Pool Reviews

The Entrance Ocean Baths – NSW 2261

The Entrance Ocean Baths
The Entrance Ocean Baths

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 Ilkley Lido to remember (where the water can often be around 12C as it’s never heated).

I must admit I only managed two laps, though it was the stinging of salt in my eyes that was putting me off as much as the temperature of the water. Someone said the water was about 14C, and certainly I could feel it fizzing with cold against the back of my head as I ploughed along on those two laps.

It’s a wonderful spot, though, with one wall facing directly out to the ocean, where waves are breaking and ships can be seen on the horizon. To the north are the beautiful beaches of The Entrance, and some way north is the impressive white of a light house, which switches on as you get closer to dusk. It’s an idyllic spot, and a really beautiful pool.

It’s a proper Olympic length and has lane markings so it’s clearly been used for competitions, and has a big enough viewing area to suggest that it still is.

It reminded me of Shellharbour’s beautiful Beverley Whitfield pool in its layout and setting. And the nice thing about the safety fence they have installed around the three sides of the pool that may be exposed in high tide is that it does not prevent you from walking right around the pool edge and so jumping in if you like it from any spot on any side.

1.1m at shallow end to 1.4m at deep end does not sound very deep but actually it was perfectly deep enough for a decent swim.

Getting there, getting in, getting changed

The Entrance Ocean Baths are a short walk from the town centre a little way round towards the south. There’s no car park as such so you’ll need to park in town or try on street parking if you want access, and then walk down the steps to the pool side.

Lots of steps and stairs into this pool. The gentle, slow way in is half way up the length of the pool, and wide enough for you to dither and not block the way of others who might be bolder than you or on their way out.

Two fresh water showers at the side of the pool and then a changing room beside the toilets higher up by the surf life saving club. A sign indicated the water had been switched off because of water restrictions, but I’m guessing these work in high season.

Tidal differences

The weather was calm for our visit so the tide didn’t make an enormous difference to the swim. I think it might be a bit different during a storm, though…

Other practical points

As well as a full 50m Olympic pool, there is an interesting wading pool, which has two sections to it, joined in the middle by a shallower section of water.

History and stories of the pool

Dawn Fraser was brought up here to train for the Melbourne Olympics in 1956.

Pool caretaker Phil was looking with foreboding at the forecast for more storms in the days after our visit here. He had had the enormous job in April 2015 of clearing out the pool after the big storms hit that time. Sand filled the whole pool to 1.4m and had to be cleared by hand (and shovels) by Phil and a few volunteers. Thanks to him for the photos of both the storm when it hit the pool and the morning clear up afterwards. I offered to help out if a storm hit overnight while we stayed, but he said the next pool clearance was not due till the following week so he wouldn’t be touching it if something similar happened again. It looks an enormous job, but vital since sand can block up the channel needed to drain the pool. And in April 2015, it even knocked down a live electricity-bearing pole onto the pool edge, as well as denting those poolside showers…

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 1960s?

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

This is one of the few pools that has its own Facebook page, with regular updates. Look for ‘The Entrance Ocean Baths’

There’s a history of the pool on the Central Coast website and blog.

Coffee, tea or milkshake after the swim?

It’s about a ten minute walk from the pool to this café in the centre of The Entrance.

Café Kuhmoov –  1A Ocean Parade, The Entrance

Open daily 7.30am – 2.30pm – later closing in summer

Café Kuhmoov reviewed by Fancy a Cuppa website

Café Kuhmoov for coffee or tea in The Entrance
Café Kuhmoov for coffee or tea in The Entrance


It’s nice to get a warm cheery welcome in a café when you go for the first time, and even better to be recognised and welcomed again when you return for a second visit. They also do excellent coffee and loose leaf tea, so no matter what drink you want to warm you up after your swim, this is the place to go. Nice food, too.

15 thoughts on “The Entrance Ocean Baths – NSW 2261”

  1. Congrats on a terrific website and half your luck enjoying time to swim in all the pools and tell of your experiences. And all this from a Yorkshire man makes it better still. Good luck on your journey. We who swim at The Entrance reckon our pools are the best, but I guess all the other swimmers far and wide say the same about their pools. Well done.

    1. Thanks Fred. So are you from God’s Own County, too? Yes, most locals stay very attached to their local pool. I did enjoy my swim there, but I need to buy myself a cap if I’m going to get in the water in winter again…

  2. Yes I was one who had swimming lessons at TE pool back in the good old days. And yes I am still swimming there and love our early morning swims. I just turned 70 a few weeks ago and the family got me this lovely photo of the pool taken by Jim Picot very early one morning and it is in a beautiful white frame. So I guess the family thinks the pool is part of my life as well.???

    1. Thanks Diane. From what the octogenarians (and older) tell me, swimming every day in these pools is what keeps them so youthful. I’m banking on the same myself so am inspired by everyone who gets in the water so often. How wonderful to be swimming still in the pool you had lessons in.

    1. Hi Mandy – on the website home page there is a big map and in the menu on the home page you can go to Directions and pool maps to find any specific pool. And then get a route to find it from wherever you are. I hope you manage to track down The Entrance pool – it’s fabulous.

  3. Hi I’d like to go here via public transport so wondering how far is pool from Lakeside Shopping Centre?

    1. I’m not sure if there is a bus that goes near the pool from Lakeside but the shopping centre is only about 1km from the baths, so maybe 15 mins walk, unless you struggle on your feet.

  4. My Nana (Peg Hobson) , taught swimming in The Entrance Baths for as long as I can remember. Up before the sun every morning to drive over from Wyong to teach. She loved it, some days I would go with her. She taught me to swim there ,apparently way before I could walk.

    1. Fantastic story, Bradie. How lucky to have a swimming teacher Nana, and to have The Entrance baths near enough to get to every day. Thanks for sharing that

  5. Was closed for renovations when I was here earlier this month but looks like a fantastic pool.

  6. Just had both my hips done so my question is there steps going into the water? And if there are that there not to deep to step off.

  7. The Entrance pool has been part of my life since I was a small child but in recent years I have been disappointed with water cleanliness and this was reinforced by a recent visit to Shellharbour and the wonderfully clean ocean pool which is emptied, gurney Rd and refilled every week.
    A big job which requires closure every Tuesday afternoon but the results are well worth it.
    I wish the same could be done at The Entrance.

    1. Agreed the Shellharbour pool is always so crystal clear. When we visited The Entrance the first time the pool was full of sand after crashing waves had dumped half the beach into the pool. There was a bloke in the little room near the pool but it sounded as if he was overloaded and not getting much local authority help. We did go back later and it was clear and lovely, but it sounds as if it is not as regularly maintained as some along the coast

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