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.
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.
Walk the leafy garden trail that connects the Baths to Elkington Park
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.
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.
Exploring Elkington Park's surrounds
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.
Visit Balmain's boutique shops and cafes just a few streets away from Elkington Park