Sydney rules the roost when it comes to surf beaches, secret beaches, and cliffside ocean pools. But we’re also a city rich with incredibly stunning swimming pools.
Some harbourside, some Art Deco, some indoor, and some outdoor—as the mercury rises, there are plenty of Sydney pools to cool off or clock a couple of laps in this summer.
Check out Sydney’s best swimming pools.
Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool
It doesn’t get much better than doing a couple of laps harbourside on a sunny day. The piece de resistance here is the eight-lane 50m outdoor swimming pool which gets heated to a glorious 25-degrees and treated with a touch of seawater (kisses fingers). You’ll find a flurry of sunbeds around the pool deck, perfect for a post-swim dry-off and the grandstand also offers up a recluse from the sun with shaded protection. The pool is also wheelchair accessible and individual entry for a swim is $8.20.
North Sydney Olympic Pool
If doing a couple of laps with Australia’s most iconic landmark as your backdrop is hot on your to-do list, you’re going to want to make a splash at North Sydney Olympic Pool and fun fact, 86 world records were set at this pool by legends of the sport including Shane Gould and Lorraine Crapp (plus, it’s also been the pool of choice for Dawn Fraser, Murray Rose, and other Aussie swimming greats).
This open-air pool is Olympic-size and with the Harbour Bridge’s arches stretching into the sky behind it, it truly is one of the most beautiful swimming spots in Sydney. On the harbourside, you’ll find remnants of the pool’s 1930s architecture with a series of multi-coloured brick arches with various keystones shaping into parrots, scallop shells, and fish.
Victoria Park Pool
Victoria Park Pool may be in one of the unlikeliest locations in Sydney. The inner-city pool rests in the apex of Victoria Park just opposite The Lansdowne. The main outdoor swimming pool here is an eight-lane, 50m heated pool (sitting around 26-degrees). There's also has a range of facilities to assist anyone with additional needs or rehabilitation needs and a lane space available at all times with a pool access hoist for full support on entry and exiting the water. Entry here for a casual swim will set you back $6.90.
Prince Alfred Park Pool
Also known as “Redfern Beach”, Prince Alfred Park Pool is the swimming hole of choice for inner-city and Inner West locals keen to skip the traffic and the crowds at Bondi. Beneath bright yellow sunshades, Prince Alfred Park Pool has a fully accessible heated outdoor pool which features a green roof of native grass to regulate temperature. Entry to the pool costs $6.90. Keep an eye out for the park’s soon-to-be rainbow path, which is being created to commemorate the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia.
Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre
This architecturally spectacular indoor swimming pool pays homage to one of Australia’s most iconic Olympic swimming champions—Ian Thorpe. As one of the last projects designed by late architect Harry Seidler, the aquatic centre itself sports a curved roof design, meant to mimic an ocean wave breaking into shore. Inside, this indoor pool features a heated 50m Olympic lap swimming pool, spa, sauna and steam room (if you’re all about that all-round wellness life). You’ll also find “easy steps” for assisted entry and hoist in the end lanes too. If you’re coming in for a lunchtime dip, entry is a flat fee of $8.
Des Renford Aquatic Centre
Locals will still remember this Sydney swimming pool as Heffron Pool but it was renamed Des Renford Aquatic Centre just before the 2000 Olympics in honour of Aussie long-distance swimmer Desmond Renford. Des held the impressive title of King of the Channel, having swum the English Channel 19 times through his life (with 19 attempts). The aquatic centre has long been a place for long-distance swimmers to train and holds a rich history of young competitive athletes too.
The Des Renford Aquatic Centre has undergone huge revamps over the years and you’ll find five different pools here to make the most of. The 50m outdoor pool is the most famous (and it’s the pool of choice for many a school swimming carnival at the start of each year too). A casual swim here will cost you $7.20.
Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre
Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre is the ultimate place to be on a hot summer’s day in Sydney and yes, that’s a pastel pink dive tower bringing an old school Olympic aesthetic. The outdoor Olympic-size pool features seven lanes and a pool hoist and big wide-open views of the Parramatta River. And good news, if you’re here to crawl your way through a few laps on the weekend, you can always hit the epic Rozelle Markets for a post-swim feed.
For something a little more coastal, check out this list of Sydney's best ocean pools.
Image credit: Kajo Merkert, Destination NSW, Destination NSW, Victoria Park Pool, Prince Alfred Pool, Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, Randwick Council, Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre