With sun-drenched golden beaches, some of the world’s clearest waters and thousands of kilometres of coastline, it is not surprising that ocean swimming is the most popular form of open water swimming in Australia. From major international competitions such as the ‘Cooly Classic’ in Queensland’s Coolangatta to local fun events such as the Lorne Pier-to-Pub Swim in Victoria, there is something for every level and ability. Don your bathers and make a splash with some of these cool ocean swim events.
Each year over 4000 people dive into the sea and swim the 1.2 kilometre course of the Lorne Pier to Pub. The Lorne Pier to Pub is the largest open water swim in the world. The event is now part of a larger three day program that includes the Mountain to Surf Fun Run and the Surf Boat Race Classic. The event has been running for more than 30 years and is a highlight of the summer holiday season in Lorne. Lorne is a picturesque seaside village approximately two hours south of Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road.
Cottesloe Beach, Western Australia
Rottnest Channel Swim is one of the world’s largest open water swims. It involves a 19.7 kilometre crossing from Cottlesloe Beach to Thomson Bay at Rottnest Island in Western Australia. People have been swimming across the Rottnest Channel since 1956, and today it is an event that attracts more than 2,000 swimmers and around 10,000 spectators.
Sydney, New South Wales
The Cole Classic in Sydney is one of Australia’s largest ocean swims. Thousands take part in the event which includes a one or two kilometre swim from Manly Beach to Shelley Beach on Sydney’s northern beaches; or a nine kilometre swim that starts in Dee Why and travels past Curl Curl Beach and Freshwater Beach to Shelley Beach. It is an elite race that sees winners and place getters receive the famous ‘Cole’ plates. All finishers in the event receive a commemorative medal. The community turns out to make it a great event with spectators lining the sand and the cliffs.
The ‘Cooly Classic’ or Coolangatta Ocean Swim each April is one of Australia’s most iconic swims. Both swimmers and spectators flock to the Gold Coast for the challenging course and beach carnival atmosphere. Join Australia’s iron men and women, test the waters on the shorter beginner’s course or start a cheer squad on the sand. For ocean swimmers, the never-ending tube makes for a serious challenge. The course traverses another two big surf breaks before the finish line at Kirra Beach. There is also a shorter course for younger and less experienced swimmers.