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Dawn Fraser Baths at Elkington Park

Home > Sydney > Beaches | Outdoor | Parks | Picnic Spots | Swimming Pools
Published October 28th 2013
Best place for a picnic, a swim and fun in the sun
The water-polo whistle blows and kids scamper past with wet feet and bags of tasty hot chips between their fingers. Teenagers attempt showy flips from the dock as mums gaze sleepily through wide-rimmed sunglasses. Seniors emerge from the lane-less mass of harbour water with swimming caps intact, their faces awash with the grin of a satisfying workout.

Welcome to a typical Saturday at Australia's oldest pool and swimming club, Dawn Fraser Baths at Elkington Park.

Tranquil Pool Dawn Fraser
Dawn Fraser Baths - Australia's oldest pool and swimming club

Built in the early 1880s, 'Dawnies' (as it's affectionately known to locals) is a tidal flow salt water pool and heritage building listed with the National Trust. Its canopy of large native and palm trees sets the mood of an inner-city oasis, offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of town for visitors and locals.

Leafy Trail Ellkington Park
Walk the leafy garden trail that connects the Baths to Elkington Park
Elkington Park Palm Trees and Rotunda
Enjoy the sun or the shade in Elkington Park


To make a day of this unspoilt Sydney harbour setting, pack a picnic and head to Balmain via bus or ferry mid-morning. Before finding a shaded spot in Elkington Park to relax and enjoy lunch, take a swim and sunbake at Dawnies to refresh the senses. A leafy garden trail leads to the park which overlooks Spectacle and Cockatoo Islands, and in the large surrounds kids can play for hours exploring the play equipment and picturesque rotunda.

Play Equipment Elkington Park
Keep the kids occupied at Elkington Park

Fill in the afternoon with a walk to Whitehorse Point at the tip of the park or the local Rowing Club. At water's edge, you can take in the full beauty of this little-known nook of Sydney Harbour, before strolling any number of tree-lined streets back to the main village.

Whitehorse Point View Sydney Harbour
Exploring Elkington Park's surrounds

Rowing Club Balmain
Timeless old Rowing Club Balmain

With its famous array of boutique local shops Balmain village is the perfect pit stop for those in the mood for coffee or some shopping, only a few minutes on foot from your newly discovered pool and park oasis.

Tree-lined Street Balmain
Visit Balmain's boutique shops and cafes just a few streets away from Elkington Park

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Why? It's a great day trip in inner-city Sydney
When: October - November 7:15am - 6:30pm, December - February 6:45am - 7pm, March - April 7:15am - 6:30pm
Phone: 02 9555 1903
Where: Fitzroy Avenue Balmain NSW 2041
Cost: $4.60 / adult, $3.20 / students & children, $2.40 / seniors
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