If you fancy a swim during your stay in the city these harbour side pools are all within easy reach of the city each with its own charm and history.
You will find the Andrew “Boy” Charlton Pool nestled on the edge of the Botanic Gardens well hidden from those, not in the know. The centre offers two pools; an eight-lane 50-metre salt water 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. It’s open September to April from 6am-7pm (8 pm in summer).
Interesting fact: Andrew “Boy” Charlton was an Australia freestyle swimmer who won Gold at the 1924 Paris Olympics and broke five more world records.
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.
The Dawn Fraser Baths are 134 years old and still going strong. It is the oldest swimming pool in Australia and another well-kept secret. This pool is part of Sydney Harbour – it’s a salt water tidal pool. Renovations were undertaken in the late 1990’s, and it is National Trust listed. You can swim here from October to April.
Interesting fact: The first game of water polo in Australia was played here is the late 1880s. This is also the pool where Australian Olympian Dawn Fraser learnt to swim when she was a child.
Getting there: Fitzroy Avenue, Balmain – in Elkington Park
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.
Interesting fact: 86 world records have been set in this pool!
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.
Tip: Before or after your swim take a stroll past Luna Park to Wendy’s Secret Garden
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.
Interesting fact: 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.
Getting there: The pool is right by the Cremorne Point ferry wharf.
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.
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.
Interesting fact: This is the world’s first wheelchair access to a tidal sea pool.
Getting there: The pool is near the Watson’s Bay ferry wharf. There is also a 324 bus terminus nearby
Tip: Take a walk up to the lighthouse after your swim for some great views over Sydney Heads.
Which a decent patch of sand and shade offered by big old trees Greenwich Baths is 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.
Open from September to March
Interesting fact: The baths have monthly movie nights
Getting there: The baths are located in Albert Street Greenwich a short walk from the wharf. Alternatively, the 265 bus stops nearby.
Tip: There are no nearby cafes or shops, it’s a suburban spot but perfect for a walk with lots of interesting architecture.