our pool though as our council has their mind set on a fancy leisure centre with several other pools, each with different temperatures to suit their purpose and our olympic pool will be sacrificed and downsized to a 25m pool of 8 lanes. This despite massive protests by swimmers. As our mayor said “you will get what we give you” !!

      All 3 pools in the shire, Narooma, Moruya and Batemans Bay were a gift in the 60’s from the Street family (ice cream fame) which the council are now denying. They want to incorporate a large gym (our small town already has 6) as well as an entertainment facility which won’t be big enough to attract any major entertainers and is the same size as the facility in the Soldiers Club. It will be a massive white elephant and I think they plan to bulldoze our pool this June and start the build. The mini golf next door will be going and there is no talk of it being placed elsewhere. We have an historical society in the Bay you could contact if you want more information.

      1. Thanks for the details on the seat, Rosemary. From what I have read about the Council’s plans, I’d be with you in your campaign if I lived closer. How fascinating to know all those pools were gifted by the Streets ice cream family!

  3. Narooma pool closes at 12 on Saturdays and is closed on Sundays!
    And for the disabled, there are stairs and a railing, also the chair lift, but you have to negotiate the toddlers’ learn to swim and kids playing, often with balls. Sometimes you can manage to get a lane to do your rehab in. The pool is heated, but the staff mostly have doors and windows open which negates any warmth put in the water, and if there’s a wind blowing, it’s freezing. If they would only leave the doors and windows closed, the water would be tolerable. The drain in the disabled room has a hideous stench and everybody uses that room for dressing or for toileting. The staff …… so so. The learn to swim instructor is excellent at it, with adults as well as children. Parking is good as long as there is no function on at the Leisure Centre across the road or at NATA Oval next door. Hope this helps.

  4. ps Narooma pool also closes for several weeks during the Winter months for maintenance and repainting. One year it was closed for 7 weeks, the next 2 months! Not good for those depending on it for rehab and general fitness.

      1. Simón Eurobodalla Council has hastedly voted to demolish Batemans Bay’s 50 m pool & replace it with an inadequate 25 m indoor pool along with 5 other water bodies in a new $46.3 million Aquatic Centre combined with an Arts Centre! You will be able to swim & check out the art displays or even interact with performing artists : the swim up bar may prove to be popular ? Council failed to consult
        the swimming community the people who use the pool not even the Swim Club ! Undoubtedly The Bay needs a new pool complex but not without our 50 pool which we have afforded for over 50 years!
        The Council has wasted ratepayers money in purchasing the Bowling Club $ 2.7 million then borrowed $2 million to pay for it on an $80,000
        annual recurrent mortgage loan . It does this but will not replace our 50 m pool ! Go figure! Council refuses it provide the public with comparative annual running costs of all six water bodies plus a 50 m pool option . A new 50 m pool is affordable along with the other water bodies in the Concept Plan . The council spin doctors have won the day in supporting the preconceived goal of keeping Narooma 50 m pool complex & dispensing with Batemans Bays 50 m pool . NB it’s sheer bloody mindedness as 78 % of Eurobodalla’s population are in the Batemans Bay Area while only 7% of the population are around Narooma ! What stupidity ?

        1. Thanks Peter for the update. I have been following progress on this saga via your Facebook page. It does sound as if the Council had made a decision first and then has been going through the consultation process as a necessary formality rather than genuinely seeking people’s views. Such a shame to lose such an excellent facility. But keep campaigning if you can and good luck!

  5. I swim 2 to 3 times per week, and have done so all of my life.
    Batemans Bay lacks swimming facilities for a town of this size, and requires a 50 metre pool. A 25 metre pool is too small for a town of this size and does not allow people to train and swim in a competitive manner. It does not have to be an upmarket competition pool. Most new 50 metre pools now have a movable pontoon, which can be used to convert it into two 25 metre pools, when required, to give more flexibility of operation.
    It would be a great asset for tourism, as people come to the coast for watersports. They can still swim if it is cold, or there is a cold ocean current running, blue bottles, etc.
    I regularly swim at Narooma. The pool is wonderfully maintained by the staff, and it is never too hot or cold. I like the way Narooma just enclosed their existing facility, instead of using millions to create a new facility.
    Public swimming pools are investments in public health.

  6. As one lady who enjoys water aerobics as alot of ladys do it is really sad that the outdood pool at batemans bay is closing.we have approximately 30 ladies attending 7am classes,and about 40 ladies at 9am sessions.i ask you how council expects to accomodate so many ladies in a fifty metre pool.we just need the pool to be fuxed so we can carry on enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

    1. Thanks for commenting Judith. Did you mean 25m pool is planned rather than 50m? But yes, it’s a shame when the existing pool is so well-supported by the local community

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *