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Sydney's most breathtaking ocean pools

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South Curl Curl Rockpool

A 50 metre pool and toddlers area, with level access to toilets, showers and car parking. It was fully renovated in 2011. South Curl Curl is helpfully divided into two sections by the original wall of the pool that dates back to the 1920s. You have a 50m pool on one side, though no ropes to guide you, and on the other is a shallower splash and play area for little flippers. If you’re wanting to stretch out up on the tiled bank at the ocean end like a happy fur seal we’d suggest holding on tight to the chain railing – even with the spilling basin in place waves can come crashing over the walls at high tide.

Carrington Parade, Curl Curl NSW 2096

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Bondi Icebergs pool

Located at the southern end of Bondi Beach, Bondi Icebergs Club is an international landmark and no trip to Sydney is complete without a visit to the pool and clubhouse,

If you’re coming to Sydney and you fancy a swim then Bondi Icebergs has definitely got to be on your must-swim list.

Sydney had many beautiful open air rock pools, but this is the most famous. Icebergs also boasts of being the most photographed swimming pool in the world.

Come in summer and soak up the beach vibes, watch the beautiful people.

But if you swim in the winter, that’s when you see the best of Bondi.  Bondi Icebergs Club was founded by winter swimmers, life guards who wanted to keep fit.

Address: 1 Notts Ave, Bondi NSW 2026

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Bronte Baths

A perfect place to take a dip and cool off whilst relaxing at Bronte Beach.

Bronte Baths Sydney is sheltered from the ocean, yet still filled with its waves, and an ideal place to go for dip anytime from sunrise through to sunset.

Built into the rocky cliffside, stairs lead down to a shallow-ish pool area, which is great for families and little nippers. There’s a small wooden barrier, which divides the pool up, so lap swimmers can do their thing (it’s not very long though, making it more suited to a leisurely few laps rather than a serious swim). Also try and get here before 5am – watching the sun breach over the ocean’s horizon from this vantage point is pretty special.

Address: Bronte NSW 2024

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MacCallum Pool

Maccallum Pool, on the western side of Cremorne Point, is a unique 33m harbourside pool with heritage character and superb views. The waterside timber deck offers an unparalleled sun bathing spot. It was originally just a rock pool created by local residents to form a safe harbour swimming hole (see the video below).

The architectural style of the current pool dates from the 1920s, and was restored in keeping with that by Council in 1985. You’ll stroll down past leafy flowering gums, before arriving at the harbour edged pool – panoramic views of the city skyline and bobbing boats are contrasted with the pool’s well worn rope fencing and aquamarine lining. Splay out on the timber decking for a sun bake or take a dip – the water is above the harbour line so it gets cleaned and refilled weekly (make sure you check the cleaning schedule before venturing to it).

Address: Milson Rd, Cremorne Point NSW

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Mahon Pool

Unlike most Sydney rock pools, Mahon Pool isn’t tucked into the corner of a larger beach. It’s its own entity, carved into a rock flat at the base of a steep hill, a few hundred meters north of Maroubra Beach. It’s the perfect spot for sand-haters. You can either bask like a seal on the rocks beside the beach or shelter in the shade on the grassy hill above. Built in 1932, this 30-metre-pool’s best (or worst) feature is the way waves crash all the way over the edge at high tide, giving the ocean bath its own little swell. During very high seas, it becomes unsafe to swim. Visit at low tide and the water is calm – the only sign it’s sometimes owned by the ocean are the dozens of fish that remain when the sea retreats.

Address: 15R Marine Parade, Maroubra NSW 2035

Coogee Women’s Baths / MacIver’s Ladies Bath

McIver's Ladies Baths are perched on a cliff face and rock platform between Coogee Beach and Wylie's Baths. The baths have magnificent oceans views and are relatively well screened from the surrounding area. Steps lead from Grant Reserve down the cliff to the pool.

The baths consist of a large concrete sea pool, brick sunbathing area, change rooms, amenities block and small clubhouse. It is surrounded by native coastal vegetation and small grassed areas.

It is the last remaining women's-only seawater pool in Australia and has been in continuous use since its establishment. The State Government granted the pool an exemption from the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Act in 1995. They are open only to women and children. There are numerous other nearby ocean pools that are not restricted including Wylie's Baths, Ross Jones Memorial Pool and Giles Baths.

According to a National Trust report on the baths, they have been used as a spot for bathing for women since before 1876. The baths themselves were built in 1886 and the lease expired in 1901. The McIver family ran the baths until 1922 when the Randwick Ladies Amateur Swimming Club was formed. The club took over the lease and has held it since that time.

Address: 145-149R Beach Street, Coogee NSW 2034

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Fairlight Rock Pool

Along the popular Manly to Spit walking path you’ll come across quieter swimming spots that attract more of a chilled-out family vibe than the busy beaches and promenades in Manly. Fairlight Beach is one of those gems, and the clear, calm waters are something of a shared secret for snorkelling and spotting sea life – however, if you’re more inclined to swim laps or if you have little ones in tow there is a walled rock pool and small paddling pool that’s sheltered from the harbour swell. What makes it super family-friendly are the public facilities, all pram accessible from the path. There are warm showers and accessible toilets too.

Just a few minutes walk from Manly Ferry Wharf, it is surprising that the main users of the pool are locals. Fairlight is a great little pool with it’s own secluded beach and is only accessible by foot. Complete with a kiddies pool, toilet block and grassed foreshore, Fairlight is just the place to be for a relaxing day out without the crowds.

Address: Fairlight Walk Fairlight NSW 2094

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Monica Limanto