Cool off in One of the largest ocean pools in the southern hemisphere in Merewether Ocean Baths
The Merewether Ocean Baths are one of, if not the most popular swimming spots in the Newcastle, New South Wales. Sheltered from the waves and it’s ability to cater to all types, it provides a safe swimming spot for families with young children and experienced swimmers.
It’s situated within close proximity to beachside kiosks, cafes and pubs (all located within walking distance), it ticks all the boxes for most beach lovers.
History of the Baths
Built in 1935, the baths have undergone a series of upgrades and improvements, with the most recent being in 2014.
In 1936, the pool was deepened to make the bottom even. Years later, it had more rock removed as the council required rock for a road project, which the baths were able to provide.
In the years prior, the bath were filled by the tide, with the smaller pool being filled by overflow. The addition of a pump house meant that it was able to be filled and emptied when required.
The ocean baths are made up of two large pools. Unlike Newcastle Ocean Baths, there is a shallower pool with a sandy bottom, suitable for children.
This pool is incredibly popular with local families with young children. It has a corner filled with sand, which is perfect young toddlers to play in, while also being shallow enough that they can splash around safely nearby.
The pool gets deeper the further you go towards the eastern pool, making it suitable for older children also.
The larger pool on the eastern side is one of the largest ocean pools in the southern hemisphere. The pool measures in at 100 metres by 50 metres.
The southern end is fitted with diving blocks and is popular with locals lap swimming. This pool is around 1.8m deep in some areas and more suited to confident swimmers.
Both pools are surrounded by concrete paths and are equipped with ramps, making access easy for children and adults alike.
The baths are located off Henderson Parade, Merewether.
Parking can be a little tricky during busier times as there is limited parking available on Henderson Parade. There are a couple of disabled parking spaces closer to the baths on this street.
Alternative areas to park are along Frederick Street. To get to the baths from here you will need to walk down a steep set of stairs. While the view from there is stunning on the walk down, it’s not ideal with young children or for those with mobility issues.
There is another car park on Watkins Street, however this is a little bit more of a walk, albeit it’s mostly flat. This may be more suitable for those with children and is pram and beach cart friendly.
The path will also take you past Merewether Surf House or Blue Door Cafe if you’re wanting to stop by and get something to eat after your visit.
All parking near the baths is free.
Best time to visit
The Merewether Baths are open all year round and patrolled during warmer months.
The lifeguard hours for 2023 can be found below:
24 September 2022 to 23 April 2023 – 9am to 5.30pm
24 April 2023 to 23 September 2023 – 8am to 4.30pm
The baths are suitable to swim at during most tides, however during certain weather events they can become unsafe and may be closed in such cases.
The baths are closed once a week for maintenance and cleaning. This generally occurs on a Thursday though is subject to change if weather or surf conditions aren’t favourable.
Cleaning schedules can be found on the Newcastle Council website.
The pavilion building located at the baths houses showering (with access to hot showers), toilet and change room facilities, which close at 7pm daily. The Merewether Surf Club also has toilet facilities.
There are a couple of sheltered tables available along the promenade area, though aside from this, shade is limited.
There is room along the sandy section of the children’s for a few beach umbrellas, though this area fills up very quickly.
There are unsheltered picnic tables available on the southern side of the pavilion.
Merewether Surfhouse is a short walk up the hill, which is a beachside kiosk, bar, cafe and restaurant.
Blue Door Kiosk is just off John Street for snack type meals, açai bowls, coffee and it’s locally renowned Coco-Whip.
The Beaches Hotel is a renovated art-deco pub on Frederick Street, offering views over Merewether Beach, pub style meals and live music.