6 best Sydney saltwater pools

6 best Sydney saltwater pools

Ocean without jellyfish. Pool without chlorine. Until they invent a magic swimsuit that makes us look ten pounds lighter, this is as good as swimming gets
Sydney saltwater pool at Bondi Beach
Sydney saltwater pool at Bondi Beach
No drama? Not here. Superb setting places Bondi Icebergs pool among the best Sydney saltwater pools.

Locals from Palm Beach to La Perouse couldn’t give a toss whether they have a backyard with a swimming pool.

Why should they? More than two dozen of the best Sydney saltwater pools hug the coastline and harbor.

1. Bondi Baths at Bondi Icebergs

Yes, battling tourists can be a bitch -- and you'll likely do that here -- but it's always good to remember that popular attractions usually become popular because they're so impressive.

For more than a century, the dramatic, 50-meter Bondi Icebergs pool has been a Bondi Beach landmark. There's a kiddie pool, as well.

Best of all is the "unsinkable bar" set along 150 square-meters of balcony space.

2. Mahon Pool, Maroubra

In Jack Vanny Memorial Park off Marine Parade, Maroubra’s rugged Mahon Pool has crowd-free, expansive ocean views.

Especially on a big swell, when die-hard locals battle the infamous Bra Boys for waves, this Sydney saltwater pool is ignored by many swimmers. Even better, the ocean churn turns the no-frills treasure into an out-of-control spin cycle.  

3. McIvers Baths, Coogee

Yes, it’s for women only and calling the McIvers Baths change rooms "basic" is generous. But with a 20c entry fee, there's little room for complaining.

The 20-meter pool can be used for swimming laps during off-peak hours. Usually, though, serious swimming means dodging women of all ages, sizes and ethnicities who gather here largely to socialize.  

4. Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool, The Domain

On the city fringe, both serious swimmers and the seriously social head to the Domain’s Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool ($5.60, Mrs. Macquarie’s Road).

While the business crowd packs the place before and after office hours, anytime is good for lounging on the wooden deck. You'll often find members of Sydney’s buffed-up gay population doing just that.

After a big rain, Boy Charlton is also a good city option for East Sydney locals who might otherwise head to the crescent-shaped Redleaf Pool (off New South Head Road in Double Bay).

Sure, we love our "proper" harbor baths, but given that we’re never really sure what might pop out of the stormwater after a deluge, it’s great to have alternatives like Boy Charlton.

5. Dawn Fraser Baths, Balmain

Sydney's oldest harborside pool, Dawn Fraser, BalmainSydney's oldest harborside pool, Dawn Fraser, Balmain.Built in the 1880s, Balmain’s Dawn Fraser Baths ($4) proudly stakes its claim as Australia’s oldest swimming club and pool.

Which isn't to say the place has gone to rot. With what is still one of the best Sydney saltwater pools, the venue’s solar-powered hot water showers are a reminder that modernity often trumps history.

6. Maccallum Pool, Cremorne

For a dip with a view, Maccallum Pool (on Milson Road) beats most. From here swimmers get views of both the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

Reminder: This narrow 1920s pool lies above the tide mark -- so cleaning is done by man, not nature. Check here for updates for weekly nine-hour pool closures.

When freelance writer Sue White leaves her office in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, she’s typically on the hunt for the cheapest, slowest, greenest happenings her home town has to offer. 


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