When the mercury rises Sydneysiders are spoilt for choice when it comes to cooling down. Countless beaches and ocean pools line our glorious coast, granting access to the force of the open ocean and the quiet calm of the harbour's hidden coves.
The oldest swimming pool in Sydney is the Dawn Fraser Baths in Balmain, built in the early 1880s. After diving in, take a moment to look up at the historical building flanked by native trees and you can almost forget what year it is.
Because it's a tidal flow pool in the harbour, the setting has a couple of different dispositions. At high tide it's unsurprising, but when the tide is out a sandy beach is unveiled as the water level drops by several metres. The additional space between the pool deck and the water surface creates bonus amusement for those brave enough to jump in (alternatively you can climb down the ladder).
If soaking up the sun is more your thing, claim a spot on the pool deck. Sit near one of the openings in the exterior walls for a view across to Cockatoo Island or watch sailing boats bob at nearby moorings.
The water can be a bit murky and weedy, and heavy rain can affect the water quality, but if the pool's open, it's safe to swim -- Just ask the schools of resident fish who gather in the northeast corner to nibble hot chip crumbs dropped in by kids.