Here’s a place that makes my heart sing and sums up so many things I love about Sydney.
A harbour pool, beautiful old buildings, a little pocket of calm yet so close to the heart of our scintillating city. If you like to swim and your kids like to splash, make a date this summer for a visit to this gorgeous harbour pool.
Dawn Fraser Pool
Fitzroy Avenue, Balmain
Phone: 9555 1903
Open: Depends on month, see photo below and check website in winter.
Cost: $4.60 for adults, $3.20 for children, under fives free. Family tickets available.
Built in the 1880s, Sydney’s oldest swimming pool is part of the harbour but is completely enclosed by its elegant green and cream two-storey classical buildings, wooden fences and decking.
There is a 50 metre lap swimming section, a small, shallow beach area (except at high tide), lots of unshaded decking for sunbakers and shaded seating areas.
(Check the council website above for tide tables.)
A leaflet about the pool amusingly described it as ‘one of the most beautiful pools in the world … renovated and preserved for future generations. But why let them have all the fun? Come and enjoy the pool now!’
Cafes: Kiosk sells drinks and snacks.
Toilets: Toilets, showers and changing rooms in the main building
Shade: None on the water
Playground: No, but Elkington Park playground is very close.
Shark net: Yes, fully netted
Mum’s report: A beautiful and elegant spot. Unfortunately there isn’t much shade or a good spot to sit right by the shallow area of water so it’s not the best harbour pool for babies and toddlers but at low tide they can play on the sandy area. On the other hand, a fab spot to bring children who are confident swimmers.
Extra: Elkington Park Playground is close by, click here. Balmain Swimming Club is the oldest in Australia and meets on Saturday afternoons in summer. There’s also a water polo club at the Baths.
Map reference: Gregory’s 344 F3, Sydway 276 M11, UBD 235 F3
Parking: Street parking around Elkington Park, spaces on Fitzroy Avenue but can be very busy. Note that the main approach has lots and lots of steps. It’s best to park in White Street and approach from the west path by the playground where there are fewer steps.
Nearest ferry: Elliot Street Wharf is a 5–10 minute walk away
Bus stop nearby: Yes
A visit to Dawn Fraser Pool Baths makes a great day trip if you don’t live close by, pencil it in for the coming summer school holidays.
If you’re a visitor to the city, you’ll enjoy a stroll through beautiful Balmain and a dip in the Baths to cool off.
Have you visited Dawn Fraser Baths?
Any top tips for other people planning a visit?
Where did you park!!
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