Pool Reviews

Paradise Beach Swimming Enclosure – Avalon, NSW 2107

Paradise Beach Swimming Enclosure

My experience in the pool

I really envy the two blokes I saw sauntering down the road to Paradise Beach swimming enclosure, towel in hand, ready to take the plunge presumably just a couple of hundred yards from their home. I drove down to the end of Paradise Road and saw the beautiful baths from the car, but then had to drive half a mile back up the hill before I could find a reasonable place to park.

There are at best 6 parking spots by the baths at Paradise Beach and on a hot morning at end of January, they must have been long gone, even though schools were in theory back that morning…Add to that my choice of day to visit Paradise was bin collection day so most of the parking bays near the pool had bins to be picked up, and two houses getting renovated meant a dozen or so tradies vehicles lining what spaces remained.

It’s no great hardship to walk half a mile to such a beautiful swimming spot, though (and if you depend on public transport, that’s about where the hourly bus would drop you anyway.

This swimming enclosure is best at high tide, and I timed the visit well, with the water up and leaving just a thin line of sandy beach by the upturned boats.

I was only slightly unnerved by talking to Pommy local, Deb, who laughingly told me there were enough holes in the shark net to mean that pretty well anything that really wanted to would get into the enclosure, but hopefully nothing untoward had happened yet!

If the baths had been empty, I might have been discouraged, but there were enough people in the water, including Mum and toddler (egging her Mum on to more daredevil deeds, like diving in off the boardwalk- Mum refused, by the way).

The ‘netted’ enclosure at Paradise Beach is about 40m long so good for decent laps, though you only have the net to push off so it’s not easy to do more than one lap without stopping to turn. The water on this day was beautiful: clear enough to see lots of fair sized fish swimming around, and warm enough in parts to feel almost like having a bath, though mostly it was just a delightful cool break from the heat of the morning.

At high tide, you have to paddle through a few metres of water to reach the boardwalk, and there is the rather unnerving effect of the water squelching up through the boards as you get further out, and with 3 metres of water below me and camera in hand, I didn’t fancy plunging through any board that may have rotted: all was well, though.

Pittwater is a fantastic spot to swim. There are the usual yachts moored along the water just beyond the shark net, and then it’s just bush beyond, as far as the eye can see. You can see why they called the place Paradise Beach.

Getting there, getting in, getting changed

There is an hourly bus from Avalon that drops you about ten minutes’ walk from the swimming enclosure at Paradise Beach. There are so few parking places that you may end up parking that far away anyway.

Enter the water either via the little strip of beach (much bigger at low tide), or walk along the wooden boardwalk and clamber in via the metal stairs at the deep end (there is a depth marker just by the stairs, showing 3m at high tide when I was there).

No shower or toilet. No changing room. No bench even to sit and watch people and store your stuff. So it’s a very basic swim at Paradise. But that’s why the locals like it, because they reckon it keeps the place quiet!

Tidal differences

Best at high tide, when the sandy beach becomes a narrow strip. I haven’t tried at low tide but I’m guessing it is still possible to swim as long as you stay near the shark net.


History and stories of the pool

I haven’t found any archive articles about the history of the swimming enclosure at Paradise Beach. When a tidal bath has a name that consists of words used in every day language, it can be hard to search, even in places like Trove from the Australian National Library. If anybody has any stories or links to further information, drop me a line or comment below.

People I met here

Deb was a Mum down at the beach with her two kids, who were snorkelling and kayaking within and beyond the enclosure (daughter exclaimed at one point that she had seen a brightly coloured jellyfish- not something I was keen to bump into myself!) Deb is a Pommy lass from Leicestershire, though it sounds as if she is lucky enough now to live somewhere not far from Paradise, as she knew all about the best tides and how low the water got at low tide too. She had also noted in her many swims here that there were a good few holes in the shark net, but she was disappointed not to have yet seen any sea horses up by the net, although others claim there are…

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 only found one other blogger who has written about swimming at Paradise Beach swimming enclosure. The Ellas List blog listed Paradise Beach as one of the best places around Pittwater for swimming with kids.

 Coffee, tea or milkshake after the swim?

There is nothing near the Paradise Beach swimming enclosure, so your best bet for a post swim coffee is to head back to Avalon and visit my favourite coffee shop there…

The Sneaky Grind – Official address is 48 Old Barrenjoey Road, but you need to cut down a little alleyway called Chelsea Lane (there should be a blackboard pointing the way in Old Barrenjoey Road)

Open 7am – 4pm Mon-Fri; 7am – 3pm Saturday; 8am-2pm Sunday

The Sneaky Grind reviewed on Fancy a Cuppa website


I love this coffee shop in Avalon. Very relaxed feel with lots of space either outside or under cover in a lovely arty area at the back. And the coffee is top quality. Charlie Coffee is a Sydney-based roaster and The Sneaky Grind have a really good blend on offer which suits my taste for a lighter roast, or you can go for their single origin (a delicious Ethiopian on the day of my visit). If tea is your tipple, they do the rather good loose leaf teas from Teacraft, too. Oh, and it’s run by a Pom. James has been in Australia a few years now but decided to run against the usual tide of Aussies opening coffee shops in the UK, by running this great coffee shop in one of the most delightful of Sydney’s northern beaches. Worth finding down the little alleyway of Chelsea Lane – you won’t regret it.

12 thoughts on “Paradise Beach Swimming Enclosure – Avalon, NSW 2107”

  1. A lovely little beach and swimming enclosure. Been a few times. Huge number of jellyfish washed up last time I was there. I have a bit of a jellyfish phobia. Parking is almost impossible whenever you go. That is because selfish locals in the street, purposely park there to discourage visitors (happens a LOT on the Northern Beaches) But just park along main street and walk down. Will only take five minutes. Paradise indeed.

    1. I must have got lucky with the jellyfish – if there were any, I didn’t see a thing, but then I’m almost blind without my glasses so I would spot them too late to take evasive action I’m afraid

  2. Paradise Beach Pool was originally built by my grandfather Vic Hopkins (and friends) around the 1940’s. They were the first permanent residents to live there. My mum, Pam Hopkins as a young 7 year old learnt to swim and dive there (there used to be a diving board). She became the Australian junior AND open national spring board and high board diving champion in 1950/51.
    She gave me her gold medals only recently and puts her success down to having beautiful Paradise Beach Pool literally in her front yard.
    It’s a great story and I might try to apply to the council to get the pool named after my mum Pam Hopkins who isn’t well at the moment after suffering a stroke – she truly loves Paradise Beach and would be so so thrived if it became a reality.
    Scott Parker
    September 2018

    1. What a fantastic story, Scott, and yes it’d be great to have the pool named after her. How wonderful to know your grandfather built it! Have you got any photos of the days when it had a diving board? Hard to picture right now. There must have been a deeper channel then?

      1. Scott Parker, I’d love to chat with you about Paradise Beach and the origins of the wharf.
        I grew up on Paradise Beach from 1977 and I remember the diving board fondly. Including the day that man tragically broke his neck and they had to remove it. They’re currently putting signage up about damage and it being unsafe. My thoughts are they’re having another go to have it demolished, but some history around the jetty may help to have the baths heritage listed. Let’s talk?

  3. I can remember many times walking down that big hill on a warm afternoon for a swim, cicadas buzzing loudly. If you were lucky enough, you may have even seen a koala! Yes, back then we always saw this big old male koala that was often found wandering along our street. I always remember disliking the hot sticky feeling walking back home after our cool swim in the sparkling waters of paradise beach. I remember the nets and being frightened of what may be lurking… I do however have memories of seeing seahorses back then. I also tragically remember the story of the person who broke their neck. That always stuck with me… the tide was low. I also remember another occasion where my mother hurled herself off the jetty wearing a very long cotton dress, to save my young toddler brother from near drowning. Her dress blew up in the water like a parachute. All was well, she got to him in time. We lived around the corner and loved all the many special spots on Pittwater.

  4. A thank you to Scott Parker for revisiting the history of Paradise Beach pool. It has a tremendous history for Northern Beaches residents and more so for the “locals”. My family and I all have boats moored off the beach with dinghy’s stored in racks curtesy of council. Our history goes back to 1959 when my father (Alex) purchased our house from Vic Hopkins. To this day I frequent the beach weekly enjoying the ambience of the area,it is indeed a special place. When the proposed “new” pool is built, I believe Scott’s idea of naming the pool after the Hopkins family has great merit,regards Keith Root Trappers Way Avalon.

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