While Sydney's beaches are some of the best in the country, we sometimes forget that we also have a collection of outdoor pools unlike anywhere else in the world.Less
Undeniably the best place to see the spectacular views of Bondi Beach, Icebergs has been around almost 100 years and has become a Sydney institution. No other pool can really compete with the views, atmosphere and history of Icebergs. It also has the added benefit of being one of the only licensed swimming pools in the world — and, being a swimming club, the drinks are pretty reasonably priced. Hang out by the side of the pool, or head upstairs to one of the balconies for a view of the ocean.
For inner-Sydney locals who can't quite make it to the coast for a swim, Prince Alfred Park Pool is a slice of summer perched between Surry Hills and Redfern. It's the buttercup yellow sun umbrellas that bring the Riviera vibe, as well as the lawns strewn with sunbathers. If the area around the pool is a bit crowded, you can always head to the park to soak in some sun after your dip.
Hidden away within the green expanses of The Domain, the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool feels a world away from the city while still being in the heart of the CBD. The saltwater pool is perched on the edge of the harbour, with spectacular views over the city and the Botanic Gardens. Hang out on the wooden terrace or grab a drink upstairs in the openair Poolside Cafe for a spot to eat — just make sure you wait to swim after eating if you believe the old tale.
Constructed in the 1880s, Balmain's Dawn Fraser Baths is Australia's oldest public pool. The beloved inner-west swimming hole recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation. The pool reopened to the public in 2021 after two years. The revamp ensures the public pool will be standing for many years to come, while protecting its heritage architecture. Hit up the beach are for a sunbathing session and or stay fit by or stay fit by taking on the lane pool.
Just south of Coogee Beach along the coastal walk, Wylie's Baths has a picturesque canopy and kiosk elevated above the pool to provide panoramic views over the ocean. The baths were established in 1907. The historic pool also boasts Massage by the Sea, an outdoor seaside massage therapy centre where you can get warm rocks placed on your back as you eavesdrop on the swimmers below. Plus, there's a saltwater ladies pool just north of Wylie's that's recently undergone work from the council.
Murray Rose Pool is less of a pool and more of a fenced off section of the harbour, but that doesn't stop it from providing scenic and serene saltwater swims. While it can get pretty busy on weekends, head along at the right time and the pool is a little piece of inner-east paradise, hidden from the road and only accessible by foot. If you're seeking a short respite from your swim or to imagining yourself in a summery coming-of-age film, there are two floating pontoons in the centre of the pool.
Freshwater Beach and its locally loved ocean rockpool can provide a relaxed respite from its generally busy neighbour in Manly. This northern beaches gem can be found at the head of Curl Curl Board walk just north of Freshwater Beach, with the picturesque spot placing you into the middle of the sea with endless ocean views in front of you. Here, you'll be splashing around in a simple 50-metre pool in which you can stand and soak — or take off for a few laps if you're looking for a workout.
Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre is the largest aquatic centre to open in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics. The Zetland facility was unveiled back in February and features four different swimming areas. The aquatic center is fitted out with a 50-metre heated outdoor pool surrounded by a 'beach' area inspired by Sydney's ocean pools. Around the facility you'll also stumble upon three indoor pools, an indoor and an outdoor gym, an openair yoga deck, a cafe and a multi-purpose sports field.
The Dee Why rockpools are easily reached by the promenade along the beach, and are formed out of concrete walls as well as the natural sandstone wall to the side. While the surfers head down to the beach, the slower-paced head to the rockpools. There are two pools up among the rocks: the family-friendly toddler pool, and the 50-metre pool that's ideal for a quick dip of some early-morning laps.
Bronte Baths sits a little south of the beach, surrounded by the cliffs and park. Its location at the end of the popular Bondi to Bronte costal walk makes it ideal for anyone looking to squeeze in a walk and swim into the same afternoon. The baths were built in 1887 and have remained a favourites for locals and tourists ever since. Here, you can hang out on the rocks, warming yourself like a lizard before diving in — or you can float along the edge of the pool enjoying views of Bronte Beach.