Destinations / Travel

Take a dip at any one of these 9 picturesque pools in Sydney

pools sydney

At the risk of sounding trite, Sydney is a city best observed from the water. But for those among us who have a hate-hate relationship with sand, a dip in the ocean is not always the peaceful experience it is sold to be. That's why we're bringing you our favourite pools to lounge by when the city brings the heat.

From Dawn Fraser Baths, Andrew Boy Charlton Pool, Wylie's Baths and so many more.

North Sydney Olympic Pool


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Sydney has some damn scenic pools, so believe me when I say that North Sydney Olympic Pool takes the cake. Wedged between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Lunar Park, and with a eye-catching Art Deco harbour wall, we wouldn't blame you for forgetting what lap number you're up to with these landmarks towering above. In February 2021, the pool closed for a much needed facelift expected to take two years. Catch you on the other side.


Wylie's Baths


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Propped up along the rocky outskirts of Coogee Beach awaits heritage-listed Wylie's Baths, an oceanside pool that feels like something out of a Charles Meere painting. Get comfy up the top level or sunbathe down the bottom. For those who have boycotted the McIver's Ladies Baths after its then-management openly discriminated against trans patrons, Wylie's serves as a far more inviting alternative a short walk further along the coast. That being said, The Star Observer has reported that McIver's Ladies Baths is under new management, who have restored the pools to a safe haven for all women.


Figure 8 Pools


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While not a traditional pool, the beauty of the Figure Eight Pools has seen hoards of people risk their lives (literally) to plunge into the naturally formed '8' shape swimming holes and snap up a pic for Instagram. If you want to visit the pools, there is a knack to it and it starts with checking the tide times. Read our guide to the Figure Eight Pools before setting off, in order to make your trip as relaxed and accident-free as possible.


Dawn Fraser Baths


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Dawn Fraser Baths, how we've missed you! After closing for refurbishment in 2019, we were all forced to take a breather from what is my personal favourite non-beach swimming spot in Sydney. Facing Cockatoo Island and the harbour with Balmain's Elkington Park as its neighbour, the Dawn Fraser Baths are the oldest existing public pools in the southern hemisphere. It has a shark net so you can swim safe knowing that you're protected from any flotsam or flounder in the vicinity and better yet, it has a canteen serving neon yellow hot chips. A true delight.


Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool


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Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool is as close to swimming in the CBD you can get, save for falling butt first into the Archibald Fountain. You've got Woolloomooloo Wharf on one side, the Royal Botanic Gardens behind you, and depending on the day you may just be faced with one of the many naval ships docking in at HMAS Kuttabul. It's a salt water pool so swimming laps here feels like a breeze, and if you're really keen there's a fitness centre attached, however you'll find me whiling away the hours at its cafe.


Karloo Pools


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Sometimes paying for a ticket to look out onto a concrete cityscape is not the vibe. It's moments like these when the only thing to do is pack some snacks, throw on some walking shoes and drive out to Heathcote, where, at the end of a short (and honestly, beautiful) walking track through bush sits Karloo Pools. Fresh water naturally pools in this rocky swimming spot, which is an oasis on a hot summer's day. Go during the week to have it to yourself, or make the journey on the weekend if swimming alone in natural swimmings spots gives you the creeps.


McCallum Pool

Originally a rock pool frequented by locals, the McCallum Pool on the edge of Cremorne Point has morphed into a small, but mighty harbourside haunt. Coming in at 33m long, it's not exactly a spot built for the ardent lap swimmer, but what it lacks in athletic bravado it makes up for in character and tranquility.


Prince Alfred Park Pool


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Not feeling up to braving the crowds at the Eastern beachside baths, nor are you ready to aggressively search for a car park for 45 minutes? Save yourself the headache and flock to Prince Alfred Park Pool instead. It's comfortable, it's clean and it's easy to while away the hours sun-safe under one of those cheerful yellow parasols.


Bronte Baths


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Bondi Icebergs may have the rep, but if you're not in the mood to navigate all that intense energy, then hop two beaches over to Bronte where you'll find the same dreamy seascapes at a more welcoming pace. Swim laps in the baths, get sprayed with ocean fizz, or simply read on the sandstone overhang, dipping in and out as you please.

Hit the sand instead with the best Sydney beaches according to the RUSSH editors.

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