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Harold Holt Swim Centre

The best outdoor pools in Melbourne

Feel like a splash? Jump into one of these outdoor Melbourne pools and sea baths

Written by
Time Out editors
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Despite complaints of inclement weather, Melbourne does a good turn when it comes to its pools. Pick a day over 30, hit one of these urban oases and drag your towel to a spare bit of premium pool real estate to soak up some rays. Alternatively, see if you've got the metal to become one of the Iceburgers at Brighton Baths and swim come rain, hail or shine.

That said, maybe a sandscape is more your speed – if so, head to one of our favourite beaches for some salt-air goodness.

Brighton Baths Health Club
  • Things to do
  • Brighton

Offering a view of the beach that you'd be hard-pressed to beat, the Brighton Baths Health Club has been home to Melbourne swimmers since 1881. The Olympic-sized open water sea baths are the main attraction (there's also a gym and steam room) so it's popular with cold water swimmers in the winter. The facility is open to casual visitors and members. 

  • Sport and fitness
  • Brunswick

The redeveloped Brunswick Baths boasts an environmentally friendly, cost-efficient facility with a 50-metre outdoor heated pool (which operates year-round) and grass surroundings. There's also a 20-metre indoor pool, a spa, sauna and steam room, a gym, group fitness classes, a childcare centre and accessible facilities. 

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  • Sport and fitness
  • Fitzroy

Open since 1908, Fitzroy Pool is a northside institution. Thanks to its big 50-metre heated outdoor swimming pool, lap swimmers can stick to their fitness routines all year round. Come summer though, it's much more happening and is the perfect place for people watching. There's also a gym, spa, sauna and a toddler's pool for the little kids. 

Prahran Aquatic Centre
  • Sport and fitness
  • Prahran

Prahran Pool is where to go if you want to see and be seen. The 50-metre outdoor lap pool is open year-round – and it's heated, so you don't let the thought of icy cold water put you off in winter. Just off Chapel Street, summer at the Prahran Pool draws a mixed crowd, check out the beautiful people preening on the stairs, the cool kids lounging on the lawns or the families running around the toddler's pool.

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Carlton Baths
  • Sport and fitness
  • Carlton

The Carlton Baths are an icon of the CBD, having first opened in February 1916. These days, the baths have received a number of sleek upgrades, but the vibe still retains some of that old Carlton charm. The 25-metre pool is outside, and because of its shorter length, there tend to be fewer hardcore swimmers doing laps, so it's a lot less intimidating.

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Tullamarine

If you've bemoaned the fact that inner-city Melbourne doesn't have proper surfing beaches, this is for you. Head along to Australia's first inland surf park, Urbnsurf, located within spitting distance of Melbourne Airport in Tullamarine. The two-hectare surfing lagoon has areas customisable for all ages and abilities – so if you're not Layne Beachley just yet, you'll do just fine. The modular wave generator means that there can be different kinds of waves in different sections of the pool.

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St Kilda Sea Baths
  • Things to do
  • St Kilda

The restored St Kilda Sea Baths exude that eclectic but easy-going ambience typical of St Kilda. The 25-metre seawater swimming pool is heated, but only uses a small amount of chlorine so you get less of that itchy feeling on your skin once you get out. If you really need to unwind, head to the hydrotherapy spa or the aromatherapy steam room, both will soothe tired muscles.

Harold Holt Swim Centre
  • Sport and fitness
  • Glen Iris

Nestled within the leafy streets of Glen Iris, Harold Holt (strangely named after our ill-fated Prime Minister) is a suburban haven for southside fitness junkies. Both the indoor 25-metre pool and a 50-metre outdoor pool are heated, so there's no excuse not to get your Thorpedo on. There's also the slightly warmer warm water pool which is ideal for rehab and hydrotherapy exercise and relaxation. There's also a gym, swim classes and a big shady area to loll about in the sun in the warmer months. 

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