• Recommended
  • This event was last held on Sun, 28 Jan 2024

Macquarie Bank Big Swim

  • Palm Beach NSW
  • 1km & 2.8km


The Macquarie Bank Big Swim is organised by
Online entries are closed

Quick Overview

  • Palm Beach, Palm Beach NSW
  • 1km & 2.8km
  • Ocean Swim
  • Around The Buoys, Point To Point
  • Little Big Swim = 10-years-old, Big Swim = 12-years-old


  • Palm Beach
  • Palm Beach NSW, Australia


Most recent results

2024 results are available

Previous results

  • Sun, 23 Mar 2025

Sign in to leave a review



The Macquarie Bank Big Swim is one of the premier events on the ocean swim calendar, with a proud history and a satisfying and challenging course.

The primary swim shares the same name as the event and is a 2.8km point-to-point epic from Palm Beach to Whale Beach.

The challenge was first taken on in 1974 with just 48 competitors but it regularly attracts 1000s of ocean swimmers from all over the country and overseas.

In 2024 the event will be celebrating its 50th, with huge celebrations planned. Entries for this historic milestone are expected to reach the 2,000 swimmer safety limit so don’t delay your entry and risk missing out.

If the main attraction is beyond your reach this season, the McGrath Pittwater Little Big Swim is a 1km ocean swim conducted at Palm Beach before swimmers leave on the big coastal journey.

Some say you graduate as an ocean swimmer once you’ve completed the Big Swim.

The Macquarie Bank Big Swim is a 2.8km course that starts from the Palm Beach Pavillion and finishes right in the middle of Whale Beach to the south.

The swim runs out from Palm Beach, then follows the coastline around Little Head and into the centre of Whale Beach. Initially, you might think Whale Beach is ‘just around the headland’, however, one of the greatest tales you will indulge in post-swim will be the ‘never-ending headlands’, giving credence to the name, the ‘Big Swim’.

This swim can be one of the toughest ocean swims of the year depending on the ever-changing surf conditions, but it will not disappoint. It can also just as easily be a leisurely swim with calm, flat water when conditions are at their best.

Elite swimmers can typically finish the course in roughly half an hour, while the average time is closer to 50 minutes.

The McGrath Pittwater Little Big Swim is a great family-friendly 1km swim for those that want to be a part of the festivities but don’t want to take on the full swim, just yet. 

The course is a beach start and goes out past the break, around four coloured buoys before coming back to the starting point.

Swim aids such as wetsuits, fins, snorkels and pull buoys are allowed during the swim, but swimmers who choose to use aids will not be eligible for major prizes and will be required to start at the back of the pack.

  • 7:30am – Registration opens for Little Big Swim
  • 8:30am – Little Big Swim start (1km)
  • 9:00am – Registration opens for The Big Swim
  • 10:00am – Big Swim start (2.8km)

At the finish:

  • Your belongings will be available in a sign posted area
  • Showers and change facilities to get you comfortable
  • Results will be posted on running sheets on a display board
  • Stick around for the BBQ, food and drinks at the Club
  • Lots of tables, chairs, sun umbrellas.

Once you’re all done, why not hit the Palm Beach Golf Course and complete 9-holes. If golfing isn’t your thing, take a guided tour and visit locations featured in the popular TV series Home and Away.

There is metered parking at Palm Beach and North Palm Beach but only for approximately 150 vehicles. The beach front parking at Whale Beach is closed for the event and there is extremely limited parking in surrounding streets – carpooling recommended.

Free Shuttle Buses

Free shuttle buses from North Avalon Soccer Fields go to the start at Palm Beach and return from the finish at Whale Beach. 

Little Swim entrants can take free bus to Whale Beach to watch finish along with supporters and spectators.

A bus from Palm Beach ferry wharf will take Central Coast swimmers to the event start and back to the ferry from the finish at Whale Beach.

For a map of recommended parking areas and up-to-date information on the free shuttle bus, please visit the event website.

Central Coast Ferry

For Central Coast and Newcastle swimmers: 

  • Fantasea Ferries operates a timetable suitable for swimmers to arrive at Palm Beach in time for the BIG SWIM from Palm Beach to Whale Beach.
  • Swimmers need to be on the 7:50am ferry at Ettalong to arrive at Palm Beach 8:25am where a mini bus will be waiting to take to you the swim start and log in.
  • At Whale Beach after the swim, the bus will return swimmers to Palm Beach wharf in time to catch the 14.00 (2pm) return ferry to Ettalong.
  • Road side parking is available at Ettalong.

For complete event information, please visit the official event website.

Elite Swimmers

Wave 1 is known as the Elite Wave, and will be comprised of elite and other faster swimmers.

There are limited places available in the elite Wave. The top 10% will be determined by reference to the Order of Precedence maintained by oceanswims.com. Swimmers who have not competed in ocean swim before could submit a 1 km pool time for consideration.

For a space in the Elite Wave, please send an email to [email protected] with details and attend the timing tent on the morning of the swim for approval. Entry will be closed 30 minutes before race start time at 9:30am.

Fins n Skins

The final wave of the race is the Fins n Skins event. This is only wave where flippers and wetsuits are allowed. Should you wish to swim join this wave, make sure you select Fins n Skins on the entry form.

Bag drop

A free personal belongings bag drop is provided at Palm Beach for you to collect at Whale Beach. Make sure that you clearly identify your bag with a tag or something.

Swimmer safety

Your safety is paramount. For information on the water safety provided for this event, tips for staying safe, and some basic swimming etiquette visit the event website.

Entry conditions

Please remind yourself of the entry conditions and race rules before you arrive.


The formal presentation of awards of medals and gift packs for 1st, 2nd, 3rd in each age group. Lots of ‘luck entrant number’ gift pack give-aways.


Make sure you get your free IDID IT! car sticker and purchase your matching t-shirt for just $25.

  1. Swimmers must swim the prescribed course and ensure that they cross the timing mat at the finish.
  2. All swimmers must wear the electronic timing band and the safety colour swimming cap provided.
  3. All swimmers are to behave in a fair and sportsperson like manner. Interference or aggression towards other competitors may result in disqualification from the event results.
  4. If unable to complete the course, and if returning to Palm Beach, notify a Lifesaver or Marshal there and ensure you give them your ankle band. Otherwise you would be considered ‘missing’.
  5. If unable to complete the course and taken by craft to Whale Beach, still cross the timing mat at the finish so your name is registered. If impaired in some way, ensure you give your ankle band to attending Lifesavers or First Aid personnel.
  6. If in the opinion of a water safety official, if a competitor appears incapable of completing the event or has been in the water for an inordinate time, that person way be taken by safety craft from the event.
  7. If in the opinion of the attendant medical officer, a person is physical or otherwise incapable of safely starting or finishing the event, that person will be denied participating.
  8. Extraneous aids such as flippers, snorkels or flotation clothing and only be used in the wave designated for entrants who wish to use such device. They will be the last wave to start in the event.
  9. If in the opinion of the SLSA Safety Officer and the Organisers the weather or swimming conditions are dangerous or unsuitable for the majority, the events may be cancelled without advanced notice.
  10. Prize are awarded for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, in each stated age category for both events and winners need to be at the Whale Beach SLSC for presentation that day to receive that prize.


Five ocean swims in the Pittwater region of Sydney’s Northern Beaches



Macquarie Bank Big Swim has received 1 reviews with an average rating of 1 out of 5


Very good0%




Sign in to leave a review


Events near Palm Beach NSW

  • Recommended
  • Ocean Swim

Avalon Beach Surf Swims

  • Sun, 23 Mar 2025
  • Avalon Beach NSW

New South Wales
Northern Territory
Western Australia
New Zealand
South Australia
Pacific Islands

Add swim groups & swim buddies

Create and manage your own listing


The guardian of open water swimming: Passionately supporting the swimming community since 1999

Copyright © 1999-2024 oceanswims.com. All rights reserved.
‘OCEANFIT is a registered trademark of OceanFit Pty Ltd.