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The Canoe Pool
Newcastle, New South Wales

The Canoe Pool is a large but shallow beach pool suitable for kids and lazy bathers at the northern end of Newcastle Beach. Located next door to the Newcastle Ocean Baths, the Canoe Pool is just as large, but in a friendlier shape that resembles a giant thumb print in the sand. The pool is protected by a low, curved wall along the ocean facing section of the pool. Swimming at The Canoe Pool, Newcastle Above: The view of Shortland Esplanade from the Canoe Pool in Newcastle (Order this image)

This spot is well set up for parents to oversee their kids playing, either together in the water or (for older kids) watching them from the elevated park benches that provide an excellent vantage point from which to supervise without getting wet.
But on a hot day, who would not want to get wet here? At low tide the water is warm in this little enclosure that is no more than knee deep for adults across most of the pool. It only gets deeper at the ocean end, where there is a deeper channel around the rim of the pool that ran mostly about waist deep for me. Swimming at The Canoe Pool, Newcastle Above: The rounded end of the Canoe Pool in Newcastle (Order this image)

There are fantastic views from the pool in most directions, with the waves from the ocean rolling onto the rock shelf behind the pool and occasionally reaching into the pool. To the south are views of the headland and the surf rolling up onto the Newcastle Beach.
Then there is the panorama of Shortland Esplanade, with its hive of activity along the promenade and layered apartment blocks behind. So lay yourself down in the calm water, relax and take it all in. In calm seas, the back wall is also suitable for sitting on with just your legs dangling in the water. Swimming at The Canoe Pool, Newcastle Above: The Newcastle Ocean Baths (left) next to the Canoe Pool (centre) in Newcastle (Order this image)

When it is less occupied, the pool is also home to various waterbirds including seagulls and pelicans. Here is a video of the Canoe Pool that includes some of them taking a bath, as well as 360 degree views around the pool.

Other Information Before You Go:
Location: 31 Shortland Esplanade, Newcastle East, directly east of the Newcastle city centre and 170 km (approx. 2.5 hour drive) north of Sydney
Latitude:-32.929665 Longitude:151.789490
Getting there: In Newcastle, head north to Wharf Road then follow this onto Shortland Esplanade, which is a one-way road that goes past the Canoe Pool. Grab any parking spot you can find in the area. If arriving by public transport, take the light rail to Newcastle Beach then a 400 metre walk down to the Canoe Pool.

Facilities: Sheltered tables, open air shower, and park benches at the pool. There are public toilets at the Newcastle Ocean Baths next door to the canoe pool, and behind the Newcastle Beach kiosk, 200 metres back along the beach. There are cafes across the road behind the Newcastle Beach kiosk.
Entrance fee: None
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Sand
Maximum water depth: Less than 1 metre
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Beginners (assuming no waves at high tide overtopping the pool)
Prohibitions including whether you can bring your dog: No alcohol, no glass, no littering, no dogs, no camping, no smoking, no fires.
Sun shade: No shade in the water. Shade out of the water under sheltered picnic tables.
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: There is a concrete ramp into the water at the Canoe Pool that leads from the concrete boardwalk in front of the pool.
Accommodation Options: See my accommodation suggestions close to the Canoe Pool, including some properties across the road.
Managing authority: City of Newcastle
Nearby attractions: Merewether Ocean Baths, 4 km to the south and the Bogey Hole 1km to the south.
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information. Specific to this site, the managing authority advises that there is shallow water, submerged rocks, high surf, edges, slippery rocks, strong currents, and that there is no lifesaving service here.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the Canoe Pool. If the map is not zoomed in locally, as can sometimes occur when loading, simply click or tap on "View Larger Map" below.
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