It’s hot. Like really damn hot. It’s over 40 degrees right now as I sit here typing this and the threat of rolling controlled blackouts looms of the city and state because of how hot it is. As if they weather wasn’t erratic enough, Sydney is right now preparing for a record weekend heatwave that has so far seen electricity demand rise up to 14,700 megawatts. Load shedding (said controlled blackouts) is likely the only response to this attempt at staying cool, but there is something we can all do to help reduce this issue and that’s head on out to some of the city’s very best public pools so we can give those electricity companies a break. This is going to be as good an excuse as any, especially seeing that Sydney has some of the most picturesque watering holes in the entire country. Here are some of our favourites.
Bondi Icebergs Club
We’ll start with the most obvious choice, and it’s a safe bet that Bondi’s most iconic non-beach body of water will be in higher demand than usual as summer shows it’s merciless side. Since the 1920’s this institution has been one of the most quintessentially Sydney locations for both tourists and locals, and there are few vantage points as special as this. What’s more is that Icebergs’ pool is amongst a very few that are actually licensed, so grabbing a few icy cocktails and hanging by this idyllic aqua escape is one of the best options you have. It’s one big pool party.
Address: 1 Notts Avenue, Bondi Beach
Contact: (02) 9130 4804
Entry Cost: $6.50 (adult); $4.50 (children); $18 (family pass – 2 adults, 2 children)
Hours: Mon-Fri 6am-6:30pm; Sat-Sun 6:30am-6:30pm
This heritage-listed body of water sits below the Bondi to Maroubra coastal walk, a few hundred metres south of Coogee Beach, and has been one of Sydney’s favourite summer destinations ever since it was built by long-distance swimmer Henry Wylie in 1907. The instantly recognisable image of that raised boardwalk over clear blue water will double as a reminder of this city’s incomparable atmosphere while you seek refuge from the heat and maybe fit in a cheeky pool-side massage (although I imagine those will be in high demand this weekend).
North Sydney Olympic Pool
If views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge while taking a dip in one of the best located pools in the North is what you want then do not look past this treasured spot. It’s pretty much right under the bridge, next to Luna Park with an adjoining cafe, restaurant, sauna and gym – all of which are just as good as the pool. The outdoor pool’s art-deco frame is oddly relaxing, but there’s also an indoor option should you really want to escape the sun.
Head south of Bronte Beach and find this spacious by-the-beach saltwater rockpool, one of the most relaxing and popular in Sydney. The classic family-friendliness of these baths make it a popular destination for those of all-ages, whether it be to chill on the nearby rocks (which will likely be unbearably hot this weekend) or spend hours dipping in and out of these picture-perfect waters, which hang over the beach and offer a spectacular view.
Prince Alfred Park Pool
One of the more recent developments on this list, this popular Surry Hills public pool is perhaps the easiest and most convenient for those who want to stay close to the CBD. It’s right next to Central Station, located in the leafy Prince Alfred Park and not far from inner-west favourites like Devon Cafe and Dove & Olive. It’s not just the location though, the set-up is gorgeous with plenty of bright yellow umbrellas providing ample shade after a long, refreshing soak.
Address: 105 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills
Contact: 02 9319 2727
Entry Cost: $6.40 (adult); $4.80 (child; free for under 3’s)’ $18 (family pass)
Hours: 7 days; 6am-8pm (October-April) + 6am-7pm (April-October)
Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool
There’s a reason why many lifestyle brands often host their media launches here. This is one of the most attractive pools in Sydney, set right on the harbour with boats regularly floating by. It’s about as Sydney as you can get, tucked down under the hilly Domain area, boasting a saltwater pool and a spacious overlooking wooden terrace. They’ve got their own bar and open-air cafe as well, serving up some truly delicious and fresh dishes that should be just as cooling as the water.
This stunning 50m long rockpool is located north of Freshwater Beach. It’s not as popular as some of the Sydney options due to how shallow it is (see ridiculously shallow) but it’s been providing respite for Northern Beaches locals since the 20’s, so there’s a lot of history behind this locally loved spot.
Address: Lumsdaine Drive, Freshwater
Entry Cost: Free
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Lane Cove Aquatic Centre
This huge, diverse collection of indoor and outdoor swimming pools is a true gift for Sydney families. An on-site cafe and spacious grassy areas complete what is one of the most comprehensive aquatic centres in the area, and it’s fairly easy to duck out of the heat at any time due to the large indoor area. There’s a few water features here that’ll distract the kids as well.
Maroubra Beach’s nearby rockpool is quite the sight, set against Lurline Bay and the suburb’s epic coastline. There’s not much in the way of amenities – shower block and change rooms – but there are plenty of neat nooks and crannies to settle into and spend all day, thanks for the curious rock formations that surround the body of water. It’s also one of the least popular options for non-locals compared to others, so it feels a bit more private.
Maccallum Seawater Pool
This long time favourite offers some pretty stunning views of Sydney’s skyline along with it’s cooling, roomy pool. It’s one of the most popular on this list, largely in part to the charming boardwalk that sits on water’s edge and completes it’s old-world aesthetic.
Dee Why Rockpools
Sandstone and sand surround this gorgeous rockpool, which shows of the popular beach’s best angle. The architecture is magnificent, and makes for one of the best overall sights in the area. Other than that, it’s pretty straight forward: you get a 50m rockpool with nearby toilets and showers, and one of the best emergency escapes from this alarming heat that you could ask for. Just make sure you’ve got your sunscreen all ready to go.
Address: Oaks Avenue, Dee Why
Entry Cost: Free
Hours: 24 hours
Dawn Fraser Baths
Another obvious choice. This iconic harbour pool is one of the most unique in Sydney, with old-style decks and beautiful heritage buildings. One look at you wouldn’t be surprised knowing it was the oldest pool and swimming club in Australia. As it’s a harbour pool, make sure you check ahead to see if it’s open because rainfall can effect water quality (and whether it’s open to the public or not).