With their beautiful art deco facade, and sheltered salt-water pool, Newcastle Ocean Baths have been an institution in Newcastle for over a century. On a hot, summer day, there's no better place to be, as generations of locals will enthusiastically confirm.
Newcastle Ocean Baths are built right at the edge of the ocean - kind of like an infinity pool. It makes them the perfect place to swim when the waves at the beach are a bit too rough for comfort. Actually, on days like that, it's great fun to relax (at a safe distance) and watch the waves splash over the rocks and into the pool. If they get too wild, though, the pool is closed for safety reasons.
There are two adjoining sections - a 25 metre lap pool (popular with serious swimmers), and a larger section for those just wanting to chill out. The shallow waters of the nearby Canoe Pool, carved from rock, is perfect for very little children - although it is tidal and not always full.
The beautiful old pavilion houses change rooms, toilets and a small kiosk. There are also plenty of picnic tables, if you want to make a day of it during the school holidays. With a lifesaver also based on the premises, the pool is patrolled throughout the year,although the Canoe Pool is not.
Not only popular with swimmers, Newcastle Baths is also a favourite with nostalgic history-lovers, walkers, photographers and people simply wanting to relax, close to Newcastle's beautiful beaches. The lovely old building is a photographer's delight, while the views over the surrounding beaches are awesome, especially in the early morning or when the sun is setting.
Directions Newcastle Ocean Baths is easily accessible by all modes of transport. There's a car park right outside the pavilion and other parking is available along Shortland Esplanade. Please note, however - parking can be a little scarce during the summer, so you may prefer to use public transport.
To reach the Baths by train, get off where it terminates at Hamilton and take a shuttle bus to the old Newcastle Station. From there, follow Scott Street along until you reach Zaara Street, and turn right. Follow Zaara Street until you reach Shortland Esplanade (which follows the coastline), and turn left. Follow Shortland Esplanade and you'll see the Baths on the right.
Like the railway shuttle buses, most Newcastle and Hunter Valley buses terminate near the old station, so follow the above directions to reach the Baths.
However, two buses (the 104 from Jesmond and the 222 from Wallsend) terminate on Parnell Place, near Alfred Street. To reach the Ocean Baths from there, turn left into Parnell Place and right into nearby Scott Street. Follow this until you reach Zaara Street and turn left. Follow this and turn left into Shortland Esplanade.
Related Discoveries Newcastle Beach, Nobby's Beach Newcastle, Fort Scratchley, Newcastle Museum,
In my opinion, Newcastle Ocean Baths are the most beautiful of all the ocean pools along the New South Wales coastline. Best of all, they're totally free! My favourite time to go is in the early morning or late afternoon on a hot summer day - it's total heaven to relax there, watching the waves crash and listening to the seagulls above. Highly recommended!