Sydney’s eastern suburbs usually hog the limelight when it comes to spectacular beaches, but it turns out that the North Shore has more than its fair share of perfect swimming spots. And they all come with incredible views…
Cremorne Point, 2090 – FREE
With views extending out to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, it would be rude not to dive into this so-pretty-it-hurts ocean pool for a refreshing dip. Just be sure that if you do end up heading to MacCallum Pool for a pre-work swim, jump in the water before 6:30am. If not, you may or may not find yourself competing against a few (super-lovely) elderly ladies, who sometimes decide to swim across the pool diagonally. On top of that, don’t forget to check with North Sydney Council to make sure the pool isn’t closed for its weekly clean.
How to get there: MacCallum Pool is a nine-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay. Alternatively, it’s a five-minute drive from Neutral Bay’s Military Road (via Murdoch Street and Milson Road).
Albert St, Greenwich, 2065 – $4.20 per visit (or $38 for 10)
Shark-netted and patrolled by a lifeguard, this sweet seaside spot, overlooking Sydney Harbour, is a safe place to make a splash, especially if you’re not the strongest swimmer. Just bear in mind that this enclosed beach is usually closed during winter and reopens in September – just in time for when the weather starts to get hotter. Also, if you’re looking for a lay-on-your-back-like-a-starfish kind of morning swim, jump online to ensure that you won’t have to face off with a Nippers Carnival.
How to get there: Take the 20-minute Paramatta River ferry ride from Circular Quay to Greenwich, or catch the 265 or 269 buses down to Greenwich Baths.
If you’re driving, you can park your car on Albert or O’Connell Streets.
North Sydney Olympic Pool
4 Alfred Street South, Milsons Point, 2061 – $7.60 per visit
This 50-metre Olympic pool is one of those rare gems that makes working out feel like you’re on a holiday. Lined with palm trees, umbrellas and banana lounges, North Sydney Olympic Pool makes for a prime spot to lose your shiz over how awesome the Harbour Bridge and Luna Park look up close. When visiting this pool, we suggest taking your thongs wherever you go; in summer, the astro turf-lined sundecks can get blisteringly hot as early as 10am, especially between running from the pool and back to your towel.
How to get there: North Sydney Olympic Pool is located in Milsons Point, almost right underneath the Harbour Bridge. It’s a five-minute walk from Milsons Point train station, or if you’re driving, there is ticketed, on-street, parallel parking.
Forty Baskets Beach
Walk to the beach via Gourlay Avenue, Balgowlah, 2093 – FREE
Don’t tell the locals: we’re sharing one of their area’s best-kept swim-spot secrets. Situated along the Manly to Spit scenic walk, this hidden treasure is easy on the eyes, and the perfect place for a bang-on-sunrise swim. This small beach features a fenced-off swimming area, so, when it comes to getting your heart rate up, the fence itself makes for a great marker if you want to swim a few laps. While it’s not a tricky walk to where the grassy Forty Baskets reserve meets the sea, it’s best to wear enclosed shoes; the downhill terrain from the carpark is a little rocky.
How to get there: The seclusion of this beach does it make it difficult to get to, but you can park your car for free at the eastern end of Gourlay Avenue, before taking the short walk downhill to Forty Baskets. As there’s no lifeguard patrolling this beach, it’s best to take a friend with you.
Writer Margaux Harley.