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 and down the shark net.
One got out at the other end just as I clambered in but that left me and the other guy to splash past each other for a few laps. I always like company when swimming in waters I don’t know, especially when they are murky as the water at Como is, but there was no cheery ‘morning’ from my temporary swim mate. This was clearly a pre-work business swim, with no time for such niceties.
I stayed on for a few more laps on my own, but didn’t manage to find out more about the type of people who use Como Tidal Baths regularly. Not a bad life, though, I imagine: a few cooling laps before you hop on that train into the Sydney CBD and cross the bridge over the Georges River, from which you can see the baths you’ve just swum in.
There’s lots to keep you entertained in the water at Como. Apart from the trains passing just nearby, there are yachts anchored just beyond the shark net, there were rowing crews out on the water having a training session, and lots of bird life flying- and screeching – overhead.
The pool at Como is a pretty accurate 50m, with a nylon shark net hung between two piers or boardwalks, and a rocky edge to the water (at high tide – at low tide there is a small area of sand).
Workers were fixing something along the edge of the river and in some councils that would have meant closing the pool while the work was done. But hats off to the Sutherland Shire workers who told me I could still swim and pointed out which pier was still accessible.
‘Accessible’ is a relative word, mind you. Able-bodied I may be, but Como Tidal Baths on high tide were one of the most awkward swimming enclosures to get into and out of. There are vertical metal steps down into the water off the pier or boardwalk, but this was no easy climb in or out – and I paused on my way up in order not to give a Mr Bean type performance as I hauled myself out of the water after my swim (they could just do with more accessible handles to get yourself up the last two steps…).
The water was not the cleanest – murky and a slightly odd taste to the salt I thought – but it was certainly warm at this end of the summer season, and the setting makes Como Tidal Baths so special. It really is a beautiful spot, and so tranquil on a calm late summer’s morning.
Getting there, getting in, getting changed
It’s probably a 10-15 minute walk from Como station. There are parking places near the pool.
At low tide you can enter via the small sandy beach. At high tide, when there are no council works on, you can probably wade in via the same route. But at high tide and with the pathway blocked off, it was those vertical metal steps and I found it quite hard to clamber in, and even worse climbing out.
There are toilets in the building that also houses the Como Learners Pool – these are up at the level of the path through the Pleasure Grounds. But only one of the toilets has a shower (if the pool is open – after 1pm – there is a shower pool side too). That shower is warm though!
Best at high tide, but swimming is possible on all tides.
Water not the clearest of Sydney’s swimming enclosures.
50m stretch of water.
History and stories of the pool
I found no stories or history of Como Tidal Baths. If anyone can steer me in the right direction, please let me know in the comments below.
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
Swimming blogger Sally spent her time in the learner pool just above the tidal baths, but she did spot one swimmer in the tidal enclosure too.
The Nabo blog entry for Sutherland Shire gives an entry for Como Tidal Baths.
Coffee, tea or milkshake after the swim?
There is coffee to be had right by the Tidal Baths at Como. The Blackfish Café serve the delicious Wood Roaster coffee, and do a nice-looking loose leaf tea from the same supplier. By the way, if you want to make a day of it at the weekend, Blackfish do a High Tea from 3pm, which I will definitely come back to try one day. They only open their kitchen at 9am, but will serve a coffee from 8.15 (and if you’re really lucky) they may even do you a post swim coffee before that…
Great views over the water while you sip your coffee.
But it’s really worth going the extra mile (and to the other side of the railway tracks) for the best coffee in Como…
Revolution at Como – 72 Wolger Street, Como, NSW 2226
Open Tuesday – Friday 7am – 4pm; Saturday – Sunday 7am – 2pm
Revolution @ Como reviewed by Fancy a Cuppa website
Revolution @ Como serves up the best coffee in Como by a long shot. It is also one of the best coffee shops in Sydney, in my view. The barista here reckons this is the only Sydney coffee shop serving the excellent Art of Espresso coffee from Young NSW. Honestly, if the coffee in Young is that good, I’m going to have to check out their aquatic centre soon just to have an excuse for another post swim coffee this good.
But Revolution is also a stylish place, with an old 1950s sofa and record turntable at the back, a lovely urban garden feel next to that, and then the more conventional coffee shop and terrace at the front. It’s a really friendly neighbourhood coffee shop, and I’m very envious of the residents of Como who live nearby.