Looking for a pool in Sydney with a difference, these pools in Sydney Harbour each with their own charm and history make a lovely day out.
Where to swim in Sydney Harbour
Swimming by the harbour is pretty memorable, taking in the view while relaxing or pushing out ten laps is a lovely way to spend an hour in Sydney.
Andrew “Boy” Charlton Pool – Woolloomooloo Bay
You will find the Andrew “Boy” Charlton Pool nestled on the Botanic Gardens’ edge well hidden from those, not in the know. The centre offers two pools; an eight-lane 50-metre saltwater pool and a smaller heated pool with sun protection that is perfect for kids. There are great harbour views, and the budget traveller entry fee makes it worth a visit.
Andrew “Boy” Charlton was an Australia freestyle swimmer who won Gold at the 1924 Paris Olympics.
Opening hours: Usually open September to April from 6am-7pm (8 pm in summer) but check the website Boy Charlton Pool for any recent changes.
Getting there: Located at 1C Mrs Macquarie’s Road The Domain, the pool is just a short walk from the Art Gallery of NSW, from Martin Place, it will take you about 20 minutes. You can also reach it by walking through the Botanic Garden. The closest bus route is the 441 which stops at the Art Gallery.
Related: Check out some of Sydney’s secret beaches
North Sydney Olympic Pool
The pool is closed for renovations
This is a great spot for Sydney visitors to swim. Right underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you can’t get much better views than this. There are lanes for serious swimmers, or you can just cool off and take in the view. The pool is heated in winter and open from 5.30am to 9 pm weekdays and 7 pm weekends.
Tip: Before or after your swim take a stroll past Luna Park to Wendy’s Secret Garden
86 world records were set in this pool!
Opening hours: Check the website
Getting there: 4 Alfred St Milsons Point, right at the Milson’s Point ferry wharf or a short walk from Milson’s Point train station.
Maccallum Pool – Cremorne
The small two-lane pool was built in the 1920s and is filled with water from Sydney Harbour. There are no facilities at all, not even a toilet and is closed once a week for draining and cleaning but it offers free entry and spectacular harbour views. There is also a deck for sunbathing. It is open all year round.
The pool was originally a rock pool built by residents; it is believed that local Olympic swimmer Frederick Lane was key to the pool’s development.
Tip: Maccallum Pool is a great place to cool off after walking the harbour path from North Sydney and also a fantastic place to get photos of the Sydney Harbour view.
Getting there: The pool is right by the Cremorne Point ferry wharf.
Opening hours: Check the website for the cleaning schedule
Watson’s Bay Baths
A 2 million dollar renovation in 2010 saw the Watson Bay Pool become the first (and only) wheelchair friendly harbour pool. Facilities include a ramp for wheelchair access to the water and two wheelchairs that can be immersed in the ocean along with change rooms and lockers – see the website for more information about accessing these.
The Baths offer two swimming pools, an Olympic size pool and a smaller one. There are also sunbathing pontoons and shaded areas by the edge of the pool.
Tip: Take a walk up to the lighthouse after your swim for some great views over Sydney Heads.
This is the world’s first wheelchair access to a tidal sea pool.
Getting there: The pool is near Watson’s Bay ferry wharf. There is also a 324 bus terminus nearby
More details: Check the website for details of the facilities and hours.
A decent patch of sand and shade offered by big old trees at Greenwich Baths makes this a great spot for families.
The baths were built in the 1920s and refurbished in the late 1990s. There is a cafe, changing rooms and showers and deck chairs available.
Entry fees are modest and the views over the harbour quite lovely. This is an excellent choice for families.
Tip: There are no nearby cafes or shops, it’s a suburban spot but perfect for a walk with lots of interesting architecture.
Getting there: The baths are located in Albert Street Greenwich a short walk from the wharf. Alternatively, the 265 bus stops nearby.
Opening hours: check the website for opening hours and events. Open from September to March
Dawn Fraser Baths – Balmain
The Dawn Fraser Baths are 134 years old and still going strong. This is the oldest swimming pool in Australia and another well-kept secret. The pool is part of Sydney Harbour – it’s a saltwater tidal pool. Renovations were undertaken in the late 1990s, and it is National Trust listed. You can swim here from October to April.
The first game of water polo in Australia was played here in the late 1880s. This is also the pool where Australian Olympian Dawn Fraser learnt to swim when she was a child.
Tip: Combine this with a visit to Balmain Markets on Saturdays or a self-guided Balmain history walk.
Do you have a favourite place to swim in Sydney Harbour? Let us know below.
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