The beaches in Sydney are so epic and iconic – known worldwide for their idyllic ocean pools and rock pools!
Perfect for those who want to avoid the sand and the waves of the ocean yet still want to go for a swim and enjoy the epic Sydney beach vibes and views, the natural ocean pools offer the best of both worlds!
Dotted along the beaches up and down Sydney’s coast and harbour, there are dozens of dreamy rock pools each with their own distinct characteristics that make them unique.
From rock pools with swimming lanes, to those with a giant rock boulder in the middle, to even triangular-shaped ocean pools!
The perfect place to cool down and escape the heat in the warm weather, Sydney’s outdoor swimming pools all offer stunning backdrops, whether it’s of the ocean waves and beach scene, or even the Sydney Harbour Bridge!
Here you can check out the 35 best ocean pools and rock pools in Sydney so you can plan which one you’ll be diving into next weekend!
You may also wish to check out these great Sydney captions and quotes for Instagram!
How Many Rock Pools Are There In Sydney?
Sydney has a whopping total of 35 rock pools spread out around the city – most of which are over 100 years old!
And if you’re heading out of Sydney then fear not – there are around 100 rock pools along the NSW coast, from Yamba in the north to Bermagui in the south.
Just like the Sydney rock pools, they are all unique and of different sizes, with some carved directly into the coastal rock and others built into the ocean.
We may be a little biased as we live in Sydney, but we think most of the best ocean pools are in fact here in Sydney!
Why Does Sydney & NSW Have Ocean Pools?
Many ocean pools were created in the 19th century as swimming started to become a popular leisure activity.
The ocean pools provided swimmers with a safe place to swim, away from the rough surf and often rugged coastline that Sydney’s coastline is known for. They also provide reassurance for those who are concerned about sharks.
Is Entry To Sydney’s Ocean Pools Free?
Incredibly, entry to all of Sydney’s ocean pools is free – except for the Bondi Icebergs which costs $9, and Wylie’s Baths in Coogee which costs $5.50 for the day.
You’ll most likely have to pay for street parking at the majority of locations, especially if you’ll be parking next to the beach.
Parking can be limited at the busiest beaches such as Bronte and Bondi, so you may choose to park further away or take public transport. If you’ll be driving remember to check the parking signs for any parking restrictions or time limits.
In addition, the North Sydney Olympic Pool and the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool in Sydney Harbour also have entry fees.
Sydney North Beaches Ocean Pools
Let’s start with the ocean pools along Sydney’s Northern Beaches:
1. Fairy Bower Sea Pool, Manly
The Fairy Bower Pool in Manly is an absolute gem of the Northern Beaches!
Located along Marine Parade between Manly Beach and Shelly Beach and a lovely stop along the North Head Walk, the Fairy Bower Pool is actually the smallest of all the Sydney ocean pools at just 20 metres long!
Despite that, it is one of Sydney’s most beautiful ocean pools, plus it is incredibly unique as it is triangular in shape!
It’s not the best rock pool for swimming due to it being shallow and triangular shaped, but it is the perfect spot to cool down from sun baking and to get away from the waves at Manly.
Pop in the water and enjoy the views of the ocean, then when you’re ready you can head to one of the many coffee shops and cafes nearby.
The historic Fairy Bower Sea Pool was built by local residents in 1929, and it also features the stunning The Sea Nymphs sculpture on the side of the pool.
The easiest and most scenic way to get to Manly from Circular Quay is to take the F1 ferry for 22 minutes, then stroll for just over a kilometre from Manly Wharf along The Corso – a vibrant street crossing Manly that leads to Manly Beach.
2. Queenscliff Rock Pool
On the northern end of Manly Beach, you’ll find Queenscliff Beach and the Queenscliff rock pool.
Come here to get your laps in – there are wall markings on this 50-metre pool so you can track how far you’ve swum. If you’re looking for an ocean pool dripping in sunshine all day though, look elsewhere.
As Queenscliff Rock Pool is tucked up against the cliffs by the Manly Wormhole, it does get into the shade quickly! But it does get protected from the wind so take your pick!
3. Freshwater Rock Pool
The next rock pool along is Freshwater Rockpool, a 50-metre lap pool complete with 8 lanes (including markings). And what makes this ocean pool unique is that it has a diving platform, plus it has a uniform depth throughout the whole pool.
It’s a simple pool, yet a great spot for those who wish to enjoy a serious swim whilst enjoying the stunning views looking out to the beach and the ocean.
Located on the northern end of Freshwater Beach, Freshie Rock Pool was built in 1925 and was the first ocean pool to be built on the North Shore.
You’ll find toilets, showers and changing rooms here, as well as the Harbord Diggers Club nearby that serves great food and drinks.
To get to Freshwater Rock Pool from Manly by public transport you can take the 167 bus which will take 10 minutes.
4. South Curl Curl Rockpool
Curl Curl is one of the best surfing beaches in Sydney, and here you’ll find not one but two ocean pools!
At the Southern end of Curl Curl Beach is South Curl Curl Rockpool. This large rock pool is divided into two sections: a 50-metre ocean pool and a smaller shallow pool section perfect for toddlers.
The ocean pool sits right next to the ocean swells, with waves crashing into the pool as you’re swimming, giving it a wild and very natural feel, especially at high tide.
This makes it a popular spot and provides a great change from the other calmer rock pools nearby.
South Curl Curl Rockpool is also a favourite with photographers, especially at sunrise and sunset, plus the shallow section is popular with young families as it’s like a natural beach with sand.
There are toilets and showers nearby, as well as a cafe. To get to Curl Curl Beach from Manly or Freshwater Beach take the 167 bus.
5. North Curl Curl Rockpool
One of the best-kept secrets of the Northern Beaches is the North Curl Curl Rockpool!
Tucked into the cliff face on the headland at the northern end of Curl Curl Beach, this is an absolute hidden gem and definitely makes it into my top 3 favourite ocean pools of Sydney!
The 25-metre rockpool is so unique and beautiful as part of the cliff forms one side of the pool, plus there’s a giant rock in the middle of the pool!
If you want to swim laps it’s best to stay on the side of the pool nearest the ocean as it is deeper.
Check the tide before you visit North Curl Curl rock pool. At high tide it can only be accessed via the steps leading down from the scenic coastal walk that goes along the headland, and not across the rocks on the beach like at mid or low tide.
The headland provides a stunning viewpoint and it’s a lovely walking trail, plus it makes the rock pool even more unique that it can’t be accessed via the beach at high tide!
Due to the difficult position of North Curl Curl Rock Pool, it doesn’t get cleaned by the council like the other rock pools do, however it still is incredibly stunning.
6. Dee Why Rockpool
At the southern end of Dee Why Beach lies the 50 metre long Dee Why Rock Pool, built in 1915.
With lanes marked in this large lap pool, it’s a popular spot for keen swimmers as well as those just looking to cool down with a leisurely swim.
Plus, attached to the rock pool is a smaller shallow wading pool for toddlers, making it a family-friendly pool and a popular place for young families to visit on warm days.
You can also get stunning views of Dee Why Beach from the rock pool, plus if you stroll south of the rock pool there is a big flat rock platform where you can sunbathe and enjoy the views away from the crowds!
What draws many people to the busy Dee Why Rock Pool is its ideal location, just a 200 metre stroll from the lively Dee Why beachside promenade known as The Strand.
At The Strand you’ll find many cosy cafes, beach bars and restaurants you can enjoy after your swim!
And just 250 metres from Dee Why Rock Pool you’ll find the 166 bus stop, which takes you to Manly Beach in 15 minutes or less.
Take the 166 bus going in the opposite direction and it will take you to Pittwater Road in less than 5 minutes, where you can then get the express B1 bus to Sydney CBD in just over 30 minutes.
Dee Why Rock Pool is also known as the Isa Wye Rock Pool, a local lady who was involved for 85 years with the Dee Why Ladies’ Amateur Swimming Club.
Showers and accessible toilets are available nearby.
7. Collaroy Rock Pool
Situated on the southern end of Collaroy Beach is Collaroy Rock Pool: an eight-lane 50-metre pool and an adjacent shallow toddlers pool.
Collaroy Rock Pool is a unique and irregular shape, following the contour of the adjacent small rock face nearby. It is great for families, as well as providing easy access for those requiring disability access.
There’s lots of space along the promenade and on the steps to sit down and soak up the beautiful views over Collaroy.
It’s wise to check the Northern Beaches Council website before you visit to see when Collaroy Rock Pool will be cleaned, as it can often change if there are unusual weather and pool conditions.
To get to Collaroy Rock Pool from Manly, take the 199 bus for around 25 minutes. It’s then just a short 300-metre walk from the bus stop to the rock pool.
Alternatively, if coming from Sydney CBD take the B-Line B1 bus from Wynyard to Collaroy, which should take around 40 minutes.
8. North Narrabeen Rock Pool
Another really picturesque rock pool along Sydney’s Northern Beaches is the North Narrabeen Rock Pool.
Situated just past the estuary on the northern end of Narrabeen Beach – a popular surfing beach, the North Narrabeen Rock Pool is popular with avid lap swimmers as well as leisurely swimmers.
The rock pool has a stunning distinctive timber boardwalk that separates the main 50-meter lap swimming pool from the rest of the pool.
Families enjoy the shallow northern part of the rockpool, plus you can enjoy fantastic views all the way down the coastline to Long Reef!
North Narrabeen Rock Pool was built in the 1930s as a result of the Unemployment Benefit Scheme and has year-round swimming clubs.
Throughout December to February they also have a ‘Learn To Swim’ program, perfect if you need to learn!
There are changing rooms and toilets available nearby, plus you’ll find the Nourished Narrabeen Cafe on Narrabeen Park Parade, just a short walk away.
To get to North Narrabeen Rock Pool from Sydney CBD, take the B1 yellow bus to Warriewood (around 55 minutes journey time) and walk just over 1km to get to North Narrabeen Rock Pool.
From Manly, take the 199 bus to the same bus stop (40-minute bus ride), and again walk to North Narrabeen Ocean Pool.
9. Mona Vale Rock Pool
The Mona Vale Rock Pool is without a doubt one of the most picturesque rock pools in Sydney and the whole of Australia!
Especially when seen from an aerial perspective at high tide it’s absolutely stunning, and makes it into my top 2 Sydney ocean pools!
Located between Mona Vale Beach and Basin Beach in a unique location in the middle of a rocky platform with waves crashing into both sides of the pool, the setting is just spectacular.
It’s unlike most of the other rock pools that are located next to a headland or large rock formations, which means that at Mona Vale Rock Pool you can get 360 degrees uninterrupted views!
Similar to many of the rock pools in the Northern Beaches, the 30-metre Mona Vale Rock Pool also has a smaller rock pool for toddlers, making it popular with families.
Mona Vale Rock Pool is located opposite Apex Park, an ideal place to spend a sunny afternoon, with picnic tables, electric BBQs, and a shaded children’s play area. Plus toilets and changing rooms are available.
To get to Mona Vale Rock Pool from Sydney CBD, take the B1 yellow bus to Mona Vale (around 1 hour journey time) and then it’s a 1.2 km walk to get to Mona Vale Rock Pool.
From Manly, take the 199 bus and ride for 45 minutes To Barrenjoey Road, where you’ll then walk just under a kilometre to get to Mona Vale Rock Pool.
10. Newport Rock Pool
On the southern end of Newport Beach lies the 50-metre Olympic-sized Newport Rock Pool, enclosed by railings around the border of the pool.
Despite not being the deepest rock pool (the water level is mostly at chest height), it’s the ideal place to go for a swim and listen to the sound of the waves.
Plus, the natural rock platform has been kept as the pool floor so it has a lovely rugged feel to it.
Toilets, changing rooms and showers are located at the rockpool.
To get to Newport Rock Pool from Sydney CBD, take the 190X bus to Newport and then walk the 950 metres to Newport Rock Pool. Alternatively, take the 199 bus from Manly and walk 1km from the bus stop to the rock pool.
11. Bilgola Rock Pool
One of the quieter rock pools in Sydney is the Bilgola Rock Pool, located at the southern end of Bilgola Beach. Quiet it may be, but it’s a total gem, especially at sunrise.
Mostly frequented just by locals, this secluded rock pool is the ideal place to get away from the crowds, plus it provides absolutely stunning views of the North Bilgola Headland!
Whether you’re keen for a serious swim in the eight-lane 50-metre pool, or wish to relax in the shallow wading area, Bilgola Rock Pool is the ideal place to go.
There’s also a ramp leading down to the shallow area, making disabled access easy.
You’ll find toilets and changing rooms along the beach past the Surf Life Saving Club. Plus there is a beach kiosk nearby if you’re hungry or in need of a good coffee!
You can get the 190X bus to Bilgola from Wynyard. The bus ride takes just over an hour but afterwards you’ll just need to walk 150 metres from the bus stop to get to the rock pool!
In addition, the 199 bus goes from Manly all the way to Bilgola. The bus ride takes an hour, and again it’s just a 2 minute walk to Bilgola Rock Pool from the bus stop.
12. Avalon Rock Pool
The charming Avalon Rock Pool sits on the southern end of Avalon Beach. At 25 metres long, with a small shallow wading pool next to it for toddlers, it’s a popular spot to cool down on a hot day.
There are several nearby local cafes to head to for a coffee or snack afterwards!
Take the 190X from Wynyard in Sydney CBD to get to Avalon Beach. It’s around 1 hour 10 minutes drive, and then it’s a short 170-metre walk to the rock pool afterwards!
If coming from Manly, take the 199 bus for an hour, and again walk the 3-minute walk to Avalon Rock Pool.
13. Whale Beach Rock Pool
The 25-metre long Whale Beach Rock Pool lies at the southern end of Whale Beach. The pool has a sandy base which is so nice, it feels like you’re swimming in the ocean!
There’s a large flat rock platform south of the rock pool where you can lie down and sunbake for the day. Or if you fancy making a day out of it, there is a playground and BBQs, plus a picnic area by the rocks.
It’s a great idea to bring some food, park yourself down for the afternoon and enjoy the stunning views! You’ll also find toilets and showers nearby.
To reach Whale Beach, take the B1 bus from Wynyard in Sydney CBD to Mona Vale (55 minutes), then change to the 199 bus and get off in Whale Beach (30 minutes). It’s then a 1km walk to Whale Beach Rock Pool.
A slightly quicker option, if you’re coming straight from Manly, is to take the 199 bus from Manly up to Whale Beach, then walk the 1km to Whale Beach Rock Pool from Barenjoey Road.
14. Palm Beach Rock Pool
And now for the most northerly beach in Sydney – glorious Palm Beach! Palm Beach is an absolutely fantastic place to spend the day.
Famous not only because the popular TV series Home & Away is filmed here, but because of the Barrenjoey Headland and Barrenjoey Lighthouse.
There’s so much to do in charming Palm Beach, whether you fancy hitting the beach, or the calmer waters on the other side of the peninsula at Pittwater.
Plus with views up The Central Coast to Box Head and Bouddi National Park, and perfect vistas of Barrenjoey, the setting is second to none. There’s plenty of space to pop your towel down and sunbake, or head in the water for some laps.
There are also lots of cafes nearby if you’re in need of a coffee or a delicious snack. A toilet block and changing rooms are also nearby.
Take the 190X bus to Warriewood from Sydney CBD, then hop on the 199 bus all the way up to Palm Beach. Both bus rides will take around 45 minutes each. It’s then just a 5 minute walk to Palm Beach Rock Pool!
Alternatively if you’re coming from Manly, take the 199 bus all the way up to Palm Beach, getting off at Ocean Place. It’s a 1 hour 20 minute ride, and then walk the 350 metres to the rock pool.
Sydney Eastern Suburbs Ocean Pools
Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs are full of incredible ocean pools!
15. Bondi Icebergs
At the southern end of Bondi Beach – Sydney’s most famous beach lies Bondi Icebergs: one of the most photographed swimming pools in the world!
Named after the Bondi Icebergs winter swimming club, this stunning 50 metre saltwater lap pool is one of Australias’s landmarks and has been welcoming swimmers since 1929.
With iconic views over Bondi, the Icebergs are definitely a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike.
Bondi Icebergs are open year-round and it costs $9 for adults to enter as a day visitor ($6 for under-12’s).
With a large adults lap pool plus a smaller children’s pool, absolutely incredible views and access to the sauna, the cost is totally worth it and you can stay all day if you like!
When you need a break from the pool there’s plenty space to sunbathe. And when you’re feeling like some coffee, smoothies or a light meal, poolside you’ll find The Crabbe Hole serving delicious food and drinks open 7am – 3pm daily.
To ensure Bondi Icebergs keeps its sparkling appearance, it is closed on Thursdays for cleaning so make sure you don’t plan your visit then.
If you’re a droner, you’ll probably want to plan to get your drone photos of Bondi Icebergs after the pool is cleaned when the pool looks its best, as it does get a fairly bit of ocean splash on sand washed into the pool!
To reach Bondi Icebergs from Circular Quay hop on the 333 bus. The journey to Bondi Beach takes around 40 minutes.
16. Bronte Baths
Opened in 1887, Bronte Baths are not only one of Sydney’s oldest ocean pools, they are without a doubt one of the most Instagrammable and beautiful rock pools in the whole of Australia!
The 30-metre length rock pool is carved into the rocky cliffside over the ocean and is incredibly impressive. It offers stunning views out over Bronte and to the ocean.
Waves often crash into the rock shelf on the edge of the pool which definitely makes it a fun place to swim!
You’ll find a handful of designated swimming lap lanes where you can do some leisurely laps, separated from the rest of the pool by a wooden barrier so there’s plenty of space for adults to just cool down, relax and enjoy in the pool without disturbing the swimmers.
Bronte Baths is a perfect place to bring the kids, and if it’s low tide they can even swim in the adjacent bogey hole rock pool!
Bronte Baths is a very popular spot and is loved by Sydneysiders so it does get busy, especially on hot sunny days!
If you want photos it’s best to come first thing in the morning (sunrise is beautiful here) or during week days outside of the holidays.
You can get some lovely photos on the three different sets of steps at Bronte Baths (the white stairs are my favourite), as well as on the rock pool wall facing the ocean (careful of the waves), and on the rock shelf overlooking the baths.
If you have a drone, Bronte Baths look particularly impressive from above!
From Bondi Junction you can get the 379 or 381 bus to Bronte Beach, and you’ll see Bronte Baths at the southern end of the beach.
There are some parking spots but they fill up fast and aren’t cheap, so it may be easier to get the bus than to drive.
17. Bronte Bogey Hole
The Bronte Bogey Hole is a great rock pool mostly known just amongst the locals.
Located right next to the famous Bronte Baths and only visible during low tide, this natural little rock pool is the ideal place to bring young children as the water is calm and shallow.
18. Clovelly Ocean Pool
Located along the Bondi to Coogee walk you’ll find the Clovelly Ocean Pool, also known as the Geoff James Pool.
This ocean pool lies right next to Clovelly Beach and is definitely also more of a local spot. The 25 metre long saltwater pool is a great spot to get some laps in.
It does get pretty busy in the summer months, but there’s plenty of space to spread out a towel nearby and sunbathe.
The 339X bus takes you all the way from Martin Place in Sydney CBD to Clovelly in around 35 minutes.
19. Giles Baths, Coogee
The trendy suburb of Coogee is home to a few of Sydney’s best ocean rock pools but Giles Baths has to be my favourite as it is so rugged and natural!
Just off Goldstein Reserve, which lies at the northern end of Coogee Beach you’ll find Giles Baths. Giles Baths is a lovely large rock pool set a little bit away from Coogee Beach so you can escape the crowds here!
To get to Giles Baths you need to walk along the Goldstein Reserve to Dolphins Point. Look for the white archway that says ‘Baths’ and keep following the path in that direction. Walk down the steps and you’ll see Giles Baths.
Giles Baths has plenty of big rocks that are perfect for climbing on, and it’s a great place to go for a fun leisurely dip. It’s not the ideal place to take young children, or to try doing serious laps as waves are constantly crashing into the pool.
From Martin Place in the CBD take the 373X or 374X bus to Coogee. It takes around 40 minutes.
20. Ross Jones Rock Pool
Next to the Coogee Life Saving Club on the southern end of Coogee Beach is the charming Ross Jones Rockpool, built in 1947.
A short rectangular pool jutting out from the rock face at less than 20 metres in length, and a bit shallower than other rock pools, this is a popular spot with families.
There’s also a dedicated small shallow children’s pool attached to the main pool. The Ross Jones Rock Pool is very pretty, with several turrets surrounding the pool, and it is a fun place to swim at high tide, with the waves crashing in.
Sunrise is a great time to visit if you want to get photos without the crowds!
The pool is usually cleaned every Monday.
21. McIver Baths (Coogee Women’s Baths)
Built in 1886, McIvers Ladies Baths is Australia’s only remaining women and children only rock pool! If you’re looking for one of Sydney’s most secluded places to go for a swim then this is it!
Also known as Coogee Women’s Baths, this cliff-side swimming spot is perched on a rock platform between Wylie’s Baths and Coogee Beach. It offers absolutely stunning views plus there’s space at the top of the cliff to lay down and relax.
There is such a lovely unique mix of people here – gal pals, women with young children, lesbians, women sunbathing topless who don’t want to be oggled by male onlookers, as well as women who are unable to bathe in front of men due to their religion.
It’s a lovely space where women can go and feel safe. Entrance is $2.50 and it’s well worth it!
In the picture below you can see the Ross Jones Rock Pool, McIver Baths and Wylies Baths.
22. Wylie’s Baths, Coogee
Just past McIver Baths is Wylie’s Baths, Coogee’s biggest and most popular ocean pool. Dating back to 1907, this Heritage Listed 50 metre long tidal pool is one of Sydney’s oldest rock pools.
Wylie’s Baths is lovely, with a natural rock bottom plus there is a kiosk here for when you need a refreshment!
Entrance is $6 for adults for the day, and the incredible views of Wedding Cake Island, Coogee Beach and the ocean make it totally worth it! There are also pilates, yoga and meditation classes available here!
23. Ivo Rowe Rockpool
The Ivo Rowe rock pool is one of the smallest and least well-known rock pools in Sydney.
Located in South Coogee along the Coogee to Maroubra coastal walk, this tiny rock pool is too small to swim in – it’s just a few metres wide and quite shallow so it’s just good to go for a refreshing dip or to cool down on a hot day. It’s pretty much just a big ocean bath!
This is a great place to go if you want to escape the crowds, especially at sunrise. Just be careful as the rocks can be slippery.
Ivo Rowe is a natural rock pool and as the waves crash over the rocks into it very frequently you’ll often see some sea life in the pool.
Be careful when it’s high tide or when the waves are rough as it can make it too dangerous to get in the rock pool.
To get to the Ivo Rowe rock pool you can take the 350 bus from Bondi Junction, getting off at Malabar Road. Ivo Rowe rock pool is then just a 5-minute walk.
24. Mahon Pool, Maroubra
Located just north of Maroubra Beach at the base of a steep hill is Mahon Rock Pool – a popular ocean pool amongst adventure lovers.
Carved into the tidal rock platform and nestled amongst rocky outcrops, this is one of the more natural-feeling ocean pools in Sydney and a favourite with many Sydneysiders.
It receives quite a lot of ocean swell, especially at high tide when the waves come crashing in – it’s fun but pay attention!
Adrenaline junkies will love this, but do be careful if the swell becomes too rough as it will make it unsafe to swim.
Mahon Pool is therefore not the most child-friendly ocean pool in Sydney and I would advise to go elsewhere, such as nearby Bronte if you’re looking for a rock pool suitable for small children.
For those of you who prefer less of an adrenaline rush, visit Mahon Pool at low tide when the water is calmer. You’ll often notice the fish in the pool, that get washed in with the waves!
The 30-metre Mahon Pool is known for its stunning views and is a great place to spend the day.
There is plenty of space to spread out and sunbathe on the rocks or on the grassy reserve above, plus there are toilet facilities, showers and changing rooms overlooking the pool.
Just a short walk away on Marine Parade you’ll find lots of places for food and drink.
Access Mahon Pool via the hidden steps from Marine Parade car park.
To reach Mahon Pool on public transport take the 350 bus from Bondi Junction to Marine Parade – it should take around 20 minutes.
25. Malabar Ocean Pool
Malabar is another stunning ocean pool in Sydney that is a total hidden gem and mostly known just to the locals! It lies on the southern part of Malabar Beach, directly below Randwick Golf Club on an exposed rocky outcrop.
From Malabar rock pool you get fantastic views out over Long Bay and the Malabar Headland. The water here is really calm so great for kids, plus it really feels like you’re a whole world away as it is very secluded!
To each Malabar Ocean Pool, take the 396 bus from Hyde Park in the CBD to Juniors Kingsford. Then get the 399 bus towards Little Bay, alighting at Prince Edwards Street. Malabar Ocean Pool is then just a short walk.
Sydney Harbour Pools
And now for the pools located inside Sydney Harbour. As they are harbour pools, they are more purpose-built pools than many of the natural-looking rock pools located along Sydney’s oceanside beaches.
26. Fairlight Rock Pool
Located on the eastern end of Fairlight Beach is the Fairlight Tidal Swimming Pool.
The pool is a popular place to cool down along the Spit to Manly Walk, but with that being said – it’s still a fairly hidden gem that’s much quieter than the nearby Manly Beaches!
Whether you’re up for swimming laps or taking the little ones into the adjacent small paddling pool, there’s a lovely laid-back family vibe here at Fairlight. Plus around the rocks is a great place to go snorkelling to look for sea life!
There are showers and accessible toilets nearby, as well as wheelchair and pram accessibility from the path.
To get to Fairlight from Sydney CBD by bus, take the 170X bus from Wynyard and get off in Fairlight. It’s a 700 metre walk to Fairlight Beach.
The bus journey takes 40 minutes though, so it’s actually just quicker to get the ferry to Manly and then walk the 1km from Manly Wharf to Fairlight Rock Pool.
27. MacCallum Pool
Another favourite pool amongst the locals is MacCallum Pool located at Cremorne Point. Built in the 1920s, MacCallum Pool has the most incredible panoramic views of The Sydney Opera House, the city skyline and Sydney Harbour!
It is a must-visit to get some fantastic Instagrammable photos!
Wooden decking surrounds the 33-metre long pool so there’s plenty of space to relax and soak up the sun after a swim.
MacCallum Pool gets cleaned weekly so check the cleaning schedule before you visit!
28. North Sydney Olympic Pool
Right next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Luna Park is the North Sydney Olympic Pool – quite possibly the pool with the best city views in the world!
This art deco 50-metre heated pool is currently closed for renovations until April 2024.
There’s also an indoor swimming pool here, as well as a spa, sauna and gymnasium so once it opens again you’ll be able to make a day out of it.
Entrance isn’t free – prices will be available once renovations are complete, but I for one can’t wait to visit once it’s open again!
29. Dawn Fraser Baths, Balmain
The Dawn Fraser Baths in Balmain is a netted saltwater pool located in Sydney Harbour.
Built in the 1880’s, it is the oldest harbour pool in the southern hemisphere and it is here where Australia’s first swimming club was formed, so it’s a very historic place!
The baths were named after the local swimmer Dawn Fraser who won four Gold medals at the Olympics.
The Dawn Fraser Baths has a 50-metre lap pool area, as well as a smaller shallow children’s pool. It’s a great place to bring the children, plus it doesn’t get as crowded as the ocean pools during the summer.
The pool is separated from the harbour by decking and the classical building surrounding it. There are also plenty of shaded and unshaded areas to relax around the pool, as well as a kiosk nearby that serves snacks and drinks.
Note as this is a Harbour pool, it may close after heavy rainfall if water quality is affected.
Also, unlike pretty much all of the other pools in Sydney that stay open year-round, The Dawn Fraser Baths close over the winter season from May-August.
30. Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool
Named after one of Australia’s greatest swimmers, the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool is located in a very central location, on Mrs Macquaries Road near the Royal Botanical Gardens in The Domain. It has some really great Harbourside views!
The 50 metre saltwater pool has 8 swimming lanes and is heated from September to April!
This is definitely more of a pool for more serious swimmers to visit, but there is also a shaded smaller shallow pool where you can go to relax or bring the children.
There’s a cafe here if you fancy a coffee after your swim, plus there’s plenty of parking available. Entry for adults is $7.20.
31. Murray Rose Pool, Double Bay
The Murray Rose Pool (previously known as Redleaf Pool but renamed after the famous Olympian) is a lovely family-friendly netted harbour pool located in Double Bay just off New South Head Road.
As it’s a Harbourside pool, the water is very calm so it’s the ideal spot to bring children.
The pool is very large at almost 100 meters long, plus there are boardwalks around the pool where you can walk, or sunbathe on!
Inside the pool there are also two large pontoons to relax on or jump off, so it’s the perfect place to go relax with family and friends on a hot day!
Murray Rose Pool is located on Seven Shillings Beach – a lovely beach with stunning harbour views. Plus there are some shaded grassy areas to relax on with a picnic!
If you walk up the path to Redleaf Cafe you can get some lovely aerial views of the Murray Rose Pool.
Note that parking is extremely difficult here so it’s best to come by public transport. The 324 and 325 buses stop on New South Head Road just 100 metres from the pool so I would advise to take that.
South Sydney Rock Pools
In Sutherlandshire – an area in the south of Sydney, you’ll find the lovely beachside suburb of Cronulla. When it comes to ocean pools in Cronulla, you’re spoiled for choice! It is home to four gorgeous ocean pools!
32. North Cronulla Rock Pool
At the bottom of North Cronulla Beach you’ll find the North Cronulla Rock Pool. It lies on the rocky platform that divides North Cronulla from South Cronulla, just about 100 metres from the South Cronulla Rock Pool!
Opened in 1932 and offering absolutely stunning views over the bay, the North Cronulla Rock Pool is a great place for families to come and paddle as it’s quite shallow.
33. South Cronulla Rock Pool
At the northern end of South Cronulla Beach just off The Esplanade is the South Cronulla Rock Pool.
The Olympic-sized South Cronulla Rockpool also has stunning views but is mostly used by serious swimmers to train.
34. Cronulla Beach Ocean Pools
If you continue walking along the Cronulla Coastal Walk a few hundred metres you’ll find the Cronulla Beach Ocean Pools, also known as the Shelly Beach Ocean Pools.
The Cronulla Beach Ocean Baths are one of the most popular rock pools to visit in the summer. It is a great accessible swimming spot, with a ramp that leads into the water.
It’s a wide sandy ocean pool, with the sand from the beach leading straight into the pool, making it a popular place for families to enjoy.
There’s also a lovely pavilion here, as well as lots of space on the green grassy area as well as some BBQs, making it perfect to relax with a picnic after your swim!
35. Oak Park Rock Pool
Further down the Cronulla Esplanade towards the bottom of the peninsula, you’ll find the Oak Park Beach Baths – another popular sandy summer rock pool with families.
There are also BBQs here and lots of space to spread out on the grass – so perfect to spend the whole day.
There is also a tidal pool in Port Hacking- on the other side of Cronulla where you will find the Gunnamatta Bay Baths.
This 50-metre netted pool has a boardwalk that you can walk across and is a popular place to spend hot summer weekends!
Bonus Rock Pools Near Sydney To Visit On Day Trips:
Figure Eight Pools, Royal National Park
Located south of Cronulla in The Royal National Park you’ll find the Instagram-famous Figure Eight Pools. These naturally formed rock pools are in interesting shapes – one even in the shape of the number 8 as the name suggests!
Getting to the Figure Eight Pools requires a 6km hike from the nearest car park, as well as making sure you arrive when the tide is mid-low tide.
If you arrive at high tide the Figure Eight Pools will be submerged under water and you won’t be able to access them as it will be too dangerous!
The Bogey Hole, Newcastle
A couple of hours’ drive north of Sydney takes you to the famous Bogey Hole rock pool in Newcastle! If you’re visiting Newcastle on a weekend trip from Sydney then a swim in the Bogey Hole is a must!
Built by convicts in 1819, this is the oldest rock pool in Australia!
It’s also without a doubt the best rock pool in Newcastle – it feels so natural as the waves really come crashing into the pool! The waves can get rough at high tide or during rough surf, so pay attention and don’t go in if it looks too rough.
You can get some really lovely photos of the rock pool from above on the stairs, so you don’t need a drone to get great aerial shots here!
Safety Tips for Rock Pools
- Lifeguards generally don’t supervise rock pools so only go in if you can swim, and always keep children under supervision. Always let someone know where you are.
- If the waves look too rough and the surf looks particularly hazardous, don’t go into the rock pool as the waves can thrash you against the rock pool wall and injure you. Only bring children in when the water is calm.
- Don’t run around rock pools – they are often surrounded by slippery rocks.
- Especially in some of the oak pools that get the waves crashing into the pool a lot, there may be some marine life such as small fish or even sea urchins or bluebottles inside the pool. Make sure your children know not to pick anything up.
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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!