Fairy Bower Pool, Manly, New South Wales
Besides popular beaches, the incredible rock pools around Sydney are another way to experience the refreshing water with a picturesque view.
Sydney has an abundance of rock pools spreading along the coast, providing spectacular views of the ocean as well as the safety of a contained environment. Here’s a guide to a few of Sydney's stunning tidal pools through the eyes of a local.
Fairy Bower Pool
One of the smallest ocean pools in Sydney, Fairy Bower pool can be found between Manly Beach and Shelley Beach, on Marine Parade. The pool is within walking distance from the Manly Ferry Wharf and is often calmer than Manly Beach, making it a popular spot for families and day-trippers.
At the other end of Manly Beach is Queenscliff pool. Twenty five metres in length and with the addition of lane numbers means it caters more to those wishing to swim for exercise rather than recreation. The pool sits at the northern end of Manly and is often dealt the full brunt of the wild surf. For a bit of an adventure (at low tide), venture out to the end of the headland and take the journey through the wormhole, a tunnel that leads through to Freshwater Beach.
Mona Vale Pool
Sitting on its own peninsula, Mona Vale pool is often linked to the beach by nothing more than a narrow strip of sand. Being in this pool actually feels like you’re swimming in the ocean as it protrudes further out than most other rock pools. When it gets dark, high powered beams light up the pool so that you can still see your way around if you decide to go for a swim at dawn. It may be hard to get out of bed in the wee hours of the morning but just think about the reward of witnessing a beautiful ocean sunrise.
North Narrabeen Pool
Quite possibly my favourite coastal pool to photograph, North Narrabeen Pool sits on the end of the headland and is surrounded by a very photogenic wooden walkway. Head around the headland to Turimetta if green moss seascapes are your thing. You won’t be disappointed and will probably find yourself surrounded by some other photographers, as Turimetta has long been one of Sydney’s most popular photo spots.
Ross Jones Memorial Pool
Iconic and instantly recognisable, Ross Jones Memorial Pool at Coogee is one of the best swimming spots in the Eastern Suburbs. Situated in a popular area, the pool is easily accessible and can get very busy. So if you want to do laps, try to get there during the early or late hours of the day.
Fairlight Harbour Pool
Just a few minutes walk from Manly Ferry Wharf, it is surprising that the main users of the pool are locals. Fairlight is a great little pool with it's own secluded beach and is only accessible by foot. Complete with a kiddies pool, toilet block and grassed foreshore, Fairlight is just the place to be for a relaxing day out without the crowds.
Accessible from the headland, Giles Baths is a bogey hole, protected from the ocean swell by a natural rock break wall. It’s an idyllic place to take a dip in the ocean and even long enough to swim laps. At high tide, waves crash into the pool and make it difficult to swim without interference, but swap the goggles for a camera and you could be in for some dramatic photographs.
Quite possibly the most iconic ocean pool in Sydney, or even the world, Bondi Icebergs is never short of people and never fail to impress. When the sun is shining, the bronzed locals are out in force and the turquoise pool looks its best. The pool actually has two sections, one for doing laps and one for the kids. There’s even a sauna located on the pool deck level and don’t worry, access is included in your entry fee. If you get hungry head up to the Bondi Icebergs Bistro for a quick bite.
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