Coalcliff's rock pools are accessible by Paterson Rd and situated south of Coalcliff Beach on the Illawarra coast. The rock pools were a five year local community project, headed by Noel Leeder (the then Manager at Coalcliff Colliery) when land began slumping into the rock platform and collapsing into the sea in the late 1950's.
Today the rock pools are a unique and secluded location offering a safe swimming area, children's pool and fresh water showers. Even in winter, the pools maintain a temperature of about 16 degrees. There are lovely panoramic seaviews by the rock pools, and it is also a great fishing location.
Leeder Park offers children's play equipment, picnic areas, walking tracks, additional shower and toilet facilities and is wheel chair accessible. There is free parking available at Leeder Park and Coalcliff SLSC.
Coalcliff Beach is a 500m patrolled beach with 1-1.5 metre waves. The club itself began in 1924. Small Stony Creek meanders down to the beach, and the area is very serene, peaceful and picturesque. The view of the mist and moving clouds on the cliffs above the beach is also extremely beautiful.
The Coalcliff Surf Club Bombie Bar hosts live music concerts on alternate Sundays during the summer. There is also an annual 2.4 km Ocean Challenge swim between Coalscliff and Helensburgh-Stanwell Park Surf Life Saving Club in early April every year.
The entire Coalcliff area boasts a great history - since 1796 when men stranded from the wrecked ship Sydney Cove noticed exposed coal on the cliffs. They made a fire from the coal, attracting rescuers - hence the name. Excavation began in the 1950's and lead to the Colliery and Cokeworks. The first Sydney to Wollongong train ran in 1888. The old Coalcliff General Store which operated from 1888 to 1960 still shows fading signage on the now residential property. Paterson Street was once the main street of Coalcliff and a hive of activity.
The nearby Sea Cliff Bridge offers a spectacular walk/cycleway above the ocean and along the escarpment.
Down the hill, heading south on Sea Cliff Bridge, is the iconic Scarborough Hote l- another historic location with more stunning views. A few kilometres north of Coalcliff is the idyllic Stanwell Park Beach.
Recently, the peaceful rock pools were under threat as Council indicated plans to let them "naturally crumble and wash out to sea". The still strong and unrelentling Coalcliff community - who built the pools - were adamant they would not abandon, but would restore their historic pools, as they did many years ago.
This tiny little piece of paradise has a unique history and is a lovely spot to relax and enjoy the views of the sea in a safe, tranquil environment.
Note: It seems these rock pools under the Wollonggong council- in particular this one at Coalcliff, are under threat of being let go. The council plans on neglecting their upkeep until the oceans take them over. It would be a terrible loss to the entire Sydney community and lifestyle if this were to happen. The council wants to save money - but maybe they should think of cheaper ways of up keeping it at worst. At any rate, the pools should stay open and functioning. Playing, learning to swim, hanging out or swimming laps in an ocean pool is unbeatable and worth my tax money that's for sure.