Although Sydney is renowned for its glorious harbour and stunning beaches, there’s another unique way to enjoy the water. Explore the beautiful, quirky, natural swimming pools dotting the area’s coastline. These five spectacular rockpools really make a splash.
On a number of beaches in Sydney, you’ll find a rockpool built into the headland where the sand meets the cliffs. Drawing on their surroundings’ natural resources and constructed from the 1800s to the 1960s, roughly three dozen of these natural pools in Sydney now fleck the landscape. Although plenty of chlorinated options abound for serious lap swimmers, these special seaside Sydney pools add dramatic views and a touch of adventure. For many locals, a dip in one of these pools is a regular part their routine and a way to commune with their beautiful natural resources. For visitors, it is definitely something you should tick off your bucket list.
Bondi Icebergs Pool, Bondi Beach
The historic Bondi Icebergs swimming club started in 1929 among a group of friends, but today, the pool is open to everyone. There’s a small fee of AUD8 to use the ocean pool (the cost covers use of the showers, sauna and changing room facilities), but the view will make you forget you had to splash out to splash in. After your dip, the Bondi Icebergs Club offers bistro-style dining and a welcoming, comfortable bar with, again, expansive views of Bondi Beach.
Fairy Bower Rockpool, Manly
Halfway along the scenic oceanside Marine Parade walk from Manly Beach to Shelly Beach, you can’t miss Fairy Bower Rockpool. Built in 1929, its triangular shape is unique among the natural pools in Sydney. The Sea Nymphs, an artwork by Helen Leete, stands watch over the pool (and may photobomb your selfies). When you’re done swimming or just want to people-watch, The Bower café offers stunning views over the pool and ocean and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Giles Baths, Coogee
Giles Baths, formerly Lloyds Baths, is at the bottom of the northern headland of Coogee Beach, not too far from iconic Bondi. This natural pool features an open passage that allows ocean water into the swimming area. When the surf’s up, it can be a bit rough in the pool so bring both your sense of adventure and your caution.
North Curl Curl Rockpool, North Curl Curl
Nestled in the headland of Curl Curl beach, about 40 minutes by car from the city, is a protected 25-metre-long natural pool. When huge waves batter the surrounding rocks, the pool and its swimmers are doused with a rain of ocean spray. Perfect for cooling off on a hot Australian day! At high tide, you can access the pool only by a cliff path.
Palm Beach Rockpool, Palm Beach
If you’re looking to go a bit farther afield for your beach time, head to the southern end of idyllic Palm Beach (about two hours by bus from Sydney’s CBD). Here, you’ll find a 50-metre pool with breathtaking views of the beach, ocean, and opposite headland. Ocean waves regularly splash into the pool, freshening the water and creating cool currents in which to play. Plus, Palm Beach has been home or holiday destination to many Australian celebs, including Rachel Griffiths, Lleyton Hewitt and Nicole Kidman, so you never know who you might bump into while having a paddle in the pool.
With so many natural pools, Sydney spoils you with choice – and spectacular scenery. Ask your Hilton Concierge for advice on the closest options and the easiest way to get there. Better still, ask them to recommend their favourite pool. Everyone in Sydney has one!