I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published July 4th 2015
The recently rebuilt Hornsby Aquatic and Leisure Centre is just over a year old now, having opened in 2014, and its facilities are really a step up from what it used to be. The new facility is state-of-the-art and has heated pools, a cafe, a gym and more.
The state-of-the-art Hornsby Aquatic and Leisure Centre
The pools will always be the star and there are three of them now, including the outdoor 50 metre pool. It's heated to 26 degrees and is used for lap swimming and water polo, and can also be divided into two sections of 25 metre lanes.
I remember the old Hornsby Pool as a great place for school swimming carnivals, with big grandstands along one side. As far as I can see, there isn't much seating now however; only a few concrete steps, rather than tiers of seating. I'm curious how a carnival would work here (apparently 500 spectators can still be accommodated).
Inside the centre are the two smaller pools, including a 25 metre pool that is regularly used for kids swimming lessons. Details on the Learn to Swim program can be found here. The schedule includes weekly sessions, intensive holidays programs and more.
The second indoor pool has a lot going on. At the deeper end (1.1 metres like the 25 metre pool) there are two short lanes, so it can be used for easy laps when the other pool is busy. There's also a spa halfway along the side.
The floor of this pool gradually gets shallower until you can walk right out of it, and becomes a haven for kids as it does so. There are features like buckets that dump water on your head and a small partitioned section that toddlers can enjoy without any chance of them venturing too deep. A two metre slide is also at the centre, but is not always open (it's the red thing towards the back in the image below).
Because both the centre itself and the pools are warm (the indoor ones are heated to 31 degrees), a visit to the Aquatic Centre is a great winter activity. Parking is underground, so you don't ever feel the cold as you head straight up to the warmth. The presence of lifeguards are also an appealing factor.
A rare quiet moment (lunchtime in winter) inside the centre
As mentioned, there are a few other facilities at the centre now too. For example, where both the indoor and outdoor pools meet with Hornsby Park, there is Cafe Plunge. It offers snacks and alfresco dining (seating is located in Hornsby Park).
Another facility, which the old Hornsby Pool never had, is the gym ($16.00 a visit). It offers classes like Pilates, yoga and boxing, as well as plenty of fitness classes that take place in the water too. A creche also offers child minding three mornings a week.
Outside Hornsby Aquatic and Leisure Centre is Hornsby Park, a surprisingly peaceful and beautiful space, considering its location in such a busy area of Hornsby.