As the heat haze steadily shimmers from Melbourne’s streets, you’ll be looking for an enticing – and cooling – pool to dive into. And, thankfully, your luck’s in. Dotted around the city there are all manner of water features to dip your toes, and more, in. Family pools, late night swimming spots, lap pools and swimming pools to see and be seen in. Then there’s the saltwater pools that offer something a little more natural than the man-made options. All come with handy facilities – even the sea-based options. We’ve taken a paddle in the lot to fish out the oasis-style spots from the lacklustre shallows.
If you want your Melbourne swimming pool to be Olympic sized, Brunswick Baths is the one. The heated, outdoor, eight lane pool is open all year. But, should you feel compelled to swim indoors, there’s a small indoor pool to have a splash in too. Like most Melbourne pools, this one comes fully loaded with facilities, including a cardio room, gym, fitness classes and children’s pools. A great spot for clocking up some lap times, it also runs childcare facilities for children up to 6 years old. Handy if you need to fit in some me time on a family holiday.
Cost: $6.70 Adult (outdoor pool) $6.75 for 1.5 hrs of childcare
Orbzii tip: If you’re getting about Melbourne by tram, Brunswick Baths are just a 5 minute walk from the Jewell Station (Tram 19, Stop 21).
Prahran Aquatic Centre
Remember that see and be seen swimming pool we hinted at earlier? This is it. Prahran Aquatic Centre is fairly swish for a public pool. But often that means very little swimming takes place. If you’re looking for lap pools, skip this one at the height of the season. Summer bring BBQs and DJ decks to the water’s edge, rather than any noticeable personal bests for a 50m backstroke. That said, we’re not quite in luxe beach club territory here. You’re looking at a modest sun deck overlooking a slightly functional 50m outdoor pool. The waters are heated though, which is always welcome. And, there are a few extras. A picnic area and cafe keep calories nicely topped up. The spa, steam room and sauna add that little bit of extra lux. And you can pick up swimwear, goggles and ear plugs at reception if you’ve left your swimmers at home.
Cost: $6.80 Adult / $13.20 to use the pool and spa
Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre
Planned your days around flitting between Melbourne’s art galleries and doing a bit of street art spotting? You’ll no doubt be in the market for a swimming pool that’s not too far from the art action. Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre more than meets the brief. Lying just a cheeky 22 minute tram ride away from Hosier Lane (an urban art hotspot), its swimming facilities are world-class. We’re talking two Olympic sized pools, a small indoor pool and over a dozen indoor diving boards for you to practice your pikes, tucks and twists from. If the digital time screens and very serious lap swimmers are a tad intimidating, plump for the leisure activity sessions instead. Everything’s far more relaxed and the wave pool sessions ensures there’s fun for all ages.
Cost: $8.50 (swim only) $20 Aqua class
Orbzii tip: This centre is a sports–enthusiast’s dream. Courts are available to hire too – from table tennis to basketball – and even water polo. There are top notch facilities to train in, or have fun in, during your stay.
Melbourne City Baths
Looking for another centre option that’s a little less ‘full on’? Pop along to Melbourne City Baths. Unlike the Sports & Aquatic centre in just about every single way, this historic spot is perhaps more in–line with a holiday jaunt. After all, you’re swimming in a historic spot here. Opened in 1860, it was intended as a somewhat more desirable option than swimming in the nearby river. You’ve only got an indoor option here, though the pool size weighs in at a respectable 30m. The grand old building now houses a gym too. And, if you’re looking for another reason to drop in, it’s also closer to Melbourne’s street art hub.
Cost: $7 Adult (swim only) $14.50 (swim/sauna/spa)
Orbzii tip: Scoping out the city’s historic spots pairs nicely with a visit to one of the best cocktail bars in Melbourne. Drop into Eau De Vie for a speakeasy-era themed evening.
Let’s face it, you’re a little spoilt for choice when it comes to concrete pools in Melbourne. Which makes Brighton Baths a very refreshing change. In every sense. A small patch of ocean has been neatly fenced off with a rustic boardwalk. Old school and definitely not temperature regulated, what you’re looking at here is open water swimming – nicely relabelled as cold water therapy. Holistic benefits aside, Brighton Baths is an iconic Melbourne spot which comes fully loaded with public swimming pool facilities. Showers, changing rooms and locker and towel rental turn a casual sea swim into an almost sophisticated dalliance. Dropping by and feeling spontaneous? They’ll also sell you some swimming gear. An indoor and outdoor gym, fitness classes, swimming lessons and SUP and kayak activities make this a bustling spot, year round.
Cost: Casual entrance (access to beach/boardwalk) $6 / $29.50 for a day pass to all facilities (must be accompanied by a member).
Monash Aquatic & Recreation Centre
If you’re in Melbourne for a while, it’s likely you’ll do some exploring. If you happen to find yourself way out east, rest assured, you’ll still be able to swim. The Monash Aquatic & Recreation Centre looks fairly leisure-centre–esque on the surface. Yes, you’ll find the usual facilities, but peek through the doors and you might catch one of the wave sessions. Boasting Victoria’s largest indoor wave pool, this is a spot to bodyboard in, regardless of the surf forecast. You’ll still have to time your visit right though. Sessions run from 10am – 6pm on weekends – and 4:15pm – 8pm on weekdays. In terms of Melbourne family pools, this one’s top notch. Throw in the spa, gym, steam room and fitness classes and it’s almost worth the 1 hour drive out of Melbourne.
Cost: $8.40 Adult (swim only) $15.80 Adult (swim/spa) $6.30 Child (swim only)