The Macquarie Big Swim from Palm Beach to Whale Beach is one of the premier events on the ocean swim calendar, with a proud history and a satisfying and challenging course.
The 2.8km point-to-point ocean swim started in 1974 with just shy of 40 competitors; but today, it is pushing 2000 competitors, attracting ocean swimmers from all over the country.
Located an hour's drive from Sydney’s CBD, starting on the northernmost beach on the peninsula, this ocean swim offers two different swim distances; the Ray White (Prestige) Palm Beach Little Big Swim which is a 1km ocean swim and the main event, the ‘Big Swim’ a 2.5km ocean swimming epic.
Some say you graduate as an ocean swimmer once you've completed the Big Swim.
Enter and complete 4 out of 5 swims in the Pittwater Ocean Swim Series and you'll go in the draw to win an OceanFit Swim The Whitsundays swim tour valued at $1,995!
The entire series is a brilliant excuse to take in the beauty of five of Sydney’s Northern Beaches during the height of summer while supporting the local surf lifesaving clubs who organise the events.
The Macquarie 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 Ray White (Prestige) Palm Beach 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.
If you've just completed the big swim then you're probably not in the mood for anything too strenuous, but that's ok, there is still plenty to see and do.
There are beautiful restaurants, cafes and clubs to choose from including Jonah’s, Dune Restuarant and The Boathouse Palm Beach.
Once you’ve grabbed a bite to eat, 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.
Finding a park in Palm Beach or Whale Beach at any time during the summer can be a mission, but with the event on, space is at a premium. So what can you do? Well, one of the benefits of the event having been run for so many years is that the clubs have an awesome bus service to shuttle you from one beach to the other.
Start by carpooling as much as possible, then get there super early and park at Whale Beach (the finish). The streets are narrow, and you may need to park some distance away, but the stretch will be good for you after the drive to the northern beaches.
Once you've parked up, you can walk the scenic road to Palm Beach or catch the shuttle bus. If you park at Palm Beach, you can catch the bus back the other way at the finish.
Swimmer ride free, spectators are asked for a gold coin donation.
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1km & 2.8km
Registrations open at 7:30am.
Little Big Swim
Late entries on-the-day +$20
Little Big Swim = 10-years-old, Big Swim = 12-years-old
For complete event information, including the most up-to-date COVID-19 & vaccinations policy, please visit the official event website.
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 2022 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.
Whale Beach BBQ
Following the race, Whale Beach Surf Life Saving Club will be putting on a barbecue, serving sausage sandwiches, rissoles sandwiches and a selection of soft drinks, beers and wine.
The organiser of this event, Whale Beach SLSC, is a registered charity. This event is a major fundraiser for the club, and all proceeds go towards providing its volunteer lifesaving services to the community.
Cancelling your entry
Should you wish to cancel your entry, for any reason, at any time, the following applies:
Should the event be cancelled due to poor and/or dangerous ocean conditions, or Government-mandated health restrictions, the following will apply:
The organiser thanks you for your understanding and support.