Sydney Pools

Whether you’re looking for calm water and sandy shores, or thrilling surf and sea swell, Sydney has a pool for every taste. While the city’s best beaches offer plenty of wave-fighting thrills, some prefer a less salty splash at these bushland swimming holes.

There are also many ocean pools dotted around the city, many of which are easily reached by coastal walks or a visit to a local beach. The iconic Bondi to Coogee Walk offers the chance to explore several of these pools and many of the city’s best beaches in one day, with some help from a knowledgeable local guide. The area is also home to a number of natural rock pools, such as Giles Baths and McIver’s Ladies Baths, which have provided women with a private place to swim since the 1870s.

These natural pools are real whirlpools, filled and emptied by the force of the tide, sculpted into perfect figures by the relentless power of nature. These unusual pools, which are sometimes referred to as Figure 8 Pools, are located inside Sydney’s Royal National Park and are the only natural whirlpools of their kind on the world’s coasts.

The most famous pool in the city is the historic Watsons Bay Baths, which has been a favourite swimming spot for generations of Sydneysiders. This heritage-listed former swimming and diving club is the oldest harbour pool in the southern hemisphere and has recently been the subject of an $8 million heritage refurbishment that included new boardwalks, water polo lights, solar panels and engineering works to raise the decking floor against rising sea levels.

It’s easy to reach this beautiful pool from Manly and Shelly beaches on the North Shore via the Cabbage Tree Bay Eco Sculpture Walk. The small but well-maintained pool is a roughly triangular pool adjoining the promenade and is famed for its Sea Nymphs sculpture. Serene at low tide, choppy at high, these pools are the original infinity pools.

If you’d rather skip the queues and head to a more secluded ocean pool, head to the sheltered and calm Coogee Bay Pools, accessed via a short, scenic path from the main beach. The bay’s shingle floor and rocky cliffs provide a sense of seclusion, while a series of wooden steps provides access to the water. It’s also the best pool in the city for snorkelling, with the rock shelves revealing a diverse array of marine life. This is a great spot for a family adventure, especially when the waves are swell. It’s also worth a visit to the adjacent Coogee Beach, which is one of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. This is a great place to swim, sunbathe and relax. It’s also a great spot for families with young children and babies. You can even get some great views of Sydney’s CBD from the clifftop walk. There are plenty of picnic tables and barbecues in the vicinity, too.