It was an ideal warm sunny Feburary day when we decided to leave Sydney for a day trip up North.
Just a short 2 and 3/4 hour train ride from Central station to Newcastle so technically not Sydney but hey this is our blog and we can write about whichever pools we choose!!
Mrs B has now joined our little club so her and G1 convinced G2 (not a morning person) to wake up bright and early to get the 7:15am train to Newcastle. Suffice it to say the nearly 3 hours went quite fast with so much to discuss. We were happy to use our Opal cards and very happy when we realised it only cost us $3.70 for the trip followed by a free shuttle bus service to Customs house where we got off for the short walk to the beach.
Of course by this stage we were hanging out for a coffee and were delighted to see many great coffee shops along the beach and en route.
Then off to the baths but first we passed the most enormous wading pool for kids . It was low tide so had its own little “beach” incorporated in the pool area.
Being a Thursday and school finally back it was fairly quiet and compared to Sydney it was very quiet and we definitely were started to feel like we were on a mini holiday.
Newcastle Ocean Baths opened in 1922 and retains the great art deco façade and architecture which we so adore.
Again we were pleasantly surprised to see that unlike many Sydney pools, the Newcastle pools are free. We hurried off to the change rooms out of our travelling clothes. They were rustic and old worldly. The toilets were really not the best but a forward thinking Mrs B saved the day by bringing a padlock for our valuables.
Finally after our long journey we headed to the water!
The first pool we ventured into was a standard 6 lane 50m pool with a small grandstand on one side the ocean on another. We had a great time doing laps here and enjoyed nice chats with locals as we stopped for a breather.
The second pool was a 75 metre huge expanse of pool next to the lap pool for swimming and playing. We had never seen anything like this on our travels! There were lots of people swimming, wading and chatting. The atmosphere was very convivial and European.
The water was a great temperature and there were lots of white fish swimming around. One informative local warned us to look out for the gates of hell in the big pool where the fish swim from ocean to pool and visa versa. It looked more like a ship wreck to us. People were friendly and the kids arrived just as we finished our laps for school sport. Oh what a life!!!
There were ramps leading into both of these pools as well as several steps with handrails so access was really easy for anyone.
We will return to do Merewether Ocean Baths next time – it was being cleaned on the day that we went. It really was a great day trip and easy to do using public transport and an UBER ride at the end to get our train.