When you think about taking a dip in this city, your mind probably goes straight to Sydney's fab beaches. But if you’re not one for sand or waves, and also not convinced that the rocky walls of Sydney’s ocean pools will keep the high tide swell at bay, you’ll be looking for calmer waters for a swim.
Don’t get all stress-sweaty searching for a pond to paddle in – just check out one of these very cool outdoor pools that are safely ensconced beyond the sea but retain that summer-fresh attitude in the sunshine. They're conveniently tucked away in CBD parks, a few paces away from the harbour and in quite suburban cul-de-sacs.
RECOMMENDED: The best vegan restaurants in Sydney.
Outdoor swimming pools in Sydney
What sets this very, very central blue lagoon apart from many others is that it's fully heated, accessible and open year-round. The nine-lane, 50m pool has a ramp enabling swimmers of all abilities to enjoy a CBD paddle, and a toddler splash pool making life easier for parents. And there's a big focus on sustainability: we're loving the energy-saving measures, all the grass for poolside lounging and the green roof which features native plants and grasses that conceal the centre from the street.
As you’re strolling past a baseball game or languishing under the Whomping Willow-style trees lining the footpaths of Petersham Park, you may hear gleeful water-soaked cries. That’s because the Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre is tucked away within this unassuming Inner West green space. The centre is home to a sunny 25m heated pool, plus a splash deck and toddler pond, making it perfect for all the hip families who inhabit this region of Sydney. It's also fully accessible, with ramps and hoists readily available.
Enjoy laps with epic views at the foot of the Coathanger. This beloved bathing spot is slap-bang in the middle of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks: Luna Park, Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. And if you can drag your eyes away from the horizon, you'll find Art Deco design and intricate decorative plasterwork. Facilities include the sky-facing 50-metre heated pool, gymnasium, sauna, spa, indoor 25-metre pool and café.
Perfect your freestyle and backstroke game at this fabulous outdoor swimming pool that's perched on the edge of the Royal Botanic Gardens. The eight-lane 50-metre pool is great for lap fiends working towards gold, but there is also a smaller pool for young flippers, sunbeds for heat-seeking lounge lizards and an on-site café. There's an action-packed fitness program here too, with swimming fitness sessions and regular yoga classes.
Within the nine lush hectares of Victoria Park, you'll find a sunny eight-lane 50m Olympic pool. The outdoor watering hole is open every day except for Good Friday and Christmas Day, and is consistently heated to 25 degrees. Visitors of all ages are able to join swimming classes at the pool or hire a lane to get serious with solo swim training. You can also get a bit of huffy puffy going at a boot camp, aquaerobics or group swim squad.
Outdoor pools in Sydney have been under threat as larger, indoor aquatic centres (that include gyms) have come on the scene, so a gem like the family-friendly Botany Aquatic Centre is to be truly cherished. There are three pools spread across lush green lawns peppered with trees, for plenty of shade. You can choose from a shaded, shallow baby pool, a waist-deep pool for bigger children and an Olympic pool for well-versed merpeople.