Unless you’re a polar bear, chances are you’re swimming your final laps in Sydney’s natural ocean pools and getting ready for a break over winter. Luckily, the city has a number of conveniently located, heated lap pools. Some wisdom from the school of the obvious: it’s infinitely easier to swim outside when the water is warm. Whether you’re a pre-work swimmer, a late-night bather or prefer doing laps over the weekend, here’s our pick of the best places for winter swimming. And where to get a coffee or a snack afterwards.
North Sydney Olympic Pool in Milsons Point
This is a pool with a view. It has a sweeping vantage over Sydney’s most iconic landmarks – Luna Park, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. If the warm water isn’t enough to get you over the edge, find motivation from Aussie sport stars such as Shane Gould. She set world records here. It’s a nice sensation going from the slightly cooler deep into the balmy shallows. Some even say it’s good for the immune system. When you get out, head to Cool Mac Cafe for a cheese melt or bacon-and-egg roll with cheese, sriracha and aioli.
Victoria Park Pool in Camperdown
Behind the University of Sydney, Victoria Park Pool is the perfect place to get the endorphins going before those early-morning lectures. The 50-meter outdoor pool is old-school in its design and is surrounded by a tranquil park. The water is a beautiful temperature over the colder months.
Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre in Ultimo
This 50-metre lap pool was designed by Harry Seidler, who was also responsible for Australia Square. It’s a solid example of contemporary architecture. The $40 million building is shaped like a wave, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. When you’re done channelling your inner Thorpedo, head to one of Sydney’s finest roasters nearby, Mecca Espresso.
Prince Alfred Park Pool in Surry Hills
In 2013, the Prince Alfred Pool underwent an award-winning renovation. It was the first outdoor heated pool in Sydney with a ramp leading directly into the water. It’s a beautiful place to swim, with its meticulously landscaped surroundings. Stop in at Devon Cafe and Haven Specialty Coffee to refuel.
Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre in Leichhardt
Heated to a toasty 27-degrees, the seven-lane, outdoor Olympic pool is a good place to beat the winter chill. An inviting layer of steam envelops the pool if you get there early. Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre is a one-stop-shop for all of your fitness requirements. It offers a range of facilities and programs, such as adult-swim-fit classes for those who need some advice on their stroke.
Drummoyne Swimming Centre in Drummoyne
It’s easy to pretend you’re swimming in an ocean pool, mid summer, while doing laps in this balmy saltwater pool. It’s built into the ocean and located under the Iron Cove Bridge on the shores of the inner west, where swimmers can take in the panoramic views.
Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre in Marrickville
Located on the edge of Enmore Park, the Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre is ideal for winter swimming. Great for weekend visits with the family, there are kids pools to keep the young ones entertained, too. If you’re around on a Sunday, the Marrickville Organic Market is just up the road.