Australia’s Rock And Ocean Pools

Dec 20, 2019 0 comments

A defining feature of the Australian coastline, particularly in New South Wales, are the rock pools—outdoor swimming pools carved out of the rocks at the ocean’s edges. The waves regular crash into the pool filling and replenishing it with seawater.

Rock pools or ocean pools began to appear in the 1800s, when the prudish Victorian-era people banned daytime swimming at the beach, causing wealthy individuals to build pools on the rocky surf coast. Others were build through community subscriptions or were government funded. Gradually they became a characteristic feature of New South Wales. Today, there are over one hundred rock pools in New South Pools, some of which are Olympic-sized with many lanes.

Mahon rock pool

Set among the jagged rocks of Maroubra Beach at the base of Jack Vanny Reserve, the Mahon rock pool is one of the most beautiful and favorite among ocean swimmers.

Bilgola Rockpool

Bilgola Rockpool, located on the edge of Bilgola Beach is 50 meters long, and includes eight lanes for swimmers, and is one of the most secluded natural pools. Image credit: Couttang/

Bondi Icebergs

The Bondi Icebergs, the most iconic of ocean pools, sits at the southern end of Bondi Beach and forms part of the Bondi Iceberg Club. The facilities on site include bathrooms and change facilities, as well as massage rooms and a sauna. Image credit: Derek Swanson/Flickr

Bogey Hole

Newcastle's Bogey Hole was the first rock pool, hewn from rock by convicts in the 1820s as a bathing spot for officers. Image credit: Will Brown/Flickr

Freshwater Beach Rock Pool

Freshwater Beach Rock Pool is located at the northern end of Freshwater Beach. It’s 50 meters long and has lane markings on the floor. Image credit: aiyoshi597/

Figure eight pools

Figure eight pools is located on the rock shelf in Sydney's Royal National Park near Burning Palms Beach. Unlike other rock pools in this gallery, Figure eight is a natural rock formation in the shape of a figure 8, and hence the name. Image credit: nakarin.ch7/

Bronte Baths

Bronte Baths is located in Bronte's southern headland. This pool was built by Waverley Council back in 1887 to cater to the new sea bathing fad. The original structure of the pool remains largely intact. Image credit: hopeless128/Flickr

North Curl Curl Rockpool

The North Curl Curl Rockpool towards the end of the headland at North Curl Curl Beach is picturesque, but difficult to access. During high tide the rocks get submerged and the pool can only be accessed via the coastal walk across the headland. Image credit: aiyoshi597/

Mona Vale Rockpool

Mona Vale Rockpool is located in a small, flat headland jutting into the ocean in the Northern Beaches, Sydney. Image credit: Jamen Percy/

Wylie's Baths

Wylie's Baths is a heritage-listed pool located near Coogee Beach, in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. The baths are noted for holding the first Australian Swimming Championships and for being one of the first swimming baths for mixed gender swimming in Australia. Wylie's Baths was built in 1907 by Henry Wylie, the father of Mina Wylie who, along with Fanny Durack, were Australia's first female Olympic swimming representatives, and Australia's first woman gold and silver medallists respectively.

McIvers Baths

McIvers Baths also known as Coogee Women's Pool and Ladies Baths, is situated just north of Wylie’s Baths. It was built in the 1880s and is the last remaining women-only seawater pool in Australia. The pool is aesthetically positioned on the ocean's edge with panoramic views to the surrounding beaches, bays and cliffs.

Merewether Baths

The Merewether Baths in Newcastle is enormous with a length of 100 meters and a width of 90 meters. It was acclaimed in the 1930s as the largest of its kind in the state. It once hosted novelties such as a water wheel and other pool toys. Image credit: Moritz Lino/Flickr


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