Sydney is Famous for Its Ocean Pools and Baths
Almost every beach in Sydney has an ocean rock pool either at the north or south end of the beach. The most famous and, most certainly, most photographed is the Bondi Ocean Pool located at the south end of Bondi Beach.
Majority of the rock pools are free or have a very small fee for use of the showers and a locker. All are open to the public and only one is Women’s Only, McIver’s Baths in Coogee.
Sydney’s ocean pools are a great alternative for those who are not use to swimming in the ocean, navigating the strong currents. Even though the ocean pools are walled off, waves often come crashes over causing swimmers to migrate from one lane into the next. The waves sometimes bring wildlife into the ocean pool, like sting rays and octopi.
If you’re after calmer waters and want to avoid waves then head to one of the inner harbour baths.
The harbour baths I have included on the list below all have shark nets. Yes, shark nets. There are sharks in the harbour. I haven’t seen any personally but the first year we lived in Sydney there were several shark attacks, so swim inside the netted area, just to be safe.
I’m sure I’ve missed a few of the ocean pools as there are 30 pools between Cronulla and Palm Beach alone. Together with the inner harbour baths, there are over 40 rock pools and baths. I have listed 44 of Sydney’s ocean pools and harbour baths.
1. Dawn Fraser Swimming Pool
The oldest pool and swimming club in Australia. This pool is a tidal flow salt water pool, so it can get a little dirty or may be taken over by jellyfish but for the most part it’s harbour swimming at it’s best.
2. Murray Rose Pool
A fantastic spot to spend the day. There is a kiosk for drinks and snacks and the park above the pool has shaded areas perfect for a picnic. This is one of my favourite spots in Sydney.
3. Shark Beach Baths
A very large swim area with cafe and plenty of space to picnic the day away. Parking can be difficult on the weekend, but not impossible just be prepared to walk a little ways so pack lite.
4. Parsley Bay Reserve
A great neighbourhood swim spot. There is a bridge that crosses the bay and is part of the inner harbour walk from Rose Bay to Watsons Bay, a walk well worth doing. Parsley Bay is netted so very safe to swim. It’s rumoured that there are seahorse out by the nets. They are very small and delicate.
5. Watsons Bay Baths
Renovated in 2010 to include a new Olympic-size pool with two floating sunbathing pontoons, boardwalk, better seating, Australia’s first deep water wheelchair access to a tidal harbour pool and increased views of the harbour. There are changing rooms, toilets and a kiosk. You can take the ferry from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay for an afternoon of swimming and fun. Not bad at all.
6. Woolwich Baths
A favourite with the locals. The bath is surrounded by parkland. You can take the ferry to Woolwich and walk to the baths just down Point Road.
7. Griffith Park Baths or Woodford Bay Baths
A 20 metres by 25 metres swimming area with a narrow, sandy beach.
8. MacCallum Pool
On the western side of Cremorne Point, is a unique harbourside pool with heritage character and superb views. Its waterside timber deck is an unparalleled sunbathing spot. You can catch the ferry to Cremorne Point and walk along the west pathway to the pool. The view is amazing and along the east side of Cremorne Point are community gardens plus playpark.
9. Chowder Bay Baths
Has a colony of seahorses that hang out along the net. Up from the bath is a kiosk and, even farther up, a wine bar if you need a break from the sun.
10. Balmoral Baths
Located at the southerly end of one of the best beaches in Sydney, Balmoral Beach. One of the benefits of Balmoral Beach vs the other famous Sydney beaches is it’s a non-touristy beach.
11. Edwards Beach Rock Pool
The beach that is north of Balmoral Beach which is south of the Rocky Point at Balmoral.
12. Northbridge Baths
Unsupervised tidal baths set within the stunning Sydney Harbour foreshore. There is a sandy beach surrounding the baths. The Baths are have a BBQ, picnic area, changing rooms, toilets, hot showers (Yay!) and parking.
13. Clontarf Baths
Has it all for a family favourite. There is beach, a swim area, and playground nearby. The kiosk is open daily from 10am – 4pm. The beach is sunny but the surrounding area is nice and shading if you need to cool off.
14. Forty Baskets
On the Manly Scenic Walkway, just before Balgowlah Heights with bbq and picnic area. It’s a perfect spot to stop on the Spit to Manly Walk which is a must.
15. Fairlight Baths
Has a very small beach area and is a very short walk to Manly Wharf and Manly Cove Baths.
16. Manly Cove Baths
This is the swim area that is on your left as you exit Manly Wharf. A great swim area for kids as there are no waves like there are at Manly Beach.
17. Little Manly Cove Baths
Has a kiosk and public facilities. These well-maintained baths are a popular spot with the locals.
18. Gymea Bay Baths
Located in South Sydney. The baths are netted but the swim area is unsupervised.
19. Gunnamatta Bay Baths
Very popular with families not just for the swim area but for the shady grass park and playground. There isn’t a lifeguard on duty so if you bring the kids be sure to keep an eye out.
20. Oak Park Rock Pool
Has everything you need for a day of fun in the sun except for a kiosk but there is a playground, bbqs, toilets and even parking.
21. Shelly Beach Rock Pool
The pool next to Shelly Park which as bbq, fenced in playground, large grassy area for a picnic and is easy to get to with a pram or stroller for those of you from the States.
22. Cronulla Beach Rock Pools
Yet another fabulous beach with yet another rockpool. Really. Not kidding. Sydney is just amazing. Seriously, get out there and explore a new area, go for a swim, pack a picnic and bbq at the beach. Does it get any better?
23. Malabar Rock Pool
Located on the southern foreshore of Long Bay below Randwick Golf Club.
24. Mahon Rock Pool
Located to the north of Maroubra Beach at the base of Jack Vanny Reserve.
25. South Maroubra Rock Pool
The rockpool on the southern end of Maroubra Beach. You got all the facilities of Maroubra beach right there.
26. Wylie’s Bath
Located on the southern end of Coogee Beach, along the Southern Coastal Walk. Established by Henry Wylie, an Australian champion long distance swimmer, Wylie’s Baths was one of the first of Sydney’s public pools to be mixed gender.
27. McIver’s Baths
The last women’s only baths in Australia. Located between Coogee Beach and Wylie’s Baths.
28. Clovelly Pool
Open at the ocean end. There is a kiosk for drinks and snacks. Clovelly is a great spot to take the family for a day at the beach.
29. Bronte Rock Pool
Probably the most photographed of all of Sydney’s rock pools. Just along the Southern Coastal Walk. Bronte park as working bbqs a wonderful place to go for a evening swim then bbq with friends afterwards.
30. Wally Weekes Pool North Bondi
Very popular pool to take the kids as it’s a tidal pool that was transformed into a rock pool.
31. Fairy Bower Pool
A small rock pool located along the walkway to Shelly Beach.
32. Queenscliff Pool
33. Freshwater Pool
An eight-lane 50-metre saltwater pool at the north end is a favourite with lap swimmers.
34. South Curl Curl Pool
This is a 50 metre pool with a toddlers area and toilets, showers plus parking.
35. North Curl Curl Pool
A 25 metre pool towards the end of the headland at North Curl Curl Beach. During high tide it can only be accessed via the coastal walk across the headland.
36. Dee Why Pool
50 metre pool with a toddlers area at the southern end of the beach with access to toilets and showers.
37. Collaroy Rock Pool
Accessible to all ages and abilities, offering a 50 metre lap pool and two 25 metre children’s pools.
38. North Narrabeen Pool
Yet another 50 metre pool that has a wood boardwalk that separates the lap pool from the rest of the pool. There are changing rooms, showers and toilets also a cafe close by.
39. Mona Vale Pool
Two rock pools – one suitable for toddlers and a larger pool measuring 30 metres for bigger kids and adults. Change rooms and toilets are available.
40. Newport Beach Pool
50 metres long with a natural rock floor. Follow the walkway at the corner of Calvert Parade and the Boulevard or walk along the beach from the beach carpark. Change rooms, toilets and parking are available.
41. Bilgola Pool
Located at the southern end of the beach. The Bilgola pool has 8 lanes and provides all weather access for the disabled. Change rooms and toilets are available. You can access the pool from the carpark area off The Serpentine. Parking is available.
42. Avalon Pool
At the southern end of the beach with changing rooms and toilets available.
43. Whale Beach Pool
Also located at the southern end of the beach. Whale Beach Pool is 25 metres long with changing rooms and toilets. You can access the pool from The Strand.
44. Palm Beach Pool
Located on the southern end of the eastern side of Palm Beach, if that makes any sense. The rock pool is 50 metres long with changing rooms and toilets available.