The most incredible ocean pools in NSW

Ocean pools are quintessentially NSW, with just a handful found outside the state’s borders. There are about 100 along the coast, from Yamba in the north to Bermagui in the south. Discover the coolest ones for a dip.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Nov 2023 -
min read

Yamba Ocean Pool 

Yamba Ocean Pool on the state’s far North Coast is built into the rocks at the sheltered southern end of the beach, near one of NSW’s oldest surf lifesaving clubs. Built in the 1960s, it is the northernmost ocean pool in the state and stretches 33m. Surrounded by nearby pretty pandanus trees, it’s a great spot to while away an afternoon. 

Aerial overlooking Yamba Ocean Pool in Yamba, Clarence Valley

Yamba Ocean Pool, Yamba - Credit: My Clarence Valley

Angourie Blue Pools 

Just a hop, jump and a skip away, the Angourie Blue Pools were once a rock quarry that ran across a slight problem; when an underground freshwater spring was disturbed, it was suddenly transformed into an aquatic haven. What luck! An oasis for hikers looking who have tackled the 10km coastal walk from Angourie looking to cool off, the cliffs are popular with little ones wanting to jump and dive. 

Scenic coastal views across Angourie Blue Pool, Angourie

Angourie Blue Pool, Angourie

Sawtell Memorial Rockpool 

In the picturesque village of Sawtell near Coffs Harbour, built into the rocks at the foot of the Bonville Headland and adjacent to Bonville Creek, Sawtell Memorial Rockpool just might be the quaintest of all the ocean pools in NSW. Opened in 1963, the location offers protection from the rip that runs past it and provides a safer swim spot than the rest of the creek, making it popular with holidaying families. 

Sawtell rock pool at sunset, Coffs Coast

Sawtell Memorial Rockpool at sunset, Coffs Coast

Forster Ocean Baths 

Forster sits at the heart of the Great Lakes region, which is known for its stunning waterways. On the town’s ocean side, Main Beach hosts large, shaded barbecue areas, public amenities and the stunning Forster Ocean Baths. Also known as the Bull Ring, it opened in 1936 and instantly became a local landmark. 

Forster Ocean Baths, Forster

Forster Ocean Baths, Forster

Bogey Hole 

Newcastle lays claim to the oldest ocean pool in the state, the heritage-listed Bogey Hole. Hand-carved out of the rock platform by convicts in 1819, it was originally intended for the personal use of Major James Morisset, the longest serving Commandant of Newcastle. The pool become known as Commandant’s Baths, but today takes its name from the Dharawal Aboriginal word for bathing. The pool has become famous among photographers and is particularly striking at sunrise. 

People enjoying a dip at the Bogey Hole, Newcastle

Bogey Hole, Newcastle

Merewether Baths 

Newcastle also boasts the largest ocean pool in the Southern Hemisphere, the Merewether Baths. One of Newcastle’s most popular swimming spots, people come to swim laps, enjoy the beach or chat on the steps leading into the water, dubbed the ‘Steps of Knowledge’ by locals. 

People relaxing at Merewether's Ocean Baths in Newcastle, North Coast

Merewether Ocean Baths, Newcastle

Newcastle Ocean Baths 

Nearby, the Newcastle Ocean Baths are surrounded by a beautiful, heritage-listed Art Deco pavilion, making it one of the city’s standout landmarks. The baths feature two ocean pools: the main rectangular pool has a separate area for lap swimming and the round shallow Canoe Pool is popular with families. 

Entrance Ocean Baths 

On the Central Coast, the Entrance Ocean Baths is a heritage-listed complex of three ocean pools. A children’s pool, 22m pool and full-length Olympic-sized pool make these baths ideal for swimmers of all levels. You can also find smaller ocean pools at Pearl Beach and MacMasters Beach. 

Sunny day at Macmasters Beach Pool - Central Coast

Macmasters Beach Pool, Central Coast

Coalcliff Pool 

The Illawarra region, just south of Sydney, has a dozen rock pools, all of them simply spectacular. One of the prettiest is at Coalcliff Beach, set against dramatic cliffs and the escarpment. Local legend has it that miners blasted the rock themselves using dynamite they snuck out of the mines in their pockets. 

Sunset at Coalcliff Pool, Wollongong

Coalcliff Pool, Woollongong

Bulli Rockpool 

Another highlight of the region is the Bulli Rockpool, which dates back to the 1930s and sits against the cliff on the headland, with sandy beaches to either side. Waves breaking against the wall of this 50-metre seawater pool make it feel like you're doing laps at the edge of the world. Afterwards, check out one of the beachside cafes nearby, explore the charming town of Bulli or take a swim in the Towradgi, Woonona, Thirroul, Coledale and Austinmer ocean pools, which are equally stunning.  

Nuns Pool 

Nuns Pool, at Flagstaff Point in Wollongong, is one of the oldest in the state, dating back to the 1830s. Located below the lighthouse, the pool (formerly known as Chain Baths and used by the nuns of St Mary’s convent) sits in a small, sheltered cove and is accessed via a narrow path chiselled into the sandstone.   

Aerial view of Nuns Pool, Wollongong

Nuns Pool, Wollongong - Credit: @work_sleep_explore / Visit Wollongong

Blow Hole Point Rock Pool 

Further south at Kiama, you’ll find the Blow Hole Point Rock Pool, offering a safe swimming spot close to the area’s famous Blow Hole. Popular since the 1880s, it was cut into the surrounding rocks, giving it an irregular shape and natural charm.  

Continental Ocean Pool 

From here, you can also take the 15-minute walk around Kiama Harbour from the blowhole to Black Beach Reserve. Here you can do 50m laps in the Olympic-sized Continental Ocean Pool.  With the cliff face right by this pool and to the north, it gets lots of shade, so if you’re looking for a shady and safe swim in summer, this is a good bet. 

Ourie Ocean Pool 

A 15-minute drive south of Kiama is the tiny coastal town of Gerringong. Head down to Werri Beach for a swim at Ourie Ocean Pool, at the southern end of the beach. This rectangular pool, carved into a flat rock shelf, has a smooth concrete bottom and is perfect for a summer’s day dip. 

Mollymook Bogey Hole 

In the Shoalhaven region, head to Mollymook, where you’ll find the South Coast’s famous Bogey Hole, a natural rock pool nestled between the popular Golfie surf break and the headland south of the beach. The sheltered area is ideal for snorkelling, sun bathing and picnics. 

Aerial view of people swimming at Mollymook Bogey Hole, Mollymook

Mollymook Bogey Hole, Mollymook - Credit: Shoalhaven Tourism

Bermagui Blue Pool 

Named for the way it reflects a blue sky, the Blue Pool in Bermagui is one of the Sapphire Coast's major attractions. A carved pool set into the rock face and continually washed with clean, clear ocean water, it’s home to thriving marine life, with fish, crabs and nudibranchs (marine snails) all coexisting happily with swimmers and snorkellers. At 50 metres long it makes for a great lap-swimming pool and there’s also a shallow wading pool, ideal for kids, just next to the pool.   

Couple enjoying the ocean pool at Bermagui Blue Pool, Bermagui

Bermagui Blue Pool, Bermagui

Aslings Beach Rock Pool 

One of the southernmost ocean pools on the NSW coastline is the Aslings Beach Rock Pool, a hidden gem carved into the pink-and-white cliffs at Aslings Beach in Eden, a six-hour drive from Sydney. It’s only a short walk from town, but its low profile makes it hard to spot from further down the beach. Make your way over the rocks from the beach and take a dip at low tide before the waves have a chance to deposit any seaweed. 

Aerial overlooking Aslings Beach Rock Pool, Eden

Aerial overlooking Aslings Beach Rock Pool, Eden

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