If you find Sydney's ocean surf a little intimidating or if you just want to soothe your jetlag with a few slow laps, take advantage of the city's famous ocean pools. There are 40 seawater pools up and down the coast, most of which are free. Here are a few of our favorites. 

Editor's note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government advice.

Bondi Icebergs Pool 

Sydney's most famous pool commands the best view in Bondi, and is one of its more community-oriented spaces. There's a sauna and a cute little cafe. The saltwater lapping pool is regularly doused by the bigger breakers, but there's a more sheltered pool for kids. It closes on Thursdays so they can clean the seaweed out, though it sometimes opens once the job's done.

Fairy Bower Beach 

Indulge your mermaid fantasies (the more seemly ones at least) in the pretty, triangular ocean pool set into the rocky shoreline. The life-size sea nymphs of Helen Leete's bronze sculpture Oceanides (1997) stand on the edge, washed by the surf. Fairy Bower is best reached by the promenade heading around Manly Beach's southern headland.

Waves crash on an enclosure of rocks making up Giles Baths at North Coogee Beach in Sydney
Giles Baths are a great place to visit with the family ©James Vodicka/500px

Giles Baths 

At Coogee Beach’s northern end, below Dolphin Point, Giles Baths is what’s known as a “bogey hole” – a semiformal rock pool open to the surging surf. It's good for kids and those with shark paranoia.

McIver’s Ladies Baths

Perched against the cliffs south of Coogee Beach and well-screened from passers-by, this sea pool has been popular for women's bathing since before 1876. Its strict women-only policy has made it a relaxed space popular with nuns, Muslim women and lesbians. Small children of any gender are permitted.

Overhead shot of people swimming as waves crash into the Mahon rock pool on a sunny day
Mahon Pool has considered one of the most beautiful pools in New South Wales © ai_yoshi/Getty Images

Mahon Pool 

Hidden within the cliffs, 500m (1640ft) north of Maroubra Beach, Mahon Pool is an idyllic rock pool where the surf crashes over the edges at high tide. It's quite possibly Sydney's most beautiful bogey hole.


This discreet, southeast-facing sandy bay just north of Manly has a cool ocean pool and plenty of teenagers. Good for learner surfers.

Ocean waves crash against jagged rocks at the Bogey Hole in Newcastle, at high tide.
High tide at the Bogey Hole in Newcastle © Paul Hollins/500px

Bogey Hole

South of Newcastle Beach, below King Edward Park, is Australia’s oldest ocean bath, the convict-carved Bogey Hole. It’s an atmospheric place to splash about when the surf’s crashing over its edge, but be wary at high tide.

Figure Eight Pools

This eight-shaped pool on a rock shelf near Burning Palms Beach is an Instagram favorite. However it is imperative to pay attention to conditions: tides and weather mean that the shelf is frequently far too dangerous to visit, if not wholly submerged. Check the website for a daily forecast before planning a trip. It's a tough 6km (3.73-mile) return walk from Garrawarra Farm car park, off Garie Rd.

You might also like: 

Top 20 free things to do in Sydney
Accessible Australia: tips and resources for navigating Oz with a disability
Where to find Sydney's best beaches 

Explore related stories

Man at the edge of cliff staring the views over Palm Beach in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia - January, 2019


12 of the best beaches in Sydney

Nov 4, 2023 • 6 min read