You don’t have to spend the whole of the Brisbane summer sweating it up. Here are some of the best pools in and around the city.
This celebrated Wickham Street institution caters for both serious and leisurely swimmers. Built in 1926, the 50-metre heated pool is these days complemented by a gym, coffee shop, heaps of sun lounges and a grandstand, and it offers swimming lessons for those looking to work on their stroke. The pool recently acquired a liquor licence and serves beers, wine and cocktails in The Valley Pool Bar on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Spring Hill Baths
Brisbane’s first in-ground pool, this 25-yard (that’s 23.43 metres by modern measurements) facility opened in 1886 (albeit, pumped full of river water). 135 years later and it’s arguably the cutest little bathing spot in Australia, with its individual coloured change rooms, open ceiling and grandstand-style viewing deck. Yes, it’s chlorinated (and heated) these days.
This marker of modernist Brisbane was designed by celebrated Queensland architect James Birrell and opened in 1959, its creation a direct result of Australia’s success in the pool at the 1956 Olympic Games. The centre has an eight-lane 50-metre pool, a kids’ paddling area and a heated rehab pool. If lounging or laps aren’t your thing, try your luck on the dive tower — the 10-metre platform is no longer operational but you can still get your kicks from a five-metre platform and three-metre springboard.
Cool off September to April at this seasonal salt-water 25-metre pool nestled within Neal Macrossan Park. It’s a terrific, inclusive spot to come for a relaxed day in the water, the complex boasting plenty of surrounding trees, a grassy area, a disabled ramp, a shaded shallow end and a learn-to-swim pool. Swimming lessons are available, as well as squad training sessions, aqua aerobics, aqua HIIT and water yoga.
It’s not a pool, exactly, but plenty of Gap locals use the Enoggera Reservoir for laps or a relaxing dip — it’s a natural and spacious alternative for those not so big on chlorine or lane ropes. You can also lounge under the shady grass on the hill, or walk the five-kilometre Araucaria Track if you want to work up a sweat before a swim, kayak, paddle board or a laid-back splash.
Yeronga Park Memorial Swimming Pool
With four different outdoor pools and heaps of lawn space and natural shade, this south-side complex is a bucolic getaway in which to cool down for the day. It features an eight-lane 50-metre pool, a 15-lane 25-metre pool and a dedicated enclosed pool that’s ideal for those learning to swim. There’s also a recreational wading pool with cute mushroom-shaped fountains. The complex offers a bunch of classes including deep-water running classes, aqua aerobics, water yoga, and mums-and-bubs classes.
Chermside Aquatic Centre
Chermside Aquatic Centre’s 25-metre heated outdoor pool and indoor hydro pool operate all year round, but the place comes alive in summer when its waterpark opens on weekends and during school holidays. The park features 200 metres of twisting waterslides (including a tube ride and a couple of shotgun slides), a lily pad rope course and a wading pool. All that and it will cost you about the same as a ticket to the movies.
Locals once liked to turn their nose up at this sand-lined pool in the heart of South Bank, but over the years it’s become enormously popular — perhaps on the back of the international students and tourists who liked to point out that, actually, a beach in the middle of the city is pretty great. On weekends the place develops an almost carnival-like atmosphere as families travel in from the suburbs for a dip followed by a communal meal around one of the nearby barbeques. If you’re feeling fancy and brought some shoes, cap off a paddle with a drink at the recently opened Otto Osteria at the eastern end of the parklands.
Wynnum Wading Pool
Beat the heat at this beautiful heritage-listed tidal pool on Wynnum Esplanade. Built during the 1930s as a Depression-era public works project, high tide fills this spacious pool with Moreton Bay seawater for a refreshing ocean swim minus the sea life (thanks to mesh covered pipes). Minimal alterations have been made since its construction but the surrounds now feature barbeques, a man-made beach and ramps for additional access.
Newmarket Olympic Swimming Pool
Get those shoulder muscles working at this heated 50-metre Olympic-sized pool. Nestled in a park just off Enoggera Road, this grassy, tree-lined facility is just a stone’s throw from the train station and Newmarket Village. It also features a heated 25-metre pool, a kids’ pool, a splash pad with tipping bucket, picnic tables and a playground.