Ocean Baths

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COVID-19 Update

A public health order has been issued by the NSW Government limiting public gatherings. For the latest information, see the NSW Health COVID-19 website.

Newcastle is fortunate enough to have two ocean baths facilities, Newcastle and Merewether, that sit on its pristine coastline and are open year round for the community to enjoy. Newcastle Ocean and Merewether Baths both have a long history as popular swimming spots. Newcastle Ocean Baths was opened in 1922 and Merewether Baths in 1935.

The baths are open all year round, subject to maintenance and cleaning. We clean, manage and maintain these facilities and always try to find the balance between availability and cleanliness. At present, both Newcastle and Merewether are cleaned weekly and the cleaning schedule is available under Documents. Newcastle Ocean Baths, due to its age, is closed for three to four weeks in winter for scheduled maintenance.

Merewether Baths

Cleaning Schedule

Merewether Baths are cleaned every 2nd Monday and every Thursday during the season.

Lifeguard and changeroom hours

  • No lifeguards on duty at Merewether Ocean Baths during winter season, from 19 April until 17 September 2021
  • Changerooms close at 7pm daily

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Newcastle Ocean Baths

Cleaning Schedule

Newcastle Ocean Baths are cleaned every Wednesday

Entry into the pool area during scheduled cleaning times is prohibited.

Lifeguard and changeroom hours

  • 8am to 4.30pm - 19 April 2021 to 17 September 2021
  • Changerooms close at 7pm daily


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If you have any requests or concerns regarding the cleaning of Newcastle's Beaches and Ocean Baths facilities please contact us on (02) 4974 2000.

Water Quality

We routinely monitor four ocean baths throughout the year for water quality; these are Merewether Main Pool, Merewether Learners Pool, Canoe Pool and Newcastle Ocean Baths.

The cleanliness of the facility is heavily influenced by the water temperature and usage. During summer, warmer water accelerates algae growth resulting in an unsightly build up on the walls in the splash zone. While this results in the appearance of an unclean pool, regular testing indicates that the water quality is acceptable for public swimming. It should be noted that the water quality is heavily influenced by the naturally occurring water quality of the ocean and the debris present.

There is a balance between the need to flush out the water in the pool, keeping the water at an acceptable level and the risk of introducing discoloured water from the ocean. Council staff continuously monitor the cleanliness of both Ocean Baths facilities and work within the numerous constraints to achieve a balance between availability and cleanliness.

Event Bookings

Newcastle beaches and ocean baths are regularly used for:

  • Major sporting and social events
  • Motion picture filming
  • Swimwear and other fashion shoots
  • Artists
  • Swimming carnivals
  • Wedding parties
  • Family and social functions.

You need to get an event licence from City of Newcastle to hold any event at Newcastle's Beaches or Ocean Baths (excluding small informal events).

Please contact Customer Service on 02 4974 2000 to enquire about your booking.

Winter Swimming Clubs

Winter Swimming Clubs train and compete at both Ocean Baths. The 'Merewether Mackerels' and 'Dixon Park Coldies' swim all year round, even during the cooler winter water temperatures.

For more information on getting involved with either of these clubs, please contact the lifeguard on duty at Merewether Ocean Baths or Newcastle Ocean Baths.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find out when the baths are being cleaned?
What work is involved in the cleaning of the baths?
Why is the cleaning day sometimes changed at short notice?
Can the pool be cleaned more often?
Why does the cleaning of the baths occur at low tide?
Why are the pool walls dirty?
Is sand removed from the bottom of the pools during cleaning?
What about water quality?
Are the bathroom facilities or pool surrounds available when the pool is closed for cleaning?
How often is the 'round' pool refilled at Newcastle Ocean Baths?
Priority Project
The pavilions at Newcastle and Merewether Ocean Baths are ageing and require substantial upgrades in order to continue providing use and benefit to the community. Read more about the Ocean Baths priority project.