Your Guide to Illawarra Pools this Summer

Somehow, in what has been both the longest and the shortest year of our lives, it is finally Summer 2022, with the harsh days of unrelenting February Summer sunshine soon be upon us. You know, the days where you have sweat inelegantly dripping down back, feeling more like an oversized marine mammal that has been squeezed into a bodysuit, complete with underwire? Perhaps that is why this marine mammal feels most at home, spending summer days in the water. 

I love swimming for many reasons. One of which is that I can exercise without everything jiggling, partially concealed beneath the surface with just enough water disturbance to distract from the wobble in my thigh. Not to mention, my above-average sized chest floats buoyantly instead of its usual southward salute to the ground. 

Everything feels better in the water. Maybe it is my inner-child reaffirming that I can be a mermaid if I only start flapping my feet together like a tail, or it might just be that when it is hot as balls outside; either way, I choose to let it all hang socially unacceptably out. Now, I could tell you this is part of some body-positive movement, but in truth, after 28 degrees, I just don’t care what this mess looks like, I’m going in. 

Unlike previous years, the mercury is yet to hit that no-fucks-given territory, though as we try to avoid too much indoor activity in the Omricon climate, I’ve found myself trotting off to my favourite local pool even more than usual. Last year, our biggest problem was getting to the pool only to find out they had reached their capacity limit. Oh, the internal tantrums that I had; fond memories. No longer do we need to book before getting our kids into cozzies, creaming them up with sunscreen, collecting their ten kilos of crap, and hauling arse down to the pool. Huzzah!

This year, we seem to be back to the Australian way of packing ourselves in like sardines to any beach, pool, or puddle we can find until the water is the same temperature as our bodies. The new problem is, arriving and being met with signs that say your favourite pool has spontaneously closed, usually for COVID cleaning. This has happened to me on a number of occasions over the last few weeks so I highly recommend always having a backup destination/pool in mind before you leave.

We are very lucky to have lots of options when it comes to swimming in the Illawarra, allowing you to make your selection based on your area and preference for saltwater or chlorinated, along with both paid and free locations:

Beaton Park Heated Pool – Indoor Pool – Foleys Rd, Gwynneville
Opening hours: 5.45 am – 8.30 pm Monday to Thursday, 5.45 am – 6.30 pm Friday, 6.30 am – 5.30 pm weekends


Berkeley Pool – Winnima Way, Berkeley
Opening hours: 6 am – 7 pm daily – Closed Christmas Day


Corrimal Heated Pool – Fence-off area for Toddler Pool – Short St, Corrimal
Opening hours: 6 am – 7 pm daily – Closed Christmas Day


Dapto Heated Pool – Bangaroo Ave, Dapto
Opening hours: 6 am – 7 pm daily – Closed Christmas Day


Helensburgh Pool – Walker St, Helensburgh
Opening hours: 6 am – 7 pm daily – Closed Christmas Day


Western Suburbs Pool – Free Pool – Chapman St, Unanderra
Opening hours: 6 am – 7 pm daily – Closed Christmas Day


Continental Pool – Salt Water Pool – Cliff Rd, North Wollongong
Opening hours: 6 am – 7 pm daily – Closed Christmas Day


Port Kembla Pool – Free Salt Water Pool with gently-sloped kids area – Olympic Blvd, Port Kembla
Opening hours: 6 am – 7 pm daily – Closed Christmas Day


Thirroul Pool – Bath St, Thirroul
Opening hours: 6 am – 7 pm daily – Closed Christmas Day


Austinmer Rock Pool – Lawrence Hargrave Dr, Austinmer.


Bellambi Rock Pool – Morgan Pl, Bellambi.


Bulli Rock Pool – Farrell Rd, Bulli.


Coalcliff Rock Pool – Paterson Rd, Coalcliff.


Coledale Rock Pool – Northcote St, Coledale.


Gentlemen’s Pool – Cliff Rd, North Wollongong.


Towradgi Rock Pool – Towradgi Rd, Towradgi.


Wombarra Rock Pool – Reef Rd, Wombarra.


Woonona Rock Pool – Kurraba Rd, Woonona.

As the days get hotter and your tolerance for everything around you weakens, make sure you plan your swimming excursions in advance. Parking can become an issue if you are visiting in the middle of the day on the weekends so make the most of daylight saving and get out there early. Don’t forget, swimming is a great way to give the kids relief from school stress and mask-wearing during the week too!

Feature Image: Photo by Melinda Martin on Unsplash

Zoë Wood is an international travel writer from the local Illawarra area. Contact her here: Facebook –  Instagram  –  Email

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