Tag Archives: Australia

Sydney’s Ocean Pools from North Bondi to Coogee

Wally Weekes

Around the turn of the last century people built many seaside pools around Sydney, so I decided to visit a few and am now standing above the Wally Weekes pool which is at the north end of Bondi Beach.

The surf life saving club say that wally Weekes was one of their founding members, By account he also founded the Bondi life saving club, was a swimmer, boxer, publican and a life saver, quite a character who was important enough to name this pool after.


At the other end of the beach is a swimming club that dates back to 1929, when a local band of life savers trying to maintain their fitness in Winter formed the Bondi Icebergs Winter Swimming Club.

There is a membership rule called the “15B rule” that states that you must swim three out of four winter Sundays for five years.

The water temperature hovers around 16 degrees during winter.

Bronte baths

Bronte Baths was ppened back in 1887 so it’s one of Sydney’s oldest pools. It is best known for it’s regular swimmer Evelyn Whillier, who at 18 competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and at 20 won gold in the 1938 British Empire Games. In the 1990s — in her late 70s — she’d head to Bronte at 5am every day to squeeze in a few kilometres. You’ll meet all kinds of swimmers here — from similarly serious lappers to kids in floaties. There’s ample room on the surrounding rocks for lazing about. Consider a night swim on balmy evenings.

Walkway around past Waverly Cemetery, Clovelly Ocean Pool, Giles Baths

From Bronte baths there’s a wonderful walkway that takes us past waverly cemetery, then around Clovelly Beach and Clovelly Ocean Pool which wasn’t too clean when I walked past it, but at the end of the bay there are some wonderful places to swim in the rough sea.

Then we get to the Giles Baths at Dolphin’s Point before walking around to my favourite ocean pool in Sydney, which is Wylie’s Baths….

Wylie’s Baths

Wylie’s baths were built in 1907 by the father of Mina Wylie, who was one of Australia’s first female Olympic swimming representatives. In fact Mina Wylie and Fanny Durack were Australia’s first woman gold and silver medallists.

Putting history aside the thing I love about Wylie’s baths is the relaxed nature of the place. Like the Icebergs Pool it has facilities including a space for Yoga and Pilates as well as a great little cafe, but the best thing for me is the feeling of community that this place has.

Because the swimming section is a converted rockpool it also has many other inhabitants too, fish, nudibranch of you see them as well different species of octopus, including the little blue ring octopus that you must make sure you don’t touch if you are lucky to see it.

All in all I would say that the beach pools make sydney worth seeing alone.

David Byrne and goodbyes

The friends I am staying with in Perth bought me a ticket to see David Byrne play at the city zoo so we ambled over there via some nachos and a pint and settled in for what turned out to be a wonderful night.

Byrne built the evening up from low key to spectacular in a similar way to the ‘Stop making Sense’ gigs of the eighties, only this time it was subtle. He played a lot of the Byrne Eno songs and I think most people went home feeling like they had seen the best that Byrne could deliver – a few people were shouting for Psycho Killer at the end but I’m quite happy he didn’t do that song, It was always a song for opening the night, end the night on something a little less psychotic.

So here I am waiting to go to the airport. The hospitality I have recieved in Perth has been the best yet, but perhaps that’s because they are valuable old friends I am visiting and a few bridges have been mended. Life is short and we can’t afford to waste such beautiful people, so it is on a note of reconciliation and friendship that I leave this wonderful country on. I am also happy that such a warm welcome was afforded by people from back home, I had begun to think that it was an Australian cultural quirk to throw the doors open with such warmth, but no. Good.

So I am in love with this country, it took me a wee while to get my head around it’s warm and very big heart but I think I have an idea of it’s nature now and feel comfortable just being here.

I think we’ll be back.


Just to show I haven’t forgotten that I am supposed to be writing a blog about work and travel I had better mention that I do work whilst on the hoof y’know.

Today I updated three websites and went half blind staring at my monitor until the early hours – it’s worth it though as when I put my laptop down the scenery is still stunning.

For this evening we went to one of those Ozzy restaurants where S.E.Asian food is given the reverence it deserves, then back home for a few cold beers. Life is good – only a few more days until I fly to Singapore and then Malaysia so I had better make the most of Australia now, I do hope to be back.

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Reserve

At O’Reilly’s you get to spend time in the cool mountain rainforests surrounded by gorgeous tropical birds, a free treetop walk through the jungle hammock and a fine wine produced by the O’Reilly vineyard. This made me chuckle as the idea of a good Irish wine is a little bit of an oxymoron – well kind of. I drank a little too much and manged to fall out of my hammock and keep the neighbours awake.

One O’Reilly relative was kind enough to save some plane crash survivors as they clung to life on one of the remote mountain slopes nearby, there is a statue to commemorate this with ‘a great Aussie Story’ written on it as well as something about mateship. I like the idea of mateship, I think it’s all about keeping your buddies beer glass full or something like that, saving your fellow bod from a lonely demise on a mountain is also included along with anything in between these two bookends.

The top thing for me at O’reilly’s had to be the treetop walk. Cleverly constructed so that you walk out over a slope so that it seems as if you have hardly gone up into the canopy of anything at all, you soon find yourself up there with the birds. And what birds they are…

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