Located on the eastern end of Fairlight Beach, the Fairlight Rockpool is a lovely Harbourside pool found along the Manly to Spit walk, close to Manly Cove Beach.
It sits directly opposite Sydney’s North Head and South Head, and has beautiful views out to the Pacific Ocean. It’s also one of the hidden gems in Sydney as most tourists don’t even know about it!
You can swim laps here, take the little ones to the adjacent small paddling pool, or even snorkel around the rocks!
There’s a lovely laid-back family vibe here, so in summer Fairlight Rockpool is the perfect spot to escape the crowds at the busier rock pools along Sydney’s Northern Beaches!
Situated on the other side of Manly that it’s technically in Sydney Harbour, but it’s so close to Manly that it can be classed as a Northern Beaches Rock Pool, Fairlight Rockpool is a really unique rock pool in Sydney.
This is because it is one of the few pools in the harbourside that has ocean views, meaning it can therefore be classed as an ocean pool or harbourside bath.
However, unlike the other Harbourside baths that are just enclosed by a shark net (except MacCallum Pool at Cremorne), Fairlight Rockpool is a proper walled rock pool, so it feels more like an ocean rock pool.
The rockpool is 30 metres square, so big enough to do decent laps. Plus there is a small paddling pool area next to the main pool for children.
Fairlight is a sheltered beach: there aren’t waves here compared to the beaches along the ocean as it’s protected from the surf by the headland.
The calm water at this beach makes it really family friendly and appealing to those with young children, as well as those who are keen to kayak or paddle board or who aren’t comfortable with the bigger waves at the other beaches.
In addition, being a hidden and lesser-known beach makes Fairlight and its rockpool an ideal spot in Manly for young local families during the summer months who want to enjoy a quieter beach than busy Manly Beach.
Fairlight Rockpool does stay in the shade for a fair part of the morning due to the surrounding residential buildings often blocking out the sun.
This is great in the summer when you’re looking to get some shelter from the sun. It is opposite to the Queenscliff Rockpool – on the other side of Manly, which is primarily in the shade during the afternoon.
Fairlight Rockpool is a good depth – not too shallow and not too deep. The rockpool floor is sandy/stony, with an uneven bottom.
Outside of the rockpool, the water at the beach is really clear and it makes a great place for snorkelling and looking for marine life. Plus the views are just stunning.
Next to Fairlight Rockpool is a changing room, a unisex toilet, and a warm outdoor shower.
There’s also a picnic area on the beach, so it’s really somewhere you can make a day of it, or have a nice well-deserved break on the famous Spit to Manly walk.
All the facilities here are pram accessible from the path, making it popular with families.
If you stay until the evening, you might also be able to spot some of the fairy penguins that come out around here – just remember to always keep dogs on a leash!
Unlike almost all the other beaches with rock pools in Sydney, there aren’t any cafes on Fairlight Beach – it’s just a residential area. If you’re looking for a post-swim coffee you’ll need to walk back to Manly.
History Of Fairlight Pool
Fairlight Pool was built in the early 1920s. The local citizens of Fairlight contributed half the price for the pool and the council paid the other half.
Less than a year after the pool was built, the council decided it wasn’t large enough so the pool was enlarged.
How To Get To Fairlight Pool
You can find 2-hour parking on the surrounding streets in Fairlight.
There aren’t buses or trains that go near Fairlight Rockpool, so if you plan to come by public transport the best way is to catch the ferry to Manly from Circular Quay (or Watsons Bay if you’re in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs).
From Manly Ferry Wharf walk the 15 minutes along the shoreline path that goes west past Manly Cove to Fairlight Rockpool.
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Catrina is a Travel Writer, SEO Specialist and ex-Flight Attendant based in Sydney, Australia. She has visited 85 countries and lived in several – including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates and England. Her work has been featured in a variety of popular travel publications including Fodors, Escape, Australian Traveller and Bear Grylls, as well as several international aviation and travel companies. The majority of her work however features on her own website – 24hourslayover.com where she has written over 500 travel articles!