Thirroul Olympic Pool

Just one hour from Sydney’s CBD lies the picturesque town of Thirroul.  Like a step-back in time, Thirroul has a true nostalgia feel to it, taking you back to an era where time moved more slowly, people lived in cute little cottages with picket fences and manicured lawns, and if you took a short stroll from home you’d end up at the milk bar or fish and chip shop.

As soon as we arrived in Thirroul we immediately began to feel calm and relaxed; it was as if we’d left Sydney a world away.  Thirroul has a population of just 5,500 who live in homes rather than units, laid out between the railway line and the beach.  From wherever you live in Thirroul it doesn’t seem that you’re far from the beach and a pleasant level stroll will have you there within minutes.

Thirroul Beach - unfortunately we were there on a very stormy day

Thirroul Beach – unfortunately we were there on a very stormy day

The beach is crescent-shaped making it less dangerous and it’s also patrolled.  This is not a beach where you’d have to fight for a spot to spread out your towel, or end up with someone obstructing your view; at a kilometre in length there’s plenty of room for everyone.

In front of the glorious beach is the Thirroul Olympic Pool that was built in the 1930’s.  It’s a 50-metre pool with lanes marked and the water is pumped in from the sea.  Because the water is continually coming in from the ocean, it’s not heated.  There’s an additional toddler pool that was being cleaned the day we were there so it was empty.  There is plenty of seating around the pool and my only disappointment is that there’s a solid concrete wall between the pool and the beach preventing you from being able to enjoy the ocean view.  I understand there is talk of replacing sections of the wall with glass and I believe this is definitely what needs to happen.

Thirroul Olympic Pool - just like in 1930, there's still free entry

Thirroul Olympic Pool – just like in 1930, there’s still free entry

The Thirroul Pool has lifeguards who are very chirpy and love a chat.  I asked them how much it costs to swim in the pool and they laughed!  I was very pleasantly surprised to hear that it’s absolutely free.  Like I said, visiting Thirroul is like stepping back into a bygone era where every time you turn around you don’t need to have your hand in your pocket.  Thirroul Pool also provides change rooms and showers.  There’s no hot water but everything that is provided is free.

Speaking of free, the beach and pool car park are also free.  I recently went to Manly Beach and it cost $14.00 to park for two hours.  Here at Thirroul you can park your car and no matter how long you’re there, it’s free of charge.

The toddler pool that was empty because it was being cleaned

The toddler pool that was empty because it was being cleaned

In front of the swimming pool is a very new looking children’s playground.  It’s fully fenced and has a terrific variety of playground equipment including a flying fox that once again is free.  Beyond the playground is a grassed park where there are electric bar-be-cues and these are also free.

I visited Thirroul for around 24 hours and fell in love with this tiny coastal town that time seems to have forgotten – and all for the better too.  I hope Thirroul stays the way that it is so we can all visit for some respite from the chaos that is living in a city that often feels like being in a pressure-cooker.

Thirroul Beach Playground

Thirroul Beach Playground

Before visiting Thirroul I thought it seemed far enough away to be a place to visit for an overnight stay however, I now think Thirroul can be equally enjoyed by visiting for a day.  It’s only about an hour from Sydney and less if you’re from the southern suburbs and what you spend in petrol you’ll save in parking fees, bar-be-cue fees and pool entry fees.

The view of the beach taken from

The view of the beach taken from Flanagans Restaurant and Bar

Thirroul Beach:  The Esplanade, Thirroul Beach NSW 2515

Flanagans Restaurant and Bar:  Thirroul Beach Reserve, Cliff Parade, Thirroul NSW 2515  Ph:  02 4268 1598


  1. I think we have driven past Thirroul, Charlie… the pool looks inviting… as does the beach!

  2. I’ve never heard of this place and already I’m in love with it. What a nifty find!

  3. What a fabulous discovery. Often these time forgot places are charming but a little run down. This doesn’t look like that at all. Wonderful. GG

  4. The beach looks lovely and all the better because it is less of a tourist attraction! So nice to not have to fight for your spot on the sand.

  5. Gorgeous! I would love to go there! I love that the water in the pool is from the ocean! How cool is that?!? And that you can swim for free is amazing…and parking is free, too?!?! You never see that anymore! AWESOME! Too bad the weather wasn’t nicer… xo

  6. Sounds like a fun place! And free! What could be better? Great review — thanks.

  7. Thirroul sounds like a nice place to visit…and I kind of like the slow pace and nostalgia look…great for taking it easy and have a good rest.
    Hope you are enjoying your week Charlie 😀

  8. It’s unheard of to park at a beach in Sydney metro and not have to pay top dollar for the privilege. How wonderful to not have to fight a crowd too!

  9. Free is not a word you hear much of these days. And it looks like a lovely pool/beach area.

  10. Isn’t it lovely to find a place that caters for the patrons, not the council. Parking fees are ridiculous at the beaches in Sydney, shouldn’t people be encouraged to go there? Salt water pools are so nice, and looking out to the ocean would definitely make it all perfect 🙂 xox

  11. I would love to visit this pool, sounds awesome 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  12. Australia is FABULOUS & I want to hear your accent, Charlie!

    –what a gem you found! I want to come over. xx

  13. Sure looks like a lovely respite. I’m SO ready for beach weather!!!

  14. How nice it is to get out of the city and be able to breathe!! And what a bonus that it is free free free.

  15. G’day! Never heard of this place Charlie and would hate to think we drove straight through!
    Always good (at least for us) to be able to experience a place that is peaceful and tranquil with water views!!
    Cheers! Joanne

  16. It makes me excited to visit this picturesque town of Thirroul. Imagine it is only an hour of travel from Sydney.. So accessible

  17. What a charming town, Charlie. I do understand the appeal. I think for those of us who live in the “pressure cookers” of big cities there is something so relaxing about dialing it down a notch! And this seaside town would be the perfect place to unwind. I love the pools, too. I don’t now where I would even go to see a pool built in the 1930s. I hope you can visit again soon!

  18. What a great place to have so close to Sydney. It is amazing how prices have increased in certain (city!) areas – how lovely to have an escape.

  19. Thirroul definitely sounds like my kind of place.
    Have a super day Charlie.
    😉 Mandy xo

  20. wonderful pictures. i love the view from the restaurant.

  21. This sounds like my kind of place. Too bad it’s thousands of miles away. Right now I am so ready to flee Minnesota with another winter storm on the way starting this afternoon and continuing through Friday evening.

  22. I’ve never heard of Thirroul before, but this place has a beautiful view! My kids will be happy with the big swimming pool. 🙂

  23. WOW! Great photos! Thanks for letting me come along on your virtual journey!

  24. It’s funny how you step just slightly out of Sydney’s confines and time, well there’s instantly more of it. Slows right down.
    More trips away I say!

  25. What a lovely little place. I visited a friend in port fairy last year and it sounds like they have a similar feel.

  26. A very stormy day, yes, but how lovely is the sky–especially in that first photo!

  27. What a great place to spend the day, Charlie. At only an hour’s drive away, I would much prefer to go there than to any of the city’s more congested beaches. Not having to pay for parking or tu swim in the pool is so unusual in our modern world. May Thirroul never become so modern. It sounds charming.

  28. IT sounds like a cool place to hang out & Enjoy yourself.

  29. How wonderful to have a quaint little escape just an hour’s drive away. I totally would be there every month, just to have a respite from daily life. We are much too busy these days, aren’t we?xx

  30. How lovely to discover a town like this! It sounds so relaxing and peaceful.

  31. That’s a lovely first picture at the top Charlie… it’s got a very eerie Edward Hopper quality to it – really like it a lot! I love little coastal towns… I’ve been to a few in England and they seem just so… I don’t know – like the place that time forgot!

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