Pool Reviews

Dapto Olympic Pool – Dapto, NSW 2530

Dapto Olympic Pool
Dapto Olympic Pool

There’s more to Dapto than the Dogs…

My experience in the pool

I was here on a cold but bright June morning.

The air temperature was 13C but felt a good deal colder with a chilly wind from the SW. This made for interesting sensations as I swam. The feel on the back switched between warmth from the sun, cold from the wind and something in between as the water splashed onto my back with each stroke.

It’s a beautiful pool, with palm trees by the side and views up to the escarpment west of town.

There were six lanes in use the morning I was there, with a couple of people in each, though I got lucky and had one lane to myself, meaning I could easily switch to backstroke when I felt like a change. There’s room for two or three more lanes, but this area was left for leisure swimmers or those who didn’t want to do laps.

Getting there, getting in, getting changed

The pool is well signposted from the Princes Highway in Dapto (signs for ‘Dapto Heated Pool’). If you’re on public transport, it’s a bit of a hike from the nearest train or bus stop, though.

There are lots of access points to the pool, with shallow steps at the shallow end and even a disabled lift.

There are warm showers in the spacious changing rooms; just don’t get fooled as I was by the handle with an H on it (the only one in the Men’s): this does not put the hot water on; instead you need to press the push start-stop style tap (weirdly this has blue on it, not red – but I only found this out after I’d had my cold shower!).

Other practical points

There is a large paddling pool next to the main Olympic Pool.

Entry fee $4.90 (with other concessionary rates) in 2015.

Freshwater pool open all year round

History and stories of the pool

Dapto History in Photos page on Facebook shows pictures of the pool a year after it was built in 1965. The comments under the entry show how popular this place was in those early days. I love the image of hundreds of bikes piled up outside the pool, a real demonstration of how our habits and means of transport have changed in 50 years.

There’s some suggestion, both in the comments on Facebook and in local media stories a few years ago, that there was considerable controversy when entrance charges were introduced for the pool.

The memorial plaque at the entrance to the pool shows that it was built in memory of those who gave their lives in World War 2, though given the issue over the fee to get in, it’s also interesting to see that it was initially part-funded by local citizens, an individual benefactor (unnamed) and the Coal Board!

People I met here included:

No particular encounters here, though I shared a joke with two ladies having a mid-morning swim, and there were two young guys clearly in serious training in the fast lane. In other words, this is a real mixed clientele.

What’s your story? Any memories of swimming here? Any stories to tell? Or did you just have swimming lessons in the cold of winter in the 1970s?

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

Facebook: Dapto History in Photos

Coffee, tea or milkshake after the swim?

There is a kiosk by the pool itself, but it was closed on my chilly June morning. So go back to the princes Highway, where there are two choices I like for different reasons:

Alexander’s Café Princes Highway, Dapto

Open 7.00am – 7.00pm (M-F); 8.00am – 5pm (Sat-Sun)

Alexander’s Café reviewed by Fancy a Cuppa website


Coffee and cake in Dapto at Alexander's Café
Coffee and cake in Dapto at Alexander’s Café

I like this place for its relaxed atmosphere, with lots of coffee paraphernalia like bean sacks and local artwork around the place. They also bake most of their delicious cakes in-house. The coffee is Delano’s from Wollongong. The flat white I had was not bad (though I actually preferred my coffee at the other place below), and the guest book lying on one of the tables suggests their milk shakes could be top notch.

The Café – Dapto Anglican Church, Moombara Street, Dapto

Open 9am – 4pm Monday – Friday (closed weekends)

The Cafe reviewed by Fancy a Cuppa website

The best coffee in Dapto (although it is from the same roasters as the other café reviewed here – Delano’s in Wollongong) and excellent tea from local suppliers iTea. The choice of nibbles to go with your cuppa is slightly more limited, focusing mainly on banana (and other fruit) breads, which are very good by the way. The décor is slightly more functional and less atmospheric than Alexander’s, so it all depends what your priorities are…

10 thoughts on “Dapto Olympic Pool – Dapto, NSW 2530”

  1. What happen to Dapto pool? I went there but it was closed when will it be open again….

    1. My own local source in Dapto confirmed that it is closed and that there is no sign up saying when it re-opens, which is pretty unhelpful. She did say that there is usually a brief closure for maintenance around this time of year so hopefully it will be back open soon. I’ll post again if I hear more.

  2. Brenda lewis (nee Evans) my father, sister & myself were part of the local citizens who collected monies in our road (Avondale Road) for the Dapto pool. We were there for the opening. Apart from this my memories are a bit vague. I think we collected about 2 shillings per week or fortnight & I don’t know for how long.
    I moved to England with my family in 1968 & on my visits (5) back to Oz we visited the Pool but not for a swim as I haven’t been back during your summers.
    I was sorry to read the last message on here said it was closed but I think it was closed on some of my visits.love the lamingtonxx

    1. Great story. Thanks for sharing that Brenda. Not often we hear from people emigrating northwards in the 60s. I have a local checking the pool for me in the coming days, but I don’t think it’s closed permanently

      1. I remember doing handstands on the floor of the pool with my sister’s in the sixties. Mum and Dad sunbaking. No suncream back then we always got bornt Only Zinc cream on our noses. Very happy memories. Big crowds of people. Great fun in the sun.

        1. Thanks for sharing those memories Erica. My sisters used to do that same in pools in the 60s, and I also have no recollection of ever using suncream back then. When did that all change?

  3. Hi Simon, my name is Zara and I recently won The Local History Prize for primary school kids run by Wollongong City Library (and Friends of the Library) for my project on Dapto Olympic Pool.
    I used microfilm to look up newspapers from the 60’s when the pool was built. We also found the pool was budgeted and designed while Australia used the imperial system and pounds as currency. Half way through the build of the pool, the Olympic committee changed the official length to be 50m, which left Dapto pool being a foot (30cm) longer than 50m. The first entry fee in the new currency was 5 cents.
    Also their was a local amateur swimming club (who helped raise some of the original money) was up and running before the pool was even built.

  4. Fantastic, well done Zara on winning the Local History Prize and a great choice of subject, I must say. What a good idea to use the old microfilms in the library, and how interesting that the pool is a foot longer than Olympic size. I guess they won’t be holding the Olympics in Dapto anytime soon, then!

  5. HI Simon,
    My name is Susie Moore and I trained and swam at the Dapto Pool under Mr Neil Stringer .. Myself and Geoffrey Ford were the first two people to represent the Dapto Swimming Club in the Australian Swimming Titles down in Hobart..
    It was a very interesting time because the whole Swimming Club came together to raise funds for us to go. Mrs Ford (Geoffrey “s Mum) took us down and we flew Annsett.

    It was a long time ago but it is still with me and will be forever


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