At the start of 2021 after finding myself in three pools in the space of a week I wondered how many pools we have around Perth. Perth Pool Quest was born from this curiosity, and I set a personal goal to swim in every Perth public pool in 2021. The quest is now complete, and I have published the 2022 Perth Pool Guide as a result.
QUEST; My definition of a quest is a group of goals with a common theme or purpose.
Why did I start Perth Pool Quest?
For the last few years I built up to swimming 3-4 times a week at my local pool. I started swimming with my friend Vicki at Scarborough Beach Pool and after she planted a seed about doing a triathlon, I signed up to the Girls Like Us training program who swam at Bold Park. From here I decided to seek out more pools to swim in around Perth and beyond.
I’m often asked why I am swimming all around Perth. It has become a hobby, it’s fun and is a reason to explore Perth, particularly in a time when we are restricted from travelling. The quest has taken me to suburbs I would not normally visit and pools I would have no reason to swim in under normal circumstances. I aligned my quest with work, allowing time to swim in a pool close to where I was training or meeting, and incorporating swimming meetings which I call Splash Networking.
As I travelled beyond Perth in Western Australia, I extended the quest to include regional pools to add an extra element of adventure. Of course, these aren’t part of the core quest and are on a separate tab of my spreadsheet. This part of the quest will continue.
Along my travels I have found are some gems. I classify pools as either ‘Community Pools, meaning that are great for locals and ‘Destination Pools’ which are worth travelling to. Download my 2022 Perth Pool Guide to discover why Scarborough Beach Pool is the best place to swim all year round. I’d love to know your favourite pool and why.
How did I decide which pools to swim in? I couldn’t find a list of such pools geared towards lap swimmers, so I decided to create one to use as my action list.
There are pools which are part of health centre, schools, hotels and theme parks, and there are public pools run by councils. Hotel pools are technically for guests, and adding hotels would be a very expensive and time consuming level to the quest. Health centres require a membership and generally don’t have casual pool entry, so I decided to limit the quest to public pools which have an entry fee with a minimum of a 25 metre lap pool.
I have defined Perth as between Yanchep and Mandurah, and inland to Mundaring, which are mapped out on Google Maps. Two of these pools are seasonal, which meant I couldn’t visit until the summer months, and one of them wasn’t heated! This pool, Kalamunda Water Park has the shortest swim window from late November to February.
I created the list of pools and tracked the progress of my quest in a spreadsheet. I started capturing and sharing photos and comments on social media, added Google Reviews via Google Maps and started using Strava as my visual sports diary.
The spreadsheet started to grow to include more info such as pool temperatures, depth ranges, type of heating, entrance fees and opening times. I discovered not all pools open all year, some have multiple pool options and wellness centres consisting of a spa, sauna and steam room. Others are in need of repair, and have plans for refurbishments and some closed during the quest so I had to plan my swim around this. I also discovered that most centres increased their price at the end of the financial year, so those I recorded before July were adjusted to the new price.
In addition to my quest, I added an option to book a swim with me, which I call ‘Splash Networking’. This created an opportunity to swim with LinkedIn connections I hadn’t met in person, or didn’t know before my quest. We would meet for a swim, chatting in between laps comparing techniques and goals, then we would have a coffee or bite to eat after. I highly recommend this as a great way to meet people in a relaxed environment. I forgot to get photos with the first few that I met up with as we were so present in conversation, which is what it is all about.
While most pools have an ideal temperature, factors such as weather come into play, and sometimes indoor pools can feel colder. For my spreadsheet, I relied on the info give to me by the staff or on the website. Where there was a range, I used the the median temperate. If I was to do this again I would bring my own pool thermometer!
I expected Bilgoman in Darlington to be the coldest pool of my quest, as back in the 80s it was known as the coldest pool in the state, but now it has solar heating.
The average pool temperature of outdoor heated pools is 26.6 degrees and indoor pools is 28.6 degrees. Indoor pools, particularly those connected to a leisure pool are the warmest.
Download my Perth Pool Quest Guide to see the warmest and coldest pools in Perth.
For my quest I included pools with a minimum length of 25m. We have twenty four 50m pools, with 19 of those being outdoors and 5 indoor. There are also twenty seven 25m pools with 21 indoor and just 6 outdoors. There is a 33mx 21m pool available for lap swimming outdoor when not being used for water polo pool, that is situated along the river.
Casual Swim Fees
To qualify for my quest, the pool must have a casual entry fee. The average pool entry price across Perth is $6.52. My spreadsheet and Perth Pool Guide contains the current fees for all pools, with a summary in my report, such as;
- The cheapest pools
- The most expensive places to swim
- The most expensive pools to be a spectator
Pool fees tend to increase on 1st July.
Pool Opening and Closing Times
The latest that some pools are open until is 9pm in summer, and the earliest is 5:30am. Most pools centres want you out of the water 15 minutes before they close, but Beatty Park allows you to swim until close. Unfortunately some pools close very early in winter, even though they are heated. For instance Scarborough closes at 7:30pm, which means you have to be out of the water at 7:15pm. This and parking availability due to fabulous location are it’s biggest downfalls. Check the pool websites for the open times as they change across seasons.
Perth’s Top 3 Public Pools
Here are the pools that I rated top of the list. See the full ranking of all 34 pools in the 2022 Perth Pool Guide.
1. Scarborough Beach Pool
City of Stirling has three aquatic facilities, which include the best place to swim in Perth. Scarborough Beach Pool is located next to the beach and has a main lap pool, leisure pool and offers aqua fitness and group fitness classes in the complex or on the beach.
Why did Scarborough take out the top spot?
This pool is beautiful to swim in, not just because of the location and views especially at sunset, but because the water is salt-based and geothermally heated. The L shaped pool gives it 50m and 25m sections, and it has a swim wall which splits some 50m lanes in half during busy times. It is one of the most expensive pools to swim in, but lockers are free to use and spectators are not charged. The All access membership across all City of Stirling centres is great value. Zoie Café which is part of the complex and also accessible from the outside is the best poolside café serving a range of healthy food.
No pool is perfect. Because of the fabulous location, parking can be a challenge, so avoid peak beach/café times. Restrictive winter opening hours is another issue, with a 7:30pm close it doesn’t leave much time to swim after work. The showers are great, but they lack temperature controls and can be a little warm in summer, and the bench seat isn’t separated by a wall to give a dry area. Check lane availability especially early mornings and after school as with every pool, squads, clubs and school reserve lanes.
If you haven’t been to Scarborough Beach Pool, make time to check out this local icon.
- 5am – 9pm Monday to Friday
- 6:30am – 8pm Saturday
- 7:30am – 8pm Sunday
- 8am – 6pm public holidays
The entrance fee is $7.50 for swimmers, with lockers included, and no cost for spectators.
The pool and recreation centres do not have an easy to use dedicated website.
Find more info on the City of Stirling website.
2. Cockburn ARC
Cockburn ARC is a gem in the City of Cockburn that opened on May 19, 2017. Formerly known as Southlake Leisure Centre it is now the home of Fremantle Football Club. The centre has a 10 lane 50m outdoor pool heated to 27.5 degrees, and a 8 lane 25m indoor pool heated to 29 degrees, leisure pool, 3 waterslides, a 6 court stadium, 3 group fitness studios and a huge health club space, making it a destination worth visiting.
There is plenty of free parking, and a decent café.
- 5:30am – 8:30pm Monday to Friday
- 7am – 6pm weekends and public holidays
Closing 1 hour earlier in winter.
The entrance fee is $7.50 for swimmers and $2.50 for spectators with lockers at $2.10 for 3 hours.
More info on their user friendly website.
Timelapse video of the build
3. Armadale Aquatic Centre
Located in the City of Armadale the pool was redeveloped into the stunning aquatic centre in 2019. It features an 8 lane 50m outdoor pool heated to 27 degrees, and an 8 lane 25m indoor pool heated to 29 degrees. The centre has a leisure pool, hydro pool, spa, sauna and steam room, plenty of free parking, and a decent café.
- 5:30am – 8:30pm Monday to Friday
- 7am – 8pm weekends
- 8am – 6pm public holidays
Closing 2 hours earlier on a weekend in winter.
The entrance fee is just $6.00 for swimmers with lockers included for no cost, and $2 for spectators.
More info on their user friendly website: https://active.armadale.wa.gov.au/aquatics
Redevelopment concept video
The History of the pool
SWIMMING QUEST HISTORY
I’ve never been much of a swimmer, but I loved to go to the pool, splash around and cool down in my youth. When I first moved to Australia, our local was the coldest pool in Perth, which was perfect after a long walk on a hot Perth day. Then we moved and lived between two locals which we would visit equally.
Looking back to my youth, my family used to visit various pools around our area, rather than the closest, so maybe I was always on a pool quest. I’m from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, and while we had the Barnsley Baths, we would also visit pools in all directions; Royston, Sisset, Cudworth and even the further afield to Rotherham which had a wave pool.
In my 20s and 30s I would take my kids to the pool, but would rarely swim myself thanks to a hang up about my thighs! In my 40s I had the revelation that the only person who cares about my thighs is me! If this is you, stop it. Celebrate your thighs!
When did you last go to your local pool?
DO YOUR RESEARCH
With every pool, get familiar with their website and check the lane availability to avoid swimming lessons, squads, carnivals and fitness classes. The day I chose to swim at the Rockingham Aquatic Centre there were multiple schools and a huge aquatics class which looked fun, but meant the limited lane sandwiched between was like swimming in a wave pool!
If you want to get back into swimming, set yourself goals around how often you plan to swim, for how long and how far. Maybe even set a big goal to swim in an event or hit a record by a certain date, then create milestones to make it achievable, and track your efforts. Buy multi-passes or memberships when you are in a rhythm, or for accountability. Find a swim buddy for added accountability and fun, but don’t rely on them, otherwise if they can’t make it you may decide not to go either. To improve your technique and have fun, join a club. I can highly recommend the Girls Like Us Triathlon Training group. You can join them just for swimming on a Monday night at Bold Park. Before you know it, you will be swimming regularly, doing triathlons or even the Rottnest Swim!
CREATE YOUR QUEST
Whether you reconnect with your local pool or discover other pools and aquatic centres further afield, why not take part in your own Pool Quest. And if swimming or getting wet isn’t your thing, create your own adventure quest.
My next quest involves trying new fitness and wellbeing activities, and cycling distances. Feel free to send your suggestions.
If you need help creating a quest for your LinkedIn journey, get in touch.
Life is too short not to look after yourself and have fun.
FOLLOW THE QUEST
Search #PerthPoolQuest on any platform
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Interested in the full guide covering the 34 public pools in Perth? Get a copy of the 2022 Perth Pool Guide.