Pool Reviews

Norah Head Rock Pool – Norah Head, NSW 2263

Norah Head Rock Pool

Norah Head lighthouse was the last staffed lighthouse along the NSW coast.

My experience in the pool

Norah Head rock pool has to be my favourite of the many ring of stones rock pools along the NSW Central Coast. Catch it on the right tide in sunny weather, as I did in mid December 2016 and it is a great spot to play safely in the waves.

Norah Head is probably best at high tide, when you can easily manage a few strokes of freestyle in between the waves and unlike the other ring of rocks pools, you won’t find yourself getting caught up in those rocks or smashing your feet against stones as the water gets shallow.

The nice thing about the pool at Norah Head is that you have a soft sandy cushion under your feet (a big improvement on the stones at Avoca Beach) and a clear defined boundary of the rock pool (unlike the confusion at Copacabana), and although it doesn’t lend itself to lap swimming (unlike its neighbour at The Entrance), at least you can find some water deep enough to manage a few strokes on your back or front.

On this first day of the school summer holidays, there were a few families down on the sand, and some screaming kids enjoying the safe surf in the rock pool, but that just added to the sense of fun around Norah Head rock pool and it was nowhere near as crowded on the beach as other places must be along the coast at this time of year.

Best of all, the water was crystal clear and a great temperature. One of those days where I just feel lucky to have such a coastline on my doorstep.

Getting there, getting in, getting changed

There are regular buses from the train station at Wyong to Norah Head and they drop you off not far from the rock pool.  Bus takes about an hour. By car, you can get to the car park right by the rock pool, and even sit and enjoy the surf as I did before heading to the water myself.

There’s only one way into the water at the Norah Head rock pool and that’s via the beach. I wouldn’t fancy negotiating the ring of stones from the ocean side!

There’s a little toilet and changing area just above the beach at Norah Head.

Tidal differences

Norah Head is another of the NSW Central Coast rock pools formed by a ring of stones and again it is best at high tide. With the tide in, it is a lovely spot to swim a bit or just relax and float. I haven’t yet been at low tide, so I’m not sure how good it is for anything more than a shallow bathe when the tide is out.

History and stories of the pool

I haven’t found any history of the Norah Head rock pool. One of the links below under other articles has a brief history of the area, from which I see that the rock pool was constructed in the 1970s, so it is one of the newest rock pools on the NSW coast. (I note, though, that a new comment has its age going back further since she swam in it in the 60s, so you can’t believe everything you read on the web…)

People I met here

I was at Norah Head early in the summer holidays when it’s a great spot for families, but parents are usually too busy keeping an eye on their little ones to talk to an old fogey like me, so I gleaned no stories from locals this time, either

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

Norah Head rock pool got a mention in this piece by two Central Coast sisters, as the NSW Central Coast’s secret swim spot.

This Central Coast blogger has Norah Head rock pool down as a great place for kids.

And of course, don’t miss the potted history of the area around Norah Head in the All Into Ocean Pools entry for this rock pool.

 Coffee, tea or milkshake after the swim?

It’s a bit of a hike up about 50 steps directly up the cliff from the rock pool to get your post swim coffee at Norah Head.

The Ark Café – 8 Bush Street, Norah Head, NSW 2263

Open Daily 8am – 5pm

They do a decent Campos Coffee at The Ark Café in Norah Head and the cake selection will certainly fill any gap left after your efforts in the surf. It’s a big space with lots of seating and it’s right opposite a park with play area, in case you have dogs or you have kids that still need to let off more steam.

16 thoughts on “Norah Head Rock Pool – Norah Head, NSW 2263”

  1. What about Bondis ocean pool? And Newcastle?
    I would like to know more locations for ocean or salt water pools, in Nsw, I live in Canberra, have family near Batemans Bay,
    I had a sea change in early 2000 and lived at the Entrance and enjoyed its ocean pool for a few years:) it was pretty good, they would flush the pool, every second week, and it made a big difference to the clarity of the water.
    Some one told be that a log of the ocean pools were built during the 1930’s during the depression?

    1. Hi Rob, thanks for commenting. The Bondi and Newcastle pools are already on the site (though I still have to visit Merewether near Newcastle). You can use the Map on the website to track which pools I’ve been to via location, or click a place name in the search box to find a specific review. I categorise my reviews by either Ocean Pool, Harbour Pool or Other. Other pools are usually freshwater aquatic centres (like Batemans Bay), but the harbour pools and ocean pools would give you the salt water experience you’re after and I have a fair few of those mapped now. Yes, many of the pools were built in the Depression – I sometimes refer to this if it was the case, but you will find more systematic information on the date of construction on the excellent All Into Ocean Pools website. Happy swimming!

  2. Hi, is the beach dog friendly? And do you know of beaches in the immediate area that are? My mum had bought in noraville

  3. The Norah Head rock pool was constructed in the 1930’s. My mother swam in it as a child . I swam in it in the 50’s.

    1. Thanks for correcting that, Susan. One of those articles I link to had the wrong information, clearly. How lovely to have had it as your childhood pool

  4. It is a wonderful pool – but just sand at very low tides.
    I’d like to know more of its history but as you say hard to find.
    We camped there – the park near the cafe used to be the camping ground – every year in the 60s so it was certainly there then.

  5. Made me feel very nostalgic reading about the Norah Head Rockpool but you’re way off with the construction date. I am 66 and was taken there many times as a tiny girl when my family holidayed in the area. I would say more like late 50’s early 60’s. Lovely article tho.

    1. Thanks Julie – glad you enjoyed the memories this post triggered for you. Good to hear it was around earlier. There was no historical board up near the pool so I took the date from one of the articles I linked to here, and they were clearly mistaken, then. So what’s the first year you remember bathing here?

  6. My grandfather helped with the construction of the rock pool and it was way before the 1970’s.We lived in Norah Head and used to frequent the rock pool and I was born in the 60’s.

    1. My great grandfather helped also with the construction of the rock pool & Jo is correct. I grew up there & loved the pool, even the steps. I was born in 76 & My mum was born in 1956 & she used to swim there when she was little also. I would love to find out more.

  7. Hello I know this is an old post but I am working on homeschooling information on Norah Head and this post came up. You all mentioned that the history of the pool is not readily available. And while the link below is not about the pool specifically it is about the history of the area and I thought it was interesting I’ll attach the link so if you are interested you can have a look yourself. https://www.freesettlerorfelon.com/norah_head.htm

  8. Regarding that rock pool, about which I was delighted to read your comments. We used to have our holidays from Parramatta at Norah Head during the 1950s – when that same rock pool existed and I paddled in it, regularly. My sister’s godfather was then the recently-retired NH lighthouse keeper – Harry Fisher, who had retired to Toukley.

    I was there about 18 years ago and that swimming pool didn’t seem to have been changed.

    We used to stay at 2 Young St and rent some rooms from the then owners (who I seemed to remember were caretakers for what was then a camping ground opposite – now a park). The building is still there and was last sold in 1998, so the current owners seem to appreciate a Norah Head original.

    I have very fond memories of both 2 Young St and the rock pool.

  9. If anyone wants an in-depth background, try finding “A Pictorial History of the Wyong Shire” by Edward Stinson, published by Wyong Shire Council in 1979, and 1983. Currently the 6 volumes are for sale on E-Bay for $250 or AbeBooks for about US$80.

    They were a compilation of around 300 articles on the history of the Wyong area written by Edward Stinson between 1973 – 1979 and published weekly in the local paper, the Tuggerah Lakes Advocate.

Leave a Reply

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