Little Bay Beach & The Bogey Hole 09.04.2016

Little Bay is a gem in the Sydney coastline. There is a lot of history associated with this location, much of it linked to the old Prince Henry Hospital. The site is now a developed area, however much of the history has been retained. Take a stroll around the site, stop for coffee near the old gatehouse (near the Anzac Parade entrance) or check out the museum located in a restored old hospital ward. There are great dining options in the area too. The entrance to the beach is adjacent to the Chapel and the old boat shed (headquarters of Surf Life Saving Sydney).

The area is surrounded by golf courses and you actually have to traverse part of the golf course to get to the beach (please be quiet near the tee – it’s a tricky par 3).

Descend the steep stairway, past the open shower and toilet facilities, to the narrow sandy beach.

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The area is popular with snorkelers, spear fishers and rock fishers, although it is one of the most hazardous rock fishing sites in Australia and has claimed many lives. The rock fishers practise their sport well outside the bay parameters. Stay off the rock platforms (where the rock fishers go) if there is any swell running.

Despite the hazards of rock fishing, this is a really safe swimming spot provided you stay within the bay or in the small rock pool (the Bogey Hole) which was built many years ago to provide nurses with a shark-free swimming spot. It is located on the southern rock shelf.

imageThe Bogey Hole

The narrow entrance to Little Bay, and the fact that it is surrounded by beautiful sandstone cliffs, means that the beach is safe and accessible in all but the heaviest swell.

Kids will love to explore the area and it’s easy to keep an eye on them.

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Little Bay is a personal favourite and I think it has something for everybody, although it can get a little crowded on summer weekends. It’s best on a mid to high tide. The bay can suffer storm water pollution after heavy rain, although much work has been done to alleviate that problem by Randwick City Council.

Wild Swimming #67

Location – enter the GPS coordinates into Google -33.9799  151.2514

Child friendly 4/5

My rating 5/5

Suction – Yarra Bay North Corner 06.04.2016

This little beach is adjacent to the old Bunnerong Power Station water inlet, hence the name ‘suction’. This is one of Bingo’s favourite swimming spots. Best mid-tide rising, as the beach is a little narrow at full tide. A north easterly breeze usually means crystal clean water. There are some nice rocks to perch on and the view across the bay is alway interesting. Access is a bit difficult, as you have to climb down some rocks. Alternatively, you could swim into the bay from the main beach.

Best mid-week, as it is popular in summer on weekends. This is a safe swimming spot, with no steep drop-offs (common in bays). Take a mask and snorkel and explore the reef, always a few fish hanging around.

For the adventurous; you can climb the inlet wall and jump into deep clear water. The walk along the wall is not for the faint hearted though (slipping off has consequences).

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There are no facilities anywhere near-by, no shops and no showers.

Despite it all, this is a great little beach, perfect for a quiet relaxing swim.

Wild Swimming #69

Location – enter the GPS coordinates into Google -33.9764  151.2239

Child friendly  3/5

My rating 4/5

Wylies Baths 07.03.2016

This is another traditional (heritage-listed) ocean pool. Entry fees apply ($5). It’s a stunning spot with views to Coogee Beach and Wedding Cake Island. The concrete surrounds are a nice relaxing place to top up on the sun’s rays. The kiosk above the pool has cappuccinos and other goodies; you can even have a massage or do a yoga class. The dressing sheds are well fitted out, despite their old style appearance (20c for a hot shower). Access is via many steps, so it is not suitable for disabled or elderly people. It’s OK for kids, but if you have strollers and bags of kids stuff, it could be a challenge.

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Although Wylies is a fairly safe spot, it is subject to wave action and may be closed if the waves are too high. A lifeguard is on duty at all times.

Coogee is a busy area in the summer so parking can be an issue on weekends.

I think that this pool is a must-do for all Sydney siders. Pick a fine day with a rising tide, pack your block-out, your favourite towel, book a massage perhaps and plan for enough time to soak it all up.

Wild Swimming #64

Location – enter the GPS coordinates into Google  -33.9257  151.2593

Child friendly 4/5

My rating 4/5

Cockatoo Island Swim Enclosure 27.02.2016

Swimming is allowed in ‘Slipway One’ on Cockatoo Island. The concrete slipway is netted at the entrance to keep the bull sharks out. The gradual incline provides a ‘soft entry’ and at high tide it’s about 3.5m at the net. A sign states that footwear must be worn. Don’t know about you, but I don’t like swimming in footwear. Never-the-less,  there are old oyster shells attached to the concrete and care needs to be taken for barefoot swimmers.

Concrete being what it is, the surface is slippery, especially at low tide. Swim at high tide and the experience is much more pleasant.

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Not too bad as a cool-off exercise, but frankly the swimming quality is low. The island, on the other hand, is a treat. It’s full of history, great facilities, child friendly and a nice place to visit … wouldn’t go out of my way to swim here though.

Wild Swimming #5

Location – Cockatoo Island can be reached by ferry service. Enter the GPS coordinates into Google -33.8474  151.1698

Child friendly 4/5

My rating 2/5

Dawn Fraser Baths 28.02.2016

This place is a rare slice of history. I love the idea that it still exists in close-to-original design. As you would expect the facilities are basic, but that is part of its charm. Being a fair way inside the harbour, the water loses its crystal clarity and blue tones.

If you love history a swim at the Dawn Fraser Baths is an experience not to be missed. I know of no other pool like this in Sydney and I fear that it won’t last forever.

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Lots of water polo is played here and has been for well over a hundred years.

Dawn Fraser Baths is located directly across the water from Cockatoo Island. The area is rich in history … a bit like Dawn I suppose, a little older these days, but still a delight.

Wild Swimming #4

Location – enter the GPS coordinates into Google -33.8535  151.1731

Child Friendly 4/5

My rating 2/5 for swimming (5/5 for history and style)

Giles Baths 23.02.2016

Giles Baths is located at the northern end of Coogee Beach. Walk up off the beach into the park, past the Bali Memorial, which is located on the site of the old Giles Gymnasium and Baths. The Baths are located down a steep set of stairs which lead to this beautiful public rock pool.

It’s safe most of the time, however in a heavy swell extreme caution should be taken. If the swell is up, just stand at the top of the stairs for about twenty minutes to get the full picture – also consider the negative effect of a rising tide.

Local kids sometimes jump from the rocks, near the top the stairs, into the pool, but this is quite dangerous, as the pool is tidal and quite shallow in parts.

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Take a mask and snorkel for added value.

There is a nice park and walks above the pool. If you need exercise and have the time, take a walk to Clovelly (north) and have a swim there or in Gordon’s Bay (between Clovelly and Coogee).

Facilities are in the park and there are lots of places to eat.

Wild Swimming #62

Location – enter the GPS coordinates into google   -33.9201  151.2605

Child Friendly 4/5

My rating 4/5

Long Bay (aka Malabar) 19.01.2016

One of Bingo’s favourite swimming spots is Malabar. The Northern Boat ramp is a good entry point for a swim and a short walk along the rocks leads to ‘Chinaman’s Beach’ where shallow rock pools are good for a paddle. The view across the bay to the Rock Pool and Southern Boat ramp inspires local swimmers (and sometimes their dogs) to swim across and back again. Sharks you say? Yep. Worth the risk ….. of course.

The water quality in the long wide bay suffers from stormwater pollution after heavy rain, although recent work has improved conditions significantly.

I grew up in this area and the whole place has a kind of spiritual meaning for me.

Never really crowded, one nice little coffee shop (South side), basic facilities, super safe, easy parking.

Best not to swim in the bay for a few days after heavy rain.

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Wild Swimming #75

Location – enter the GPS coordinates into google -33.9642 151.2522

Child friendly 5/5

My rating 3/5