Thirroul Beach, Olympic Pool and Playground – Sydney Getaways

Thirroul - for families

Here’s some weekend away inspiration from my friend, food blogger and humourist Charlie Louie of Hotly Spiced.

Thanks Charlie for your  introduction to this South Coasy seaside town, sounds great both for families and as a parents-only getaway.

Just one hour from Sydney’s CBD lies the picturesque town of Thirroul. Like a step-back in time, Thirroul has a true nostalgia feel to it, taking you back to an era where time moved more slowly, people lived in cute little cottages with picket fences and manicured lawns, and if you took a short stroll from home you’d end up at the milk bar or fish and chip shop.

As soon as we arrived in Thirroul we immediately began to feel calm and relaxed; it was as if we’d left Sydney a world away. Thirroul has a population of just 5,500 who live in homes rather than units laid out between the railway line and the beach. From wherever you live in Thirroul it doesn’t seem that you’re far from the beach and a pleasant level stroll will have you there within minutes.

The beach is crescent-shaped making it less dangerous and it’s also patrolled. This is not a beach where you’d have to fight for a spot to spread out your towel, or end up with someone obstructing your view; at a kilometre in length there’s plenty of room for everyone.

In front of the glorious beach is the Thirroul Olympic Pool that was built in the 1930’s. It’s a 50-metre pool with lanes marked and the water is pumped in from the sea. Because the water is continually coming in from the ocean, it’s not heated. There’s an additional toddler pool that was being cleaned the day we were there so it was empty.

There is plenty of seating around the pool and my only disappointment is that there’s a solid concrete wall between the pool and the beach preventing you from being able to enjoy the ocean view. I understand there is talk of replacing sections of the wall with glass and I believe this is definitely what needs to happen.

Thirroul olympic pool

Thirroul Olympic Pool – just like in 1930, there’s still free entry

The Thirroul Pool has lifeguards who are very chirpy and love a chat. I asked them how much it costs to swim in the pool and was very pleasantly surprised to hear that it’s absolutely free. Like I said, visiting Thirroul is like stepping back into a bygone era where every time you turn around you don’t need to have your hand in your pocket. Thirroul Pool also provides change rooms and showers. There’s no hot water but everything that is provided is free.

Speaking of free, the beach and pool car park is also free. I recently went to Manly Beach and it cost $14.00 to park for two hours. Here at Thirroul you can park your car and no matter how long you’re there, it’s free of charge.

Thirroul Olympic Pool toddler pool

The toddler pool that was empty because it was being cleaned

In front of the swimming pool is a very new looking children’s playground. It’s fully fenced and has a terrific variety of playground equipment including a flying fox that once again is free. Beyond the playground is a grassed park where there are electric bar-be-cues and these are also free.

Thirroul Beach Playground

Thirroul Beach Playground

I visited Thirroul for around 24 hours and fell in love with this tiny coastal town that time seems to have forgotten – and all for the better too. I hope Thirroul stays the way that it is so we can all visit for some respite from the chaos that is living in a city that often feels like being in a pressure-cooker.

Before visiting Thirroul I thought it seemed far enough away to be a place to visit for an overnight stay however, I now think Thirroul can be equally enjoyed by visiting for a day. It’s only about an hour from Sydney and less if you’re from the southern suburbs and what you spend in petrol you’ll save in parking fees, bar-be-cue fees and pool entry fees.

View of Thirrould beach from Flanagans

The view of the beach taken from Flanagans Restaurant and Bar


Where To Stay Around Thirroul

However, if you fancy a weekend stay, or longer, check out deals and specials from below!



Thirroul Beach: The Esplanade, Thirroul Beach NSW 2515

Flanagans Restaurant and Bar: Thirroul Beach Reserve, Cliff Parade, Thirroul NSW 2515 Ph: 02 4268 1598

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Sounds like a marvellous weekend escape from our busy city.

Do you know Thirroul?

Can you recommend any other family-friendly places there?

Happy travelling,



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Posted on: January 22, 2014


  • Reply January 22, 2014

    Hotly Spiced

    Thanks for having me, Seana. I’m keen to hear all about your holiday(s) when you have a chance to catch up xx

    • Reply January 24, 2014

      Seana Smith

      We’ll be back in Sydney all too soon, squeaking in seconds before the school bell rings. Not keen to resume the old school routine at all!!

  • Reply January 22, 2014


    Great story and images Charlie and Seana, I haven’t been to Thirroul for so long… the first time I tried to go there I took the wrong way out of Sydney and was heading north for an hour before I realised… oops, I was only 18 😉
    Although my sense of direction hasn’t really improved 😉

    • Reply January 24, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Funny! Ian inspired by Charlie’s story to take a wee visit there. Love a laid back seaside town.

  • Reply January 25, 2014

    Angus Pryor

    I love Thirroul! You’ve captured the feeling there beautifully. There’s just something about the place when you arrive you feel immediately relaxed.

  • Reply January 26, 2014


    Went there today with my hubby and 3 kids via Coledale markets. Very enjoyable day. The beach was a little tricky with my 5, 3 and 1 year olds but the pool was excellent and they loved the playground!! Thanks for all your i interesting places to visit!

    • Reply January 28, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Great to get your feedback on Thirroul, always appreciated. Sounds like you have a real handful there, so many young children! What’s better than the combo of beach, playground and pool? A winning tirfecta when you have lots of littlies.

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