Here in the Inner West we are spoilt for choice with so many places to swim. As temperatures soar, everyone heads to the beach for a dip. That can only mean one thing – parking angst and traffic as you drive across the city. Why not avoid the stress and stay local? There are public pools with lovely shady lawns, harbour beaches to cool off in, and splash parks for younger members of the family.

In our latest blog we nominate the best places for a swim in the Inner West as well as uncover a few hidden gems.

Cabarita Beach

Yes, that’s right, you read it right, there’s a beach at Cabarita. Located at the northern end of Cabarita Park, there is a long stretch of white sand on the shores of the Parramatta River making it an ideal place to spread out your towel and take a dip. You could spend the whole day here with the family building sandcastles and exploring the rocky outcrops at each end of the beach. Within the park there are shady spots to take respite from the sun, barbecues to fire up, public toilets (very handy) and a playground. For ice-block treats head to the kiosk at nearby Cabarita Marina.

Cabarita Swimming Centre

Cabarita not only has the Inner West’s only beach, it also has an excellent pool complex. If you like swimming laps, the Cabarita Swimming Centre is the place for you. There is an eight-lane, 50-metre Olympic pool set to 27°C with yachts moored at the marina bobbing in the water beside it – it’s hard to imagine a more picturesque spot to clock up some kilometres. There is also a leisure pool to cool off in and a toddler pool covered in shade cloth so the littlies are protected from the sun and can paddle at any time during the day.

Sydney Olympic Park

If it’s good enough for Olympians, then it’s good enough for us! The Aquatic Centre at Sydney Olympic Park is a world-class facility. Since the 2000 Olympics it has become a slightly less serious swimming venue thanks to the addition of Splasher’s Water Playground. From 2-24 January there will also be floating giant inflatables, including the aptly named Atomic Drop Slide, Logjammer Extreme Water Slide and Wipeout Slip n Slide, for the kids to tackle. That will keep them occupied while you have a quiet dip. You could also sign up for one of the Aqua Classes, literally a cool way to exercise. Nearby Blaxland Riverside Park has Sydney’s largest outdoor water play facility, open from 10am-4pm.

Dawn Fraser Pool

As you walk through Elkington Park in Balmain towards the Dawn Fraser Pool (closed temporarily for renovation and re-opening in Summer 2020/21) you’ll feel the temperature drop before you even get wet. Towering trees shade your way to the pool, which is Australia’s oldest. Built in the 1880s, the Dawn Fraser Pool is a tidal saltwater pool. At low tide there is a strip of sand to lay on, otherwise find a spot on the structure built around the water. Dotted with tables and chairs, it offers views out over the Harbour and high spots to jump off into the pool below. The buildings are listed on the National Trust and Register of the National Estate. You’re swimming in history!

Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre

The Leichhardt Aquatic Centre could lay claim to the most family friendly spot for a dip in the Inner West. There are six pools to choose from: the Olympic pool, diving pool, two indoor pools (one for toddlers), a mushroom pool and a hydrotherapy pool. There is a grassed area to spread out on and have a picnic (and a nap!), or the Blu Aqua Kiosk serves coffee, smoothies and healthy meals to enjoy on the deck. If you have the littlies in tow, there is a creche onsite that you can book them in to so you can relax by the pool. The Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre is the kind of place you could easily spend an entire day swimming.

Drummoyne Swimming Centre

Tucked under the Iron Cove Bridge, the Drummoyne Swimming Centre is hard to miss as you drive by, especially on a hot day when the sun is glistening off the blue water and you’re longing for a swim. The 50-metre, eight lane outdoor pool overlooks the Parramatta River and is a convenient spot to cool off or do a few laps.

Chiswick Baths

A relatively undiscovered spot, Chiswick Baths is a small harbour pool at the end of Chambers Reserve. It’s a serene place to submerge yourself and, more often than not, you won’t find many other swimmers here. In fact, you may have it all to yourself. Enclosed by a shark net and a childproof fence, a small set of stairs leads down to the cool water – bliss.

After all that swimming the whole family will have worked up a serious appetite. Why not head to the Canada Bay Club for dinner? Kids eat free in The Brasserie on Monday and Tuesday evenings.

Bayview Park

After 53 years, summer dips have now returned to Bayview Park. This section of the Parramatta River was last operational as a swimming spot in 1969, and now it’s enjoying a renaissance thanks to an extensive revitalisation effort.

Complete with a range of new facilities, including a netted swimming enclosure for added safety, picnic facilities and outdoor showers, Bayview Park offers all the ingredients for a leisurely afternoon by the river.

Image Source: Dannette’s Travels