Sydney, Australia is a mecca for swim fans. It make a name for itself in 2000, when 14 world records fell during the Sydney Olympics, but Australia’s biggest city has always been a hotbed for the sport. Given the number and quality of its beautiful (and often free) outdoor pools, it’s not hard to see why. Whether you’re an Olympic hopeful trying to trace Thorpe’s footsteps or just seeking a nice spot to float through a few laps, here are six breathtaking outdoor pools you can’t miss.
The icon of outdoor swimming, the Bondi Icebergs club is a swimmer’s standard first stop. Five dollar daily entry is available to visitors, who can gaze upon the southern hemisphere’s most famous beach with every breath.
Bronte, Bondi’s quieter, cooler little cousin, provides a more off-beat option. While the Bronte baths are not regulation size, they offer equally breathtaking views, and have the added advantage of being free to the public. Just make sure you dodge the kids jumping off cliffsides and the watchful moms wading in the corners.
If you prefer your laps wave-free and chlorinated, try the North Sydney Olympic pool in Neutral Bay. Adjacent to Luna Park, the full Olympic-sized pool has lifeguards, huge locker rooms, and a smaller kiddie pool. Even if the storied Olympic history doesn’t do it for you, backstroking under the iconic Harbour bridge is well worth the $5-7 entry fee.
If you don’t have time to head out of the city, churn out a few laps near Sydney University, at the intersection of the Glebe, Chippendale, and Newtown suburbs. Though not on a coastline, you will grab some good green views of Victoria Park. Entry is discounted for students and faculty of Sydney University.
Head back to the eastern beaches once more to visit Wylie’s baths. Tucked in a nook on the far south side of Coogee beach, this pool offers beautiful sunsets and super-still waters during low tide. Just don’t get too attached – once your vacation is over, you might find it impossible to ever swim another lap indoors.