Friday, November 13, 2015

The Sydney Harbour has been the site of
several bull shark attacks throughout the years.
But these eight swimming
holes and pools offer a safe way to cool off.
Swimming is synonymous with vacationing in Australia.
But
swimming in the famous Sydney Harbour can be risky due to the bull sharks that
feed in its deep-water pockets and give birth in its shallow
estuaries.
Following a spate of shark attacks more than a century ago, a
safety initiative was launched in Sydney that led to the construction of
netted bathing pavilions and pools built in and around some of the harbor's
most beautiful beaches and coves.
Here, a primer on eight of the best—and
safest—swimming holes in this lovely coastal city.
Ian Lloyd Neubauer
North Sydney Olympic Pool The iconic North Sydney Olympic Pool is
sandwiched between the northern pylons of the monolithic Sydney Harbour Bridge
and the Luna Park entertainment precinct on Sydney's lower north shore.
Built
in 1936 at a cost of £47,000 ($10 million in today's money) as part of
Australia's Depression Relief Scheme, the pool is also one of Australia's most
important art deco structures—a cornucopia of polychromatic brickwork,
stylized columns, intricate Romanesque tiling, and playful plaster figurines
of frogs, seagulls, and swordfish.
And because it's heated, swimmers can enjoy
the pool all year.
There's also a heated 25-meter indoor pool with a
sauna.
Admission is $7.10 for adults and $3.50 for children.
MacCallum Pool A short drive from Milsons Point on the western side of
the Cremorne Point sits MacCallum Pool, the smallest and quaintest of Sydney's
harbor-side swimming holes.
Originally a rock pool, it was built in the 1920s
by local philanthropist Hugh MacCallum in conjunction with the North Sydney
Council.
Patrons originally paid five shillings a year for membership badges
that were sewn onto their bathing suits, with the funds paying for upkeep and
maintenance.
Today it's free.
Ian Lloyd Neubauer
Balmoral Jetty and Baths Set on the south end of Balmoral Beach,
this U-shaped structure with shark netting was erected in 1898—making it the
city's oldest, continually used bathing pavilion.
Five years ago, Mosman
Council completed major restorative works that replaced most of the
structure's old timber piles and added more than 3,000 feet of wooden
decking.
The Balmoral Jetty and Baths have a real holiday-by-the-seaside feel;
the spot is the perfect place for those looking to escape the hustle and
bustle of the city.
Andrew Boy Charlton Pool This 50-meter, eight-lane saltwater pool sits on
the western bank of Woolloomooloo Bay (where a navy diver lost an arm and a
leg during a 2009 bull shark attack).
Visitors are unlikely to see sharks
gliding through the water, but they can marvel at the warships docked at the
nearby Royal Australian Naval base while doing laps.
Facilities include a
20-meter children's pool, a poolside café, and a glass-fronted studio where
yoga and martial arts classes are held daily.
The Andrew Boy Charlton (ABC)
Pool is open from September 1 to April 30.
Entry is $6 for adults and $4 for
kids.
Ian Lloyd Neubauer
Parsley Bay Reserve This family park is set in a valley that
funnels into native bushland, a small creek, and a path that leads to a
waterfall.
The beach is nothing special—more of a muddy tidal flat—but it
opens into a stunning limestone-edged bay with a century-old cable suspension
bridge linking its banks.
During the summer, a 600-foot-long shark net makes
Parsley Bay a popular spot for swimmers, snorkelers, and scuba divers.
The net
is removed from June to September to allow for the flushing of the bay.
Murray Rose Pool There are one or two safe places to swim west of the
city, but the Murray Rose Pool near Double Bay is the standout.
Until a few
years ago, this netted tidal enclosure with spectacular city views was called
Redleaf Pool.
In 2012 it was renamed in honor of Murray Rose, a British-born
swimming champion who won three gold medals at the Melbourne Olympics in
1956.
Redleaf was where Rose fell in love with swimming; he had his first
lesson here at the age of five, won his first race here at 10, and continued
swimming here until his death three years ago.
Ian Lloyd Neubauer
Nielsen Park Before the arrival of European settlers, this leafy
green space was divided by a small creek that flowed into a lagoon, creating
an ideal campsite with abundant shelter, water, and food for the
Birrabirragal, an Aboriginal clan that lived in these parts.
Nielson Park
continues to attract Sydney-siders today, who flock here to swim in the netted
enclosure fronting the aptly named Shark Beach and watch the start of the
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race on December 26, a public holiday celebrated around
the country as Boxing Day.
Watsons Bay Baths "We had the satisfaction of finding the finest
harbour in the world," Captain Arthur Phillip, the first governor of Sydney,
wrote on discovering Sydney Harbour in 1788.
Before setting camp at Circular
Quay, the current site of the Sydney Opera House, Phillip left a few of his
men on Camp Cove, a sugar-white beach near the mouth of the harbor.
A short
walk from Camp Cove are the Watsons Bay Baths—the most picturesque bathing
enclosures found anywhere on the harbor.
Rebuilt in 2010, this Olympic-size
swimming enclosure offers deep-water wheelchair access courtesy of an
ingenious floating boardwalk.
There are also sunbathing pontoons, an al fresco
café, toilets, changing rooms, a small public library with free Wi-Fi, plus
plenty of great spots where children (and adults) can jump into the water.
These eight swimming holes and pools are some of the best
places to swim in Sydney without risking a shark attack.
Find out which pools
made the list.

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