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Newcastle Ocean Baths

Home > Newcastle > Swimming Pools | Seniors | Free | Family | Architecture
by Sue W (subscribe)
Lover of exploring, family, food and fun! Find me on instagram: @australianrecipesbythebay
Published January 13th 2021
Take a dip at this 100 year old pool
Newcastle Ocean Baths is a historical public swimming pool located on Shortland Esplanade in Newcastle. You can't miss the art deco facade of this unique building, which opened in 1922 for the people of Newcastle to enjoy. It is one of two ocean baths in Newcastle, with the other one located at Merewether.

My daughter and I visited the Newcastle Ocean Baths during the summer school holidays and we were fascinated by the age of the front facade. After we walked through the entrance and looked back at the facade, it was interesting to see how it had been restored over the years and was held in place with metal rods. The theatrical entrance made us think about how many people had also walked through the same entrance over the last 100 years. On the day of our visit, we were also impressed to see such a large, clean pool. We couldn't wait to go in!

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The impressive entrance to Newcastle Ocean Baths


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View from the other side, showing the metal rods holding up the facade


After walking in, we got changed in the spacious change room and walked towards the pool to find a place to put our bags. After dipping our toes in to check the temperature, we both slid into the pool and relished in the cool, salty water on a hot summer day.

My daughter was apprehensive about touching the bottom of the pool (which was only covered in sand), however, we soon realised that the pool was quite deep and she couldn't touch the floor anyway. We walked all the way around the pool and tried different stairs to get in, but found that the pool was fairly deep all the way around. This didn't matter, however, as we were both happy to swim and float on our backs and relax...



The main pool is large and can accommodate hundreds of people, with stairs, ladders and ramps to access the pool. There is also a section for lap swimming in a separate pool down the northern end, with concrete swimming blocks to dive off. Above the lap pool, there is a large, tiered seating area so you can sit and look over the entire pool, however, most people lay their towels out on the concrete and sat in the sunshine.

If you have small children, the concrete pool deck can be rough to walk on, so be careful when walking around the outside of the pool.

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Lap swimming at the northern end


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Ramp access to the pool, making it accessible for all


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Be aware of the rough concrete on the pool deck


The public swimming pool is washed out by the ocean and also cleaned every Wednesday, at the time of writing. The pool also has a lifeguard service to keep swimmers safe and to also respond to first aid enquiries (see here for details and times). There is also a kiosk near the entrance for cold drinks, snacks and lunch, which you can eat around the pool area.

If you have smaller children, a popular place to visit is the Canoe Pool, which is located right next to the Ocean Baths. There is a little sandy beach and shallow water which is perfect for wading and splashing. This pool was constructed in the 1930s - a decade after the Ocean Baths - for younger children to also enjoy this scenic area along the Newcastle coastline.

Wherever you decide to spend your day, you can't beat the views and the history of these interesting and iconic Newcastle landmarks. Why don't you visit them this weekend? We can't wait that long - we will be going back tomorrow!

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The Canoe Pool...


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...with a large sandy area to make sandcastles and play

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Why? A refreshing dip in a historical pool
When: Closed Wednesdays for cleaning. Open Thursday to Tuesday 9am - 5:30pm (at time of writing - see website for current details)
Phone: (02) 4974 2000
Where: 30 Shortland Esplanade, Newcastle
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Very informative article Sue. The art deco fašade looks nice. Being a non-swimmer, I would think I would find a pool of suitable depth. Just looking at you photos makes the temperature seem to drop on this hot day.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|3191) 286 days ago
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