So much more than your average lap pool, the ABC is a tranquil retreat set on the shores of Woolloomooloo Bay. Perfect for serious swimmers and socialising alike, the complex also offers yoga and karate classes and a massage therapy suite.
Arguably as famous as the beach itself, these baths have welcomed swimmers year-round since 1929. Come summer you can expect to battle for a poolside position – your worthy competitors are a glamorous blend of tourists, locals, hipsters and celebrities. If you fail to grab a spot you can always cool off with a cocktail at the bar upstairs.
It’s a simple cycle: lie with your bare skin against the rocks until you feel warmed from the inside out, slip into the baths letting the cool wash over you, then repeat when ready. An ample size, the pool has room enough for serious swimmers and a shallow end for kids.
Collaroy prides itself on being a venue accessible to all ages and abilities, offering a 50m lap pool and two 25m children’s pools. Freewheeler wheelchairs are available from the surf club allowing access to the pool and movement on the sand.
The oldest pool and swimming club in Australia, it is large enough to accommodate swimmers and a water polo game at the same time. The harbour pool is all but fully enclosed, leaving it to rise and fall with the whims of the tides. At low tide a beach appears for some good old-fashioned sand castle building fun.
At Dee Why Rockpools learners and golden oldies casually paddle at their own pace, surfers leap off the adjacent rocks into the wild swell, and visitors and locals alike sprawl across the tiered seating, watching the beach-loving community embark on their daily ritual.
For this harbourside pool it’s all about quality, not quantity. The free pool is narrower than most and has no lanes – better designed for a peaceful paddle than an Olympic-grade training session. For a carefree afternoon in the sun, plant yourself on the waterside timber decking, gaze across to the Opera House and watch the ferries go by.
If you are looking to have your lazy days by the seaside kicked up a gear or two, then Maroubra’s Mahon Pool is for you. Cut into the natural rock face, it’s dubbed the “impossible pool” and can be a bit like a washing machine on spin cycle when there is a big swell.
Murray Rose Pool (formerly Redleaf Pool) can be found in Double Bay's Blackburn Cove and provides swimmers with a safe harbourside tidal enclosure. There’s a wrap-around pontoon, which makes for a lovely walk, and if you’re feeling peckish head to the kiosk on the hill, grab a snack and take in the views of Sydney Harbour.
Slap-bang in the middle of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks – Luna Park, Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. But the view of the pool itself is lovely, too: art deco designs and decorative plasterwork make this a must-visit no matter which side of the Bridge you call home.
The nine-lane, 50m pool is the first fully accessible outdoor heated pool in the city – a ramp means it's accessible to anyone who feels like a dip. And there's a big focus on sustainability: we're loving the green roof, the biggest of its kind in Sydney, which features more than 35,000 plants that conceal the centre from the street.
Ocean pool by day, wedding venue by night, these heritage-listed baths below the Maroubra to Bondi coastal walkway have changed little since they were built in 1907. They were born from one man’s passion for the ocean: champion long-distance swimmer Henry Wylie obtained a special lease below the high-water mark to build the seawall and raised boardwalk. It became one of the first mixed gender baths in Australia.