Ocean pools are quintessentially Australian, scattered primarily along the east coast and often boasting azure blue water amid stunning landscapes.
These pools provide the perfect place to take a dip, swim laps, and shelter from rough seas and of course those unwanted sea creatures.
In this edition of our best ocean pools series, we take a look along the Central Coast and Newcastle to find the best ocean pools that you’ll want to add to your bucket list.
1. Newcastle Ocean Baths
The Newcastle Ocean Baths sit behind a beautiful heritage-listed art deco facade.
Opened in 1922 these baths have withstood the test of time after surviving the famous Newcastle earthquake and even being shelled by a Japanese submarine in 1942.
These baths are divided into two ocean pools by a walkway, with a 50m lap pool at one end and a leisure pool at the other. There is also a children’s wading pool at the southern end.
At the northern end, there is a large concrete grandstand that is the perfect place to watch your kids in the water, sunbake or read your book while enjoying the view of the baths and surrounding ocean.
The Newcastle Ocean Baths are a popular destination all year round among locals and day-trippers from the Hunter Valley.
2. MacMaster Beach Rock Pool
The MacMasters Beach Rock Pool is a 17m rock pool built by locals in 1963.
This rock pool is located at the southern end of MacMasters Beach and was originally built as a place for children to learn to swim in the calm saltwater surrounding the ocean.
To this day this rock pool is the perfect place to take the kids for a splash or teach them to swim and you can enjoy doing some laps in the refreshing salt water.
3. The Entrance Ocean Baths
The heritage-listed Entrance Ocean Baths are located on the Central Coast of New South Wales and have three ocean pools on offer.
These baths started as a small rock pool in 1919 before a 50m pool was added in 1938. Gaining popularity among locals and holidaymakers, two additional pools; a wading pool and another leisure pool was added in 1965.
To this day the ocean baths have a pool for swimmers of all abilities; a 50m Olympic sized pool for those wanting to get some laps in, a 22m pool for those wanting to cool off and relax in the water and a children’s pool for a fun time and splash.
4. Merewether Ocean Baths
The Merewether Ocean Baths are the largest ocean pools in the southern hemisphere. Built in 1934 the baths opened in 1935 as part of the Depression Relief Scheme.
These baths have two saltwater swimming pools with a large 50m pool and racing pool perfect for swimming laps and a children’s pool at the southern end.
Locals and holidaymakers love coming to the Merewether Ocean Baths to swim laps, sunbake, relax and chat on the famous ‘Steps of Knowledge’ as the locals call it while basking in the sun overlooking the ocean.
5. The Bogey Hole
The heritage-listed Bogey Hole is the oldest ocean pool in Australia. Hand-carved by convicts sentenced to hard labour in 1819 as a place for soldiers to bathe.
This ocean pool has great views of the ocean and surrounding rock faces and is the perfect place to cool off in summer while taking in the breathtaking views.
When planning your visit to The Bogey Hole be sure to take into account the time you are planning to go and what the tides are predicted to be doing. Because at high tide, strong waves crash over the rocks into the ocean pool making it extremely difficult and nearly impossible to access.
Bonus: Terrigal Rock Pool
Nestled between the rocks on the beach this rock pool has stunning views from each direction; looking out to sea and then up the stunning rock face above.
This small wading pool is the perfect place to take the kids for a splash and have a leisurely float yourself if the swell is too strong at Terrigal Beach.
The Terrigal Rock Pool was originally opened in 1957 at the southern end of Terrigal Beach.