Ocean Baths / Rock Pools

Ross Jones Memorial Pool – Coogee, NSW 2034

Long before the rock pool was built, Coogee Beach had an English-style pier, though it only lasted six years before a storm destroyed it. My experience in the pool There was bright sunshine over Coogee when I arrived mid-morning for my dip in this delightful pool. It’s only a short pool – about 17m probably, or maybe even less – but when the sun is blasting down and the sea is glittering all around, getting into a pool like this is one of life’s pure pleasures. I rather like Read more [...]

Macmasters Beach Rock Pool – NSW 2251

Named after the Scotsman who first settled here in 1855, though nobody seems to know where in Scotland he came from… My experience in the pool It was a cloudy day in midweek just after the sweltering hot holiday weekend in October, which might explain why the place was deserted apart from the handful of surfers who, I quickly realised, would glide past the pool on a wave and then walk back along the coast path and past the pool again before stepping across the rocks to rejoin their surfing Read more [...]

South Curl Curl Rock Pool – NSW 2096

The name possibly comes from an Aboriginal phrase meaning ‘river of life’ My experience in the pool I was here on a bright, sunny morning in early October when you can almost feel the transition from spring to summer (and forecasts were for 30C the next day). The water was already a lovely temperature – no signs up, but I was guessing over 20C for my swim, making we wish I’d done the switch back to ocean pools a few weeks ago rather than waiting till now. This is a lovely pool, 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 [...]