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Summer Ocean Pool Challenge – Bondi to Coogee

Who walks 12km on the day that Sydney is the hottest place on the planet?  Fortunately for us, we had seven pools to swim on this section of our Summer Ocean Pool Challenge. We hopped over the harbour to follow on from last weekend’s walk Collaroy to Manly,  starting today at world famous Bondi beach.

#15 North Bondi rock pool

The cars were parked at Coogee and we got a 7am cab to North Bondi Pool.  Is this really a pool? The water barely came half way up our shins, and most of us didn’t even bother to take off our shorts as we waded across for our first lap of the day. The mosaic decorations were pretty though.  Sandals in hand, we strolled across the sands to the more famous Bondi pool.

#16 Icebergs

Ashamed to say, in our group of 15 Sydneysiders, some born and bred, none of us had ever swum at Icebergs!  We coughed up our $7 and headed down to the ice blue pool. At $3.50 each for our two up and down laps, we wondered if we should swim a few more to reduce the per lap cost.

Icebergs was bliss, compared to North Bondi pool, even if it does have it’s own website complete with webcams. But there were better pools to come, nearly all for free.

#17 Bronte Baths

The trend today was that the pools kept getting better and better, as the sun got hotter and hotter. Bronte Baths is like something out a theme park, except it’s real.  Dramatic cliff wall, a waterfall effect into the nearby Bronte Bogeyhole, and a cafe with coffee. What more does one need?  Fewer people perhaps?

Shoes back on, we walked through Waverley cemetery, as the coastal walkway is still being fixed after the winter storm damage.

#18 Clovelly Ocean Pool

How can you not love Clovelly Ocean Pool when the sun is high? There was a nice swell running through, and plenty of space for lazy swimmers to spread out, and for sun-bakers to roast.  We bent our rules and swam widths of this pool, instead of the long lengths.

On the south side of Clovelly ocean pool, there is an uninviting wading pool, which most of us decided didn’t qualify as a real ocean pool and wasn’t worth a dip.

#19 Giles Baths

We managed the heat today by leaving our towels in our backpacks, and simply putting our shorts on top of wet costumes. After Gordons Bay, we stopped briefly at the Bali Monument on Dolphins Point.  Passing through the old Giles Baths entrance portico, we descended the steps to this delightful natural (with a little help) pool.

It was worth getting the goggles out for fish watching in the clear water. Gaps in the rock pool Wall allows some ocean swell into the pool.  The surrounding rocks are fun for clambering on, and there i an uneven natural rocky bottom.  We didn’t want to get out.  This was peak pool bliss, with a gorgeous sense of intimacy after the crowds at Clovelly.

We clambered around the edge of the cliff face to the beach. With the tide rushing in and some slippery sections, this required a bit of care.  Even the crabs were scampering for shelter from the wash.

#20 Ross Jones Memorial Pool

Five pools down, two to go, and a lingering feeling that it was all downhill now, with Giles Baths behind us and the thermometer continuing its relentless climb.

Ross Jones Memorial Pool is a small, shallow pool at the southern end of Coogee beach.  We sat in the corner with our backs to the breaking waves enjoying the childish thrill of anticipation. Wave incoming! Shrieks from the kiddies in the adjacent paddling pool.

#21 McIvers Baths

Our final pool for the day was McIver Baths, a women and children only pool.  A very old pool, and the last women’s only rock pool in Australia.  Supposedly it costs 20c to enter, but rampant inflation had pushed this to $2 today.  There were women everywhere: sunning on the rocks, splashing in the water, lounging on the steep hillside, and playing around the chains surrounding the pool.

… perhaps its best to censor the pictures from McIvers – secret womens business!

As the last pool of the day, we enjoyed the showers, with their picture perfect window view to wedding cake rock, and the bookshelf of reading material.

Then it was back to our hot cars with seats burning the backs of our legs and steering wheels we could barely touch, for the trip home and an afternoon nap.

Next week: Coogee to Malabar

Leg 4 in a nutshell

Transport: park Neptune Street, Coogee, and taxi or Uber to Bondi
Start of walk: North Bondi
Finish: Coogee
Distance: 12km
No of pools: 7

Thank you, Yvonne for leading the large group on this leg.


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