Whether you’re after a quick dip or a spot to cut some laps, we’ve rounded up 13 of Melbourne’s best outdoor pools to cool off in this summer.
Fitzroy Swimming Pool
The beloved “Fitzy” has been luring locals for serious lap sessions and revitalising splashes since 1908. The north-side institution, with its vintage charm and heritage-listed “Aqua Profonda” sign, has a 50-metre heated main pool as well as one for toddlers. There’s also a gym, spa, sauna and steam room, and the bleachers are ideal for waterside lounging (and people-watching).
This historic spot on Rathdowne Street operates a little differently now compared to when it was established in 1916; back then, chlorine wasn’t a thing and the water was changed once a week. These days, the 25-metre heated (and chlorinated) outdoor pool is open from October to April. And it’s joined by a toddlers pool with play equipment for eager inner-city water babies. Swimming lessons are also available.
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This handsome 1913-built relic was renovated with input from architecture firm Peck & Kemter, which also contributed to the design of the Capitol Theatre and the art deco Heidelberg Town Hall. The 50-metre heated outdoor pool is open year-round, with a colourful water feature (or “splashpad”, as it’s called) the littlies can play in. There’s also a 20-metre heated pool indoors, plus a spa, sauna, steam room and gender-diverse change area and toilet.
North Melbourne Recreation Centre
The grassy patches, shady areas and kids options (there’s a wading pool, toddlers pool and infant splash pool) make this a popular swim spot for families in the summertime. All pools – including the eight-lane 25-metre one – are heated to approximately 27.5 degrees. Bonus: the centre isn’t too far from La Tortilleria, which is perfect for a post-swim feed.
Oak Park Sports and Aquatic Centre
Also operating seasonally, from October to April, is this spot in the north that opened in late 2018. Facilities include a 50-metre heated outdoor pool, a 20-metre shaded learners pool, and a splash pool and giant waterslides to keep the kids entertained. If you’re keen for a pre-swim peddle, jump on the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail, which starts at Docklands and heads north, skirting Kensington and Strathmore before finishing near Oak Park.
Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre
Loosen those taut muscles with some gentle shoulder rotations at this modern outdoor pool in the east. The 50-metre pool has nine generously sized lanes, so there’s space for swimmers of all skill levels to glide along at their own pace (plus, swimming lessons and aqua aerobics). The 20-metre indoor pool is heated to 34 degrees – perfect for rehab and recovery sessions, or just a toasty dip. Both pools have ramp access.
Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre
Feel like an Olympian in the 50-metre outdoor competition pool at this centre in Albert Park, which is open all year. Heated to 28 degrees, it has 10 lanes that you can book for casual lap sessions. Inside, find multiple pools of varied lengths and temperatures, including a balmy 34-degree hydrotherapy pool. There’s also a sauna and steam room.
Prahran Aquatic Centre
With a timber deck, sun lounges, bleachers and ample greenery, this outdoor pool is as designed for lazing as it is for laps. It stretches 50 metres, has eight lanes (with signage to indicate different speeds) and is heated to 26 degrees for use in all seasons. There’s also a fenced-off toddlers pool for the warmer months, and a spa, sauna and steam room. It’s been serving the south’s swim desires since 1924, when it opened as a wading pool.
An icon of this seaside suburb, Brighton Baths has been encouraging invigorating cold-water swims since 1881. The enclosed, outdoor saltwater pool is 50 metres long, and it remains open throughout the year. In winter, temperatures can drop to eight degrees, but there’s a steam room (with a view) to help you warm up.
Monash Aquatic & Recreation Centre
In Glen Waverley, this eight-lane 50-metre outdoor pool is heated to 26 degrees in summer and 27 degrees in winter. Surrounding it is plenty of lawn to stretch out on, with tall trees and umbrellas for shade. Inside, there are pools for kids and learners (including a wave pool), along with a hydrotherapy pool, and spa, steam room and sauna facilities.
Harold Holt Swim Centre
This eastern-’burbs haven stands out for two reasons: its heritage-listed brutalist architecture and its name. The latter was bestowed in memory of former Prime Minister Harold Holt, who allegedly drowned in Portsea in 1967. The 50-metre outdoor pool underwent a reno in 2020 before reopening for lap swimmers and recreational use. A hoist, stairs and steps are available for accessibility.
Pascoe Vale Outdoor Pool
Beat the heat at this family-friendly centre in the north. The seven-lane 33-metre main pool and shaded learners pool are both heated by solar. There’s also a toddlers water feature and a diving pool with a metre-high board, plus a picnic area with barbeque facilities.
Pascoe Vale Outdoor Pool operates from December 1 to the Labour Day weekend.
Northcote Aquatic & Recreation Centre – closed for redevelopment
Cool off (or brave the cold) at this roomy 10-lane 50-metre outdoor pool – it’s open all year round. Around it are lush trees and grass, and there’s also a 25-metre pool and kids play pool, which are both open from November until March. Indoors, find a 25-metre lap pool, spa, sauna and steam room.
Northcote Aquatic & Recreation Centre is closed for redevelopment and will reopen in late 2023.
This article was originally published on January 20, 2021. It has been updated to reflect new information and remove out-of-date details.