Since moving to Sydney, we have made an effort to bring a travel mindset to our day-to-day life. We try to escape our local ‘bubble’ as much as possible by building our free time around an outdoor experience, a swim and/or a walk. Between the national parks, ocean pools, harbour pools, public pools and beaches, there is a lot to explore. Each new place is an excuse to venture deep into a neighbourhood and once there, it’s easy to find somewhere great to eat, to drink and to connect with the local culture. This is how we like to travel overseas, and we have tried to channel that very same curiosity and enthusiasm into exploring our home.
The variety and density of swims in Sydney is something that continues to amaze us, and it is through Places We Swim Sydney that we are able celebrate the importance of local travel. For us that means venturing out to the west, or down south to explore a place you’ve heard about but haven’t been. Or planning a weekend adventure to the northern beaches with friends to walk and swim, packing a picnic and making a day out of it. There are so many ways to experience this glorious outdoor city, and we hope our guide helps you get there.
Here are a few of our highlights.
Collins Flat Beach - Manly
This is a knockout secret beach tucked between North Head and Manly Cove. Dappled light shines through the green canopy over the path into this beach surrounded by bushy National Park. From here you’ll get glimpses of the turquoise water as you descend on to the sand. You can easily spend a whole here – jumping from rocks, crunching over oyster shells and snorkelling around in the shallow, protected cove. Lucky we live just around the corner.
Redleaf – Double Bay
A hidden, harbourside tidal pool with twin pontoons and lush garden surrounds, part of Redleaf’s magic is the secret of its location. The pool is hidden behind the Woollahra Council building on a busy stretch of road in Double Bay. The picturesque swimming enclosure is among the largest in Sydney, at about 90x65 metres, with a wooden boardwalk around the perimeter. This is a spot for long summer nights with drinks and cheese after a swim - everything tastes better when handled by salty fingers.
Erskine Creek - Glenbrook, Blue Mountains National Park
Erskine Creek at Jack Evans Track is one of the closest Blue Mountains swims to the city, yet also one of the most secluded. The deep gorge is typical of the region, formed over millions of years as the small creek slowly carved through layers of sandstone during its journey to join the Nepean River downstream. It’s a meandering gore with endless pools for swimming, floating and rock-hopping. You’ll likely get them all to yourself.
Sirius Cove – Mosman
The abundant beaches and national parks are glorious for people, but a tough place for dogs who are not allowed or only on leash. But there are a few dog-friendly beaches around Sydney, one being a Sirius Cove in Mosman. This deep U-shaped bay, with a large, shaded grassy area is popular for picnicking families and their four-legged friends, who can be off-leash all day on weekdays, and between 9am to 4pm on weekends and public holidays.
Wylie’s Baths - Coogee
Off the South Coogee footpath and down a flight of stairs and you can’t help but feel like you are sneaking into a secluded, private residence. Opened in 1907, Wylie’s is one of the oldest ocean pools in the country and has somehow withstood the test of time and erosion. A hundred spindly legs elevate the east-facing vantage on Wiley’s deck as it bends around the cliff-face. Down below, bathers rest among these wooden stilts or bathe in the natural bottomed ocean pool among the sea life.